Paul Jackson Music

Paul Jackson Music

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

#4: Tonic Proud – Current projects

So in and amongst me blogging about past musical memories, I’ll be writing about what I’m up to right now. From 2002 to 2012 I was mainly involved in writing and recording music for dance education which allowed me to experiment with different time signatures, genres, sounds and musical forms. Some were very electronic sounding while others used samples of orchestral and traditional instruments. The electronic/synth/pop/dance styles I worked in for ‘Production’, ‘S-cape’ and other monikers, did creep into a few of the tracks but in the main that style was put to one side. This did leave a few unfinished tracks which I’ve always been keen to finish off, even if only for my own satisfaction and pleasure. Back in 2003, I went to see Karl Bartos perform at London’s ICA and was blown away by the setup of synths, vocoder and pure electronic pop. It was what I had been trying to work towards in the previous twelve years. I started sketching some ideas for tracks and recording bits and pieces with the plan for an album’s worth of new tracks (plus a reworking of an earlier one). Although I put up a couple of unfinished demos onto MySpace, they were never as I fully intended and they were put to one side while I concentrated on other things.

With regards to musical projects, I tend to only follow through and finish a small percentage of the ones I plan to take on, but this group of unfinished tracks has always niggled me and in the last couple of years I’ve started fleshing them out a bit more in my head and more recently started recording and re-recording bits of them. So for me they will be a collection of old tracks really rather than ten brand new ones but no matter. 

I never fully appreciated the relationship one can have with a song/track/musical work until I started writing them for myself. A lot of people can come up with a track and finish it very quickly before moving onto something else. Although I have done that many times, particularly with the dance education  tracks where I had deadlines to work towards, some pieces can grow over time and lay around for years and years in one state before being picked up again. Almost like feeding and watering plants over time and watching them slowly grow and blossom. So because of that, a track will always sound different to me than it would to someone who hears the finished version for the first time.  My main aim is to try and capture the track I hear in my head, which I don’t think is ever possible.  I’ve restarted many tracks that don’t feel to be going in the direction I want them. Earlier this week I tried to steer a track I was getting more confident with only to find a quick left at the lights and it had gone off course.

But the tracks are still germinating and what little bits of time I can grab I will tend to them and hopefully bring them to fruition. This particular project has no deadline really and I don’t mind how long it takes. Some of them are nearly ten years old now so there’s no big hurry. The only thing I have planned for them is that I put them up somewhere on Bandcamp, MySpace, YouTube or whatever is the ‘in’ thing by the time they are done. Having said that I’d quite like to get it finished by the time I’m forty which at the time of writing leaves me just ten months. I’ve various other musical ideas and projects I’m keen to tackle afterwards.
 I’ve chosen to work under the name/title ‘Tonic Proud’, which could mean either the feeling of going back to the ‘home key’ in a musical sense. A returning to a style/sound/musical environment I’ve always enjoyed working in. Or it could mean tonic in the sense of feeling refreshed or invigorated.

I’ve written music for dance festival commissions, short films and CD releases which have all required working to guidelines within a certain time frame. 
As well as being good fun and as well as helping me develop certain compositional and recording techniques, sometimes you have to revisit what you enjoy the most. For me, that is building up an idea slowly and steadily and hearing it transform into a fully developed and finished work purely for the love and passion of doing it.