What attributes does a track have, that elevates it from being merely functional, to sounding just as fresh 1 year, 5 years...even 10 years after it was first released?
This is a question that has driven me for much of my creative life.
I've always set out to make music that leaves a lasting legacy, either as an Artist in my own right, or in collaboration with others.
I've not always been successful - but I've come close on occasion, with some of my tracks receiving long term support from my musical heroes, and other artists I respect immensely.
So, what is that "X factor", that makes a track transcend from a mere product, to an artistic expression that speaks to people way into the future?
For me, the answer is intent
What is your intention when setting out to create music? What do you intend to say? What kind of lasting impression do you want people to feel?
Is your music looking to communicate an essential, universal truth?
Are you trying to express your emotions, based on your life experiences to date, through the medium of music?
Does your music try to create unity, and bring people together?
If you can answer any of these questions with a 'yes', and they are part of your Creative Practice, then you can truly call yourself an Artist, and your art may well be on the way to being enjoyed for years to come.
For me, there's an overwhelming amount of music now available, and if anything, that quantity is increasing.
With this over saturation of supply, comes an inevitable reduction in quality.
It's not sustainable to have this much content be created and released so often, and have it all be amazing, brilliant...or timeless for that matter.
This isn't anyone's fault - it's an unforeseen side effect of the technology platforms which are now a part of our every day lives, and it has cajoled artists into constantly making and releasing music, and as a result, standards have inevitably suffered, as the cycles of creation, consumption, and promotion, continue to spin ever faster.
The result has been a homogenisation of music, and all in all, far fewer timeless pieces of art have been created in recent times, giving way to "purely functional club tools", which are there and gone within the blink of an eye.
Quality wins over quantity every time.
I truly believe that releasing fewer tracks, but at a far higher quality, created with love, care and deep intention, wins out against mindless cranking out 'content' in order to fill a space on a release schedule, or to assuage the FOMO you feel.
As Paul Woolford so eloquently put it:
"Plenty people talk about how fast and disposable the turnaround on music is today, but it's in your hands. If you create works of art that have depth and reward repeat listening over the years, you have a seat at the table. Don't waste energy complaining online. Change it."
This week, I encourage you to lovingly but honestly assess your intentions, and your creative practice.
Are you doing all you can to create timeless art? Because the world needs it now, and needs what you have to say, more than ever...
To your increasing Creative Flow,