29 Mar 2023
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Arrays - MNZ Interview: Cross Section S01 / E01 - Arrays

12 Mar 2023 // An interview by Shannon Coulomb

Aiming to dissect the cross section between the creative process and the industry side, Cross Section is an exciting brand-new interview series hosted by Shannon Coulomb (Swerve City / Impostor Syndrome).

Our first interview is with JP Carroll of Swerve City and Arrays. JP is also an award winning producer. I’ve known JP for a while, yet I was still enlightened by his answers and no-nonsense approach to creativity below.

What does your creative process look like?

For me, at this stage in my career, my creative process centres around the concept of productivity. Not in the sense of needing a product (i.e. a song) as an outcome, but to ensure that a creative process, or part of a creative process is achieved within a given timeframe.

For instance, if I’m writing a song, I will set aside x amount of hours on a certain day (with specific time frames depending on my schedule) with the goal of iterating on or landing on a final guitar part idea, or vocal idea etc. How that specific process will actually look depends greatly on context - i.e. where in the writing or production process I am.

Foundationally it is about arriving at a creative time block with a specific intention and working towards that, but while staying process oriented, rather than outcome oriented. A lot of detail goes into my art these days, and rushing through and knocking out a recording is not really my goal - rather to honour each segment of the creative process in a mindful way, which has the dual benefits of being a more rewarding creative process, and producing better art, than when I rush it.

Do you apply the same creative processes to other aspects of the Music Industry, for example, in your approach to marketing yourself?

I bring the same intention to all aspects of my creativity - but my degree of competence dictates execution and outcome. For instance I would argue that I could write and produce a song much better than I could create a piece of content. I have a greater understanding of what the components are in a song that I want to hear, than I do a 30 second clip of something promotional.

I would still bring an intention to the time block I was using to create something - i.e. a music video, or a Facebook banner - and apply that intention in a process-first way. But my depth of knowledge would be limited when compared to something like song writing, so it would necessarily change the process.

Is your creative process something you feel to have locked down or does it generally change on a song by song/release by release basis?

I think at a high level it is very repetitive, as discussed previously around intentionality; however it is also really important that it doesn’t have to be the same process every time, as you get closer to the act of actual creation. Ideas are ideas, and in my experience there is as much validity (or lack thereof) in executing an intuitive idea (such as a melody that arrives in your dreams) versus a manufactured idea (a guitar riff that you have sat down to create in a 2 hour time block with no specific source of inspiration).

What qualities do you appreciate the most in other musicians?

Musically, being in tune and in time.
Professionally, being relaxed and on time.
Practicing your parts at home ahead of band practice is an absolute power move, which makes you at least 800% more attractive to your preferred sexual partners.

If you could collaborate with another NZ musician/band, who would it be?

This question is triggering my insecurities.

How do you keep an eye to the future in regards to your work and work ethic? Do you generally focus on just the project at hand or are you considering how it fits into a larger plan?

Always the project at hand, the task at hand, what needs to be done, and where is the project bottlenecking with regards to my responsibilities. I’ve always got big hairy goals to keep me entertained, but for me it’s more about looking at what’s in front of you and seeing how, whatever you’re looking at can be the next step towards hitting some of those goals.

Where have you had the most success in terms of marketing to the Aotearoa audience? If applicable, has this translated well to an international market?

If you would define the outcomes I have derived from my efforts as ‘success’, which many wouldn’t...

New Zealand artists seem to benefit the most from getting in front of real people and consistently executing to a high standard. I think New Zealand music listeners appreciate a high level of execution both live and recorded. So, by doing your best to release great quality music and follow it up with an excellent live performance, you give yourself the best chance to win over some of our discerning population. Rinse and repeat as consistently as possible, try and get some opportunities, and keep in touch with your fan base throughout.

Internationally, social media platforms like Instagram have been really useful in the past. With the constant shifting of algorithmic landscapes, there’s no real information to hold onto, except perhaps that It always seems to come back to the same thing - Build your platform with excellent content, and when a human connects with it, try and connect with that human.

There are so many resources available to musicians in Aotearoa, such as Muzic.net.nz, Music Managers Forum Aotearoa and APRA/AMCOS. Have any of these (or other) NZ resources played a significant role in your journey so far?

All of the resources you have listed are excellent for various aspects of music promotion. I think the main opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the industry which I have received, have come from top quality mentors. MMF, the Producer Series, and picking the brains of successful muso’s you play alongside.

Has having access to these resources led to any break-through moments for you, particularly in regards to crafting a successful narrative in your online presence?

With the forever-changing void of the internet, break-through moments are always available, and these moments have certainly come from the above sources.

Are there any other resources that you would recommend to NZ musicians who are coming to terms with the business side of the craft?

Those listed above, mentors, and Google.

LINKS

Swerve City:
Facebook
Spotify

Arrays:

Facebook
Spotify

Music Production/ Mixing Work:
Facebook

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Shannon Coulomb is the co-songwriter, guitarist and producer for Auckland Based band Impostor Syndrome. He also plays bass for Swerve City and is currently the Head of Music at Birkenhead College, Auckland, as well as a tutor for Music Education at AUT University.

Impostor Syndrome:
Facebook
Spotify

Swerve City:
Facebook
Spotify

 

About Arrays

Introducing Arrays, the creative sandbox of Auckland Musician/Producer JP Carroll.

For JP, music is an ache to soothe, and an itch to scratch. JP’s drive to create a breadth and depth of oeuvre has led him to become a student of recording and production techniques, as well as general industry knowledge, to allow his work to reach as many willing ears as possible.

JP’s production skills have earned him top 40 NZ Rock chart placements, as well as being anointed as ‘one to watch’ by the NZ Official Music Charts. The ultimate goal for JP is to be able to live sustainably from creating music, and Arrays serves as one such avenue to pursue this outcome.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Arrays

Releases

Patience Way
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Light Years
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Motives
Year: 2017
Type: EP

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • BOY'S A LIAR PT. 2
    PinkPantheress And Ice Spice
  • FLOWERS
    Miley Cyrus
  • KILL BILL
    SZA
  • LAST NIGHT
    Morgan Wallen
  • DIE FOR YOU (REMIX)
    The Weeknd And Ariana Grande
  • SURE THING
    Miguel
  • PEOPLE
    Libianca
  • ESCAPISM.
    RAYE feat. 070 Shake
  • PLAYERS
    Coi Leray
  • CALM DOWN
    Rema And Selena Gomez
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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