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Be Yourself

Meet Doug Johns –

First and foremost, I want to give a big congrats and thanks to Bass Musician Magazine for their 3rd annivesary! Over the years, Jake Kot and staff have continually produced an original product based in truth, a thing that’s somewhat rare these days…

Now, this article won’t be a “lesson” per se on opening the slap style vocabulary. Instead, it’s meant to share the “lesson” I’ve learned when it comes to composing and recording my own music. Simply put, it is:

Be Yourself.

Right now (true independent musician plug here), I’m putting the finishing touches on my third CD. And something I’ve noticed through this process is that when I’m getting close to the end of a recording project, I get this sort of signal. I seem to just know that it’s time to “take it out of the oven.”

It’s like a musical barometer for myself; even though the mixes are rough and unmastered, I feel great about every note. I think it’s because the real development of my original music comes from my heart/soul, and I’ve learned to trust what sounds I put out into the air.

There was a time when my song writing sometimes tried to anticipate the molds of how music is produced. But who the hell specified that songs should go a certain way, anyhow? To be truly original, I realized that at some point I had to really start believing in what I was doing musically, and ignore all the naysayers.

If a groove or a solo sounds contrived when you play it back – square peg / round hole-ish – well, it probably is! I’ve found a real need to dig down and play what my soul really wants to play and truly feel it coming out of my heart at that moment.

Experience has told me to be confident in the notes and the style that come from this approach. And you know what? It works. The more I try to force a certain style or genre, the further away from that vibe I get. I know I’m always maintaining my integrity by just being myself and being grateful for the opportunity to express myself in this way.

Simply put, being yourself is both the easiest and hardest thing to do in music. And even though the recording process has a way of proving that from beginning to end, it all starts with what you play in the moment – in that moment.

Now get your Self out there, make your moment – and jam with somebody!

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