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

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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

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