With my new work schedule I have had more time to think about different things, one of them being how I can be more productive with my music making and also better promote the end result when Anders and I actually manage to finish a song. The album that we are just finishing up now has been in the works for about 6 years - way too long to have been working on the same batch of songs! Of course, it is not like we have been working non-stop, on the contrary jobs and other commitments preventing as from focusing on the music is probably one of the major reasons why it has taken us so long (or maybe I should only speak for myself here!)
I personally am trying to rectify this with a changed weekly schedule but there is another issue that needs to be addressed: The role of www.subdelay.com.
Sub Delay has been an online outlet for our music for the past 4 years or so. Originally when we started out building the site, the plan was merely to have a website to promote the band online. However, things soon took off and all of a sudden we found ourselves having created a fully fledged music store, with support for multiple artists each having their own discography, blog etc.
The original reason for designing the site so it could contain more than one artist, was really an effort to make it easier for the two of us to produce and publish several types of music, rather than being based on any sort of ambitions of running an iTunes style music store. We would categorize compositions that were radically different in genre and sound into separate artist names (essentially aliases for the two of us), the idea being that we then wouldn't have to worry about "tainting" the image of a certain band/artist name when releasing a new track. Thus the site originally featured:
- Tsurankeparenki - The pseudonym we half-heartedly decided to use for an Asian-inspired album that was based on recordings I had made in Japan.
- Zonelet - My own electro(ish) tracks that were all made in a very short time mostly just as fun experiments.
- Section Four - Supposed to be the monicker for our next "serious" project, the one we are only finishing up now.
Since the shop framework was already in place, we began discussing the possibilities of adding music made by other people and after a bit of searching, two more additions were made to the site:
- Ovia - An acquaintance of Anders' who creates ambient music.
- Freesscape - A Japanese/British band based in Tokyo, who's music I had come across online.
As a result the name "Sub Delay" ended up being the name of the (admittely small!) "record label" run by us, on which we released music that we liked, including our own compositions. This was all great and made sense for us for a while, but as we soon found out, it also came with its own set of problems, for example when trying to promote our own music.
When pointing people who showed interest in our music to the site, we would more often than not be met by questions like "Which songs did you do?", "What is your band name?", "Is your band called Sub Delay?" etc. It obviously wasn't clear from looking at the site what music we were responsible for, and also when creating accounts on other music community websites, we were faced with still more problematic questions such as whether to create an account for every band/project, or just one for our "label" and so on.
We are now getting ready to redesign not only the site, but our identity as a band as well, and it is this process I have been thinking about recently. Although the site still remains unchanged at the time of writing, we are planning to change things around a bit in the coming months, thus the title of this blog post.
Our first decision has been to consolidate all the music we make under one artist name. For this purpose we have chosen to reappropriate the name "Sub Delay" from being the name of the store/label to being our new (and perhaps final?) band name. It has to be said, we definitely never have been masters of thinking up good names, which is probably another reason why we change them so often! As with most of our other aliases there is no deeper meaning to the words (my friend Michael says it reminds him of sandwiches?) but "Sub Delay", for what its worth, is the name that has survived the longest so we will probably be able to live with it in the years to come.
Another issue (that we haven't actually talked about yet since I just thought of it 10 minutes ago) that will probably dramatically affect the layout of the site, is what "format" we are going to present and sell the songs in (that's "format" as in "style" or "arrangement", I am not talking about MP3 or Flac!).
Although the implementation on the original site was perhaps flawed, I still think there was some sense to the idea of having the freedom to create different "projects" without having to worry about whether it fit within a certain genre or image we had established. Having constraints like this can actually be good for productivity in some cases, but I believe that having more creative freedom may be quite crucial in staying motivated and excited when it comes to music composition (at least for me) and I would like the new site to support this aspect.
I think one major failing with the current site is that we are presenting the music in the form of "releases" consisting of batches of songs complete with their own original cover artwork and descriptions. In essence what we need to figure out, is a way to be able to easily release new tracks, without having to go through the extra work of packaging them, while still leaving room for the occasional "milestone" album release, since I believe even in this the age of the iPod Shuffle there is still definitely something to be said for being presented with a carefully sequenced collection of songs supporting a common idea or theme.
And...we have to do this in a way that makes sense within a website and is easy to understand and navigate through for visitors to our site...Lots of stuff to get started on!