Some people do their best work sitting at a desk, crumbling under the pressure of a deadline. Others do it best in the early morning, bright eyed and bushy-tailed after a cup of french press coffee. I’ve met people who prefer to work in the middle of the night, in the afternoon or only whenever inspiration strikes them. Some people are comforted by the familiar, they prefer to work in their home office or at their local starbucks, surrounded by beards, $6 dollar coffees and baristas with neck tattoos.
As for me, I do my best work when I’m in motion. I mean , I do good work late at night when I’m anywhere, but the very best things I’ve ever created have always been when I’m moving: When I’m sitting on a plane headed somewhere new or looking out the window on a train headed home. The perpetual movement strikes something open inside me that makes me want to pull all the magic out of this moment I’m in and create something new with it. Predictably, I also have music that goes along with being creative. Whether I’m writing, painting or just making some sort of DIY craft at home, there is always music playing. I guess I should say there is a very specific type of music playing, because I have music on about 80% of the time I’m home (the other 20% I’m watching Seinfeld). The songs I’m usually playing when I’m writing on an airport shuttle or in the passenger seat of a car are ambient, often wordless pieces of music. Simple, clean beats that I can get lost in without getting distracted by lyrics.
Recently I’ve been obsessed with Tycho, an artist that makes just this type of unique sound. He’s equally well-known for his design endeavours and I can’t really decide which I like better, they’re both incredible. He’s released a beautiful body of work over the last decade but all of his songs share one common thread: gorgeously constructed instrumentals that invoke a sense of wonder and movement. These songs just sound like sitting in a train car while a new world whizzes past you. The first song is the title track off his album ‘Awake’ and it’s tinged with a U2-esque opening that builds up to the perfect tune for traveling down back roads with the windows down. The second ‘Dye’ is like a laid-back journey through time, one that makes my thoughts relax and slow down every time I listen to it. I’m in motion right now, zig-zagging all over the southwest in planes and trains and automobiles. For me, songs like this are the same sense of familiarity that some people get from their house or hometown; I use them like a security blanket that I drag everywhere. It brings me a lot of comfort to know that no matter where I am in the world, I can just put on these songs and feel inspired to create.