THE WIRE INTERVIEW
You mention in your 4-week online course outline
that you have previous teaching experience.
Could you tell me what field or fields of teaching that was in?
It started with the occasional workshop, lecture, class or artist talk here & there. Over the years, these activities naturally grew into a something like a text platform comprising various formats and topics. Likewise, the field of teaching developed from “Just some stuff that I do” to “...and how I see music in general” to longer texts about more specific topics that I was researching at the time (interactive music, video games, perfume).
What moved you to initiate these creative courses?
Was there a specific experience that made you feel you needed
to start them? Did it come out of necessity to make more money
to simply survive, is it part of a ‘higher calling’, a new creative
adventure for yourself, etc?
Yes, this thing absolutely feels like a creative adventure, in fact, it’s very close to being my new mission - and one that I didn’t plan for or even saw coming at all, really. But once after I had started to do occasional mentoring for a number of friends and other artists, I was fascinated with the scope of surprising insight into people’s projects and personalities. The real tipping point (sorry for the buzzword, see below - M.P.) was when I saw that my “natural outsider perspective” fully passed as a valid outside perspective...to the effect that my idiosyncratic ways of doing things perpetually differently actually worked as valuable input and had astounding real-world effects.
Creative coaching is strongly linked with personal development –
the creative person potentially invests their entire self in their
project, and feels personally judged when their work is made
public. Beyond the structure and thematics you outline on your
website, could you tell me how you think about the overall
emotional narrative for each artist – how you navigate around
(or don’t) becoming something like a therapist?
First of all, I had no idea that “creative coaching” was a fixed term or even its own class of professional coaching - instead, I used this phrase (what I see) as an apt way to describe my own part in all of this - that I, too, have to get creative about finding solutions for people, often on the spot. And, yes, there is an emotional component present to a certain degree, but the participants are always fully aware that I play a certain part, which can range from “Let’s do this!”-football coach to the music whisperer. The most emotional that these courses get is probably when I, after three six-hour days of non-stop workshopping the most diverse musical and non-musical problems, sit down by myself in the kitchen with a “life is great”-smile on my face.
This is a vague one, but: My gut response to the nearly
corporate-management style pictures you’ve posted promoting
the course, as well as the notion of holistic creative mentoring –
from gear setup to self-branding – makes me quickly think of
histories tied back to the human potential movement. Radical or
new age iterations of structured personal development and
management, and how they’ve fed into our current era of life-
coaching and management ‘gurus’. Are these histories and links
that you recognise, reject, or embrace?
Self-branding, new age, holistic mentoring, human potential movement, management gurus - sharp rejection of all of these. I am really only that guy offering these courses, which in themselves are offering my “wisdom” of 25 years of doing what I do (and thinking about it), but they are by no means backed up or informed by any experience (or interest) in the above concepts / schools of thought.
Granted, I sometimes seem to be ending up with the occasional buzzword-esque marketing-term when writing these FAQs, but this is really only due to the fact that I lack the linguistic flexibility of doing this in a more cool, subdued manner. And those “nearly corporate management-style” pics are actually 1-1 me teaching a group of very real people in Moscow last October :-) I am almost flattered that this part of my website comes off as almost corporate, but these courses are actually neither expensive nor exclusive in any way.
Would you ever think about expanding your courses outside of the
music world? For instance to visual arts, design or even management?
The principles of these courses are pretty much universal - motivation, creative mission, public image, statement agenda etc. - and do easily apply also to other fields of creative work. Having said that, it is an endlessly fascinating task to advise, guide and challenge music projects - which are, still today, all-too-often run on a mix of old habits, gut feeling and wishful thinking.
I see this as especially important in a landscape of shrinking budgets & resources on one hand - to 98% of today’s musical content creators, the “music industry” is really only still there if you really want to see it - and an almost unlimited array of options to creatively conceive, personify and, yes, fabricate your own, personal “music 2.o”-future. And even though social media might be the inevitable backdrop for much of this endeavour, what I am teaching is a musical “take no shit from no one”-mindset, not slick self-branding strategies.