• Mark Mathews

New Music Every Month

Back in December 2016 I decided that it would be a good idea to release music on a regular occurrence - none of this "Here's an EP and then disappear' malarky, oh no, I wanted to be regularly dropping a new track - And thus the #newmusiceverymonth story began!

It has had it's ups and downs, there have been songs that I am more proud of than others (though I won't be sharing that with you in case you like one that I think is a stinker!) and there have been really stressful moments throughout 2017 to get a new song out each month...but I did it! Twelve songs in twelve months!

Here are my take aways from the project:

It took up a lot of my time

This is probably the most obvious hurdle when you think about it, but I don't do that - think that is!

I knew there would be intense periods but it was pretty full on and took up all of my thinking time. If i wasn't writing the song, I was demoing it and if I wasn't demoing it I was recording it in the studio and if I wasn't doing that I was promoting it. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved (pretty much) every minute of the process and I think for the most part I thrived on the pressure. I certainly am too stubborn to allow myself to fail, but I think maybe if I was to do it again I would be a bit better prepared, especially for the first few months where I was scrabbling about a lot!

That said, so far 2018 has been pretty slow and boring, with no pressure to actually get anything done, which is bad for my soul so a project like this can actually be a really good thing!

I learnt a hell of a lot about songwriting

I think my biggest, personal, take away from this project is that I have learned so much about songwriting and writing to order. The steady march of time is unflinching no matter what, so you need to have the songs worked out and done with those 30 days or else you're not making that deadline. This makes you more decisive and more likely to trust your gut (which is right 9 times out of 10) and some truly wonderful moments have been derived from that, for me. Of course there were times where I was not totally happy with something and that would become a decision to either fail the project or to acquiesce and put the song out there. If I'm totally honest there is nothing I record or write that I am ever totally happy with and so if I was to constantly tweak I would never release any music, so I think it taught me a good lesson in this.

Not only that I approached songwriting from different ways - starting at the lyrics (California Quickly), or writing it around a bass line (Grape Juice) and this not only flexed my songwriting muscles but I also learnt a lot and learnt that I was capable of writing music in a different way to how I always have - On a guitar, chords first, melody second, lyrics after.

I learnt to play new instruments

Something I am very proud of is that I have learnt to play new instruments and discovered new recording techniques and plugins to use. I'd have never written songs like 'The Informer' or 'We Come in Peace' without this project because I didn't know how to play the piano before...Ok, it's still slightly debatable I know now, but I get a tune out of it, damn it!!

When I listen back to the songs, i hear a real diverse and rich sounding group of songs and I am very proud of that because of the multitude of instruments that were used.

People were a lot more receptive

This one's for you guys! You were so much more receptive to this project than when I have simply released a new EP - it burns bright and then is gone. By releasing a new song at the end of each month there was a constant anticipation that drew me new fans and new interactions and I saw it steadily bubble up and up, which was wonderful.

I enjoyed the 'star' of the show being a plastic bag

I'm not a fan of having to do constant photo shoots and I liked the idea of the plastic bag being the symbol of this project. Each setup was a place that is important in my life so I enjoyed the process of stepping back in time at points and getting the shot...and no, there was no photoshopping the bag into the picture. It was all done fo' real!

I hope you enjoyed the whole process and thanks for supporting em throughout! Love ya!

The new EP 'Carrier Bag Your Career is over' is released on 16th March 2018 - Pre Release February 16th 2018.

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