Name: Joaquin Joe Claussell
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current release: Joaquin Joe Claussell's Raw Tones LP is out via Rekids.
If you enjoyed these thoughts by Joaquin Joe Claussell, visit his Instagram and Facebook accounts for more information. Or buy music directly from Joe Claussell via the stores of Sacred Rhythm Music and Atypical Dopeness.
You can also read our 15 Questions interview with Joaquin Joe Claussell, where he talks about an even wider range of topics.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc. play?
I draw inspiration from a multitude of sources, current, past life experiences, dreams both day and night and orgasms.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
Honestly, there isn’t one way or routine that I follow when making music. I try to approach every project that I’m about to take on differently.
However, what is constant is the experimental stage of creating. I spend a lot of time experimenting with sounds and programming. In the end, I feel it to be very important that I come up with something different and unique for each project that I’m working on, so that in the end each composition has a vibe of its own.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
Aside from the ideas that I first formulate in my head, nothing is set up beforehand. I work from a clean slate with every project that I’m about to go into. This way I’m giving myself the best chance of coming up with something new, or at least very different from previous projects.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
I literally engage in conversations with the music, all the while asking to be granted access to the unlimited resources that music sound and rhythm provide. This is why I am so comfortable and never bored with the creative process.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
Touching again on your previous question, first a conversation with the music that I’m either remixing or about to produce from scratch, which then opens up the flood gates of sounds and ideas being bestowed upon me, which then assist me in formulating ideas-reaching to the point of visualization.
In the end, everything with me begins with imagination. In fact, there are many instances where the entire composition was created in my head before I injected the spirit of those ideas into the machines.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
There are things that are generally difficult to explain, and this is one of them. Because again, there isn’t one way that I arrive to the completed stage of my productions. I’m just flowing …
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
For me everything about the creative process is definitely out of my hands. I love that I have no control whatsoever when it comes to anything that I do, because if not, everything would probably end up sounding the same and boring.
I am aware that I am drawing everything that I co-create from a source that is far above anything that I could possibly come up with on my own. This understanding grants me access to infinite possibilities. And which is why I could never take all the credit for how things turn out in the end.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
The creator has blessed me with an opened mind and because of it my senses are extremely sensitive. And so, I can foresee miles ahead what’s on the other side of the road before I reach a certain destination.
In other words, I expect there to be many roads and avenues to open up. The challenge mostly comes with knowing when I’ve arrived and therefore completed the trip.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
First and foremost, understanding that in the end I am borrowing everything that I do from an original source and that I create not a single note in the end. And also, by being completely in touch with the understanding that music is the voice of the creator.
In many ways, music is being falsely represented. But that’s a whole discussion for another time …
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
Good question. My answer to this is, I never consider my work to be finished. Because there’s always something more that I could have done or different to each of my works. Time actually dictates when I should hit the pause button, but it’s never ending.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice?
This comes into play mostly when it relates to the process of mixing, which to me is one if not the most important part of producing music. Paying attention to detail can take a lot of time and energy and I can let go once I’m completely satisfied with the mix.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I take everything that has to do with the creative process seriously. And so, I am always hands on with everything for the seeds being planted to the birth of the composition.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
That question doesn’t really relate to me. Maybe is because I am forever in the mode of creating, especially within the openness of imagination.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I personally consider everything that I do to be one in the same. I also give production credits to whatever sounds that evolve from opening and closing a door for example.
You see, I am in tuned with the plethora of rhythms, sounds and melodies that life and everything that we do in it produces. And this is again why I can never take credit from anything thing that I do.
You see, in reality, anyone and everyone can create music, because we all are musical beings - all that one needs to do is take a moment and listen to the grand composition that surrounds us titled life. For this is where not only all ideas originate from, but most importantly, it holds the key that leads to the blueprints to a unified world. And we can definitely get there if we understood the power in the beforementioned reality.