(This piece was originally written in September 2013)
As I write this our new album The Lost Art of Living – available from our website and all good digital outlets by the way – has been on virtual shelves for almost four weeks. Having agonised over every sound wave and dedicated so much time to the process of studio production and artwork creation, it’s hard to listen to any of the tracks without a self imposed chastising scrutiny. But now and again, when the narcissist inside gets the better of me and I put it on, I don’t hear the collection of music, but instead remember the journey that led to this point.
The CD has for me become a collection of memories, permanently stored in a shrink wrapped Pandora’s box of plastic and card. It’s far too easy as a consumer to forget the passion, dedication and sacrifice that comes hand in hand with creating a body of work such as this. We are currently waiting for the reviews and opinions of the press and these will ultimately be boiled down into a paragraph at best, followed by a final judgment represented in a crass five star rating system, which is somehow meant to reflect two years of profitless hard work.
The Lost Art of Living has been an ever evolving journey. The creation of music is ultimately a series of deliberate mistakes, an evolution over which you have little control. Just as living beings we are the resulting consequence of when a collection of hydrogen and helium travels and evolves for so long that it begins to question where it came from, so the creation of melody forms and begins to pose its own questions over time. It is an organic process that can start in one place and end somewhere completely different. As with nature music can only progress through failure and adaptation. Entire species of ‘bad ideas’ die by the wayside, collapsing under the weight of their own self indulgence, or mercilessly cut down into more efficient and palatable forms.
Socrates was right when he said that ‘Excellence is not a gift, it’s a habit’. To create something that you feel proud to share with the world (or even just family) takes time. The songs themselves may come quickly, but the sense of self doubt carries a burden that brings with it an agonising responsibility to make something that can be enjoyed by others.
Our music, although drawing from personal experience, is not meant to be selfish. Any musician who says they write songs just for themselves is lying. Music is a way of communicating and sharing ideas, in fact it is the ultimate language as each lyric, beat and chord change can have a thousand different meanings depending on the person who hears it and their experiences. This is what is the most addictive and inspiring part of being involved in The Doppler Shift.
What we have created in this album doesn’t end here, far from it. Journeys do not end, they merely open a new path for other things. For each person that hears our music, something new is formed. An interpretation that we hadn’t even considered, a personal stamp that transforms our collection of songs into something unique to that individual. I am fascinated by hearing what other people think about what we play and how those viewpoints tell you something fundamental about the people making them. It is that which makes music so important to me and everyone else. It is this series of deliberate mistakes that can make us look at our lives, reconsider our own journeys, and perhaps put us on a new path.
The Lost Art Of Living is available on Spotify