Fantasy Future Releases I: How the EP became my new favourite thing

My last entry was way back in February. You might wonder what could possibly have happened to me in that time to prevent me writing about and working on music. Well, there was one thing in particular…

The Bump…

A few days after my last post I found out I was going to have a baby! Today I’m about 8 months into my first pregnancy, and while hubby and I are reasonably organised and relaxed, there is something still bothering me. Pregnancy has meant I’ve had to put music and blogging on the back burner for months in order to conserve energy for my ‘normal’ job. It’s not a nice feeling to demote your favourite activities, but it is a very grown-up thing to do.

I finally left work for maternity leave the Friday before last and spent last week catching up on housework and getting some things prepared for the arrival of Baby Archer. I was somehow surprised to find I also had some┬átime for some vocal recording and mixing, which are things I’ve sorely missed. But all this brings me to a tough question, one I’ve mulled over a lot but avoided answering…

Will I be able to finish a release before I finish building this baby?

Impending motherhood has forced me to get smart about how I’m going to keep songwriting and recording in my life in the years to come. It would be unfair of me to pack it in completely when the baby I’m carrying will one day look to me as an example of someone who has made a life and followed a dream. I don’t want her to grow up around a person who uses her children as an excuse for not even trying to be creative. I do need to keep going, but I have to think seriously about how that’s going to look in practice.

I’m looking to a recent trend in independent music to inform my ideas on this matter. This trend is the resurgence of the EP, the short ‘n’ nimble Extended Play release.

There are many out there who consider the album to be ‘dead’, murdered by digital downloads that allow for a hunt and peck listening experience. There’s also the bite-sized nature of social media posts taking their toll on the average music fan’s attention span. Fans expect more frequent updates from their favourite artists and albums require a lot of preparation for what will be a short promotional shelf-life.

While I don’t agree completely will all of these sentiments about the state of music appreciation, I am fascinated with the idea of releasing a string of concise, agile EPs rather than slaving over one or two fourteen track albums with rigid themes.

Shorter formats like the EP mean a quicker turnaround for release making it easier to get your new stuff out in the open. In turn, your freshest and most relevant ideas can be brought to the audience more readily. I, for one, am exhausted by the burden of having a 100-strong back catalogue of songs only I have heard. The EP is my ticket to blissful catharsis on that front.

In the next couple of days I’m going to begin compiling a ‘fantasy list’ of how I want my mini-releases to go in the next few years. The time has come to just get on with it. I just have to continue finishing the things I’ve started, not only to stay true to myself, but also so I can be a good example to the child I’m bringing into the world.

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