Circadian rhythm and the creative mind

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Tony The Drummer. Photo: Christopher Anderzon. 

Up until very recently, Orren would refuse to acknowledge jet lag as a real phenomenon. I’m just gonna leave that there.

Most people whom I would consider artistically creative, tend to thrive at night. I know, it sounds like a terribly clichéd stereotype, but I really think it is true for the most part. The outside world slows down, gets quiet, and that’s when the fun begins. The creative juices start to flow, as the drudgery of daytime existence grinds to a standstill.
I mean, I can be productive during the daytime, in an assembly line kind of way, I suppose, but my creative thoughts lie fairly dormant throughout the day. All that sweet, exciting stuff tends to come out when I get to turn on the colored lights and the smoke machine at Club Purjo, put on some amazing music and read a book that blows your hair back, to paraphrase Will Hunting.

All those great existential conversations with a close friend, or for that matter, a new acquaintance you’re just learning to know and find endlessly fascinating, where you take the plunge into the deep end and then just drift away on a stream of consciousness where concepts are shared, dreams are born and new galaxies of the mind are discovered, how many of those have you had during a lunch meeting in a crowded restaurant? I personally can’t think of one, but then, my memory does get more selective with each year, it seems, so maybe I’m mistaken. But I know with absolute certainty that I have had most of them late at night.

I sometimes go into a state that feels like a shark in a feeding frenzy, when I have an urge to learn about something, and I will look up every documentary or article on that topic I can find online, search my bookshelves, and sit at the kitchen table with my laptop and a pile of books all night, and just gorge myself on all the cool shit amazing individuals have said or done. But rarely do I have these urges while the sun is up and people move around me like sneaky predators trying to suck the marrow out of my life and eat my soul. Nope, that good shit only hits when nothing’s up but the rent, dammit.

When it comes to writing music, most of my inspiration comes out of moments like those described above. A sea of thoughts and emotions will ever so slowly boil down into a savory broth of an idea, which will eventually find its home in a piece of music. This is my creative process. So, while I’m no vampire, I am nocturnal in the sense that I need those late nights of exploration and meditation to feel alive.

Or, maybe it’s just the booze talking? I don’t know, and I don’t give a shit. I’m gonna stay up late tonight. Turn on that smoke machine, baby! Let’s rock! (Tony Lind, aka ‘Gramps’)

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billymomo

Swedish 7 piece urban folk band. Tomas Juto: keyboard/lead vocals | Oskar Hovell: acoustic guitar/banjo/lead vocals | Tony Lind: drums/vocals | Oscar Harryson: guitar | Christopher Anderzon: bass/vocals | Mårten Forssman: harmonica | Andreas Prybil: percussion/vocals https://billymomo.wordpress.com

3 thoughts on “Circadian rhythm and the creative mind”

  1. A lot of creative things happen in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t say I’m a night person, because it doesn’t seem to matter to me if it’s day or night as I can be creative, or non-creative under most any conditions. The problem I have is fitting in sleep. I seem to never get to bed at a “decent” hour (whatever that may be) as there’s always a last thought to get down, an idea to ponder, an interesting post to comment on. But then I can’t sleep when it’s light, either, so no matter what time I go to bed, I’m almost always up with the dawn — sleeping past sunrise is like sleeping in — so much of my creativity has to happen day or night on whatever sleep I’ve managed to get.

    BTW I encouraged my followers to purchase “Seven Rivers Wild” to celebrate Record Store Day.

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  2. Thanks for responding, my friend. And thank you for sharing our music with other people, we really appreciate it! I enjoy being up at dawn, but I like it better when I end the night with it. 😉 It’s a great feeling to go to bed as the sun comes up and the birds are singing outside.

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  3. Some of this is beautifully captured by Bachman Turner Overdrive in ‘Blue Collar’ (which happens to be my #1 favourite BTO song)

    “I’d like to remind you at four in the morning, my world is very still
    The air is fresh under diamond skies
    Makes me glad to be alive”

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