Name: Pegasus Warning aka Guillermo E. Brown
Occupation: Producer, composer, percussionist
Current release: The new Pegasus Warning album Inspiration Equation is out via Melanin Harmonique.
If you enjoyed this interview with Pegasus Warning , visit his official website. He is also on Facebook, Soundcloud, Instagram, and twitter.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
Dreams, personal relationships, politics, news of the day, music and art created by others, meditating on inner peace and more all create a significant role in THE FLOW of my Inspiration Equation.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
I work mostly from improvisation and build on, shape and hone sounds, musical motifs, and rhythms that make me want to sing.
I almost never have a “visualization” of a finished piece of music. I do get these flashes of the finished product when parts of the music get more done. I “plan” for whatever I’m working on to make the stardust inside me vibrate, like when the klang of a percussion instrument creates a reaction inside one’s body.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
I definitely do research and I definitely do not have one particular way of working. I create MANY different versions before I can establish that a particular work is complete. I make work and record ideas, whenever, wherever I can. Then I bring them into my studio to further them or decide if they are crap or not.
My work is designed to be recombinant and modular so many ideas that are smaller nodes of something can often become part of a larger piece.”
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
LOL I must always feel a certain level of peace and also a certain level of stress before I work or make something. In a certain sense, it’s like warming up a machine or turning on a utility.
Time and time again, music and sound has shown up in my life as the force in the universe that is a constant support mechanism in good times and bad. Swimming, singing, deep breathing and playing drums can often get me there too.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
Usually I start with rhythm or rhythmic sounds or vocal sounds and these are always plentiful to me like sunlight or wind.
I was going to also include water, but it’s a limited resource in many senses isn't it?”
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
Sometimes from the beginning, sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the end of making the music work FIRST.
If the music is settled, it’s much easier for me to write. I can give the producer/musician in me a rest.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
I find stories, illustrations, use of metaphor, double entendre, rhyming vs not rhyming, alliterative and percussive consonant sounds all interesting concepts to get into when thinking about LYRICS.
But again I don’t adhere to many rules, I’ve found that if the lyrics work for me, that’s the most important thing”
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
I start to paint a picture with music and then when I get to a certain point, when the music starts to make me feel like I’m hovering, then I can begin to write. The music and sounds become the vehicle by which I can travel through boundaries real and imagined, through which I can shape shift, by which I can time travel: going back forth through past/present/future at will.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
I try to be flexible and follow things where they lead me, there’s always a certain sense of surprise or going with what works, or attempting to achieve a particular goal, framework, or idea in the words. I don’t believe that I have control over any of this.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
This does happen. Sometimes it gives me a new direction or section of song or sometimes this births something new entirely. Sometimes my initial idea gets lost, in the case of demo-itis, I can sometimes get bogged down with the work of trying to strengthen the original moment of inspiration. And then I get lost.
And at that point, inevitably, something will go wrong technically with my gear and that’s no good. I get frustrated and want to quit. then I step away. Maybe for a month maybe for a day. And come back to it with fresh ears, eyes, perspective, and maybe an experience or two that could help with solving the problem of the song.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
I am certain that music is the driving spiritual-centrifugal force of my life. The creative state of making music and participating as a human in music communities, continues to shape my perspective on the world and even provides a bit of the prototypical ideas around how I would like the world to be.
Everything takes shape in the perfect prototype of music. The forces of humanity coming together for the possibility to change or be transformed for the better. The spiritual dynamic in my music is my lighthouse in good times and bad times.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
Most of the time, there is a particular duration of time that I am looking for. I generally use that as my marker for when something could or should end.
What’s your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I love this stuff and for me everything (except for mastering) is super intertwined.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I’m excited for this feeling especially since I’m working on a trilogy, as Inspiration Equation is the 1st part. I have a lot to say and release with my music.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I guess it all depends on the goal of the music, it’s purpose, it’s use, and what it is designed to do in the world.
As a maker of things are you trying to make wallpaper? Are you trying to give someone an obscure perspective in hopes that your extremes might bring them more to your way of seeing the world? Are you participating in a particular genre or subculture that must contain audio / musical / sonic signifiers in order for it to pass muster with an audience? Are you trying to communicate with the spiritual realm? Are you trying to heal yourself or others? Are your trying to hurt others?
Music and sounds have so many purposes and uses, it’s hard to say.