Today I want to talk about something that I’ve not written about in a very long time – making music. In some posts I’ve mentioned worship songs I love, lyrics I’ve been drawn to, and poetry that has moved me deeply, but I’ve not talked about the longing I’ve had in recent years to write and record songs.
Music has always been a big part of my life. As a kid my parents inflicted guitar lessons upon me (!), and I reluctantly learned to play classical guitar and took grades. I did enjoy playing when I got into it, but a lot of the time it just felt like a chore. I had a few different guitar teachers and also took drum lessons, and opted to study music at A-Level (that’s 11th and 12th Grade for my American readers).
My passion for music exploded when I was in my teens. I got a job in a local music shop selling guitars and other musical instruments, and started to play electric guitar for the first time. It wasn’t long before I was collaborating with my peers in school, and writing and performing songs in a rock band.
Writing music was a wonderful process for me, allowing me to be creative and work on projects that gave me a sense of excitement and fulfilment. The band I eventually formed with a couple of school friends was called Marconi’s Voodoo, and we developed a loyal local following, won a competition in a heavy metal magazine, and even went on a UK tour.
I went on to study Commercial Music at university, which allowed me to pursue my various passions (essay writing, music writing, recording, law, sociology, etc) in an academic setting. I graduated with a 1st class degree, which was a wonderful blessing, and the potential for musical collaborations both during the course and after graduation allowed me to grow and flourish as a musician.
Just a few days after graduation, my mother passed away after a gruelling battle with cancer, and the experience of my mother’s suffering as well as the loss I felt when she left this world left me reeling. What followed was years of turbulent mental health, but also a shift in focus in my life from music to spirituality. Although I had landed an excellent first job working in online promotion in the music industry, suddenly there were things that were more important to me than living for sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
I lived a kind of ‘double life’ for the next few years. My passion for music continued, and in my spare time I was writing and recording with the rock band and also managing a friend’s band, outside of all of the commitments of my job in the music industry. But at the same time my interest in philosophy, religion, and spirituality was developing. During my mother’s illness she had been investigating different paths to healing, and this ignited my own interest in the deep issues at the heart of the human condition.
Space won’t allow me to go into details here about all the things I learned about God and spirituality in the years that followed (I wrote a book for that purpose), but music has taken a back seat in my life as I have focused all of my energies on seeking spiritual truth, learning about the God/world relationship, studying philosophy and religion, and trying to work out what this grand mystery of life is really about.
All of this is to say that today I want to make an announcement of sorts. Although I’ve continued to play guitar sporadically and record the odd musical idea on my phone, it’s been a long time since music was a major focus in my life. But that is about to change. Let me take you on a little visual journey and you’ll see what I mean…
Selling my sofa, coffee table, and armchair:
I’ve been trying to sell or give away a few pieces of furniture, with the main aim of freeing up space in my flat. To be honest, despite the furniture being in pretty good second-hand condition, it’s been a real struggle to generate interest, despite posting the items on Gumtree, Freegle, Freecycle, and Facebook Marketplace, to name but a few!
The coffee table went yesterday and I have had some interest in the other items, but am still looking for a new home for the sofa and armchair. So things are pretty cluttered in my flat right now, not least because I recently had a rather substantial delivery…
Have I given the game away?! This little lot took a bite out of my wallet but I shopped around for bargains and found some really good quality gear at very reasonable prices. I’m on a low income but I do have a bit of money in savings, thanks to a generous gift that was bequeathed to me when my Aunt passed away. So thank you Aunt Jane, for making these purchases possible!
But what to do with all this gear? Well, I spent yesterday on my hands and knees trying to assemble a flat pack desk that I bought from Argos. I normally enjoy a bit of DIY but didn’t particularly enjoy kneeling on the edge of a piece of wood (eek!), and trying to do all the two-man aspects of this assembly on my own. I could have asked for help, but nah, I thought, I’ll manage!
A few hours later and I had the wretched thing on its knees instead, and it finally did what I was telling it to do! Here’s the finished result:
Now you have to bear in mind that I live in a relatively small flat with very little space to spare, so making use of this corner of my bedroom was a must.
Yesterday evening and today I have been getting everything set up and plugged in, and so it is with great pleasure that I can now unveil the conclusion of this little project, or the first phase of it at least. So here it is, my home studio setup:
I’m not going to give too much away about what I’m planning to record, but I will say that I’ve received a lot of inspiration recently and have plenty of ideas that I’m looking forward to working on over the Autumn / Winter seasons.
So there we have it. I’m finally back in the game of music making and am really excited about it. I’m planning to keep blogging about theological matters, and music for the time being will be a side-project, although my experience in recording studios has taught me that making music really does suck away the hours so I could well go into hibernation for short periods of time in the coming months.
Thank you mum and dad for all those guitar lessons when I was little. I pray that God will help me to create some beautiful music that glorifies Him and helps me to grow as a musician and as a person.