Wednesday, April 4, 2012

100 milkteeth

Heidi Sabertooth in Brooklyn, New York is making a song a day for 100 days and she calls it 100 milkteeth...




Why did you decide to do this project?
The idea for creating a track a day actually came from something I was in the habit of doing for many years – every time I would get into the studio with my band for rehearsal or just by myself, it was a rule of thumb to ALWAYS press the record button right away because in the course of getting warmed up, often a new song would be born – certainly some of the most magical moments would happen and we would be so glad we recorded because it was super fun to listen back and reflect on that shared experience – we were capturing a creative moment in time!  And some of the charm about it was that they weren't perfect songs yet – they had the roughness of a pure creative idea coming out – I always found myself leaning into those recordings, even more than the official songs we made.  There was a sincerity to them.  So, I thought, wouldn't it be amazing to formalize this process for myself - of capturing creativity on the spot – and share it with others!!  Its a form of communication -- like, "hey - this is what is really going on with me today and what I am thinking about... how does it hit you?  what are you thinking about when you hear it?"  Thats why the project is called 'milkteeth' because these are all baby songs, not fully formed – sketches – like baby teeth – the first thing that pushes through the gum. 

Another reason for doing the project was to build up my music skills. After spending the past 5 or so years playing in bands, I had been involved in production and mixing to some extent, but had not yet made a meaningful step towards owning that side of things for the solo music I was creating.  And I never went to audio engineering school or anything -- always a big believer in learning by doing.  This was a chance to kick it in gear! I also wanted to build my song catalog, expand my range of styles, and really start getting a feel for what my signature heidisabertooth sound seems to be across the board.

Even though 100milkteeth is certainly a very personal project, I really didn't want this project to be completely ALL about me, drawing this distinct line between me as the performer and everyone else as the audience.  boring!!!  I want variety, new influence, feedback, communication!  I love the community aspect of making art and I have deep respect for so many of the different music scenes that are going on right now, especially the emerging things that are all around me in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and beyond Brooklyn too, lots of folks with good hearts building true community around art, doing it for the love.  So I have been making some milkteeth (and plan to make more) with fellow musicians and video artists that I respect – from a really wide range of styles, everything from jazz to dubstep, techno to indie-pop.  It's fun to see how my sound meshes with a lot of different types of music and art – I have to say, I have a genuine appreciation for all types of music -- as long as it is made with sincerity and honesty – you can tell when it isn't.

Finally, I felt that 100milkteeth would be a good way to learn how to deal with the emotions that come from releasing your creative product into the world.  It can be a roller coaster ride!  I wanted to get a thicker skin, and not take it so hard if somebody doesn't like something or I don't get immediate feedback.


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Well, this project has certainly helped me get a handle on my systems of organization!  I have become so much more efficient in the music studio – how to file everything, write things down, etc.  This maybe sounds kind of silly, but it has forced me to be super efficient in other areas too – for example: because I like to eat healthy and I am living on a part-time non-profit salary, I really avoid any take-out and try to cook for myself as much as possible. I realized quite quickly that I would not be able to cook every night during these 100 days like I was used to.  So, I have a cooking afternoon once every 2 weeks!  I put on a bunch of music and cook up a storm of different types of salads and noodle dishes – that will last in the fridge for the next couple of weeks.  So when I come home from work and it's time to get to making that song for the day, I just have to reheat and eat – 5 minutes later I am in the studio! – that has saved me!! 

Another surprising thing is that my body has adjusted to living on pretty little sleep – and there is an adrenaline rush that I get from making a new song each night – so much so, that I have to force myself to go to bed sometimes.  I learned that the hard way – after 6 days in a row with just a few hours a night, I go full shut-down – that that is not good for anybody! 

One final thought about this project's affect on my life – the experience of having a REAL deadline is powerful, it makes you push through the part when you might have given up because you hit that wall and you think you can't – because it turns out that you CAN, and you HAVE TO!  People are counting on you!  It's like when somebody quits smoking or says they are going to lose weight and then tells everyone they know, so they can't cheat.  Accountability forces you to push through the darkness when your mind tries to convince you that you can't do it...because once you get to the other side – it is a beautiful thing indeed – and you can do it even easier next time!!



You can hear all of Heidi's songs on her blog HERE or on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter.



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