Finishing is everything

I have recently finished a very enjoyable and creative project with Michael e. Michael is one of most prolific musicians I know, creating albums of excellent material each year. However many artists and producers I meet seem to have great difficulty creating anything! Having just finished 7 tracks with Michael I’m reminded of a few universal truths that are worth sharing.

Finishing is everything. If you don’t finish then you have nothing to show. You don’t know where you are (in terms of your development) and you can’t move forward because people can’t experience your work. Finishing improves your confidence. It helps you understand yourself and it shows others what you do, and how they can get involved.

In creative terms finishing can be very hard. As a producer I often see people fall into these traps.

There are many reasons people don’t let go, but mostly it’s because as soon as they finish they will have to face up to the reality of their talent. Many people are blinded by thinking that they are better than they currently are. If something isn’t finished then they can hide in this delusion. As soon as you finish, you have a benchmark by which you can be rated. This is tough, but it’s also good. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses puts you onto the path of improvement. Also if we finish something we often look to others for their input. This allows them to get involved, to help us, and ultimately move us forward even faster.

I see this everywhere! People chasing the last 20 percent of a project. This refers to the “it’ll be finished when I think it’s perfect” syndrome. I’ll let you into a secret! …it’ll never be YOUR perfect! That 20 percent is an illusion, and the more you try to chase it, the more you start to unravel the great work you’ve done. Let it go! Learn to understand when something is finished, and accept that your most inspired work will often feel like it’s been abandoned. If you’re unsure, show your work to someone you trust. Not everyone can see the errors you see, and sometimes a little grit can really make a piece of work shine.

Daniel Lanois said that all projects have a particular ‘curve’ or ‘shape’. This ‘curve’ refers to the motivation and energy of the people involved. You mustn’t dither or loose focus. Turn up, focus, get on with it, finish. Be aware of how things are progressing, and if necessary move people on, gently move things forward. Remember, you can play people a finished track, but the perfect recording of a single bass drum is of little use to anyone.

Finally, I was once asked by a friend if he was paying too much to record 3 songs in a local studio. I replied by saying that what he needed from the deal was not 4 days in a studio, but 3 finished tracks. If he was guaranteed that result, then it was a good deal. However if that money didn’t buy him finished tracks then it was just time spent in the studio! Finishing is everything.

To hear music from my latest musical project with Michael please follow this link: