The most in-depth and powerful topic among the musician world is easily that of inspiration. Where and how do we tap into it or draw it from? The beautiful answer is the most simple and still the most honest: everywhere.
One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever heard was to keep your mind open. Accept anything and be open to everything that you experience and just watch as you are potentially brought to new heights.
Exposure is something else that I think plays a vital role. Allowing yourself to be exposed to other genres and other forms of artistic expression will give you a deeper well to draw from when it comes time to develop your own form of expression. Honestly, it keeps coming back to that cliche, “Open your mind”.
I remember a few summers ago when I was visiting my friend at his job. He ran a video game store in Abbotsford which truly appealed to my nerdiness and gamer side. Given the weather was abnormally warm for the season, he left the door open which faces a semi busy street. At one moment there was a motorcycle that stopped at the red light outside. As it idled, I started to take notice of a particular rhythm it made. I noticed at some points the rhythm repeated with a very slight modification. It really grabbed my attention! So much that I began tapping on the counter to the same rhythm and eventually mapped out a very cool rhythm. That cool rhythm became part of the main verse to a popular WITHOUT MERCY song. This illustrates my point that inspiration can come from anywhere!
Countless times I have found myself falling into a rut, or a feeling a sense of boredom with the music that was readily available to me. “Luckily” (that was sarcasm) my wife has very polar opposite tastes in music from mine, so I was constantly getting exposed to genres that I found bothersome or annoying. However, there have been many occasions where certain chord changes or melodies grab my attention and make me think a little more about my own tastes. There are a few parts in WITHOUT MERCY songs that are a direct reference to an inspiration from something my wife Janelle showed me in a pop or country song. Let’s not let the other guys in my band know, shall we?
It’s almost as if I keep typing paragraphs that are driving home the exact same point. That’s because I really am! Open your mind and do yourself the favour of getting exposed to other forms of art. Go to a museum, or an art gallery. Pick up a classical record (I love Beethoven). Hell, go to the symphony or the opera! Of course if you normally do these things, then try the polars to your regular ideas of artistic entertainment. Go to a death metal show! Go to a hip hop concert or pick up a magazine.
The more you can expose yourself to the better! That is tried and true! My own influences are listed on the about page of this site but I still thought it appropriate to list a few of the more influential albums I have had the sheer privilege of being exposed to:
- Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
- Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill
- Man Must Die – No Tolerance for Imperfection
- Decapitated – Organic Hallucinosis
- Slipknot – Iowa
- Brad Paisley – (Anything, this guy is a deadly player)
- The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
- Garth Brooks – Scarecrow
- Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake
- Prince of Egypt Soundtrack
- Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Nevermore – Dead Heart in a Dead World
- Jeff Loomis – Zero Order Phase
- Rebel Meets Rebel
Remember how I mentioned you should keep your mind open? Check out some of these movies for the best expression of art and acting that I can think of:
- There Will Be Blood
- Gangs of New York
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Schindler’s List
- The Kings Speech
Full disclosure, I truly think Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest actor…ever…
As always, Kick ass and have fun!