Music, Surfing and the Creative Process

Songwriting is not just a job for me, it feels like I am releasing a little piece of my soul to the world every time the pen hits the paper. Sometimes a song will come easy to me through an inspired spur of the moment and other times my inspirations manifest into melodies and lyrics after months of laboring. The creative process is never the same twice; maybe it starts with a chord progression that is appealing, or it begins as a melody I heard in my head while driving, or a beat from a random object hitting the pavement, but inspiration can strike anywhere and I have learned to flow with the process. There have even been times where I’ve come up with the name of the song first before I even have the song written. No matter how they come about, I always try to tend to that need with a sense of urgency. If I continue to be proactive and prioritize these experiences in my life, I believe my listeners will feel that being expressed through my music and relate.

“I remember our first day working together, we clicked so well that we had our first single, “Thank You,” completed that same day.”

While working on my new EP, I decided to take a completely different approach to the creative process and teamed up with NYC based DJ/Producer, Jenaux. We come from very different musical backgrounds so being able to combine dance & electronic with live aspects of funk and soul has been the most fun challenge throughout this process and gave us a finished product far greater than I think we both expected.

Every Wednesday, I would drive into New York City from Asbury Park, NJ to work in Jenaux’s studio in the Lower East Side. We would start off each session by listening to our favorite recent tracks for inspiration. I would come prepared with a few home demos of groove ideas, lyrics, or melodies, and we would pick them apart to find the best changes musically and melodically. We would start with recording just guitar or keyboard chord changes, then fill in all the vocals and harmonies. I remember our first day working together, we clicked so well that we had our first single “Thank You” completed that same day. We decided to name the EP Every Wednesday in order to honor these collaborative sessions.

Mumford

“It’s important that you connect and support each other’s ideas when you collaborate. Without that, the process can be frustrating.”

It’s important that you connect and support each other’s ideas when you collaborate. Without that, the process can be frustrating. It has been effortless with Jenaux since day one. His belief in me not only helped elevate these records into the music I have always wanted to make, but also gave me the confidence to believe in my own work. He always made sure that I was singing from a true place of honesty and raw emotion. There are ways to fake a portrayal of emotion in music, but I think fans can really feel the difference when it comes straight from the heart. I am happy to say that this new EP is the closest thing to looking directly into my true soul.

“The creative process is not always easy, and you need to find the things in life that keep your inspiration alive.” 

The creative process is not alway easy, and you need to find the things in life that keep your inspiration alive. During intense periods of writing, there are so many idea, lyrics, melodies, and sounds that pop into my head, that my brain gets cluttered with noise. One of the ways that I meditate and cipher through these thoughts is connecting back with the ocean and going surfing, helping calm my thoughts and spur inspiration. It brings me peace, excitement, and creativity. With surfing, you can’t just take off on any wave, any day. The wind needs to be in the right direction, there needs to be a swell in the water, and you need to be in the right position to grab the wave. It’s the same with the creative process, you need to be patient and let the song come to you. There are days I make music that makes me as happy as I am in the water: free and authentic.

Quincy Mumford

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