Welcome to part two of a new series by local musician Nick Bullock, of the Sound Awake. Stay tuned each month to follow his journey as he tackles writing 52 songs in 52 weeks. To read the first installment, click here.
The whole point of this monthly guest blog post is to share with you what it’s like to take on a big challenge. The ups and the downs of writing, recording and releasing a song a week, for a whole year. As I’m sitting down today to write this monthly post, I’m hitting a brick wall. I don’t know what would be considered interesting about each week. And my feeling on the process are kind of rinse and repeat… freak out, get shit done somehow, and then stare at the song count on my sound cloud page… and somehow doing all this while balancing the needs of the artists I work with, the bands I’m in, all my friends and family (whom I would at least like to attempt to stay in touch with), and most importantly spending time with my wife and getting ready for the arrival of our first child this summer (I believe its called nesting… and its a boy!). And I’m not complaining, I love my life, and to a degree I get off on the craziness of it all.
But how do I tell you, the reader about my process when all the feelings seem to be a caricature of Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day?
Thomas, Kevin and I had spent the better half of 2014 preparing for it… I would write, they would come over, we would rehearse the tunes, talk about the arrangement, hash it out, and sometimes/sometimes not lay down the basic tracks for the song. Then I would usually work on those tracks in the following weeks and months. I thought that when I finally started the project, I would have thirty songs banked. Thirty weeks of advanced prep time… my onions would be chopped and ready for the sandwiches of tomorrows lunch shift. (Onions = songs). (Gross). Of course, as the weeks and months wore on, my excitement for some of the material dwindled to a slow drip, and I would write new stuff that would always and inevitably be more interesting to me than the older stuff… mixes would come together on some songs easier than on others… and my thirty songs had some how been reduced to five or six. Not enough onions for tomorrows lunch. And before I knew it, the new year hit, and my wife, bless her heart, pushed me to just start. Just do the damn thing. I’ve been talking about the idea for almost a year, just start… dive, begin. So I did, we did. And here I am, each week, barely treading water.
I’ve been sitting here for the past forty five minutes, slowly spelling out and coming to understand my own feelings, and it’s occurred to me that I do have some insight into where I want to go. First, there are about two or three songs that are begging to get done, and released, so i’ll get to those first. But the exciting part for me is that I started writing conceptually for the next batch of songs (ten maybe? like an actual album tucked within the fifty two) about war. I decided the other day that I really wanted to write about something meaningful, something that has weight. It’s so easy to get swept up in the inner monologue of writing, at least it is for me. And while the cathartic nature of writing personal stories can be both giving and rewarding, I’m feeling the need to explore other topics. Topics that are bigger than me. The risk, of course is that some might say “Nick, you fucking poser, you know nothing about war”, to which I would have to respond “you are correct”. But in all of the history of (wo)mankind, when has that ever stopped anybody from learning about something, and making a compelling statement through whatever medium they find appropriate. It just so happens that my medium, music, has been passed out and snoring loudly from popping pills of fame, fortune, and money. And I’m not naive enough to think that my songs, if in fact I do follow through and write this concept piece, are going to be popular enough to shake the slumbering music industry and the people who love it awake. All I know is that I want to try, I want to not be afraid to step out on a ladder, and this insane project that I am so underprepared for is the perfect vehicle to make my attempt.