I love February. Not because of Valentine’s Day or that we’re almost done winter. No, I love February because I get to participate in the RPM Challenge.
The idea is a simple one: Record an album in 28, just because you can.
That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February. Go ahead… put it to tape.
…Maybe you don’t have “Abbey Road” at the end of the month, or maybe they do—but that’s not the point. The point is they get busy and stop waiting around for the muse to appear.Get the gears moving.
Don’t wait for inspiration – taking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You’ll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day’s quota of (song)writing. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other.
Anyone can come up with an excuse to say “no,” so don’t. Many of you are thinking “But, I can’t do that! I don’t have any songs/recording gear/money/blah blah blah…” But this doesn’t have to be the album, it’s just an album.
Remember, this is an artistic exercise. Just do your best using what you have in order to get it done. If you have a four-track, become a four-track badass! A mini disc, a pro-tools rig, a Walkman, an 80’s tape recorder – use it. Do your best.
Use the limitations of time and gear as an opportunity to explore things you might not try otherwise. If you can afford studio time in a “real” studio, fine, but let’s be completely free of any lingering idea that “good” records can only be made in a studio. If that were so, then all the old scratchy blues records or Alan Lomax field recordings that have changed our culture – the world’s culture – wouldn’t still resonate with us today as they do. Springsteen’s haunting classic “Nebraska” was a demo he did at home on a crappy machine. That album is fricking awesome. What label would put those recordings out now? (See: who cares) There are a million examples of this kind of stuff, but the fact will always be: Well written, honest music is compelling and undeniable no matter what it was recorded on. So put it to tape.
February will come and go whether you’ve joined in or not, but do you really want to be left out?
Last year I did this and it was a ton of challenging fun. Also I’ve started a Facebook Group to share the RPM Challenge between friends. If you want in on the group let me know. Good luck.
An Argentinean band named “Mataplantas” did ‘Hickie’ in 27 days: composed, recorded and released in November 2006. Listen up! http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Mataplantas+Hickie/57994500