I began by playing free. My first inclination as a two year old drummer was to play my yard sale Ludwigs free of mathematical confines. My cacophonous “stream of consciousness” creations were accompanied by cheeky laughter and a grin. One could say my source of merriment in this entropy was my mockery of form and structure, which I found quite humorous. Although endearing, I doubt I had any knowledge of musical structures worthy of mocking. One could also say it emanated from the simple joy of playing, which one can experience without technical prerequisites. I have realized time and time again that simple jubilation in creation has been the enduring driving force behind my career as a musician.
I have come to realize that my creative tendencies are misaligned with the intentions of most popular music. My unchanging goal is to expose the listener to beauty, while most popular artists aim to trigger a release of dopamine. I believe these tendencies stem from my first true musical inspiration. I heard the progressive rock band Rush at the impressionable age of ten. I found their music strange and unorthodox. Odd time signatures gave their rhythmic passages a “skipping record” type groove, which I found very intriguing. Their vocal melodies were based on awkward, almost alien movement. Some first time listeners have found these attributes annoying or off putting, while I found them strangely beautiful. I found this concept of musical “mystery” very appealing. As my musical career progresses, I fall more in love with what I do not understand.
I have been fascinated with the process of creating records since I recorded a hardcore punk album at age sixteen. While working on this project, I realized that every musical and technical choice is an influence on the final sound of the product. For this reason, the creative process is consistently very intense. For example, I have driven myself mad over certain sounds that do not work in the big picture. To remain persistent with my intention of inspiring beauty, I always require myself to exhaust every option, meticulously fine tuning sounds for lengths of time that some may call ridiculous. This diligent practice results in original sounds that achieve my unvarying goal.
When I entered Berklee as an anxious, self conscious high school graduate, my mind was plagued with an unrealistic plan for success. The strategy I had concocted included playing with the most popular musicians in order to make myself known to them. Oftentimes I did not enjoy the presence of these musicians nor create any interesting music with them. I had been much more creatively successful with
more “unknown” musicians, whom I connected with on a musical level. I have since realized that in order to become a well known musician, one needs to be unique, skilled, and reliable. One must create their own distinct sound, and bring others into their paradigm. I have learned that it is not about leeching from the successful, but building yourself up to their level. I am now nineteen years old, and my own boss. I am making a name for myself in the Berklee community as a an intensely passionate artist and a prime mover. Although it has now been seventeen years since I first passionately beat on the yard-sale Ludwigs, the same inner flame of joy drives me to be, rather than to appear to be.