The Creative Process #16 Hymns for the Angels

When did you start making music and what was the contributor factor that made you to do so? 

I started playing the drums and guitar around 5 years old. My dad was a drummer, and I used to watch him play for hours. Around age 7 I started experimenting with recording on tape. Basically I had a primitive setup of 2 old boomboxes that I would have face towards each other, and I would stick a guitar amp in between them. I would play the recorded drums on boombox 1, and simultaneously play my guitar, while boombox 2 was recording all the audio. This was my hobby from a young age, and my parents were very supportive.

How hard was it for you to create, record and release your first material? 

I’ve sort of always recorded myself playing instruments, so that part is never new and scary. However my new release “The Spinning Heart” was a challenge because I decided to also mix and master it myself. This was difficult for me because I have never had any training in audio recording. However I learned it the same way I learned how to play drums and guitar- by ear. The Spinning Heart was definitely my most “official” release, and I was extremely meticulous about all of it. It was difficult but I am a very determined person. 

What is the main art form that influenced you in creating? Was it only music or did movies and other forms of art influenced your creative process? 

My main source of inspiration over the years has been other music and bands of course. Beyond that, I was always inspired and molded by life events, along with being by myself in the woods of Maine. I do a lot of snowmobiling, ATVing, and other backwoods activities. I truly get inspired by being in nature by myself and surrounding myself with a quiet environment. I am always spinning in one way or another, and the alone time in nature allows that spin to be free and used for creative ideas, instead of constantly be harnessed and suppressed.

What are the steps that an idea takes before becoming a fully fledge song? And how does that idea affects the way you build an album from the ground up? 

Usually I have an idea in my head that comes to me while I am out in the woods. I will remember the idea later that day. From there I grab my guitar, press record and let it try to flow out. Sometimes are more creative than others. I cant read or write music, so this is the only way I can document any ideas that might be turned into a song eventually. For The Spinning Heart, I just let it all flow, and didn’t try to control anything. As a result, I ended up with 10 songs that were all very different. Beyond that, I can’t really say there are any set steps to this. It often seems like a big free-for-all to me, with no rules and no method. Recording and producing The Spinning Heart, there was a lot of chaos and confusion that went into this record. Obviously I wouldn’t prefer it to be this way, however its the way it went!

What do you consider the most important traits that a song and an album must have before you consider it to be completed? 

The song and album must get me excited. If I don’t enjoy listening to my own material, than I know something is wrong. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way. I just mean that I like creating songs that I like listening to. Through music, I like to be taken on a ride. I don’t like any sudden stops or changes that take me out of that space. Subconsciously I think this mentality helps guide me while putting together an album,

What are the actual steps that you take when you are creating? Do you need to enter or go to a certain setting in order to get creative? 

Good question! In a perfect world, I prefer some candles, tapestry and a full day to work on music. However that isn’t usually the case. Usually its a tornado. Ive realized I can’t get away from the tornado, so therefore my goal is always to get to the inside of the tornado, where the air is still. I’ve become good at transporting to this place quickly.

Except art are there any other external or internal factors that influence you when you create, if so what are they? 

Yes definitely. The woods inspires me. Its often not directly in relation to music, however it trickles down to music eventually. Winter time in the woods, is my favorite.

What is your main motivation to create and be creative? 

My motivation would be that the creative piece of me has saved me over the years. Music seems to just be a normal pathway for me. Ever since a young age, it has never felt grand or inflating in any way. To me, its just what Ive grown up with. Not good or bad, just normal to “me”

How long does it take to go from a song to an album from scratch to the fully recorded version? 

This depends. The Spinning Heart being the first album I mixed and mastered myself, it took me a long time. It took me about 3 years total to write and record these songs, and also learn how to mix and master while using The Spinning Heart as my test subject. I am excited for my future recordings though, because I can now hopefully focus more on the writing, and less on the technical side of learning how to mix and master.

Do you take multiple takes of the songs before settling on the final version or do you go with the flow and just do one take?

YES. The Spinning Heart was a nightmare to arrange. Moving forward, I think future albums will be less overwhelming, from a technical standpoint. However for this release, I kept scrapping songs that were half done, importing parts, exporting parts, rearranging, and learning to mix and master simultaneously.

During live shows what do you like to do more, experiment and improvise on the basis of the existing album and songs or you are more likely to recreate the recorded material as faithfully as possible?

I generally like to improvise, because that is how I originally learned to play music. Also side note, I don’t often get to play live much. This is mainly because I am a solo act.

What is the perfect time of day and weather that makes you creative?

Cloudy, windy and COLD!

What are your future plans and what advice do you have for people that want to get into creating music?

My future plans are to continue making music. I have some exciting things planned, along with a lot more music inside that needs to come out. My advice is to make music that is true to you. Theres only one you, so be true to your story. Don’t be tempted to tell anyone else’s story.

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