I'm heading north tomorrow to spend some time in some beautiful areas in Aberdeenshire. The purpose is to connect with the landscape and the people and eventually I'll write some music which will be performed in Woodend Barn in November.
But the next few days are about walking and talking and playing tunes outside, meeting people and being inspired by what's around me. It got me thinking tonight, about what actually inspires me when I write:
Being outdoors and with nature calms me. The flash of inspiration doesn’t often come to me when I'm outside just because I’m outside and it’s beautiful. It's more to do with when I'm actually writing (and it's grafting, for me anyway) and I have a contemplative place I can go to, to help block out the madness or mundanity or stress of life.
I sit and play and record and focus on the beautiful things. Then I play more and notate and try and be at peace, to create. Nature and the outdoors and especially the Scottish landscape is a safe and comforting place in my mind.
If I get a chance to spend time to write in these areas then all the better. It doesn't always lead to calming beautiful music, quite often the opposite, but it helps calm the peripheral thoughts that can often blur the creative channels.
I often write music about places. This is a strange concept to some people. But it seems quite natural to me. It's not like the music is directly influenced by the shape of that hill or the sound of that wave, it might be, in some way, but the dedication of the tune to a place is more about how that place made me feel and how it helped focus my mind on the music and only the music.
More info in this project here