Brian Eno describes a familiar “feeling of terror” when finishing new tracks: “I just don’t know how not to ruin it”

“Beginnings are easy – endings are hard.”

Brian Eno

Photo: Press

Although widely considered a master of composition in the field of electronic music, Brian Eno has admitted that he still faces a feeling of “terror” when it comes to finishing new tracks.

Speaking with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe yesterday (26 October), the iconic musician and producer confessed that, despite over five decades in the industry, he still struggles to transform his ideas into a finished track.

“Beginnings are easy – endings are hard,” he said. “There’s so much technological assistance to beginnings – so many ways of getting started – like rhythm machines and chord pattern makers and all that sort of thing. There’s lots of ways of getting something pretty respectable going quite early on.”

He continued, admitting that, despite this initial momentum, he is often faced with a wave of dread when trying to finalise his upcoming projects:

“[It’s] that feeling of terror you get when you’ve done something and you know it’s good, and you just don’t know how not to ruin it. Everything you try on it makes it worse, and yet you know it’s not finished.”

In the discussion, Eno also explained how this issue is heightened for him when fans hold his previous releases in higher regard than his newer work.

“There’s a tendency in the world, if you’ve done something and it’s been successful, people want you to always be doing that same thing again and again,” he explains.

“People are always congratulating me for the album that I made 20 years ago [and it] introduces two thoughts: ‘‘Have I deteriorated since then?’ [and] ‘Did I have any better idea then about what I was doing than I do now?’… If feel that anchorage too strongly, that sense of always looking backwards, it just holds me back.”


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