Posts in quotes
"You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard" Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me

Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me


Nils Frahm is one of my favourite musicians. I've seen him live four or five times now and each time he's blown me away.

I read this great interview with him this morning where he talks about creativity, composition and on being original. I highly recommend you give it a quick read. The video is great too.

This passage really stuck out to me:

With composition, I’m doing something I’ve learned from other musicians, I’ve learned from other artists, I’ve learned from life. Most of my musical ideas are coming from other people’s musical ideas. And so we are all connected. It would be silly to say that it’s all mine. Nothing really is mine. There are 12 notes in an octave. Was that my idea to use 12 notes in an octave? No, but I still use it. For me, it’s actually a comforting thought that I’m not doing something totally, totally unique. You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard. All the boring experiences and all the beautiful experiences I’m having… Everything jumps in as a source of inspiration. If it sounds right, then I’m happy, no matter how I got there. I just want to make beautiful music.

Creativity and being original relies on exposing ourselves to as many ideas as possible. We are the summation of those influences. Taking one idea and placing it in the context of another — that's originality.

If you haven't heard any Nils Frahm's music this is a good place to start. Read the full interview with Nils here.

"When in doubt, listen to David Bowie"

Like many people, I was devastated to hear the news of David Bowie's death. He was an inspiration in so many ways; an incredibly talented performer, a brilliant songwriter, a real artist.

If you haven't listened to his last album 'Blackstar' yet, do so, it's fantastic. Here are few quotes that caught my eye over the last few weeks.

"When in doubt, listen to David Bowie. In 1968, Bowie was a gay, ginger, bonk-eyed, snaggle-toothed freak walking around south London in a dress, being shouted at by thugs. Four years later, he was still exactly that – but everyone wanted to be like him, too. If David Bowie can make being David Bowie cool, you can make being you cool. Plus, unlike David Bowie, you get to listen to David Bowie for inspiration. So you’re one up on him, really. You’re already one ahead of David Bowie." ~ Caitlin Moran
"Cameron Crowe: Since you put yourself first, do you consider yourself an original thinker?
Bowie: Not by any means. More like a tasteful thief. The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from. I do think that my plagiarism is effective. Why does an artist create, anyway? The way I see it, if you’re an inventor, you invent something that you hope people can use. I want art to be just as practical. Art can be a political reference, a sexual force, any force that you want, but it should be usable. What the hell do artists want? Museum pieces? The more I get ripped off, the more flattered I get. But I’ve caused a lot of discontent, because I’ve expressed my admiration for other artists by saying, ‘Yes, I’ll use that,’ or, ‘Yes, I took this from him and this from her.’ Mick Jagger, for example, is scared to walk into the same room as me even thinking any new idea. He knows I’ll snatch it." (Playboy, September 1976)
"I've always felt bemused at being called the chameleon of rock. Doesn't a chameleon exert tremendous energy to become indistinguishable from its environment?" ~ David Bowie