I've had two creative lives. The first one was a musical one which started when I was twelve years old. I lived and breathed music - writing it, playing it, recording and producing it until I got to around 29 years old.
Back in the mid-90's, I was in a Scottish band called 'The Indian Givers' with my friend Nigel Sleaford (whom you can hear singing on the song that I've embedded into this post). Nigel had just been dropped by Virgin Records whom he had been signed to for a few years. He had released one album as The Indian Givers and had thought he was set up for doing a second album when Virgin were bought by EMI and they dropped most of the non-major artists on their rosta.
For those of you who know a bit about some of the lesser known Scottish bands at the time, I was a friend of Gordon Kerr's - he was in a band called Botany 5 whom had some success in the early 90's. Gordon put me in touch with Nigel when I was looking to work with a singer. Nigel at this point, had been dropped by Virgin. Up until we worked on this track, I had just been putting together instrumentals and was keen to find a vocalist to work with.
The song you can listen to above, is from an album of twelve tracks we recorded over 4 years in my living room. It's very 90's now :-)
All the sound production and mixing was done by myself on a really horrible cheap / nasty mixer. So it's really a 'demo' and I'd hoped that if we got to record it properly sometime, we might have used a real string section for it, rather than samples. Everything on the track was either sampler or synth.
For the music nerds reading this post: I did have some very nice Synth's at my disposal (Prophet 5, Studio Electronics ATC-1, Wavestation, TX816, Roland S-750 Sampler, Waldorf Microwave, Waldorf Wave, SCI Pro-One) and a Mac computer with an Audiomedia card running on it (for the vocals). Plus a lot of outboard effects units. I was still learning about audio production at the time.
I find that looking back at this period in my life a bitter sweet one. We had been offered a publishing deal at the time but it never really got off the ground. I almost got offered a job working for a film studio doing sound design, but that never really happened either. After working on music for so long and feeling that nothing was coming of it, I hit burn out.
I had a hiatus of around 4 years where I couldn't face writing music any longer and where I had no other creative outlet. I think I needed the break, but looking back - it was an empty time for me. I really need to be creative.
My second creative life - that of Photography - really started around the year 2000 when I was around 33 years old. I've never had any real direction in what I've been doing with the photography side - it just seems to have blossomed over the years into something that I could actually do full time. I'm extremely grateful for this, because I always felt I should be a 'creative person' in some form or other.
But one thing I've learned over the years is this: you need to look after your creativity. Nurture it. Don't abuse it, don't be overly critical of yourself, and above all else: remember to enjoy it. I beat myself up so much about my music that I stopped enjoying it. I also took it far too seriously. I wish I hadn't.
At the moment, I'm just grateful to have found a second creative outlet and that this one has been much kinder to me. I hope I can continue to be creative for many years to come :-)
I feel very philosophical about my musical past: it's mine, I own it. I also feel that everything we do is a stepping stone. I know for sure, that I needed to go through the process of working on music for so long, in order for me to be doing what I do now. We are after all, products of our accumulated experiences.