I recently sent out a survey to my longer-term subscribers asking their opinion on the music they’ve received and on topics of interest from which I would write and/or create videos. I’ve received lots of very good topics and questions that will feed the blog and YouTube channel for a while. So, please keep them coming!
One question was: What is your creative process?
I don’t think I have just one overriding process, but let me share a few things I do as I create new music.
Some of my music begins with some external inspiration. I’ll be listening to a tune and hear an aspect of either the groove or sound that catches my attention. If I’m listening in the car, I’ll grab my camera and take a photo of the satellite radio screen so I can go back and put the music under the “microscope”. Hopefully it’s available on iTunes.
I’ll later isolate that aspect that attracted me (the seed), noodle around with my synths or sound design stuff and see if i can bring about within (Apple) Logic that thing that inspired me. Then I’ll add sound, beats or patterns to that seed and the foundation to something starts to emerge. Now, what to do with that?
I’l play that foundation in the studio and start to play my trombone with it – recording it. Rough and probably not sounding very good. But from here, all sorts of things can happen. I might give up on it and relegate it to my unfinished song folder (it’s growing), or start to hear something. I might then go to the piano and start to play around, writing things down in my idea manuscript pad. Then I’ll go back and record the trombone playing ideas I’ve written from the piano. It ends up being a very organic process. I sometimes wish I had the talent to just hear a finished piece in my head, grab the manuscript pad and write it out start to finish, then record it. But alas, I am not Mozart!
I sometimes struggle with “where is this all going?” A new tune of mine called Metamorphosis started out as something completely different. I found a great odd-sounding infectious synth rhythm pad over which I improvised a trombone line that I really liked. I called it “Broken Jazz”.
But as the days went by I felt it was too obtuse, even for the Electrik Project, so I ended up creating a transition to a completely new groove over which I improvised. Fairly straight forward jazz improvisation accompanied with mainly a ride cymbal. Then, wanting to create the unity of threes, I created a second transition to a third groove and an ending that I really liked. In the end, I realized that I had created a sort of evolution of ideas – from obtuse to straight-forward jazz to and resolving groove fade to end. “Metamorphosis” was born.
So, most of my music is a sort of an improvised stream of consciousness evolution that often seems like it will never fully form and resolve, but after difficult perseverance, does. It goes like this: inspiration – experimentation – frustration – doubting the entire endeavor – resolution – elation.
I’d be very interested to know YOUR process and if you go through any of the six steps above.