The Art of Creating and Collaborating
by Hope Montgomery
Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of human life is to grasp as much as we can out of the infinitude.
Daniel Grear grew up surrounded by music. Some of his earliest memories are of his father playing mandolin as he drove down the highway. At a young age, he started violin lessons, and to add to those experiences, his father also owns a music store.
Bands like Sufjan Stevens, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, and Vampire Weekend influence Daniel’s sound. I’ve seen him perform a thousand times, and his mastery of the guitar and unique voice that easily vibratos never ceases to mesmerize me—and everyone else, I’m sure. Daniel is inspired to write from personal experience and feels most successful in his writing when he writes about himself under a veil.
Daniel went on to play drums in a band while he was in high school, and these days, he primarily focused on his personal music career as a singer-song writer. Daniel thinks of songwriting as a somewhat divine intervention; it’s both a mystical and magical experience for him. Once he comes upon an idea, it’s only a matter of working it out after that. Or, to say it differently, once the idea comes to him. That's the mystical and magical part. It's almost as if there is a universal Muse -- a calling from the infinite which appears in the guise of a song to be written.
As a songwriter myself, I understand Daniel’s experience. One of the most convincing reasons of that I feel connected with the cosmos are lures for songwriting, lures that crop up and draw me towards them. Songs act as lures—pulling me and other musicians towards certain ideas and realizations.
Being in a band in high school, a large part of Daniel’s music experience has been in collaboration. “By the time we were all seniors, I had quite a bit of musical chemistry with those guys,” says Daniel. Never being in an organized band myself, I found Daniel’s encounter with collaborating and writing music with the band interesting. “It’s sort of a mix of knowing what musicians everyone in the band are influenced by and the tendencies they have in their own style. After that, it’s about anticipating what they’ll play and interpreting signals—I know if I play this rhythm, then he’ll probably respond in this way.”
It seems to me, collaboration is all about the many becoming one and then increasing by one; the separate band members and their style coming together to form one entity and one style and create something together out of that.
Collaborating is more than just something musicians do as they play together—it’s the way all of creation exists. We are constantly adding to each other’s lives, mixing and interpreting experiences that change into the present and determine who we are and how we experience the next moment. Collaboration is attempting to look into the future and decipher or discern the best proposition, the best possibility. It’s how we all interconnect with each other and cannot separate our experiences from those around us who we’ve prehended and been influenced by. Daniel has one album out called “Perfectly Adequate and Handsome.” You can find it on iTunes, or contact Daniel for a physical copy. Meanwhile, Daniel will probably keep writing, keep creating, keep collaborating both with other musicians and the rest of creation.
All quotes are from the philosopher Whitehead, whose ideas provide inspiration for the evolving tradition of process philosophy. Click here for sources and more quotes. If you are interested in learning more about process philosophy, you might find it helpful to peruse this website and also one related to process philosophy at Hendrix College: http://www.processphilosophyathendrix.org/.