Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Process

I used to sit down and try to write music, hoping that some masterpiece would magically flow out of my head and onto paper. But the more I did that, the more frustrated I became. I would sit down and for an hours and hours, I would get literally no where. It was painful.

So I began a new tactic - I started to plan out everything before I ever sat down to write. A small example of this is Epic Music II - all the first letters of each of the tracks line up to say TO THE GREAT I AM. That didn't just "happen" - that was planned about a year and a half before the album was released. I knew what I was going to do before I did it.

Before I even put ink to the page, before I even insert those MIDI notes, I now know what my goal is. No, I don't know what the final product will be exactly - but I have a pretty strong idea. I go in knowing what I want - I go in knowing what I want to achieve. Remember, if you want to build a building, the first thing you have to do is lay a foundation. You have to begin with the end in mind - if you don't, you'll never finish.

This played a huge part in Galaxies - I physically worked on the album for about three and a half months, but before I ever started working, I mentally prepared the album for about six months. While I was commuting to school, while I was out surfing, while I was doing whatever, I would think and plan; and then when I would sit down to write, I would know exactly what I wanted before I even started. I had this chart on my wall to keep me focused and organized:

I knew there would be two discs; I knew each would have twelve tracks (twelve major keys, twelve minor keys); I knew I wanted each track to be named after a galaxy; I knew I wanted each track to have it's own unique sound. It took a couple of months to fully develop the idea, but when it came time to write, it was a lot easier. But here's the catch - the hardest part about composing music (or any art medium, for that matter) is just sitting down and doing it. Whether we will admit it or not, art is work. But it's worth it.

I had an idea for what I wanted for the album artwork. It was a small idea, but I knew it was (very roughly) what I wanted. Here was my first sketch:

After long and detailed talks with my brother, Michael, and some brain storming sessions, we  designed this as the final album cover:

So check that off the list.

The album should either release July 15th or July 22nd. I'll make sure to post when it does.

Here's another track from Disc 1:

Here's another track from Disc 2:

I've already started my next album. Maybe I'll post about it soon.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Maiocco

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