In this edition of #CREATORTALK, we speak to Damien Verrett ( @somuchlight on Instagram). #CREATORTALK is a series of articles and interviews, with a focus on the creative industries and the the talent working within them.
PW- Hey Damien! How’s it going?
Doing well! I’m just trying to beat the Summer heat here in Sacramento.
PW- So, first thing’s first. For those who don’t know yet, how would you sum up who you are and what you do?
Well I’m a musician first and foremost. I release my music under the name So Much Light. I feel like it’s my mission in life to capture the nuance of the human emotional experience with sound and I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue that goal.
PW- You came back home last month after a three-week tour with Geographer. How was the experience? Any shows that really stood out to you for a particular reason?
I’d have to say it was my favorite tour yet. It was definitely that most serious in terms of the rooms we were playing in/size of the crowds, so in that sense they all stood out. However, there was something about the energy of the Atlanta and Austin shows that really moved me. There’s something about the heat down south that gets people moving.
PW- I first heard your music after coming across the awesome video for “Full Body Mirror”. Your visuals are always so on point, is this something you consider in the early stages of creating the music, or does it come afterwards?
I’ve always been interested in film and other story telling mediums, so I do consider narrative arc + begin to picture visuals when I’m working on my music. However, the Full Body Mirror vid is 100% the vision of the director Jane Qian. Jane’s a brilliant film maker and I feel very fortunate that her and cinematographer Jake Bianco took interest in the song and in helping me match it so well with a killer video.
PW-What was the first music video you can remember seeing, and why do you think it has stuck in your memory?
I have a vivid memory of being in an arcade and seeing the video for “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz for the first time. It creeped me the fuck out, but was also so cool and that song is the catchiest. There was something about how perfectly the tone of the video matched the music that felt psychedelic. It really transported me into another world.
PW- I’ve watched a few of your recent Instagram videos where you layer different sounds and ideas into experimental beats, and this is actually one of my favourite parts of your production style. Was this a natural progression from your Math-Rock days, or is it something more intentional?
I’m always glad that I began my music career in a Math Rock band because it forced me to consider how different elements of a piece work together on a micro level. In Math Rock there is so much shit happening at all times that things need to be interwoven in such an intentional way for it to not sound like trash. Over time I’ve really pared down my production style, but without those Math Rock roots I’d be a completely different artist.
PW- This blog focuses heavily on creativity and the real people behind the art. How does creativity affect you on a day to day basis? Do you get super inspired out and about, or is it more of a focused effort, where you can shut off from the world and just think?
I think it’s important to waver between seeking inspiration externally and internally. Those worlds are infinite and reciprocal. Lately I’ve been very inspired by meditation. I highly recommend the book “Catching the Big Fish” by David Lynch, the creator of Twin Peaks. He has a lot to offer in regards to meditation and creativity. I’ve also recently experimented with psychedelics for the first time and it blew my mind how much those experiences can offer creatively. I feel like I’m stepping into a whole new world of self expression. I’m glad I waited until now to begin going further out in my head. I think I know myself much better now and am better positioned to have constructive self reflective experiences.
PW- In this kind of economy and industry, it can be tough to feel like you’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
Sometimes I think about the “what-if’s”. Like, what if I’d been born during the age of million dollar recording budgets instead of the age of screaming to be heard on social media? But honestly I think we’re lucky as artists in 2018. It’s never been more important to fall in love with the practice of your medium for your own benefit. My advice to anyone would be to try maintaining some level of “beginner’s mind” with your craft. Learn a new instrument, paint with watercolors instead of oils, use film instead of digital. Also, continue to learn about yourself and your art will always be constructive regardless of how large or small your audience is.
PW- If you could offer a short piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I’d tell my younger self to always create for himself first. I’m always hoping people will find deep ways to connect with my music, but unless I’m honest about who I’m doing it for (me), then there’s no integrity in what I’m saying.
PW- And final question! It’s more of an invitation actually. Use the next few sentences to self-promote the hell out of what you’re up to, what we can see etc, no judgement!
Right now I’m laying the groundwork for two projects I’m very excited about. Both tap directly into my interests in education. One is exclusively about helping people self-actualize musically and the other is much more ambitious. I guess that’s all I’ll say for now : ]
* Boring adult notice alert! By talking about drugs or anything of the type, we are not condoning their use, especially if they are illegal in the territory you reside. So don’t come for us with your pitchforks, we’ve warned you!