In this blog, we’re remembering a knee-jerk reaction to a brand new song being released, compounding in a 5 day turnaround on a new August Burns Red single, and dive into some ideas of balance surrounding personal achievement, commitment and fulfilment.
I have picked up a lot of practicing and speed-learning tips over the years and my intention, in time, is to consolidate the best parts of my efficient learning and practice techniques so that I can give them to others. In the past, whenever I set out to cover a song, I would always choose a track which meant I was punching above my weight, or I ended up adding embellishments and visuals until it became a challenge. There was never a point for me in sitting down at the kit and playing something I could already play, or something that was easy.
I put Fault Line on in my office at work all day on repeat, in order for it to soak into the subconscious. It partly helps with learning the drums, but the intention here was really to have a blueprint of the structure of the song embedded into the mind’s vision and to get familiar with it. On the drums side, I wrote out transcription notes in my own shorthand style, breaking the more complex passages of the down into something like a diagram.
August Burns Red have been a metalcore staple in my iPod’s repertoire since near the beginning. I already knew when the song was released that I wanted to learn it and turn it into a video. The facility and technology to make it happen was available, and the productive momentum I had meant I was in the right headspace to tackle down a challenge.
Burning Out As An Overachiever
Fault Line was posted on YouTube as a lyric video on Tuesday May 14, 2013 (see it on Solid State Records channel) and my video was uploaded on May 20, 2013. In the 5 days that passed between, I listened to, transcribed, learned, practiced, filmed/recorded/produced this video and posted it public, in parallel with my full time job. All things considered, it was a pretty incredible result and I felt very accomplished afterwards, but this didn’t come without some strain on the psyche.
I could feel the burn out happening as I continued to take on more and more creative commitment on my own. the video creation process from inception to distribution goes something like this: getting an inspiration, often as a gut or emotional feeling, visualising success or your end goal, committing to the goal by creating the time and space to develop the skills you need through listening and note taking, repetition of practical learning based on transcription in order to transfer the intention from the mind into the body until it has left the mind, all before the content creation can begin.
Why would you want it to leave the mind? Because if you have to think about it, you might make a mistake. It needs to be so fluid and ingrained into your body that it is a muscle memory response to hearing the music. After the song is learned from the musician’s perspective, I would have to go beyond that domain and set up audio equipment, lights, cameras, and then overcome my own fears of mistakes and general red light anxiety. I always would put a lot of pressure on myself to produce the best I could, so I could feel that fulfilment later. Without fulfilment, the overachiever is always in danger of taking on a bigger and bigger challenge as a result of chasing the ultimate fulfilment, until they have taken on more than they can handle and become cracked and crushed under the weight.
The Shaman’s Journey
It seems like a tiny insignificant ripple in time now, but in 2013, this was a very big ask of my abilities and of my personal time. I spent each day at work and after work dedicated to this one project. I can remember clearly after work I would put my iPod in to listen to Fault Line and take my hand written notes to the top of the Governor Phillip Lookout near my home in Sydney. I would stay up there quite a while to take in the 360° views at 155 metres above sea level. Sometimes I would even take my sticks up there and air drum as practice.
I approached this challenge from every conceivable angle. I listened, wrote, practiced, air practiced, relaxed with it, pushed it repeatedly, it went everywhere with me, and after a few days, it was D day. It had been filling my head for a week and it was time to leave. It took me more than one attempt to record the video, which was definitely the hardest track to play on my channel at the time, specifically in the areas of speed, stamina and control.
After it was said and done, I felt accomplished but it left a big empty space. it felt like perhaps I had given too much of myself into this undertaking. I began to doubt my YouTube journey and my ability to stay the path I had created for myself without any personal or technical support. It was a time where I was led to do a lot of introspective thinking about my life and my goals, and what my motivation was behind creating these videos in the first place. I began to feel the lack of purpose and connection creeping in, which started the most important downward spiral of my life so far.
If you’re after more drums, head to my YouTube. If you’re after photography, try my Instagram. I’d love to answer any questions you have or give you some tips. If you would like to contact me, use the contact form or find me on the social platform of your choice – all my social links are at the bottom of the page. If you’d like some free training on digital business skills, ask me about SFM or click here.
Cheers for reading, that’s pretty nice xx