So to kick off my first column on the new & improved Foxy site, Iām gonna change things up a bit.Ā This is sort of inspired by a discussion on the Type Records forum over the weekend, but itās also something that seems to come up fairly often in conversations Iāve had with various people.Ā Basically itās about how prolific is too prolific or is there even such a thing?Ā And to further expand on that ā what are the problems with prolific-ness and what are the positive aspects?Ā Personally, I donāt have a problem with ultra-prolific artists (which is probably obvious), but I can understand the frustration a lot of people have at times.
The big question I would ask is why do you think an artist being prolific is a problem?Ā Quality control is an obvious answer, but at the same time it seems like a lot of artists who are releasing an extreme amount of material are doing it from a perspective of sharing in the process of their art as much as anything.Ā I still think the John Olson MethodTM is one of the best ways to go because even though he does release a shit ton of stuff, most of it is in miniscule quantities which, to me, recognizes the āimportanceā of certain releases vs. others.Ā I donāt buy some of the uber-short-run American Tapes because Iām expecting Iāll hear one of the yearās best releases.Ā I do it because, in a way, its like having a running dialogue with the artist ā you experience what theyāre up to RIGHT NOW and how they are developing their current ideas, moving toward the next āmajorā release.Ā I find that fascinating and wholly worthwhile.
This isnāt to say I need every single release by certain artists ā far from it.Ā For me, choosing what I release and what I donāt release of my various projects is a very personal decision.Ā I donāt try to be prolific for the sake of being prolific or whatever ā I release what I do because, even if I donāt think a particular tape or whatever is some kind of definitive statement, I think there are ideas on the recordings being explored that ARE worthwhile and that fans of the music (however few there may be) will also find it interesting to hear.Ā So does the number of copies of a release indicate how important the artist/band in question thinks that release is?Ā Honestly, I think it does, especially when its coming from someone more established like Olson/Wolf Eyes and with those bands, you have to decide how much you want to hear and whether or not looking at the road map to figure how they went from Human Animal to Always Wrong is important to you.Ā I applaud them for letting it all hang out.Ā I wonāt question whether or not anyone should release something ā release whatever you want.Ā I will, however, question whether or not it is actually good, but thatās all so subjective that trying to make any kind of rule about it is beyond the pale.Ā Making music/noise/whatever should be for anyone and everyone who wants to get involved.Ā Iām not going to tell someone they need to practice more or whatever before they let their ideas out into the world.Ā Fuck that.
All this talk of process kind of harks a bit to what Ned was saying in his column about process vs. product.Ā But it really turns that on its head because, in a lot of ways, the process has become the product.Ā I still think, in the end, the final product when it comes to releasing music and such is the most important thing, but I still find peopleās process absolutely fascinating.Ā Look, I want there to be a constant deluge of new releases ā bring it on.Ā I love knowing that there is a pile of great stuff out there I will never, ever hear because there is, simply, too much.Ā But if ever there was something where excess was a good thing, DIY music and art is it.Ā I encourage everyone to get some cheap electronics and get out aggression making noise.
In the end it all comes down to figuring out what you like and what you want to hear and going from there.Ā Thanks to the internet, you can hear just about anything before you buy it (though I think that can sometimes take the fun out of record buying, but thatās another thing altogether), so its pretty easy to know what youāre getting into.Ā I still donāt think you can be too prolific as long as you donāt have some expectation that everything you crank out is something everyone needs to hear.