Please read below for an interview with Michael Bowman, a composer, songwriter, and musician from British Columbia, Canada. To access Michael’s music, please visit http://michaelbowman.bandcamp.com and www.michaelbowmanproductions.com
When did you first realize you wanted to be a musician? What was the process like?
I don’t think I can recall the moment when I decided that I wanted to be a musician or when I wanted to work towards making a living from it. I grew up with access to a piano with which I would tinker for amusement. I always enjoyed music but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to take it seriously and developed any concept of what went into making it. I started playing guitar for fun when I was fourteen or fifteen and that was my instrument until I reached sixteen or seventeen. I got into sound production around that time by simply recording wave files and layering and merging them together in a wave editing program. Soon after that, a friend and former guitar teacher lent me a basic interface that plugged into my PC via the game port on the sound card, and he gave me an old PC version of Logic. He kindly showed me the basics to get started and also gave me some sample libraries to work with. From there I kept on learning and upgrading my equipment. I started to become interested in playing piano, inspired by bands like Radiohead. Eventually I grew to like almost all instruments. I realized that with practice I was confident in my abilities and decided to record an album, which took about five years to actually finish.
How do your identities influence your music if at all?
Some of my songs are definitely influenced by my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Since age nine, I’ve essentially been experiencing a constant state of mental unrest. OCD is unfortunately a very misunderstood form of brain damage and it affects every aspect of my life. I’ve tried to channel my stress into ideas and use the anxiety as energy to fuel motivation. In a way, the fear and negative feelings I experience can be converted into dark ideas that can sometimes lead to interesting musical concepts
What is the creative process like for you? How are you inspired?
I wish I could provide some kind of profound insight but honestly it’s often a very random process for me, and the process differs for each idea. Sometimes I hear an idea in my head and develop it mentally for awhile. Sometimes I just run to my studio and record the idea if I think I’ll forget it. Other times I may think of a lyrical idea and meditate on it until I hear a melody to accompany it. But most of the time I just mess around with instruments, samples, and effects until I stumble upon something I like. Soundscapes are an important part of music for me, so I spend a lot of time working on them. For me, the most challenging part of making music is finding inspiration and motivation. I am constantly trying to create something unique and interesting, but that’s not always easy. It’s really not as mysterious of a process as some people think; sometimes songs just seem to come out of nowhere and other times I have to really work hard to come up with something. It’s just sort of random, which is frustrating a lot of the time, but it’s just the way it is.