16 Dec MAINTAINING PASSION
It’s easy to lose track of what’s important, but you can always find it again…
When the pandemic shut everything down in March of 2020, I had to fill my time with something creative, and my passions for technology and music coincided in music production. I made Hip-Hop beats throughout the summer and continued my practice into the school year and then into the next summer. I thought my interest in it would never fade. It did falter at points, as does passion for any hobby: “beat block,” somewhat like “writer’s block,” came around every now and then. I would always make it to the other side though, through some time away or just pushing myself straight into it. When you make more of what you love, you discover new ways to make it interesting for yourself. The boredom of quarantine made it necessary for me to make progress in my music. I needed to improve to enjoy myself as the improvement itself is what I loved. Is that not essentially the definition of this sort of passion? When you can’t bear to be bored with something, so you reinvent and reimagine until you love it more than you ever did? To create something that you couldn’t have created before? Well, this is what I did with music production for about a year and a half. That is until I started to really have some struggles.
I found myself making less music than before, and I was completely fine with it. It’s not like I was depressed, nor am I. All I know is that at this time, I didn’t have the drive that I had before to simply push through. When I came to a roadblock, I thought: “This is a drag”, and I stopped. I came to just want the result, and the joy that I had found in the process of creation just wasn’t quite there. The nature of the situation was different for sure; my desire to make Hip-Hop music had been fading for a while, and my efforts to revive it had diminishing returns. That being said, it felt weird to slowly become distanced from something that I used to spend all of my time on. Where did the inspiration go? Was I just being too critical? I needed to spend some time reflecting on what had got me going before.
In my high school arts program, I was constantly surrounded by music and musicians. Every day I learned about a new song from a new person, played something new, and heard something new. Once I got into university, the number of new musical influences I faced went down. Going to orchestra practice once a week wasn’t enough for me to feel inspired in the same way as before, and my musical interests didn’t change all that much. When I looked at my Spotify Wrapped, I found that the music that I listened to in high school was overly similar to this past year. I’d been stuck in my ways, and that reflected itself in my music. How was I to make something new if I’ve been feeding myself the same stuff? I felt a need to branch out, and I went through some of the more unique songs on my top 100 this past year. For instance, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Porter Robinson, but not much within the genres he produces. Electronic music has always felt difficult to create, and I realize now that I just needed to delve deeper.
Placing a hard focus on listening to new music has given me a better perspective on production. I’ve started making more electronic and house tracks, and my Hip-Hop stuff is feeling fresh. I have a whole host of new sounds and instruments to play with that are making things feel way better. I never lost my interest in music, I just had to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: HIU LI YENG/ THIR.ST