The DVD of the first Journey in China is now printed and available to buy at my SHOP. It has been a hugely fascinating project to create from start to finish. The project has been struggling financially towards the end of the year, and I have had to take ever more responsibility to keep it going.
As a result, I’ve dived deep into learning photoshop the last months, and the design of the cover has been the first of my releases with my own design. I have had guidance as ever from my great friends Sunst Bros – who have created the visual identity of the project. So the cover is firstly a product of the shaping they have done in the over all design concept of “Journeys”. And second hours of my own time spent working on the montage, using elements from the photographs I took in China.
The fact is that the DVD is a huge labour of love. It has taken far more time than I could have anticipated – but then again, what should I have expected?
I have taken it through from filming in China, editing and colour grading in Berlin, through to designing the cover in Photoshop, to figuring out how to convert it all into a DVD in Adobe Encore. On a zero budget, funding it through gigging & touring & my own film work.
The thing that has taken the most time has been simply learning how to do everything. It has been frustrating at times. Oh, man, I can’t even say!
The documentary was cut on a hacked version of Adobe Premiere, and had huge huge bugs. I nearly lost the project on so many occasions, and that’s a huge stress after editing and grading for 6 weeks 15 hours a day.
The best decision I made was to upgrade to the full creative cloud which, though expensive unless you are using it professionally, really does have an unlimited palette of potential creatively if you are willing to use it and explore it. It is a life commitment, but one I have found very worth making.
However, the by product of all of this, is that the project is taking the time that it wants to take.
It is a simple fact that if I want to continue it, i have to obey the steps it is requiring. I don’t have a documentary team, a record company, in fact, I can’t afford even my close team at this point in time.
It means that the central point has become the challenge of taking full responsibility for my art in every sense.
It is requiring a lot of discipline, but equally, I am not allowing this to over bear me. The biggest challenge within the project for me is to “be” within it. If it has to take longer so that I can enjoy it, I am dam well making that commitment.
As I have got older music has transformed from what it was originally to me – an expression of suffering – to an expression of the growth of the human spirit. Every single song I write reflects this theme:
The challenge of growth, the need to transform, and at times, to bear the re-birthing process – which itself can be painful -as it is joyous.
So many times I have faced, as a musician, the simple challenge of “give up or go on”. It has never really been a question, because music remains for me the great gift, the great miracle, the great connector. Something worth giving everything for. Something worth acquiescing dreams of comfort, or even at times the steps necessary for certain forms of broader success.
The joyous liberty for me at this point is that I would not trade anything I have experienced since losing my EMI deal to be back on a major.
Because it can all be fucking done. And the fact is, is that the more people that are involved in a project, the more compromise you have to face, the more opinions you have to wade through, and the more diluted it becomes.
I am a wolf of the underground and I am proud of that.
I would not give away one second of the challenge of my life, or my art.
I have the sense of having arrived – finally – at artistic maturity. I could never haver written that before, because I thought it sounded pretentious. But I know where I have arrived at, and it is something I have been hungering after for my whole life. I guess the reward is to be aware of it.
I would not trade it – or the steps it took to get to it – for anything.
Nietzsche talks of the need to “love one’s fate” – and that is about the acceptance of the fact that every aspect of your life, and your experience, is necessary for your growth, or the gaining of elements of wisdom.
I know I have so much further to go, but I am fired up for the challenge of where things can go. I am up for it, and I am ready.
Anyway, I am late for my flight, and must dash. The main thing for me is that all the tools you learn to develop your art – the time it takes – at some point go through a quickening. It is never wasted time, because once learnt, one has broadened and has new capability.
And that is what I feel for 2016, that my Journeys apprenticeship is over. I have the tools. I’m excited now to see what can be done with them.