Everyone’s a critic
It’s fair to say that my music has received both praise and criticism, and I would be lying if I said that the latter doesn’t affect my mood sometimes.
Here are some things I tell myself though when I begin to take the negativity a bit too seriously:
1) Music is hugely subjective, and noisy alternative rock music despite moving in and out of fashion every 10 years, is by design not the sort of thing that appeals to masses. What is mass appeal though in mathematical terms? If a band sold records to 1% of the words population, they would be the biggest band in history, so even the most popular bands are when you think about it are not reaching many people on a percentage term.
2) If people are finding your music challenging, then it could be because you are genuinely doing something different. Some people crave familiarity, others crave new things. Some people carve their own path, some people will follow the crowd when it moves. You have to have the courage to go with your gut, and do what you believe in. Haters gotta hate.
3) I am on a journey as a songwriter, singer, musician, music engineer, mixer and mastering technician. I love every stage of my process and I’m constantly trying to develop in all those areas. Because of this, every album/ep will be different, and I’m fully prepared and expecting my music to evolve over time. Into what, I don’t know, but if you don’t like one of my songs keep listening, no single song defines my music. I am prolific just now and going where every idea takes me, sometimes that will be down idyllic country roads, other times to dystopian wastelands.
4) Catchy and immediate songs are an easy formula for me, but I find songs I like most at first are overtaken and eclipsed by growers that get under your skin over time. So strong is that belief, that easily two thirds of the music I am putting out will not be instantly appreciated by most people. Some people will of course get it straight away, some will hear some things that make them want to listen again, but most will turn it off and not entertain it at all until I have a larger following. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. –Henry Ford
5) Your friends and family are invariably not your audience. If you are a fan of edgier lyrically darker music, you will know that most of your friends and family don’t have same taste as you. It’s unrealistic if I am making less popular alternatively written and produced music, that it's automatically going to fall within the tastes of your nearest and dearest. If you have to force them to listen, take the hint, they don’t like it and that’s ok. My wife recently told me that I used unlistenable guitar tones, and she would turn my music off after the first few bars. She also told me that no one likes my music and anyone telling me they did were ‘yes men’ like my brother. Harsh! She does on the other hand accept that writing music is part of me, and gives me plenty space to do that, so in many ways supports me more than most. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. –Aristotle
6) Lastly, I write primarily for my own pleasure and to help me process and channel my depression and anxiety. I have faith in my music and that should be enough.
I remain eternally appreciative of anyone following these blogs at this stage. Music is a hard slog sometime.