It is through the space that simplicity allows to create complex ideas that are both easy to listen to and intriguing enough to challenge the mind in ways that fulfill the soul.
– melodic DIRT
Minimalism in music features repetition and iteration…
I believe that the concept of minimalism has successfully sounded itself through the music of melodic DIRT. I have always been inspired by music artists who have forged a genuinely unique and distinct sound through simplicity in a quality way.
It is my belief that it is through the space that simplicity allows to create complex ideas that are both easy to listen to and intriguing enough to challenge the mind in ways that fulfill the soul.
Minimalist compositions are sometimes known as systems music. The term “minimalist” often colloquially refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials.
Some background info on melodic DIRT
After being a drummer for several years, from a young kid on through my mid-twenties, I eventually delved into creating music through melody, harmony and compositions after 9/11/01. Something moved me to start creating music and away from playing the drums. I guess I needed to create something beyond what the music opportunities were presenting up to that point. It was all on a whim, it was just a fun adventurous thing to do but I stuck with it over the years.
When I first started out with the keys, it was a smorgasbord of all these different sounds that I selected from my keyboard workstation and then eventually sounds that I dementedly tweaked using analog synths. It was unique and distinct, that’s for sure. But it was unique and different because of the vast array of weird synth & key sounds that I implemented for the sound palette. I used to record the synth sound tracks then bang away on the drums to them. It was fun, no doubt, as I recorded some pretty interesting stuff in those days. But as expressive as it was, with as many different sounds and ideas going on, there was something missing. And although my music has always had the minimalist thing going on, in my early years of song production, it was missing within the sound palette. Although I was creating these repetitive hooks and song ideas, after a while it all sounded like some far out eclectic psycho music when going from one song to the next because each song used different quirky sounds. It was very bizarre to say the least.
When I picked up an electric guitar and bass around 2004 things started to smooth themselves out a little bit. I was using the guitar and bass as the main instruments while supplementing those with some synth work. But a problem arose when I decided to try out some vocal ideas. The problem was that with the synth & keys there was too much going on melodically for me to find myself vocally. All the synth stuff was just cluttering everything up and not leaving enough room for me to develop as a vocalist.
So after a few years of working with just guitars, bass and vocals, under a different brand name, I took a break, a 3 year break from making any music. I needed it. There were a lot of things going on in my life in 2009 with the instability of the job market and economy and I definitely did not go through it unaffected.
After a few years, when things started to stabilize somewhat in my life financially, I decided I wanted to rejuvenate things by producing some music again. I’m glad I did. Regardless of what anyone has to say about it, and yes, I could care less about any negative critism… I love the music of melodic DIRT and believe it is my best work yet, period.
Systems music is a term which has been used to describe the work of composers who concern themselves primarily with sound continua which evolve gradually, often over very long periods of time
Simplicity vs Selling out
Rock Pop Music Recording Artist Disputes Misconceptions On Simplicity Minimalism
So without getting too caught up in others negative attitudes and judgment towards simplicity and minimalism within music or my music in particular, I just wanted to say, that with melodic DIRT… I stayed true to myself. I put all of my mind, heart, body and soul into every note that I played and recorded, and every note that I left out.
I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings that exist among musicians that strive for a high level of advanced skill that leads towards a sort of condescending arrogance towards music that seems to have been ‘dumbed down’ to appeal to the masses. I have achieved a high level of skill as a drummer at one point in my life but always appreciated music of simplicity just as much as I appreciated ‘musicians music’. You know, where the musicians abandon pop culture aiming to exploit their highest level of technically advanced musical skill and talent in an effort to declare themselves the baddest musicians out there. I get it and I appreciate it. I also get that it’s all relative, that the more complicated and advanced challenging music is, it is just an expression of those musicians comfort level within certain attained skill levels and abilities. I get it, I’ve been there and done that. I get the mentality and the attitude that goes along with it. I guess with me anyway, I’m still a simple person underneath with a simple mind but in complex advanced ways.
It’s tough not to get fired up about the subject of simplicity vs selling out as a music recording artist because I’m in a vulnerable position of being accused of being a sell out vs someone who has devoted themselves and worked diligently to develop and evolve into finding their own sound and style through simplicity. I guess because I’m not keeping on as a jazz rock drummer, pushing myself like an octopus with 7 brains into a poly-rhythmic frenzy that I am somehow a sellout… oh well. I grew up with rock and metal, it’s in my blood, it’s in my bones, along with pop too. In all honesty, I don’t even listen to much music these days anyhow as when I’m in production mode I don’t like to clutter my mind or wear myself out too much. But I can tell you that over the years I’ve gravitated towards appreciating simplicity more and more… especially when something fresh, new and bold is being presented.
I’m also in a vulnerable position of being accused of being a sellout or a fraud because of how I’ve produced my drum beats rather than play and record them as a drummer. What’s funny about that is that I’ve always blogged about this and have never set out to fraudulently fool anyone. melodic DIRT is a point of departure from drumming and the beginning of my retirement as a drummer. It’s about being musically emancipated from the abusive grunt labor that goes along with being a drummer. You know, how other less physically demanding instrumentalists or vocalists want to keep practicing the same shit over and over again because they don’t have their shit together etc… I think it’s cool, and if people are personally offended by it, well that’s not really my problem, I could care less about their 2 cents worth… I like producing beats by tapping them out on a drum module or keys. The truth is, is that I’ve embraced what is already common and accepted within other genres of music like pop and rap but not necessarily rock or metal, which there is definitely an element of within melodic DIRT. Funny thing is that there is a whole world of guitarists and bassists out there practicing with drums machines everyday. It’s a part of their lives. But I’m not necessarily concerned with appeasing what others think is right or wrong and definitely don’t answer to nobody but myself when it comes to how I go about doing things and why. And I’m only concerned with how I feel about the process and end result. I’m selfish in that way… I want others others to dig the music of melodic DIRT but at the end of the day… it is what is. I plan on producing the next album the same exact way.
It’s not like I’m making these technically advanced drum beats that are almost humanly impossible to play, trying to sell everyone on some intricate awe inspiring drum solos or insanely fast double bass drumming found in metal and claiming that I played them as a drummer. That’s not the selling point of melodic DIRT’s music at all. Truth be told, drum machines have always been a part of my life and I’ve been inspired by drummers who’ve incorporated them into what they do artistically. The drum beats are just there and get the job done. Are they cool and do they sound good? You bet. Simple, minimalistic, and to the point…. the beats support the music and that’s where the creativity is. I’ve worked diligently to transcend my drumming past and have reinvented myself as a genuinely unique and distinct recording artist with the ability to convey complexity through simplicity in a quality way. Take it or leave it. That’s what I’m selling you on. Do you think it’s easy? Then go ahead and try doing it for yourself. Nothing’s easy.
Will you try and make the argument that the music grooves because of the drum machine beats and that the music is nothing without it? That I’m a fraud phony fake guitar player with no feel or skill and that the drum beats do all the work? Well… I picked up the guitar, I figured out some cool riffs, established the tempo from the riff, set the metronome track to that tempo, then hit the record button with just the metronome click in my ears, rockin’ out on the guitar. Yes, I rocked out on the guitar to those tracks and no it’s not computer sci-fi generated. I may not have the time to learn and play cover tunes but I can sure as hell pick up the guitar and jam out a cool riff or two. Kudos to me for hitting the record button. The beats weren’t added until after the guitar was recorded. So if they brought out the groove and rhythmical skill of my guitar playing… then cool. I got feel, I got rhythm, and I got pretty decent timing as well… I’m not perfect, but who is. Being able to keep perfect metronome timing for extended periods of time without a metronome is nothing more than a circus show trick anyway, who cares. It’s irrelevant and that’s not the selling point of the music either. And the reason for using a metronome/click-track was just to keep a professional recording environment when layering on the different recorded tracks. For me, it’s just the right thing to do and makes complete, legit, logical sense. It just keeps a point of solid relative timing to create on, without having to layer an instrument, or even vocal track, onto another tracks ebb and flow of timing. When you’re recording everything yourself, it just makes sense. I am fully aware of how in a band environment there are benefits to letting the tempo of the music breathe and the ebb and flow of it all. I was an advocate of it when I was in different band recording environments, adamantly. Though, even in some band situations where synth sweetener tracks were added in live situations, click tracks were used. Again, it just makes sense.
Do you want to argue that I’m putting myself in a vulnerable position for others to feel entitled and try to cut it down. Well, I’m entitled to speak my mind too. I talk back, and yes I have a good head on my shoulders and have no problems with letting it be known. You got something to say? Yeah, well… so do I.
I don’t want to waste too much of my life getting caught up in others negative antics. But I do believe that a part of transcending the negative is to shed let on the positive. And I feel good about the results that I’ve achieved by remaining positive, creative and productive. And I do believe in how I’ve achieved those results and stand behind them, profoundly.
I ain’t ripping no one off musically. I got my own sound and style that I’ve achieved through simplicity and minimalism. And as much as it’s in a vulnerable place to be attacked and cut down… it also wasn’t easy to have accomplished either. And not enough credit is given to those who have actually accomplished something noteworthy within those boundaries of simplicity. But for music artists who believe in minimalism and simplicity, and all that it has to offer, there are only freedoms to be found within it, not boundaries. And that is exactly what I’ve found in simplicity and minimalism… freedom, expression and creativity.
Something needs to be said for simplicity and how ‘less is more’. For me it’s not about this condescending sort of “sell out and dumb things down” mentality to appeal to the heard of people-sheeps to try and become famous. For me it’s about being inspired by those who’ve forged a genuinely distinct, unique sound and style… who’ve imprinted a powerful musical impression through simplicity, and wanting to do the same.
Of course, everything is relative, subjective, opinionated and everything else dividing, debative and all things controversial.
It is what it is.
“Keep it simple.”
That’s my motto.
Less can achieve more because it leaves room for greatness.
Peace the motha’ funkin’ out!