I realise, for me, sort of sitting down to the same 88 keys at my electronic keyboard and composing wasn’t going to be inspiring enough, no matter what sound I was pulling up on the sampler or synthesiser. So, for me, very much a part of the composing process is setting myself up to be able to make mistakes.
So if I buy an instrument and I don’t really know how to play it, I will find myself approaching a melody mechanically, in the way I put down my fingers, that may yield something very different as I’m not familiar with the instrument. I find that a lot of us get boxed into motor mechanics – of how we play the piano, or the guitar – and an unfamiliar instrument really breaks those motor impulses that we have, that always bring me back to the same place over and over again.
Here’s my interview with Nathan Barr, composer of Flatliners. Nathan has a massive collection of all sorts of different instruments, and a pretty interesting approach approach to music. One of the things I always appreciate about doing these interviews is listening to creative people talk about their process, and noting the differences between them. It’s quite engaging hearing them speak about their art, and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about it too.