Finding Creativity during Lockdown
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Like most people at the start of lockdown I was a little excited at the prospect of having some extra time to get creative. From mid-March it became very apparent that the whole gig economy was gone for the best part of 2020, or at least for the busy summer season, which came as shock both mentally and financially to our family, my bandmates and everyone in the live events and entertainment industry. We were on track for one of the busiest years ever, but the government restrictions and strict health and safety guidelines prohibited weddings, functions, corporate events and festivals taking place, and left us all involuntarily redundant.
Myself and my wife recorded a couple of songs together for the first time in an age and during the days between entertaining the kids the house got painted and the garden got a makeover. The weather was good and we were happy. Right up until the end of May I was also studying and aside from a dreaded thesis due this December, for the best part I've almost completed a master’s in music technology. So most of the time I was well occupied. Then came June, no live gigs to play, festivals were cancelled, no sporting events and the pubs were still closed. The weeks were beginning to drag.
At the beginning myself and the lads in the band (The Enemies) were full of great plans as to how we'd perform some live sets using our social media channels and for a time we got busy doing some remote recording, just to be productive and try to stay relevant, which was very enjoyable (see above Video!). But as the weeks started to drag on and the reality of the situation became clear we just got fed up. It’s hard to do something for the best part of 20 years and then suddenly, against your will, have to stop. With every government announcement came new restrictions and new guidelines so before long I for one was losing hope. Not something or somewhere I'd been before. I began to go in on myself, closed down to those dearest to me. I just felt useless and worthless and filled my days with tv and video games, and soon I slipped into something I referred to as "The Nothingness”. Feeling empty, aimless, frustrated and isolated.
I spoke to a lot of friends, fellow musicians, writers, artists all struggling with this new normal. I wasn't alone. I'd planned over the summer months to do some recording, but I really had to force myself, I just couldn’t find the head space. But I’m glad I did force myself and managed to turn the nothingness around. When I finally sat down with the keyboard I just started playing and experimenting, exploring new techniques, new sounds and new ideas. I soon tapped into the creative side of my brain again. Like a switch. A new found purpose.
During my studies in the early part of the year I had researched potential health benefits of music and various music therapies, specifically in the field of binaural beats, healing tones and frequencies that can alter or help with the human mental state associated with meditation and relaxation while helping to reduce anxiety, lower stress and promote optimism and creativity. As an exercise (and as an experiment) I set a goal to create a body of work that was uplifting and inspiring and to help promote positivity and personal well-being.
This combined with my experimental music creations using algorithms, granular synthesis and computer-generated patterns lead to some interesting sounds that when layered with rhythms and drones became the foundation for each track featured on what became my latest 10 track album “Mirrors”. Now finished and out for distribution next week my hope is that this album offers escapism. With the melodic soundscapes and intricate atmospheres, the listener should be elevated somewhere positive away from the current uncertain environment and explore the coexisting themes of hope, assurance and reflection. The whole creative process gave me a huge lift and thankfully a few live gigs are now back on the table. Thankfully some normality is beginning to filter through.
Mirrors is available from September 16th on Spotify, Apple Music, and all digital music streaming platforms. Stay positive, stay safe and enjoy x