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Album Diary

What I Am

Gerry Owens
Gerry Owens

What I Am

As the ‘Enemie’ album is written and recorded, I thought it would be valuable to include the reason and intention behind the song titles and lyrics, so this post is part update, part confession and part contrition.

The seal is broken! I finished recording the music to the first song from ‘Enemie’ this week. The song is called ‘What I Am’. I haven’t recorded the vocal parts to it yet – I’ll be doing all of the vocals at the same time towards the end of the album production. I’m REALLY happy with it. It’s such a relief to finally get the album underway.

The song is an introspective look at changes that I’ve gone through over the past few years. After the 10 month tour of the US in 2011, I needed a break from touring and Lluther, so my wife and I moved to the side of a mountain in Connemara (West of Ireland). It’s beautiful, but quite remote. Being completely removed from Lluther and my ‘normal’ life forced me to rethink everything I thought I was.

Up until that time, I’d spent every minute of every day for 10 years working firstly on Skindive and then Lluther. Along the way I hurt some people that I cared for (band mates, friends, managers, etc, etc). It wasn’t intentional, I wouldn’t intentionally try to hurt anyone, but I was so wrapped up in what I was doing, I just didn’t think. So I had a lot of personal regrets.

Then there was the dreaded ‘self image’. After removing myself from Lluther and touring, I suddenly found myself questioning my own identity. Up until that point, I was that Skindive/Lluther guy. I made music. I played music, I made more music, repeat… That was it. Without that, I wasn’t quite sure who I was. If I’m being honest, there was a fair bit of ego and bullshit to let go of, but one Irish winter locked away in a cottage on the side of a mountain tends to erase that quite quickly!

I was still creating music up until the end of 2015. I worked on about 50 movie trailer cues. This was a wonderful, but humbling experience. It was really good for me in terms of upping my production skills and looking at music in a different way, but it was also really bad for me. Music became a day job for me and frankly, it killed the joy of music for me. I replaced the creative high that I got from music by diving into Visual media, Cinematography and Film. This, as it turns out gave me some very useful skills that I can now adapt to the new Lluther material, but that’s a blog post for later in the year.

So the lyrical background is me dealing with a lot of ghosts of albums past, as well as personal regrets and a reassessment of ‘What I Am’.

Next up on the list is ‘As The World Burns’. I’ve have had this in my head for 4 years. I’ve decided to tackle this one next because it’s a monster, and it’s probably best that I deal with it now rather than later. It’ll be the first time that a Lluther song gets full orchestration, so it’s a big job. I’ll let you know how It goes!

G.

Procrastination…..

Procrastination

It’s the same routine every time I’ve ever started writing/recording an album. Weeks and weeks of procrastination! To be fair, the time is spent productively, but at its heart, the reason for all of this procrastination is THE FEEEAR!! It’s the fear of actually starting to record something, because then I find out the answer to what’s been nagging at the back of my mind for months (or years in this case); “maybe I’ve lost it”, “what if I can’t write anything good”, “what if no one likes what I do” etc. etc. Then I remember that I think the same thoughts EVERY single time I’ve started an album. It’s become part of the whole process at this stage. It’s almost reassuring in a weird way, and now that it’s happening again, it feels liken muscle memory is beginning to kick in. Doing anything artistic that involves a lot of time and energy means that you are putting your work (and yourself) out there for anyone and everyone to take a shot at, but that fear is kind of exhilarating. Either that or I’m a masochist.

Instead of starting to record the ideas that are in my head for ages, I do anything else that I can possibly do to delay the inevitable. So I spent one week putting a project template together. Now this is actually a pretty good use of time, because if it’s done right, it speeds up the recording as each song is worked on. In the past few days, I’ve gone back into the session files for songs from both the Agents and Reptile King albums as well as the trailer cues I wrote, because I couldn’t remember how I put them together. There were a lot of ‘oh yeah, now I remember’ moments.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to reduce my recording system size to be as small and cable free as possible, and I’m almost at the stage where my ‘studio’ isn’t much more than a workstation, a few bits of outboard equipment, some guitars, 2 small keyboards, some mics and 2 sets of monitors.
I used to think that tons of equipment meant more choice and a better end result. I was delusional! For me now, it’s all about the best sound with the least equipment. I spent a lot of time this week getting equipment routed and up and running again. I also found out that two of my audio interfaces were now in audio interface heaven (RIP).
Guitars were cleaned, cables tested, hard drives wiped out and primed……………and now I’m out of excuses. It’s time to bite the bullet and actually record something.

I’ll let you know how that goes!

G.

Enemie…..

enemie logo

I’ve never done this before, but I want to start off the new web site and new album with a new approach. The whole ‘blog/diary’ thing is not immediately comfortable or natural for me, but I decided to do it for the Enemie album for a few reasons. Some of you might be interested in seeing about how a Lluther album comes together, so I’ll be writing about the songwriting, recording, production, mix, visuals, videos, etc. I’ve also decided to document it for me, as a way for me to remember it all – I have a habit of starting, and then months later (after loosing myself completely in the process), it all just seems like a blur, and can’t remember much about it!

I’ll write in detail about where Lluther has been, etc. in a later post, but loooong story short, I was pretty burned out for a long time and my head and my heart just wasn’t in the right place, so I just couldn’t do it. I’d planned and half written an album called ‘Code‘ as well as an EP  called ‘As the World Burns‘, but the time wasn’t right for me to do it. Finally the time IS right and the fire’s back…….in a big way now. I’m really looking forward to getting into it. If there’s anything you want to ask or comment on, just leave a message and I’ll try my best to answer you.

As the World Burns‘ will definitely be on Enemie. It’s a big track and one I’m really looking forward to tackling.

G.

© Black Bag Music 2019