Looking back on 2021 I notice that I actually wrote not a single blog article during the whole year. There are probably several reasons for this but it’s not as if nothing happened in 2021.
We released our first single and music video ‘Marmaduke’ followed by a steady stream of other releases and videos. Admittedly we didn’t have many live appearances - as it happens exactly the same number as in 2020 (although one of them was an online event only). Would anyone like to guess how many it was?
In some ways looking back, 2020 and 2021 for me seem to blur into each other as one blob of whichever colourful adjective you’d like to attach to said blob. And although I did find the lockdown time very hard at first: The quarantine, the massive loss of income (all of my main income from music drying up overnight), the abrupt halt to what started as a promising live launch to the new band. There were some positive things that also developed.
In 2020 we managed to find a very nice practise studio, which made a huge difference not only in terms of being able to play and practise any music of more than a fairly quiet level (my neighbours on the one side are very sound sensitive and on the other side they had a baby) but also it was good psychologically to have a space where I could travel to like an office with my packed lunch and just do music there. Actually it was a Godsend to have this studio during the lockdown, as it was virtually impossible to play for very long without creating psychological problems with the neighbours, whom I’m sure had their own pressures and strains.
I was also lucky enough (and immensely grateful) to the City of Munich for awarding me supporting grants to help me through the period. And with this monetary relief and the Rent / Food burden being lifted I could spend most of my time each day at the studio.
So, I made the most of it and really put the time into songwriting / composition & arrangement - but I also spent a lot of time really working on musicianship skills: guitar technique, music theory, ear training, some study of music history, as well as studying a couple of courses in music business. It was almost like being back at the Conservatoire, although I think I actually worked even more intensely than back in those almost carefree student days.
I also spent a lot of time working on electric guitar sounds, delving deep into the rabbit warren of amps, speakers, pedals etc. and because we had a practise studio where we could play loud - I could really experiment. For those that haven’t seen us play live for a while, you might have a bit of surprise as to the sounds we throw from the stage these days.
I’ve had many periods of frustration throughout my artistic career, whether based on my progression as an artist, relationship or personal issues, financial struggles or even political or cultural frustrations and since Corona the restriction on playing live, which is where I feel most at home, next to writing music - but as the wonderful Neil Gaiman said, through all this, just keep making great art. And nobody can ever stop me doing that, or at least trying (although I’m sure Yoda would have something to say about that!).
So now, each day I wake and (on most days) shoot out of the bed like a cork from a champagne bottle, eager to see what things I can achieve, what things I can make just that little bit better. And so even though I’m optimistic about the times ahead, whatever happens, bring 2022 on.
I’m ready for it!