I: You’ve been rather busy these days.
S: (Laughs) Well, you caught me in a good stretch. Sometimes you just get on a roll, other times you get nothing done for weeks at a time. It’s very unpredictable. And annoying.
What have you been working on?
Bits and pieces, as usual. One thing I’ve noticed is that, usually, nothing I come up with ever seems to come together as a whole piece until the end. I’ll start with a word or a note here, a paragraph or a riff there, and eventually I realize that I’ve been working on the same thing from two different angles.
That must make for some unique experiences in the editor’s chair.
Yeah, well, it’s hard sometimes. A lot of my heroes out there, they all say the same thing: get it all out at once. I’ve never been able to work that way. For a while I thought something was wrong with the way I was approaching things. It took me a long time to realize that what was wrong was thinking that I was approaching things wrong. You’ve got to work the way you know how to. Anything else is just forcing things.
U2, for one. I know that they write their songs in one motion. Dream Theater. Stephen King.
That’s some pretty ambitious company to put yourself in.
(Laughs) Yeah, well, you’ve got to aim as high as you can.
Describe your creative process.
Well, it’s pretty much a matter of finding the time to get everything down or to come up with something. I mean, I am still working a day job and that takes up a lot of my time. But even if it’s in small bursts, I still try to make as much time as I can for writing, for playing, for anything that lets me get whatever’s inside of me out. It’s what’s important to me. Maybe I’ll get a few lines down on the train ride to work or jot a verse or (sighs) a short poem. It might not be much, but at least I can still feel like I did something. And like I said, usually it becomes part of something bigger.
I noticed you cringe when you mentioned writing poems…
Was it that obvious?
You do seem to downplay that side of your output.
It’s not a matter of downplaying, it’s just that I hate that word. Poem. Poetry. When I write these things, I’m thinking not in terms of your typical coffehouse open-mic type of lamenting and bemoaning. More like a voiceover for a small chapter of a person’s life.
Your pursuits seem pretty diverse. What would you say is the most important of your outlets?
The writing. Definitely the writing. After that the music, and well after that the pictures. It’s what comes most naturally and it’s what I feel most comfortable doing. And I think a lot of that type of work, at least the narrative and mood elements, come through in the music and the photography.
That’s an interesting statement considering you almost exclusively write instrumentals.
(Laughs) Good point. That’s really more because I can’t sing. Seriously, my singing voice is terrible. Maybe I can pull off a backing vocal or a harmony but other than that…you don’t want to hear it. I write a lot of lyrics, but the problem is that I just don’t know anyone who can pull it off. Maybe I need to get out more.