christina chatfield – process part 279 (clearly unfocused)
I don’t like to limit myself by always writing music that consistently fits into one of the meticulously named sub-genres of electronic music. This is a conflicted goal because at the same time, it is of equal importance to me to create an overall cohesive arc from start to finish. So even though I make music that nods to house, techno, dub, etc., I like to think it all ties together in the end because everything is ultimately funneled through my brain, and through my creative vision.
In addition, the music I am working on at any point in time is usually an indicator of my mood, my state of being. But don’t let that fool you…some of the happiest-sounding tunes I’ve made were written during some of the deepest slumps in my life. I write music for all kinds of reasons: to calm myself down, to cheer myself up, to get into the therapeutic–or at times maddening–state of creating. This podcast is a recorded set of my original music so it represents all of the above in some form or another. But I don’t solely write music that comes from some kind of emotional core. Sometimes there is simply nothing going on that is either monumentally exciting nor relentlessly melancholy.
This is when I draw inspiration from totally random, but specific places. Here are three examples.
1. One day I went into my studio and decided I wanted to make a song that sounded like 1960’s shopping mall music; kitschy and a tad forcefully uplifting, but also current and futuristic. Basically I set out to make the song that Jane Jetson would’ve pushed her retro space-age shopping cart around to.
2. I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of decorating my studio to look like some kind of dimly lit, moody Moroccan opium den. However, being a glutton for music gear means most of the studio funds go towards that, and not towards intricately carved mahogany wood furniture and colorful tapestries…So I settled for making the music one might listen to in a dimly lit, moody Moroccan opium den instead: dark, smoky, with the mellow bubbling of hookahs.
3. Back when I was in music school, a friend of mine used to tell me that my productions sounded like little creatures digging around in soil. I’m still not sure whether I should take that as a compliment or an insult, but regardless of that, I remain pleased that my music managed to conjure up such a specific image in my friend’s head. To this day it is a statement that floats around in my mind frequently when I’m in need of inspiration.
While they might seem completely superfluous, they are not meaningless. These images led me to create some of the music that’s in this recording, though I’ll leave the speculation over which track is referencing which imagery to the listener. And while each example paints a wildly different picture, they all have one thing in common: they set a very specific scene and mood, in a way providing me with a clear goal if I’m feeling lost creatively. It can be difficult, but I think it’s very important for artists of any kind to be continuously inspired by new and different things. This is one of the ways I do that.
Thank you to Rayna for inviting me to participate in the Process Series on Modyfier. I hope you enjoy the music.