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I want to share some things that have been on my mind recently, but first I want to say…

Something BIG is Coming

I’m in the middle of a really big project that really means a lot to me. I believe it finally addresses what you’ve been asking me to do for a long time. It keeps getting pushed back and back, but that’s just because I want to get it right. I can’t wait to share it with you. And don’t worry, when it’s ready you will definitely hear about it.

I’ve Been Talking With a Lot of Musicians

The past few months on the blog have been great. I’ve been able to talk to lots of other musicians about their frustrations and challenges and whatever is holding them back from really doing what they want with their own music.

Lots of the musicians I talked to are working hard to try to reach their goals with music, but a lot of them feel like they’re hitting a wall and that they can’t go any further.

These conversations with you has caused me to really reflect on what has been going on in my life recently.

Thinking About a Legacy and What’s Really Important

I’ve done a lot of kind of crazy things in the past few months. I quit my job. I sold my house. Doing all this really forced me to think about some bigger things.

As a father, these things were hard to justify. It’s hard to do something that takes away stability from my family. But I really started to think about the legacy I wanted to leave behind for my kids. The more I thought about it, the more I saw the benefits of going out and at least attempting to leave my mark on the world by doing the thing I love.

When I had to decide whether to keep my job or quit and do this music thing full time, I considered my family above myself. A lot of people might think that my decision should have been to keep a stable job and provide for them, but I ultimately decided that quitting would do more for them in the long run.

We only have so much time in our life. I want to show my kids that you can really do something meaningful with it.

What I’ve Been Up to The Last Six Months

Aside from the job-quitting and house-selling, I’ve been working on lots of music. I went on a nationwide tour playing guitar. I’ve been making YouTube videos. I’ve been coming up with content for this blog. I’ve been sorting out all the ideas for more crazy things I want to do in the future.

andyliveI busted my butt for 4 weeks and released a new EP called Passage before I went on tour in December. The tour took me from sunny San Diego, California, to Florida, all the way up to Chicago, Illinois and Wisconsin, and everywhere in between. It was such a crazy and awesome experience. After that I put together a Kickstarter campaign to press the Passage EP to vinyl, which was incredibly successful. I’m busting my butt again right now to get another set of songs done for my son Blake before he is born at the end of February.

Working on music full-time is awesome. It’s hard work, but I’ve never been happier. The best part is that I’ve got even more time to dream about more awesome things that I want to do in the future.

I Mentioned Something Big is Coming. Here’s a Little Hint:

 

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” – Jim Morrison

 
And I believe it’s going to help answer the following question.

What’s the #1 Reason Why Musicians Can’t Get What They Want From Their Music?

Throughout all these changes in the past few months I’ve been thinking. And after talking to lots of other musicians, I think I’ve figured something out. I figured out why most musicians can’t get what they want from their music. And I believe its the answer to the one really BIG REQUEST I keep getting from you.

It has nothing to do with how many Facebook fans or Twitter fans you can amass. It has nothing to do with how well-presented your YouTube videos are or how pretty your website is.

It’s not even really about your consistency in making and releasing music. It’s much bigger and more fundamental than that.

If you want to know the answer, you’ll have to stick around :) This post has been long enough.

Where are you heading with your music?

In the comments below I’d love to hear what things you’ve been doing with your music recently. Any exciting plans? Or you can tell me what the quote above means to you personally.

 

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  • John

    Your bravery and obedience is admired, Andy! Keep it up.

  • Andrew Fallon

    Wonderful. You are truly inspiring in this story. This legacy you mentioned you wanted to leve behind for your kids, in my opinion is already a pretty big one. You truly help us musicians out!! Thanks Andy and God bless!

  • http://stanmanx.com Matt Smyczynski

    Recently, I’ve been watching videos about how to mix and master music. I’ve been practicing on my older recordings, because I found it too mentally taxing to try and create new music AND learn new skills at the same time. They’re sounding much better — I’m embarrassed by my bandcamp page now, haha.

    I’ve found that I’m able to work better when I have a theme or concept I’m building toward. This will probably sound super nerdy, but my next project is to create music that would make a good soundtrack for the board game Elder Sign. It seems like a fun creative exercise, and hopefully I’ll come up with something I really like. I expect it will mostly be white noise punctuated by strings and pianos, but who knows.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      That’s awesome! Glad to see you’re moving forward!

  • http://twitter.com/skyflyingby sky flying by

    i’m not a parent… but sounds like you are doing it right :) i think the amount of courage you have is inspirational. i’m not ready for that kind of leap, i believe i have the courage, but there’s a huge difference between courage and just being recklessly foolish (which clearly i would be). to answer your question, i’m just trying to figure out the angles to this music thing. there’s a release coming up, a collaboration i did with a friend, but ultimately, my plans are just to keep my head down, stay busy, make things, put them out there and move along. as for a legacy, that’s an interesting and intriguing thing to consider, but i’m just not prepared to think of it… i think in order to consider a legacy one has to have someone else in their life with which to leave said legacy. i have my best friend, which she’s the only person who would appreciate it. i guess that counts.

  • http://twitter.com/napadude Tom Emmons

    Good thoughts! I’ve been watching your progress with interest.

    I haven’t been very active musically recently, as it is very difficult to find a place to work. I’ve been throwing around ideas to break out of that situation.

  • David R.

    For me, has to do with God, He gave us something in our hands, a gift, if we use our precious gift then we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing, so it will just flow, not for the sake of financial income, but trust that financial income will come anyway, ‘cos God knows we need that. Everything it’s related to our motivations, if our motivation es LOVING then it will come some beautiful flower out of what we’re doing. I think you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, with the right purposes and motivations, so that’s why it really came the flow to you. God bless you.

    PS
    Remember that your wife and kids needs you with them, so just don’t let tour dates separate you from your family, if it’s necesary take them with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/logan.webb.750 Logan Webb

    At the moment I have been playing on a local level with my band that started in Jan 2012. We were an up and coming 4-piece and hit the studio in October to record our first EP. During the recording process, however, we lost our vocalist and drummer. Most bands at the level we were at would have thrown in the towel at that point, as the 4 of us were great friends and we let stupid stuff like money and creative freedom get in the way of what was really important.

    Since then I have rented a dedicated rehearsal studio with a full Pro Tools recording rig, found a fantastic and ambitious new drummer, and have taken on the role as band leader, spearheading this whole operation. We have written some new material instrumentally and begin vocal auditions this weekend.

    “Where are you heading with your music?”. As far as my body and mind will physically allow me to bring it. I have poured my very soul into this project, and as a result I am working the hardest I have ever worked in my life, and have learned to accept little to no excuses for ANYTHING.

    Andy, I have been following you on youtube since before the band started, and have referred your blog to every musician I come across who is having the same problem I had, where their musical project is in a funk, due to a lack of creativity, motivation, or disenheartened by the loss of members or money. I look to your blog whenever I need motivation planning the next step for this band.

    So for that, I thank you.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      That’s awesome Logan! You’ve got the right attitude, don’t let anything get in your way! I’m so happy to have been an inspiration and motivation for you.

  • Anonymous

    Extremely intriguing quote you’ve presented us with, Andy. At first glance it seems like Jim is saying we have to leave our comfort zone (“what’s known”) and go through something (“the doors”) in order to get to the realized potential of the mysterious future (“the unknown”). But then I remember that Jim’s band was named The Doors. So I think there’s another layer of subtlety to the quote, that says, WE are actually the bridge between the known and the unknown… the only thing that’s in the way of us reaching the potential that is available to us (again, “the unknown”) is ourselves.

    As far as what I’m doing with music right now, I’m really excited to say that I recently finished a brand new full-length album, which was really the first time I ever sat down and said “I’m gonna record an album now from the ground up!” instead of just piecing together experimental recordings I had laying around. I, like you, quit my day job, but I did it to move to a new town where I’m now going to school to study recording. (I don’t have children though, so it was probably easier for me.) Having no money, I did a crowd funding campaign to raise enough to get the album professionally mastered and distributed on CDs (vinyl was too expensive for someone as small as me) and it was successful! The mastering phase is almost done now and I’m super excited to release the album… Once I get it up on Bandcamp, I’m going to focus on practicing the promotion skills I’ve learned from you, as well as practicing material for a live show so I can start booking some gigs around town. I also recently did a critical evaluation of all the gear in my guitar rig and sold everything that wasn’t helping my tone, then re-invested the money into some different/higher-quality equipment, so I’m pretty excited to be taking the quality of my guitar tone to the next level. PLUS, I’ve started my own YouTube channel recording some videos similar to your Ambient Songs series (my style is not as ambient as yours, though) and I’ve just invested in a nicer video camera as well so I can start producing higher-quality content for that endeavor.

    All in all, I’m trying to refine and re-organize all the aspects of my music right now so I can dive into this thing full-force, because it is my goal to, like you, be able to make a living playing my music/providing my recording skills to others.

    Highly anticipating knowledge of your big secret. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I think you’re on to something there with the quote! :)

      And congrats on all your success! I know it’s an awesome feeling to lay out a goal for yourself and then achieve it. Sounds like you’re on the right track for sure! Looking forward to sharing the secret :)

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for taking the time to read my super long comment! My success is small so far but I agree with you that I think I’m on the right track. I get more excited to hear the secret with every day that goes by! :-D

  • http://www.facebook.com/speakloudadvocate Speak Loud Advocate

    A legacy is difficult to form for yourself. You can work on molding a legacy but it’s generally established by how others think of you and your music (ie. what they think of you is the legacy you have left them). Like with you, I would say you have already began to leave a legacy that there is an unbelievable depth of beauty found in music. It’s a quality that bleeds out of every release of yours. I’ll always think of you and your music that way.

    As for my own music, I’m in the early stages of my first album. I have six songs that I want to record. There is a bit of pre-recording work that needs to be done though such as actually WRITING sheet music. None of my songs are written down and if I start to forget one, I have to go back to an old, crappy video of me playing it and go from there…it’s ridiculous and I’m trying to resolve that. After putting the pen to paper, I can hit the ground recording. I got an SM57 for Christmas and a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB interface not long after. For the first time in my life, I actually feel like I have what I need in order to record an album. Hopefully this album will be done by summer and I’ll be ready to play more live shows. I’ve also been releasing some content on Youtube and Facebok. I have benefited immensly from your guidance in these areas. You seem to have a finger on the pulse of “getting your music out there.”

    You’re blazing a trail with this blog here. A lot of musicians are benefiting from this. Very inspirational. Thanks dood.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      You’re very welcome, happy to do it! :) And thanks for sharing your story!

  • Dustin

    I haven’t been doing really anything with my music recently. I have been reading your blog and I seem to be getting an incredible amount out of it. I seem to be learning so much even though I have barely played an instrument this past month. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next and how I want to do it. And I’m happy with learning from you and others.

  • http://www.sheepdressedlikewolves.com/ Andy Mort

    I love your story, truly inspiring and a great tale for anyone starting out with a dream and love for music. I’ve always found that quote great, it’s linked with Aldous Huxley’s book the Doors of Perception, which I think was from where The Doors took their name. It was noting Huxley’s mind experiments with mescaline (found in a psychedelic cactus I believe). For me this quote sums up what art is all about, the progressive and evolutionary realignment of our perception of reality, and the constant questioning of why we are, what we are and the reasons for why and what we are. There are many doors, and many realities (as many as there are people), and truth is a dynamic yet static state that transcends and bonds them all. It’s too early for this. Haha, thanks Andy!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I love that, and I definitely agree with you! Especially the “constant questioning” part.

  • Kieran Lewis

    Honestly in my opinion, i think the number one reason why musicians don’t get what they want from their music is because they expect to much from it. Let me explain, i’m 19 and I started a band around October time with some friends of mine, we wrote some songs and released them to show our friends and have something to be proud of. One thing lead to another and we’re now going on a fully booked tour in a couple of months because people wanna see us play, we’ve even had to turn down dates because of being back at Uni! This is completely surreal and I feel I’m getting way more than I ever wanted, all because we came together to make music just for the fun of kicking out some music. If we had approached this with a more forward thinking method, sure we probably would be where we are now, BUT i don’t think I would feel as fulfilled as a musician from it. (however i do get the fact that when you have people to support, and aren’t 19 (like me) you have the responsibility to look after them as well as enjoy yourself). Along side all this post hardcore band business I’ve taken up pro tools as a form of expression of what i love to do, which at the moment is mix Hip hop with more Ambient artists and smash out some really laid back but kinda different (Like ‘Vanilla’, who works with Disco, if you’ve ever heard of him) vibes to anything I’ve done before. sticking to comfort zones (like hardcore and me for example) is all well and good, but where’s the fun if you know exactly what you’re doing, eh?

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I think you’re definitely right! Although I’m convinced that there are also people who don’t get what they want from music because they don’t expect enough from it.

  • James

    I’m working on releasing an EP on february 22 consisting of 5 songs inspired by winter. its slightly daunting but really exciting, and this blog has been a huge help to me!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Awesome, I definitely know that feeling! Congrats… and I’m so glad I could help!

  • Joe

    First of all, I just found your blog / youtube page, as a broke ass college student who’s trying to make music while interning I’ve been getting more and more into ambient music and interested in making it myself. Your music definitely holds as an inspiration.

    As for myself musically, I play in a band with 4 other guys, I do everything but drums and vocals when we record because I write it all and I’m the most consistent when it comes to playing it. We self-recorded a 6 song ep in the summer.and I’ve been recording tracks whenever I get the chance in the meantime. It all came to a grinding halt when the semester started, my neck pick up broke when I was in the middle of working on something. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. I have a bass guitar too and I’ve been challenging myself to write music that’s bass-centric, but I just can’t. I guess I’ve been putting more and more thought into making music on my own as well. Pretty much doing what I already do with my band, just under my own name instead of some collective of people.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      That’s great Joe, I’m so happy to be an inspiration! Hope you get your neck pickup fixed soon…

  • Allyse

    I recently played my first open mic night with a bunch of other songwriters and it went realllly well. Better then I deserve. So now with that I feel affirmed to keep writing and practicing. Annnddd mostly thanks to you and all your wisdom Ive made a goal to have my first EP released in May 2013. This goal keeps me driven and focused instead of kinda floating, stagnant, and unsure. I appreciate alllll of your youtube posts, blog posts, tweets…everything!!!! So thankful to God for people like you who are willing to share wisdom with people you dont know.

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