Two days to go until I leave for my next gig, once again playing at the Photosynthesis Festivals in Neah Bay, WA. This is my third time performing at this location, and my 6th time playing out at a larger gig with my current Elektron live pa. In a way it’s made me a lot more at ease than I normally am, and in other ways I’m more stressed than usual.
Back in the early spring I spent a lot of time refining my downtempo set for any gigs I managed to get this summer. Quite a bit of the songs got remixing, everything got a new mixdown, and I moved a lot of things around to make it all flow better. At the time things were a little slow with work, so I figured I’d use the time to get my live set prepped and ready for a new season. And it would save me the stress of having to do it when I’m typically more busy in the summer, right when the gigs start rolling in.
So this summer I’ve been more or less set, knowing that my live set is working and sounding better than ever.
Or is it.
I guess no matter how well prepared I am, I’m going to have last minute doubts about how the set will go. Of course, the best way to get over this is to practice, run through the set and fix any issues that come up. Simple! Except I have just not been feeling like working on music lately. I just released a new EP that I spent a lot of time on, and quite frankly I was a little burned out.
So the weeks went by, and I knew the gig was getting closer, but everytime I would sit down to give the set a try I just felt like it was half-assed so I stopped pretty quickly. This happened a few times, which is of course frustrating. Normally I love playing out, and when I had last worked on the set I finished very happy about how things sounded, so it wasn’t like I didn’t think it was good enough. I just couldn’t get in the right mindset to really dive in properly and perform the songs the way I knew they deserved to be played.
Of course, eventually you run out of time.
This past Sunday, 6 days before I have to perform, I finally get in the right mood to give the set a proper run through. I know I’ll be busy all week getting work wrapped up so I can be gone for the festival, so it’s truly now or never.
Thankfully, all that prep work earlier in the year truly had paid off. Properly motivated (i.e. no other choice) to sit down and practice for real, it didn’t take me long to get into the groove of performing, and I noticed very few things I wanted to adjust in the set. Whew!
Now at last I was in the mood to play, and I was 100% comfortable with the material as well. I made a few more changes to some of the sounds, and gave the set a couple more plays over the next few days, then time to pack it all up.
It’s amazing how sometimes we spend all this time to prepare ourselves for what’s to come, and in many ways it still ends up being a mental exercise we need to deal with none the less. Ultimately my prep work DID save me a lot of time right when I was obviously not feeling it 100%, so it was worth it in the end. Though I have to admit, I almost wonder if preparing this far in advance is making twice as much mental stress for myself as just waiting until the last minute!
Heading out the festival in a couple days, I’ll let you all know how it goes and if I get a recording once I’m back. Until then,
Peace and Beats!