Fake it until you make music

Created: Mar 7, 2024 | B quality | Low importance

Considering how bands are like sports teams, it's clear that not every part of a song has to be perfect for it to be a good song. I've started to come to the realization that I, as a single person who doesn't play any instrument particularly well, am going to have significantly more difficulty writing, arranging, and recording a song than a full band. Full bands, when recording, will often just stick a microphone or two into the room where they're playing and just play the song a few times. Sure, they'll multitrack some things. There will be a few punch ins and overdubs. But the basic skeleton of the song is there once they've written it, they just all need to play their parts and get it down on tape.

I, on the other hand, have to write parts for each instrument, then practice and perform them, and finally record them one by one. I have to program in the drums using MIDI (no drummer). I have to play both rhythm and lead guitar, and figure out guitar tone for both (or any additional guitar parts). I have to play bass and any additional keyboard/synth parts. And of course I'm the one writing the lyrics and writing and singing the melody.

What I'm realzing is that I don't have to get everything perfect. I can focus on the things I do well and just "fake" the rest of it. The drums are already fake. What's that, I can't play the bass part? Play it on the keyboard with a bass guitar plugin. Can't play a guitar solo for the third verse? Shove a synth part in there.

I'm never going to have the raw power and coherence of some of my favorite bands, like Green Day, Midtown and Bayside. As I mentioned, they have full bands who are, you know, skilled at their instruments. I have to make do with what I have, and strive to produce the best music possible with what I can do.

And honestly, I think that might be a good thing. Somewhere between all those layers of "faking" is actually my voice. Not my singing voice, but my writer's voice.

The only problem is a reductionist one. If I'm faking the songwriting, the lyrics, the melody, the harmony; if I'm faking the guitar and bass parts as well as the drums; what else is left? Is there anything of substance after all of that is fake?


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