People could, and do in fact, spend a lifetime thinking, analysing or talking about creativity, inspiration and ideas. Ideas. Where they come from, how to welcome or encourage them, how to behave in their presence...how to manage them, monetise them, marry them, succumb to them, fight them, trust them...believe in them. In short, how to let them do their thing, whilst bringing you success and joy, and without destroying your life, relationships, sleep cycles (and health in general) too drastically, or at least too noticeably. (Enter eye drops, the cure for everything). On a more serious note, if you're genuinely interested in these topics...I'll refer you to an earlier blog post featuring some great TED talks by some great people discussing them. But if, because its Monday and you're not quite ready to be genuinely interested in anything, then stay here. We're talking music.
Yes, ideally...I'd love to take a long autumn walk through a gorgeous-but-not-tourist-swarmed Parisian park, preceded by some sort of Klee/Kandinsky exhibit, and followed by a good bottle of French wine with a stranger who happens to be well versed in psychiatric literature. This would be inspiring. (That actually happened once, the stranger in Paris bit. It was Beaujolais season which in some beautiful metaphorical sense has got to be fitting for a conversation with a stranger. He was a psychiatrist who didn't speak much English. And I can't remember what I was at the time, but I didn't speak much French. Anyway it was fun.)
But this doesn't happen every day. And sure, there are countless other nearer and farther, quicker and slower, simpler and more tedious ways to find, catch and ride that elusive train of inspiration. Reading a book, going for a walk, heading to the countryside, dancing all night, having a Skype call with an old friend or simply thinking of one, watching an episode of House of Cards (did you see the one with the Tibetan monks? Gasp!)...scrolling through Pinterest, falling in love...falling out of it (possibly due to too much Pinterest). Any and all of these can spark up the proverbial lightbulb...and/or pedal to keep it going. But none of these are as foolproof or readily available, affordable and attainable as you in this line of business, need them to be.
Except for music. Music is always there. Its not expensive. It doesn't involve getting on a plane. And thank heavens, it doesn't involve sniffing, swirling, smiling, and nodding on the pretence that you like it. [On that topic - do yourself a favour and watch this.] Music can stir or soothe you, appease or motivate you, expand or compress you...turn you into whatever it is you need to be, feel, think or believe....to ummm, get. shit. done.
But of course even this little creative genie isn't quite so straightforward. Hundreds of genres, thousands of artists, millions of shits to still get done. Where to begin? Am I in a Marvin Gaye mood? Or a Chopin mood. Am I going to end up just singing along to this and googling covers of it, or will it help me focus. Wait, focus? That could put me to sleep. I need something upbeat. But not too upbeat. Some vocals, but not necessarily sing-along vibes. Some bass, but not club bass. Oh, that's good...but that's only one song! What am I going to do after this?! I can't just keep stopping to look for songs!
This is when my imaginary boss and my imaginary employee-self get into a debate: Ok, so get me that report on this month's sales by noon. Ok, but first, I need a playlist. What? What's a playlist? Like, um, songs, that will empower me to, er, open Excel and look at rows and columns and stuff. I don't pay you to make playlists. Right. But this'll only take a minute. Ooh...new Lumineers single...aah, related artist I haven't noticed before, hey...big compilation FULL of similar stuff! Acoustic vibes. Yum. Coffee anyone? Oh look, its dark.
Ok I exaggerate a little...but in this studio, music is important. (And...full disclosure, I am dating a DJ who is somewhat to "blame." This is also why there's that cool looking mixer thing in the photo above. Not that I know how to use it. He leaves things like that lying around and I'm like, hey, I can photograph that. That would look cool on my blog). Annnnyway...the point is that I do spend a lot of time looking for music and justify it as some sort of investment that will yield hours of great work (+interest).
Music makes everything easier, better...and when its the right kind of music, cooler. Sitting at your desk and working is one thing...but sitting at your desk and imagining that its in the Hotel Costes lobby is another. Suddenly there's a perfectly chilled glass of rosé being set down next to you, on a letterpress coaster, with the tiniest little bowl of salted almonds next to it. Spreadsheets here I come! That is the whole magic of it right? That incredible transportive power...that takes you wherever you want to be, and brings a whole suitcase of senses with it. Music is the parks of Paris and the museums of New York...the long spring walks...the late summer nights...the new autumn wine. The seas you ran into and rains you ran out of, the thought-provoking conversations and impromptu dances, the laughs that hurt, the hands you held. Music is all of that. Music is everything.
But before I get too nostalgic or sentimental, I'll stop now. I promised music so here it is...hopefully the first of many, a short playlist featuring just a few of the sounds behind the work that has come out of this studio lately. It starts out slow and picks up later so enjoy it in order or at random, as you wish. In either case, take care not to let YouTube's Autoplay lead you astray...or do...but however you do it..show Monday who's boss.
To begin with...a short French lesson, on love.
"If you want to be less passionate about it you'd say..." Love. That.
Sadly, not many of these songs have official videos...but there is some benefit in staring at the word "majestic," tightly kerned in Helvetica Neue Bold, for 2 minutes and 52 seconds as you get your week going with this chill loungey number.
Ok we're picking things up a little bit...but don't go too fast: you HAVE to watch this next one. Gorgeous video mash-up of an old scene from a musical and this tres chic version of Say a Little Prayer. (Then, digress and watch the original here).
Another very cool video...sepia toned Eastern ink drawing with some Daliesque vibes, a lip-syncing mountain and so much more.
I'm just going to go right out there and say it...Miguel Campbell. Dude. Love you. So much, in fact, that I almost think he deserves his own blog post, so stay tuned for that...but just had to throw this in there for the end.
Ok I lied, that wasn't the end. It is Monday...so I'm leaving you with this feel good winner.
Happy Monday, and in the words of Abraham Lincoln..."whatever you are, be a good one."