In retrospect, 2019 has been one of the hardest working years of my life. A culmination of 20 years of home recordings, learning as I went, and the buildout of a makeshift home studio. My goals were ambitious, my timelines were unreasonable, and my understanding of just about everything involved was nonexistent. In other words, it was a tremendous learning experience.
I’m in the final stretch before my first independent studio album release, and it feels good AF. It felt like I’ve spent forever paralyzed by the thought of mixing and mastering my recorded demos. Having that obstacle cleared has returned healthy blood flow to the heart of my songwriting. When I began exploring mixing and mastering it was all-consuming, so there was no time for writing if I was going to stick to the schedule and make the deadline.
Music production IS precision-based work, and it takes a tremendous amount of discipline to do this right. The experience has left me with a tremendous appreciation for the value that mixing and mastering engineers bring to the equation because I could not have succeeded alone. Along with appreciation comes a thirst to understand the technical nuances of an ever-expanding universe of audio hardware and software. I feel like I set myself up with a decade of learning ahead.
All of this kind of reminds me of when I began learning how to code to browsers, then later to mobile devices when the iPhone ushered in a new era of technology. The first dot-com boom, the second, and the mobile revolution. Fuck it’s good to be alive in this day and age. It also reminds me of my pops. Buzz ODonnell.
I appreciate my father’s influence and work ethic, his ability to troubleshoot farm machinery to get it running and operational for the start of whatever season we found ourselves in. He was an engineer, he was a student of people and life, a hacker, he spent all of his spare time reading, troubleshooting, and problem-solving. Regardless of my pursuits in higher education, I consider myself self-taught. University only gets you so far. It’s true I have 2 degrees, a Bachelors and Masters in Fine Arts, neither of which address the day in and day out tasks I need to take care of in music, or in maintaining my day gig. They do however speak volumes to who I am as a human being and what path I have chosen to pursue.
Art is about finding your own voice and path in the world. It’s about being told you are wrong by critics and having a mindset hell-bent on proving those in doubt of your abilities wrong. As 2019 was about willing an album to existence, 2020 will be about working to breathe life back into all of the songs already written while clearing the way to any new ideas that come down the pike. It’s going to be a fucking good year people, and I’m glad to be sharing this news with you on such a fine Sunday afternoon which commences the close of the year.