Hello and happy Canada Day to all you fellow Canadians! To any Americans reading this, happy early Independence Day! In honour of this Canadian celebration, I have the pleasure (and the connections, got to love those) of sitting down with Canadian born-and-bred musician Mitchell Carrington.
If you'll recall, I mentioned him in passing during my post about writing to music. Thanks to my close friend L. K. Below, I was able to arrange an interview with the indie musician. For those of you who didn't catch my previous post, Mr. Carrington was the recent gem I discovered on my search for music which inspires stories. Unlike most of the artists on my list, Mr. Carrington creates music without accompanying words. While that may not be some people's cup of tea, to me (and I imagine many other writers), modern music such as his is a godsend. It allows books to blossom without becoming distracted by the words to your favourite song.
But, I digress. Let's get on with the interview!
Clara: How long does it typically take to compose an album?
Mitchell: It all depends on the content of the album. My holiday album, An Instrumental Christmas, took me 4 full months to finish. The reason I was able to finish it so fast was because the content was already out there. I just had to rearrange everything and adapt it to my style and choice of instrumentation. Inner Space, on the other hand, took over 7 months to finish. Inner Space is packed with a lot of content.
Clara: Do you ever find yourself stuck at times? What do you do to keep the creative juices flowing?
Mitchell: Sometimes I am lucky and able to write a song in a matter of hours or days. For the most part, I find myself stuck somewhere. There's not really much to do when that happens. If I find myself stuck, I usually move on to a different song. Sometimes taking a break from a certain song will allow the creative juices to replenish.
Clara: When you compose your songs, do you compose them to tell a story? Do you picture the story in your head as you go along?
Mitchell: Most of my songs tell a story. Some of those stories are fictional, some are not. When I was composing Inner Space, I certainly pictured the story in my head. It's a fictional story of space (space is one of my favourite themes in fiction).
Clara: Do you ever compose your songs to bring out a certain mood in your listeners? If so, do you find that more difficult than just letting your creativity run naturally?
Mitchell: In my EP, Our Final Hours, my composition style was focused on bringing out the emotion of the song. These emotions were mostly based on personal experiences at the time the songs were written. When I listen to these songs today, I can feel the emotions that I put into them, but I do not know if everyone else can. With the release of my Single, Close Your Eyes, and later with the release of Inner Space, I found that I focused a lot less on emotion and more on creativity. I'm quite happy with how my album turned out because of that.
Clara: A little birdy told me that you once tried your hand at fiction writing. How do you think composing music compares to writing fiction?
Mitchell: I remember writing a fictional story in elementary school. I even wrote a sequel. But I lost the story not long after, so all I have is a few memories of writing it. I also took a few stabs at fiction writing in high school, but composing music became dominant for me. Looking back, I see a lot of similarities between writing fiction and composing music. As with my story from elementary school, Inner Space focuses a lot on the creativity I had going on in my mind. If my fiction writing skills were better, I'd love to write a story about Inner Space.
Clara: Any other creative tips or trades that you would like to share with us?
Mitchell: Set your goals high, set reasonable deadlines, and don't be afraid to take a break if you find yourself stuck. By setting your goals high, I find you can accomplish a lot, even if you don't reach those goals.
Clara: Thank you, Mitchell, for joining us today. For those of you interested in his music, you can find it on iTunes and Amazon, or you can check out Mitchell's website for free samples! You can also read what L. K. Below has to say about his newest album.
Have a wonderful Canada Day, everyone!