In through the ears, straight to the heart and up to the head. Music has that ability to stir us deep in our core. It evokes feelings - regret, sadness, longing, joy and peace. It reminds us of beginnings and endings, of firsts and lasts. Music is emotional.
When I first listened to "Pictures" by the Damien Cripps Band, the scene was set in my heart and mind. A warm summer breeze, the light of day dimming into night and the lighthearted conversations and laughter of friends effervescing around me on the patio. The positive feelings that are generated by that scenario work wonders in my heart - turning my jagged heart rhythms into smooth ones.
I have had the pleasure of several cyber chats with Damien. What has become apparent to me is that he works hard at doing something he loves. And, as is true of all who are skilled at what they do, he makes it appear effortless. He is a kind-hearted man who honours his word. He also uses his music to make a difference in the world by performing at charity events. Thank you for caring and sharing, Damien.
I'm always curious about the creative process and asked him about his own experiences:
When and where do you feel most inspired?
Usually the most inspiration comes from other people and their reactions to situations. This makes me think about my own personal reaction to that situation. It allows me to take a first person view-point when writing.
Do you need certain conditions in order to write your music such as a mood or special place?
I generally find it comes in periods of about three months - where I love everything I write. Strangely enough, the really good periods where what I consider to be the best stuff comes when I am emotionally charged, either positively or negatively - it doesn't matter. High on emotion, high on inspiration.
Location-wise - I do like to be on my own and I have to absolutely love the sound of whatever instrument I'm using. [He plays piano and guitar and 'will work out how to play anything.'] Outside usually doesn't work for me, the acoustics of a room provide a sound and ambiance that keeps an idea different and moving along. I can't create a place to write - they occur randomly. I usually start with a theme or concept, then toy with lyrical options until I come up with what I think is a great starting point. Then, I develop a melody and add the instrumental part thereafter.
When is a song finished?
I know that I am done when material I actually want to explore further stops coming.
To paraphrase Damien, it is a force that cannot be called upon at will. The act of wanting it, actually stops it. I've noticed that in my own writing. When I am in the flow, it feels as if the words stream out of my pen, without intervention from the brain. This isn't the case, though. It is the brain operating as it should, with the guidance of the heart, encouraging cortical facilitation.
He writes. He plays. He sings. He will soon be touring North America. Damien, when you get here, I'm holding you to that cup of coffee you were talking about!