I recently reconnected with an acquaintance that I’ve known for 20 years. We knew each other from the hometaper community. This was an international network of musicians who wrote and recorded music on portable and home recording devices and traded works with each other through the mail, originally on cassette up until the mid-1990s and eventually on CDrs and via digital downloads as technology and the world wide web emerged. Like most things that were once physical, but became digital and therefore were no longer scarce, the idea of trading lost a little bit of its magic for me over the years. But I digress.
The quality of the recordings in the early days of the home recording often left something to be desired. There was a distinct and obvious difference between what was recorded at home and what was recorded at a professional studio. Ironically, the same technology that made it perhaps a little too easy and therefore less interesting to trade finished works, dramatically increased the capacity of home studios. An incredibly vast palette of tools became accessible to artists with minimal investment.
As my friend and I were catching up, he made the comment that at 50 years old, maybe he shouldn’t still be playing around with recording music, to which I replied, of course you should! Generation X was the first generation to embrace home recording and then live through the technological revolution. But ours was also a generation that grew up with an idea that if you don’t “make it” in music in your twenties, you shouldn’t waste your time. Yet, hobbies like golfing, skiing, knitting, or fishing were viewed as totally acceptable and almost expected as we grew older.
While the majority of my generation may prefer more conventional hobbies, everybody has their own thing and should do that thing as much as possible in the short time we have in these lives. If writing and recording music is your thing, why stop? If you have a thing that for some reason others see as a waste of time, find your tribe, share your ideas, and do it anyway. Life is way too short not to.
One of my things in life is podcasting. My interest in the idea of making pre-recorded “radio” programs started in high school back in the 1980s when I made mix tapes for my friends in the format of mock radio show complete with bumpers and parody commercials. Later I worked at my college radio station and have always maintained home studios for recording my own music, other local bands, and eventually podcasts. I’m currently working on a new show for The Candy Factory called DOers that we’ll be launching soon and I’m starting a podcast club for members to gather once a month over lunch and talk about all things podcasting. If podcasting is your thing, let’s hang out and talk about it, and don’t ever stop doing it!