I recently released my new album Worldbuilding to the world, and I thought I’d share the story behind it.
After I finished my previous album A Work in Progress, I had a bit of a revelation. It wasn’t a huge epiphany that hit me on the head or anything like that, more like small, enlightening steps that eventually came together.
The first thing that happened was that I started getting into fantasy and a lot of the imagery behind it. At first it was through comics. I was never a huge comics fan, but after buying my first cheap-o tablet it seemed like the perfect time to give them a try. I read things like Y:The Last Man, Planetary and Bone (one of my personal favorites). And then Game of Thrones happened. Saw the show, read all the books, and became a fan.
And all this stuff left an impression on me. When I was writing music, I’d imagine scenes from the stories, or was reminded of certain characters. Or when I was reading, I would be reminded of a song I was working on. I was in this sort-of creative feedback loop.
Along with all this, I also came to know myself better as a musician. I spent years learning about as much music as I could. I studied classical composition, jazz, African drumming, North Indian classical music… Anything that piqued my curiosity.
That’s all great, I mean it has definitely given me a set of tools to work with, and my music is all the better for it. But at the same time, I was starting to forget where I came from in the first place.
I grew up listening to metal and hard rock, and that shit stays with you.
I would’ve never thought in a million years that I’d bring my metal influences to the acoustic guitar, but that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
I still enjoy listening to different kinds of music, and I always try to learn new things. But I know enough now not to get sidetracked and try to be something I’m not.
The last thing that happened, and this is probably what brings it all together, is that I became a father. The moment my wife told me she was pregnant, my priorities shifted drastically. And when my son was born it really forced me to sit down and decide what was really important to me and trim away all the secondary stuff.
So I put all my side projects on hold and stopped playing for other people. I decided to focus my time on teaching and my solo guitar music.
The funny thing is, that way of thinking permeated into my music. I became way more selective of the music that I wrote. It wasn’t just about it being good or bad. It had to be me.
For the first time ever I felt like I had found my sound, and all the music that I wrote had to be a part of that.
This is where the concept of Worldbuilding comes in. Fantasy authors are well known for building whole worlds for their stories. I felt to a certain extent that that was what I was doing with my music. It’s not just about writing good songs, but also creating a world for the listener to immerse themselves in.
Hopefully I’ve managed that, though ultimately only the listener can decide. But I definitely feel like I’ve taken a big step in the right direction.