Creative Process

Today I gave a lecture via skype about my creative process in general, and then how that related to the Seven Stations album, with particular reference to the relationship between architecture and music (it was to an architecture class).

I was invited by lecturer Cristina Freeman, whose class had studied my album and the train stations they relate to.

I'll be posting a recording of the lecture, but I wanted to summarise the core gist here;

Creative process - Key Points

There are 3 basic things to any creative process that I've found - whether it be writing a new work, choosing poses for life modelling, or developing a new product.

  1. Know yourself and your motivations
  2. Know the Brief (or make one up!)
  3. Build an instrinsic idea that meets the brief

I don't do this consciously as much as I used to - it's mostly second nature now... it's about knowing the limits imposed on you by internal and external forces and using them as creative tools rather than feeling suppressed by them in any way...

Know Yourself and your motivations

  • Why do you exist?
  • What do you want to birth into the world?
  • What would you do with carte blanche and unlimited budget?

What’s the Brief? - (Commission / Engagement)

Who are the Stakeholders, and what are their motivations in the project? This could include;

  • Myself
  • Audience
  • Funders
  • Ensemble
  • Other collaborators

What is the Scope/Scale?

  • Length
  • Performances planned (Large Festival vs Self present? Album?)
  • Venue
  • Context
  • Instrumentation
  • Budget

What is the relevant cultural, political and social context?

If this is not a commission, but rather a self inflicted creative process, the questions become about the “potential stakeholders” etc - and get asked after discovering the “intrinsic ideas” stage.

Intsinsic Ideas - what is an intrinsic idea?

For me the intrinsic idea is like a creative abstract for the whole work. Its components can include;

  • Personal connection to the material
  • Audience/general public connection to the material
  • Is it programatic/story driven?
  • Is it emotionally driven?
  • Is it driven by technique?
  • Is it explorative/experimental?
  • Is it all these things, in different degrees?

How does this relate to music and architecture?

When it comes to writing music inspired by architecture, or creating design inspired by music, you can approach it in heaps of different ways... I like to take into account the historical and social context of the space, the way the space makes me feel, and sometimes look at the math behind the geometrics of the space. How does the space sound? Who uses it? Why?... as well as taking into account stakeholders in building an approach to the work.

Multiple applications

I don't know if other multi-hatted people have experienced the same as me, but I find the basic creative process pretty similar accross multiple mediums - whether it be building a company or writing a string quartet... Let me know your thoughts!