The Road to Release

My love/hate relationship with releasing new music...

If a tree falls in a forest and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If you write a song but nobody ever gets to listen, was there any point in writing it in the first place?

Like most people who create things (I’d refer to myself as a ‘creative’ but the word makes me die inside) I have a strange relationship with the process of releasing what I’ve made into the world.

I sort of don’t want to do it at all because, unreleased, it exists in a prelapsarian state just for me. Nobody else can come along and ruin that with their 'opinions'.

Because, on some level, I don’t really want to know whether people are going to like it or not.

If they do, they probably won’t like it enough - or in the particular way I’d like them to like it - and if they don’t then I’ll obviously be psychologically devastated.

Releasing music is sort of a lose-lose, as far as I’m concerned.

And I know I’m not covering any original ground here. Plenty of songwriters have voiced exactly the same concerns.

I write songs that I like because I’m not really in a position to be able to do anything else, by definition.

One could reasonably ask, then, why release them at all? Why not be satisfied with the fact that they exist and keep them to yourself?

And it’s a fair question - one I probably don’t have an answer to that will satisfy anyone, particularly me.

I suppose, like all of us, I occasionally need my relationship with the rest of the world to be a two-way street, despite my best efforts to survive playing internet chess in the dark.

As per John Donne: “no man is an island”.

I also suppose that, all being well, in the mental projection of my own future I seem to be clinging to, one day I’ll reach a point where old music can fund new music (though not if Spotify has anything to do with it).

And, in order for that to happen, I’ll need people who like listening to the music to, at some point, start paying me to write more of it and play for them.

If I’m being totally honest, though, it’s because art isn’t art without an audience.

It’s the releasing, the sharing, the entry into the collective human consciousness (however minor) that brings meaning to whatever it is you’ve made.

Without it, like the tree falling in the forest, it might as well not have happened.

Maybe I’m just another sucker, trying to leave my mark on a world that will inevitably forget me, writing poetry in the sand as the tide comes in.

But aren’t we all? Isn’t that what our businesses, our instagram accounts, our houses, our children, really are? Immortality projects?

I don’t know - maybe not.

Things can be more than one thing at once in any sensible, high-resolution, view of existence.

So, for me, I suppose I need to live with the cognitive dissonance that releasing new music seems to create.

The simultaneous yin and yang - the knowledge that it’s all I want to do, but that it certainly won’t bring me much satisfaction.

So, in a couple of weeks on June 2nd, Ballerina will go live and I’ll have taken my first major step on the road to the release of the Trees EP.

And I know full well that, for any audience, taking a chance on something new isn’t easy.

As Igor Stravinsky put it: “To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.”

But if you do feel like contributing to the psychological turbulence outlined above, you can do me a very free, simple favour (though you are, of course, entirely free not to - and there will be no hard feelings on my part).

Hit the button below and pre-save Ballerina.

Maybe, if enough of you do, the rest of the forest might hear.

Keep dreaming,


Rob Jones & The Restless Dream

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