6.2 - Building Through Deconstructing - Own Your Distortion

To destroy something is to ruin it in a way no one else can use it. Deconstructing is taking things apart to see if there is a different way they can go together - like Legos or Tinkertoys. 

Taking apart an album is a lot harder than it used to be. Records used to come with liner notes - everything you wanted to know about the production of that record was right there for anyone to read. The streaming revolution gave us access to more music, but less information about the music. With a new album, we get a tracklist and cover art. If you want anything more, you have to go digging.

Oh, digging, what fun!

Digging into the artist website and looking up who recorded on the record, and where, and who paid to produce the thing. Maybe you find out who the producer is and all of the other songs they helped bring to life. Here are videos - interviews with apathetic rock journalists or recordings of live performances taken on a cell phone. 

Here is a list of every other act the singer also performed with. Here is the back catalog. It turns out, some of this information is only available in hard copy - you might have to call up your record store to find more. The guy who picks up the phone might know the band really well; he saw them play a few months ago, and hey, have you ever heard of this other band they used to tour with? Yeah, you should also check out all of the tours they’ve done, who they’ve opened for, and who opened for them. You might also want to do a reverse image search of their album cover art to discover your next favorite photographer.


The beautiful thing is that it works for any medium, any topic. Every author has a slew of bylines in magazines predating their novels. Every magazine has a masthead of editors who have worked with hundreds of other writers.

Not all of it will be online. Most of it won’t. It may be time to buy into the archives. Or dust off your library card? 

Taking things apart is as important as finding ways to put things together. Seeing how they built theirs will serve you when it comes time to build yours.