Name: Nick Storring
Occupation: Composer, cellist, curator, writer
Recent release: Nick Storring's Music from 'Wéi 成为 is out via Orange Milk Records.
If you enjoyed these thoughts by Nick Storring and would like to find out more about his work as a composer, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
We also recommend our recent conversation with Nick about inspiration, innovation, and imitation.
Nick Storring: “I believe that writing music is fundamentally different from making a great cup of coffee, but that's not to put these two things in a sort of hierarchy. It's more that I feel like most creative endeavours are quite distinct from one another. That's one of the main reasons why different artforms exist in the first place—they function differently, are received differently, and satisfy us in different ways.
Also, as much as I do see food and music as entirely separate entities, I'm of the mind that they're closer together that some would have you believe. I remember I was once interviewing one of my favourite composers, (the great) Maria De Alvear for Musicworks and she made a quip—something to the effect that she doesn't trust a composer who cannot cook. That statement totally resonated for me.
For many, music is a narrative form — it unfolds and tells a story. Some people get very adamant and specific about this claim and want to ascribe certain values to certain sonorities or musical gestures. I find this mentality incredibly frustrating and limiting. It's not so much that I don't want listeners to connect music to stories in their own minds. I think that's beautiful.
What irritates me is the notion that the narrative is fixed and that the composer is crafting a plot that listeners can grasp. That's patently false and robs music of one of its great strengths—getting into the cracks between various emotional and psychological states.
Good food, like music, impacts us in a subtle, mysterious but very complex ways. There are delicate combinations of flavours and nuances and these elements stir memories to evoke very powerful responses. Sometimes the aroma of unfamiliar foods can pose challenges, but just like its sonic counterpart, your palate can grow.
There are of course major differences as well, but we tend to neglect the more gastronomical elements of music composition out of convenience. It's easier to say that it's telling a story, than to relate to things like seasoning, cooking method, duration, ingredients, texture. Meanwhile, in reality, music is an absolutely terrible and inefficient medium for relaying a narrative.
However, there is a good reason why music so often accompanies narrative forms. Perhaps this actually points to the chief difference between music and the creativity found in the everyday.
If I'm in the right headspace many mundane tasks can conjure up a complicated array of different thoughts and feelings—ones that can't even be readily articulated. For instance, I love going on long meandering walks or even driving aimlessly and I find those experiences can be tremendously inspiring and evocative.
Music for me seems to have this power to somehow render those jumbles of disparate impressions palpable. Music suggests movement, and suggests both physical and imaginary spaces. When we bring it with us to accompany mundane tasks whether it's exercising, doing the dishes, travelling somewhere it serves to point to, amplify and complexify those attributes that are already there, just as how in a film, music can gesture toward the subtext.”