Life vs Creativity (1/4)

“…your standard day to day workings that take up your creative time.”

Many things can get in the way of our creativity. I often refer to this as ‘Life’; by this I mean your standard day to day workings that take up your creative time. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to deal with life in such way, then I salute you, you’ve hit the jackpot, but there are so many creatives I know that commonly struggle with this.

Creatives use their talents on a daily basis, but often struggle to create what they really want to themselves. Perhaps they’re a composer working hard writing music for film and television, but would prefer to be writing their own symphony. A cameraman filming daily, yet never directing their own film. A writer/journalist reporting everyday, yet never able to write their own story. I personally spent a year teaching music technology, only wishing the whole time to be making music for myself rather than teaching others.

“…should we really do this to our own detriment?’

Now this may appear selfish. Why have a talent and not use it to help others? This is true, and I agree that we should always help others when we can. We should use what we have learned in life to teach and guide others, but should we really do this to our own detriment? I recently had a conversation with someone about this such subject, people who study in order to go straight into teaching. It is something I can’t quite comprehend, as we all need to experience life in one way or another before passing on our experiences, and when moving straight into teaching after study, when have we had the time to experience the real world? Teaching is certainly a great way to earn a living and find fulfillment, but what does it cost in terms of our own creativity? Does it allow us to truly be creative for ourselves?

I’m not going to concentrate on teaching but thinking about that time in my life led me review my own ‘creative life’. I began to map out when I had been the most creative and what I was doing at that moment. Previously I’ve spoken about Planning Creativity which has been the first step to making sure I allow myself to be creative, but in the past I hadn’t needed to plan. It led me to think; “Why was that?”.

“…is it going to be a never ending battle between the two?’

As we grow older life begins to throw more and more our way. We may find a day job that we enjoy to earn our keep or a partner share our time with as we being to settle down. We begin to consider what the future holds for us, but where in that future is our creativity? Is there enough space to allow life and creativity to live happily side by side or is it going to be a never ending battle between the two?

This is a question that we have to decide for ourselves as it will never naturally sway either way. It involves our own discipline to get things done; to plan ahead and choose our own path in the creative world.

If you’re like me, and have decided for certain that you want creativity to be part of your life in a more established way, then over the next few blogs I’ll be going through a few steps I’m taking in order to achieve this. It involves dedication, discipline, time, organisation, inspiration, willingness, sacrifice, energy, and above all –  Patience.

 

 

Playlist: Winter

I fancied putting something together for you to enjoy. A short playlist of what I’ve been listening to over the past few months or so. I get stuck on albums a lot so I had to reach further back in the year to change up the artists, but I wanted to try and focus on albums released this year or stuff I’ve only recently discovered myself. Also make sure to check out my Inspiring Influence playlist I posted a while back.

Remember you can find all of my releases on Spotify here

Enjoy

 

 

Playlist: Inspiring Influence

I recently went on a journey to Bristol, and found for the first time in a while I was sat, on my own, headphones on and listening to music without interruption from the outside world.

Sitting behind me I have shelving holding around 500+ CDs spanning multiple genres, and on this thing I’m writing on (computer) I have access to the worlds library of music through services like Spotify, iTunes, YouTube etc.

I’ve been thinking more and more recently about how my ears have become pigeonholed to a genre since using Spotify. I used it to find new music, but this is often through the function of ‘related artists’ to what I’m already listening to. For this reason It’s very rare these days that I search for a new artist/band to listen to that aren’t based around an electronic backing, as this is predominantly what I listen to these days.

I’ve had a playlist in Spotify for some time. It was labeleld ‘Sounds to re-create’. These weren’t tracks to copy, but more the soundworld that I wanted to start exploring more. I’d play it whilst running, walking to work, cleaning the house or in the shower (surprisingly the shower thing is when it all started… My girlfriend had bought me one of those bluetooth shower speakers)

What I started realising is that yes, this had a big impact on how I was writing music, but I wasn’t sure if it was positive. I think it definitely helped me to find the soundworld I was looking for, but has it made my creativity stagnant?

Today I decided that I was going to expand on this playlist, and start to incorporate more. I then started to recognise that my music isn’t just influenced by what I’m listening to now. Musically speaking (as apposed to soundworld) I’m heavily influenced by what I was listening to in the past. I find that melody lines are influenced by Pat Metheny guitar licks I used to hear being played by my Dad (he had this mixtape that would be played in the car on long holiday car journeys), harmonies that I personally relate to nu-metal vocals (Deftones, Korn, Linkin Park etc), build-ups I feel are influenced by post-rock (This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros), Rhythm and Basslines from Hip-Hop/Beats, Nu-Jazz etc (Flying Lotus, Shigeto, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, Cinematic Orchestra).

As I’m writing this I’m realising more and more where my sound has developed from, but also that I need to make sure those multiple influences are being recognised by my ears on a regularly basis, rather than just thinking of them from time to time.

So. For this reason I spent a good few hours (seriously, like 5 hours doing this) surfing through my music collection, and picking one track from almost every artist. The track’s I chose weren’t necessarily my favourite track (although some simply are), more just a track that might incorporate the bands overall sound (quiet and loud peaks).

From doing this, I have also started to find the connections between bands that I listen to a little more. I’m heavily influenced by harmony over genre, I couldn’t tell you the specifics but I feel that there is a running theme. I was never a genre based listener as such, more if I found an artist or band that I literally liked the ‘sound’ of (whether that be electronic, jazz, nu-metal, rock, whatever) that I would want to hear more, and often aim to buy their catalog of albums. (My amazon wishlist is crazy big)

Anyway, I would like to share this playlist with you. If I’m honest, the genres aren’t exactly wide-spanning, but what I believe you will find is that if you listen to a bands catalog, there’s often a lot more going on with them.

I also recognise that the time I spent listening to music most was whilst in my mid-late teens/early 20s, and where I developed most of my CD catalog working a day job and living with my parents (I had access to way more stuff through my Dad’s vast collection whilst I was living at home. I’m still trying to buy all the stuff I really enjoyed of his)

I’d also like to add that yes, a handful of these artists/bands I’m not proud to have liked, but I wanted to recognise the music I listened to whilst growing up. Some of them were one hit wonders for me, If I hear one track I like, I will often buy their album and give it a few listens despite the stigma attached to them, and they will surely have influenced me in some shape or form.

I’m planning on updating this playlist slowly as time goes on. Some tracks may be replaced. So enjoy, maybe you’ll find something you like too. It is in a vague order, but I suggest hitting random and going from there. See what it comes up with.