Since the release of my first official EP in late 2014, I’ve become a much harder critic of my work. Now in 2018, I find myself holding onto countless 80%-completed songs that I began years ago because I want them to be perfect, but I don’t know how to do that. “Dusk” is one that I was finally able to finish.
I discovered music production back in 2009-2010 when I was studying classical composition. I would push off composition assignments and instead stay up late to play around with Garageband and Reason (both music software).
When I write music now, though the instrumentation and genres are different, I still like to develop the music slowly, much like how an orchestral piece develops. I use the same general structure and “tools”, such as creating a motif or theme and developing that fully, or I’ll develop the piece around a motif that evolves, creating an exposition, development and recapitulation. In classical music, it’s important for every piece of music to have a function (Why should I use this note? Does it evoke a dark atmosphere? Is it because it’s the dominant of the key, Do we need to create a cadence here for an ending feeling? etc). I still like to work like this.
It was laborious to figure those things out then, and I find myself still labouring in that sense in music now. I keep on working at the music by trying different instrumental orders until the movement of the piece feels more intuitive and the instruments have a meaningful function for the parts they appear in.
At some point, “Dusk” had two or three melodies going because I couldn’t give any of them up, but I had to because the song was just too wild and hard to follow. In the end, I just put in the hours to try instrumental arrangements, song structure, build-ups, lengths, and counterpoint.
Sometimes inspiration strikes and a song will be completed in one sitting, but other times, if it’s something you believe in, you really have to labour for the art.
postmoderndisco is a girl producer born and raised in Toronto. As a second-generation Chinese-Canadian classically trained in composition from the University of Toronto, the influences of Western and Chinese cultures in her upbringing are reflected in her music, which fuses atmospheric hip-hop beats with cinematic elements and East-Asian melodies. In recent songs, she has collaborated with many singer friends and horn player Esther K. Currently she’s at home brooding, the first step in her creative process. Her newest single, “Dusk” can be found on Soundcloud and her EP “Chasing Memories” can be found on iTunes and all other media outlets.