Emotions/Summer Shows

Hey, everyone! Man, can you believe we are almost halfway through the year alreadyiREALLYdonotlikesmalltalk. Let’s talk about emotions instead, shall we? Get really deep into some heaviness going into the weekend!

There is an amazing podcast I listen to called Invisibilia. I find myself anxiously waiting for the next episode every time, and since they only post during the summers, I get even MORE excited when they announce a new season. Basically, it’s a show discussing the hidden forces of human behavior, such as our beliefs, ideas from culture and science, and they just started season 3 two days ago with a two part episode about emotions.

I loved the episode because the big theme of part 1 was that emotions are a human/culture concept, and are not actually hard-wired into our systems like we have believed (there’s a captivating story told through this theme, but you should go listen to it than me explaining it). Basically, you learn about emotions through your parents and the culture around you; maybe even Mr. Rogers, if you were lucky enough to grow up with him (he actually sums up this idea so well). You watch what goes on around you and based on what you’ve seen and experienced, your brain makes predictions on how to act. It works exactly the same way as vision: When we are born, we only see light and dark. It’s only by our brains developing concepts of what things look like that we can see anything. So our emotions are very much the same, with concepts our brain created to associate with four core reactions: pleasantness, unpleasantness, arousal (high-energy), and calmness (low-energy). “Our concepts make the world you see.” And basically, it means that we, as humans, have control of our emotions; Not necessarily what we feel (cause you can’t help what you feel and how you grew up), but HOW we feel.

Now, there are some huge discussions to be had on all of this…However, I am going to focus on what I learned from this and apply it to music (Typical musician, right? Again, go listen to the podcast for a much better, detailed explanation). One of the things I enjoy most about music is how it connects to people and the different emotions each individual has when listening to music. My brother, for example, is a huge fan of music like metal, prog rock, and punk. While I also like these genres, I don’t love them like he does, and I definitely don’t have the same emotional reaction to that genre like he can. Same with me having a huge passion for pop/classical music. He may like it as well, but I will feel totally different when listening to Rachmaninoff’s Romance Op6 No. 1 than he will. While emotions may be concepts humans and cultures have created, artforms like music are a way that not only the artist can express how they feel, but that we can all feel and connect with while experiencing totally different outcomes. Whether you feel happy or sad, angry, fearful, or disgusting (you were just DYING to see how I would reference the Inside Out picture, weren’t you?), Rachmaninoff can meet you in that emotion. So can Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Claude Debussy, and even myself.

I create a lot of improvised music based on what I’m sensing in the venue I’m playing. The best part, though, is the stories and emotions people tell me after hearing me play. I played a piece in a senior home and one of the ladies listening said it made her melancholy because it reminded her of her husband, who died a few years ago. In that same home, another woman said it made her angry because she always wanted to learn violin but with arthritic hands, she could no longer try. In the airport, a man walked by frustrated by his delay and heard me play and felt like I knew his exact situation and it calmed him; he stayed to listen for the three hours he had to wait. I once played a cover of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and it reminded a man of his childhood; growing up, watching the movie. He said it brought up great memories of happiness for him.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is aren’t these human creations called ’emotions’ lovely things too? Isn’t it great to know that someone can feel totally different listening to a song and yet we can share in the act of listening of music with said person? I feel like, as a musician, I have a rare opportunity to bring these different people together communally through the music that I play and that now, in a world where these emotional concepts are controlling our every decision (more often for the worst), we need to see that we still share in all of this together…now more than ever. Most importantly, that we can’t begin to understand each other until we understand how each other FEELS the world around them. I hope to do well in this opportunity.

If you want to be part of this opportunity with me and start trying to understand one another a little better, come out to see a show of mine!! I’m playing in quite a lot of things over the summer so far, and I would love to see you at one of them. 🙂 Just check out the shows section of this website to see all that I’m doing and see if it works in your schedule to come and experience the emotions of music with me. Love you all, with every concept of the meaning (except maybe the bad forms of love…good vibes only).

DGS

The Art of Being Lonely

Hello, everyone! Told ya I’d be more frequent! Although, to be fair, once a month is still pretty slow going these days.

It’s been several weeks without a job now. Thankfully, and humbly, I have been able to make ends meet just by playing music alone. Really goes to show ya how taking a leap of faith is sometimes all you need to start living into your potential. However, it is far from easy. There is a lot of self-doubt I have to fight every day. I have quite a lot of battles ahead of me yet in finding out how to exist in this life and to do it well. One of these battles is loneliness, which has plagued me for a long time. I figured I would share a little bit of that with you, if that’s all right. If not, feel free to get back to your Facebook inspirational posts, your Snapchat comedy feeds, and your Instagram “perfect vacation/life” photos.

A lot of my loneliness comes from my introverted nature. Any crowd bigger than six, and I feel lost…maybe that’s an exaggeration. I feel like in that large of a group (a group of friends, mind you. I do pretty well at shows and with crowds), everyone’s voice & opinion should be heard and represented, and so I keep my mouth shut and listen. The only one whose voice isn’t represented then is mine. I also am a huge empath. When I am with people, I feel their emotions and what they are going through, whether or not they vocally acknowledge these things. In a lot of ways, it is a great gift; It helps me understand their situation, gives me insight on how to effectively be with them during that time…it’s actually one of the main inspirations for my music and how I write, by feeling the emotions and energy around me and creating music from it. It’s also why it’s so hard for me to write on my own, as all I have to go on are my own emotions (and it’s hard to decipher those). I also end up taking on others’ emotions as my own, and differentiating them from what I am feeling is extremely difficult at times.

On a more physical level, it’s been 6 years since I moved from Illinois to Minnesota. I’m away from my family, which is a constant hardship for me (which is why I call my mom every couple days or so. Sorry Mom! Love you, though). It’s also really hard when you are doing life on your own. This last year, I chose to move into a place by myself. It’s been really wonderful in a lot of ways; going home to a house filled with introvert energy, feeling a little more adult. However, it also makes it so much easier to be by myself and to feel like “no one wants to hang out with me, so I’ll just be by myself until someone calls”. Add in that physical touch and quality time are tied as my top love language (if you are curious about what yours is, take the test here!), and the fact that most of my friends are all married…you get a constant feeling of being alone.

Now, rationally, I know I’m not alone; I know I can go visit my family, which I do every summer and winter I know my friends care about me a whole bunch. I know that people enjoy my company, and that my opinion matters. However, that’s the thing with loneliness…or maybe, that’s the thing with being depressed: the rational makes sense, yet you choose the senseless because it FEELS more real. Feelings are our best strength as humans, yet, are our biggest weakness as well. Feelings are beautiful and wonderful (love, happiness, joy) but are also terrible and cruel (sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc). Notice how I listed more terrible feelings than sad. I know I can be happy, and I know that with all the wonderful friends in my life, my family, pursuing music as my passion and career, I SHOULD be happy. But I’m not, because I let those other feelings control my thoughts. Sometimes, you have to be lonely or angry. That’s just a part of being human, and it’s important to embrace these feelings. It’s when they control you that it becomes ugly and twisted. And truly, all of those ugly emotions stem from one evil: fear. “I’m afraid of being alone”. Loneliness. “I’m afraid of not being good enough”. Frustration. “I’m afraid I’m not happy with where I’m at.” Jealousy. See the pattern?

This feeling of loneliness isn’t an overnight fix. It’s going to take me awhile, much like my recent career choice to become purely freelance with music. I know that at the end of it though, if I just stick to it every day, I’ll be able to control this feeling. Hopefully, I can find a way to write music about it even (do you ever wonder what loneliness sounds like? I feel like it’s an emotion music hasn’t been able to tell well…yet). For now, I sit here writing this a little lonely…and maybe for now that’s a good thing…because tomorrow, I’m going to call my mom. I’m going to play music and work my butt off on an old classical etude, maybe start writing something without another’s emotions.  I’m going to call my friends and see how they are doing, maybe see if they’d want to come over. It’s not an ideal state of being, but maybe it’s my state of being…and maybe it can be a good thing.

Anyway, those are my thoughts at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading about them. If you want, you can listen to the new album I put out a couple months ago and feel some of what I’m talking about through that by clicking this link. It’s amazing how I started recording this album two years ago, and it feels like I’m still living in it’s story. If you want another’s perspective on anxiety/depression/loneliness, Patrick Donnelly at the StarTribune wrote a wonderful piece about his struggles just the other day, and you can read it here.

I’ll try to be a little more musical in the next post (hopefully going to start posting some more videos on Instagram). Until then, friends, take care of yourselves…and that really is the least of it.

DGS

New Chapter

Hello, everyone. It’s been awhile. How are the kids? Your family all right? You get that thing checked out we talked about that we both agreed was too gross to mention?

Things have been crazy in the last few months. For one thing, the new album is out. It’s called Here I Remain, and you can check it out over in the music tab, buy a physical album by clicking the album artwork on the right, or by clicking HERE.

The other thing is I’ve done some huge soul searching. One of the biggest things from this is that I needed to leave my employment. So, I’m currently unemployed, but I think it’s anything but a bad thing. I feel new energy and vigor to pursue music whole-heartedly, something I’ve been missing for quite awhile…You just get caught up in this world and you don’t realize how much it drains you until you confront it. I made a trip to Nashville and I feel like I found my true self again and the weights on my soul disappeared.

I’m really excited because I have so much to share with you now: new songs, new videos, new projects and bands I’m going to be part of. You want proof? Check out how many shows I’m playing in the next month on the shows tab. There’s a pretty full calendar waiting there for ya! As I receive permission to talk about them and/or have things to actually show you about these new projects, I will post them on here and on Instagram (and link those to Twitter and Facebook, because who really uses those anymore? but I don’t want to alienate people who use those either, so there you go).

So, that’s it. I’m starting brand new into my pursuit of music. Nothing holding me back anymore, including myself (and a job, which, if you’d like to help me in that department, I’d be happy to receive it…). I look forward to seeing you at a show sometime! And let me know how you are liking the new album; so many have told me how much they love it and what it means to them, and I’m so thankful it is a transformative record for so many. Please keep sending me your thoughts on it!

Until next time,

DGS

Organized Chaos / Album Pre-Order

SINGLE. OUT. NOW. FIND. BY. CLICKING. THIS. LINK.

Oh my goodness, people. Excited to be sharing this with you finally. First song off the new record, out RIGHT NOW for your listening pleasure on all internet facets (Spotify, ITunes, etc.). I hope you’ll give it a listen and let me know what you think!! Friends and family I shared it with before this release loved that it felt like a perfect pairing of traditional sounding violin with my modern, electronic sound, saying it was their favorite on the album (which was a surprise to me, as I originally wasn’t expecting much from this song when I first wrote it. Shows how things change!)

Also, the album is available for pre-order starting now! You can click here, or you can click the banner on the side, and either will bring you to VOICE. Mitch (my friend and founder of the company) started this company to find a way to build a better world through the marketplace, giving 7% of ALL purchases on the site to a local charity in Minnesota. You even get to choose the local charity you are giving your money too! AND you get some amazing products!! I’m so happy to say that we are mutually partnering with each other to release the record, and they are doing an exclusive pre-order of the physical album right on their website. You’ll also get all THREE singles I’ll be releasing in the next month or two before the full album release when you pre-order, before the main media outlets even have them! It’s a win-win for you, I’d say. 🙂

That’s all for today! I hope this song gets stuck in your heads all day, and that you share it with those you care about (and dance with it! DANCE!). Don’t forget, we are playing a release show (event details listed on the website banner and in the shows tab) and it’d be great to see you there to help me celebrate the record when it officially comes out!

Sincerely,

DGS

 

 

Here I Remain

Hello, everyone. Thank you for being so patient with all my stuff. I gotta be honest, I don’t like posting about random stuff. I want my posts to be honest, to mean something, to be from the heart, and to be something that you all can enjoy reading. I’m not a “take a look at my food” kinda guy (most of the time…it’s gotta be REALLY good), or someone who wants to harp on you for getting more likes from your friends or whatever. I just want you to feel like when I make a post, that you are getting something from it.

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And I’m happy to say, I have great news!! The new album, which is officially called ‘Here I Remain’ is completed!!! I’m so excited, I can’t hold it in anymore. We are planning on a release in November. Why so far away? Because we want to take this record to the next level still. We will be sending it all over the U.S. to my favorite radio stations, booking agencies, and news outlets to see if we can’t make this the biggest release we can. As soon as I have clearance to show you a single, I’ll make sure you guys are the first to hear about it.

As for shows, now that this is all over, I’m so excited to say that I want to be playing out more again. We are starting by playing a gig this Saturday, the 16th at the Maple Grove Art Festival from 11:30am to 2:00pm if you are around that area or just want to hang out with us for awhile! Then, we are performing at McNally Smith for their Artist & Industry class next Friday, the 22nd. These are just the first of many shows to come. Of course, the most important will be the Release Show, and as soon as I know where and when, you’ll be the first to know!

All right, that is what I have for you at the moment. If I can, I’m hoping to have another cover song up by the end of the week. I’ve been working really hard on this one, so hopefully you guys like it! Let’s just say, it’s better than a tall, but not as good as a venti.

I love you all, seriously. As we continue to release this record, I’ll be able to explain more of this journey and why it’s been so hard, and yet why it’s been more worth it than anything else I’ve done. To great things ahead.

DGS

Video-a-Week #5: NPR Tiny Desk

Hey, everyone! Crazy snow happening in Minnesota, so sorry for the delay this week. Anyway, I submitted a video for a contest this week for NPR’s Tiny Desk, a series of videos on Youtube showcasing artists at the desks of NPR. Anyway, I got Matt and Ryan to play a stripped down version of my song Leap of Faith for this. We don’t know if anything will come of this, but it was really fun to do and we are excited about using a similar setup in the future to do more gigs like this for dinner hours around the cities or art gallery openings, just to incorporate the whole band in more places. I love doing solo work, but being in a band is where I’ve always wanted my music to be for. There’s an added energy and story being told when I have Matt and Ryan with me that doesn’t always come through with just myself. Plus, it really emphasizes to me the importance of community in music, which with an EP title like “Communion”, you would expect to be my intention! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this video, and stay safe out there if you are in MN right now!

DGS

Video-a-Week #4: Ableton

Hey everyone! So, this week is probably my last week of just talking a lot. I’ll try really hard to have a song or a cover or even just a full audio example next week. I figured this week, however, I should show you why I was so out of touch last year. I was learning a program called Ableton, learning to play keys/synth more efficiently, and how to produce all these sounds together for performances. A lot of this was for my job, but it’s directly flowed into my creative outlets in amazingly beautiful ways that I feel takes what I can do live to a brand new level. It was like learning 10 different instruments at the same time, but I hope you enjoy some of the sounds here and feel that it payed off when you start hearing it in my music! I hope you all have a wonderful last week of January! Make it count.

DGS