One of the challenges of being a creative person is finding the time to actually create. We get bogged down in the busy minutiae of our lives and we find reasons to not make the time and energy for our art, in whatever form it may take.
To help combat this, there are an array of timed challenges to help push us past our inertia and create. Probably one of the most well-known challenges is NaNoWriMo, where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. There are similar challenges for artists and comic creators, game makers and others.
The New Jersey independent music blog Speak Into My Good Eye challenged local musicians last year to a 24 hour songwriting challenge: write and record a song in just 24 hours. Over 30 artists took the challenge, producing a range of songs (listen here) in a variety of styles. The songs are available through a pay-what-you-want model, with the proceeds going to charity.
In September of this year, Speak Into My Good Eye issued the challenge again, throwing the doors open to include musicians from New York and Pennsylvania as well. Musicians were chosen from the submissions to be featured on the compilation and this year included one of Fr.U.N.T.’s favorite undiscovered artists, where is my spaceship.
Josh Evensen is the mastermind behind where is my spaceship, and he collaborated with fellow Jersey musician Matt Olsson, to create Grandpas Shirt, a charmingly downbeat look at some of the choices we make in our lives. Characterized by where is my spaceship’s stripped down guitar work and plaintive vocals, the song resonates at an almost primordial level.
Josh was kind enough to answer some questions about the creative processes involved in creating this song.
Cardiac_in_Overdrive: Were there any surprises during your 24 hours of creating?
Josh Evensen: After we finished, I realized my knuckles were bloody. I think I punched the ceiling while I was singing.
CiO: What prompted you to participate? Had you done something similar to this before? (most creative formats have some kind of timed challenge – NaNoWriMo for writers, Inktober for artists, 24 Hour Comic for comic artists, etc)
JE: Well, I’ve done Ludum Dare a couple times — that’s a pretty big two day game jam. This seemed like a chance to do the same thing with something I’m actually really good at. I’m way better at making music than video games.
CiO: What was the hardest thing about the challenge? The easiest?
JE: Hardest thing? Incorporating Matt’s suggestion to “write about grandpa’s shirt” into the lyrics. Easiest thing: grilling the burgers for dinner. Hardwood charcoal is awesome and makes things taste really great.
CiO: Looking back at the song you created, are you happy with the results? Why or why not?
JE: Absolutely. The tail-end of recording really surprised me. I came up with a lot of the lyrics kinda on the spot as we were working on it. This song may even make it onto the next album. Even if it doesn’t, I’m definitely going to use the “it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t matter” line in something. I like that a lot.
CiO: What did you learn from this challenge? Would you do it again?
JE: I learned I can write lyrics collaboratively. Never done that before, it’s always been a solo deal for me. Also, I learned I don’t like Innsmouth Olde Ale. Not sure why I bought it, I guess the H.P. Lovecraft branding. Definitely going to do this again next year, hopefully with better beer.
Take a moment to check out some of the tri-state’s best independent musicians that contributed to the challenge. Once again Speak Into My Good Eye is donating the proceeds from the compilation to charity, and the track with the most downloads will have the opportunity to re-record their track professionally at Eight+Sixteen Music Studio in Bayville, NJ.
by Cardiac_in_Overdrive (@cardiac_ovrdrv)