We usually see musicians having different musical projects at a time, or a few at the same time, this is not only interesting for listeners as they get to enjoy different music from their favourite artists, but the musicians themselves experience different things while working with different people or in different ways. This allows them to explore dfferent parts of their musical selves.
This is why many times, members from a band, or any type of musical group decides to go solo, because it allows them to break free from the usual identity.
Musical identity is unavoidable, and sometimes for artists that have been doing the same thing for a few years, it becomes a bit repetitive, and one of the ways to remain fresh is to make music with another part of their creative self
While it’s not such a good idea to begin many projects at once when none have been established properly, it is definately a good idea to jump on to, mostly because it’s great to explore different sides of the same coin. When it comes to groups, different combinations result in different products, just like mixing colors. When it comes to making music alone, you can make something with one pure color and get a better understanding of yourself.
Iggy Pop’s Search
The legendary rockstar Iggy Pop found himself in one of these places of self doubt and being tired of the life he had known during his peak famous years. The breakpoint was when he wanted to prove to himself he was really talented and could still be a part of something great.
He then found Josh Homme from Queens of The Stone Age, who actually is known to have several side projects including Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures and this one special project with Iggy Pop.
They went on to find a drummer (Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys) and Dean Fertita (Queens of The Stone Age, The Raconteurs and more).
The process was a dream for everyone working with Iggy Pop, and for the man himself, it was a rediscovery and a breakthrough in terms of creativity and music passion, because it was something different, and probably something he really needed as a veteran musician.
The Musician’s Break
It’s tough to have music as a main job, the project you’ve spent years developing sometimes becomes tiring and tedious, that’s why every musician needs a break. According to Stephen Thompson from mpr.org:
If you’re a creatively restless person who finds success in a band, you’re bound to bump up against limitations. Among other things, success breeds an incredible amount of pressure: You’re responsible for the livelihood of an entire ecosystem built up around your continued popularity, and continued popularity generally necessitates at least some degree of replication — or, at worst, stagnation. Playing the same 10, 15, 20 songs a night for a year and a half is going to feel stifling, especially on off nights(…)Musicians are like anyone; they need breaks and vacations and time with their families and other palate-cleansers to freshen their perspective.
In a way it’s a breath of fresh air, for both the musicians and fans although as listeners we have to be open to listening very different things from the usual main project from an artist.
For example, Blur’s singer Damon Albarn has one of the most succesful side projects in music history, that being Gorillaz, a virtual band which departed a bit from the british rock side, and went on to experiment with electronica and hip hop sounds.
Opening up as a musician to try new things is a great idea, as long as it’s not too much to handle. And as a listener, it may be a good idea to do some research on your favourite artists and see if they are involved in any less popular side projects, you may find some hidden gems along the way.