Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Andrew Olmstead - March 24, 2013


The subject for this week is motivation, but I’m not interested in why we’re motivated to make music. I want to know why I’m often not motivated. Sure, we all need a break once in a while, but occasionally it feels like something’s preventing me from getting back into the swing of things. Why have I been in a creative slump, and how can I get out? It’s sort of related to procrastination, but maybe this issue is closer to an emotional state, like depression or anxiety. 

Over the last couple years I’ve heard so many people confess, “I know I should be making music, I really want to, BUT…”


For the last couple years, I’ve been playing music passively. I play in a couple groups, but only ones other people have initiated. I’m at Racer most Sundays, but haven’t curated in over a year. I also don’t compose anymore, but it’s not because I don’t want to. I’ve wanted to record an album and play regularly around town for a long time now. I just can’t seem to get myself moving.

I have websites to put music onto, but it’s been so long since I’ve updated them I don’t even identify with the music on them anymore. The last thing I put on my bandcamp account is from 2011. The longer I go without composing, the bigger I think my come back has to be. As Christian Pincock told me last week, “That’s the opposite of what you need.” Expectations need to stay reasonable so that I’m not afraid to move.

Erin Birgy recently asked for piano lessons on facebook. I asked if she would start playing keys in a band soon, and she said she had a tour coming up! I admire this enthusiasm for music, connected to the Pacific Northwest DIY attitude. Create early and often, it’s healthy.

I could ramble about this for days. It seems to be what I’ve thought about instead of composing. One last thought – a supportive community like Racer is a monumental help. Talk to people about music. This is what has gotten me through the slump. I think I’ll finally shake it off with this Racer Sesh. Even writing this article has helped me.


I’m playing a solo synthesizer set this week because it’s been a goal of mine for a long time. I encourage you to set your sights on your own goals this Sunday. Even if you feel like you “don’t know enough about music” or “aren’t good enough” to jam, please play. I hear this sort of thing occasionally, and it’s not true. NOTHING inspires me more than a new musician improvising with whatever tools they have, listening to the rest of the group intently.

If you don’t have any short term goals, please meet people you don’t know and encourage them to play. Racer has been an incredibly supportive environment for me. Keep supporting others! Also, that group you want to start? That tour you want to schedule? Those guitar lessons you’ve always wanted? Yea, you know what to do.


Some of my music is located here: >>>LINK<<<

I’m playing a solo set because of the influence of Hans Reichel, Neil Welch, David Balatero, Pete Seeger, Punishment, J Dilla, and Roscoe Holcomb.