February 1, 2010

The RPM Challenge - Day 1

Today, February 1, 2010, the first day of the shortest month of the most controversially pronounced year of my life (I'm sticking with Twenty Ten, haters), signals the beginning of Record Production Month. Similar to November's NaNoWriMo, The RPM Challenge seeks to jumpstart artistic creativity by having participants to write, record, and share 10 songs or 35 minutes of original music by the end of February. I signed up for it this year and will be documenting my progress and problems here, posting audio on The RPM Challenge website, and may post some video on them there YouTubes.

Since this is my first time attempting this challenge and I'm not really sure how to approach it, I have no idea what's going to happen in these 28 days. We're encouraged not to use any prerecorded material or even start writing until February, so I'm going into it with my riffs and ideas formatted from my brain. In fact, I seem to have even sabotaged my writing process further by losing my mp3 player which I'd normally rely on as my sketch pad for songs and lyrics. I guess I'll be going back to pen and paper for a while until I can find the right replacement player on eBay.

So what tools do I have? I have an electric guitar and amp at the practice space, a crappy acoustic guitar at my apartment, and a good acoustic/electric guitar at the RoBeastress' apartment. I've got ProTools, but no laptop to run it on so I'll be relying on my cold, unfriendly digital 8-track for recording. I've also got some rinky dink keyboards and a decent drum machine to round things out. Maybe when no one is looking at the practice space, I'll sneak some real bass or drums into the mix.

It feels like I'm light years away from the point of even starting to put things down on tape (or hard disk), but no matter how I slice it, I've only got 28 days left to finish this. If that's not enough of time constraint, I'm also busy prepping 10 songs for a March recording session with my band Plowing Mud Forever. I am committing myself to this Challenge though, so if I have to go back to the days of Mountain Dew fueled all-nighters and headphone hair, then that's what it will take. I think the key is going to be to always have an instrument or an inspiration nearby. That sounds wise enough to embolden, huh?

Always have an instrument or an inspiration nearby.

I'm also going to try to stop complaining so much. There's just not enough to time in February to whine. Tonight I'm going to go home and dick around on my crappy acoustic and see what I can come up with. Whatever it is, it will probably be out of tune, but at least it's a start. Those don't count as complaints, do they? If anyone is interested in following me on the RPM site or linking up or whatever sociomusical networking is to be done there, my "band" name is Catarrh Clothesline (long story, I'll tell you tomorrow).

By the way, another great thing to do tonight would be to fill out Mark Prindle's 2010 "Top 7-3" Reader Survey. The deadline is midnight tonight!

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