Artist + Analyst: Michael Jerome Moore

Michael Jerome Moore is a drummer, percussionist, and sound explorer. Raised by a classical pianist/choir director/music teacher, Jerome was regularly exposed to multi-genres of classical, jazz, gospel, rock, and soul throughout his elementary years. At age 17, Jerome became a member of the Texas-based Pop Poppins, introducing him to a world of managers, record labels, and large audiences.  Jerome is also a former member of the Ft. Worth, TX band, Toadies, and Dallas, TX bands Course of Empire and Cottonmouth, TX. In 1998, Jerome made a dramatic change from the industrial metal sound of Course of Empire by starting a project (with fellow Course of Empire guitarist, Mike Graff) that focused on minimalism and ambience. The two teamed up with drummer/keyboardist/producer Van Eric Martin to form Halls of the Machine, and in 2000, released their debut record, ‘Atmospheres for Lovers and Sleepers.’ Jerome joined Richard Thompson Band in 1999 and continues to perform with the Richard Thompson Trio to date. He has also recorded and toured with Blind Boys of Alabama, Charlie Musselwhite, Pleasure Club, John Cale, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Better Than Ezra, and many others.

I - Do you tend to remember your dreams?

“Sometimes... My mind is at peace most of the time due to exhaustion...lol. I guess my dreams are mostly just processes of daily information and they’re often forgotten upon opening my eyes. Other times, I can see they are clear psychological manifestations of my emotions. These dreams can be both enlightening and unsettling. Moreover, I often feel like the dreams I do remember have the most to offer with respect to "life's deeper meaning.” They seem to be dreams of clairvoyance or a greater understanding of everything. I also get these "recalling of the future” type dreams where I’m seeing something completely unfamiliar (in the present) but having it become a very real and familiar experience in the future. ... More like a vision I guess and not quite a Déjà Vu...??” 

Ib - Do you notice any connection between your dreams and artistic life?

“I don't believe I've ever really thought about this in any real depth for a clear perspective before, but I'm sure they must be one and the same. I think there’s definitely a connection there on an unconscious level. Our dreams seem to reflect everything from our daily activities and interactions to our most inner thoughts, hopes, and desires. These, then, are inevitably manifested in our daily lives and actions all over again. Interesting loop when I think about it. I know the mind is constantly processing information but I like to imagine that when our minds are relaxed enough, we are allowed glimpses into, or even interactions with, another existence. And, perhaps, it's an existence of which we're all a part of and connected, which helps our bodies cope and process daily life. We only seem to "get there" when we're sleeping, which is as close as some of us ever get to unconscious thought. A moment of magic, or the “God leak” if you will. As an artist, I'm often in pursuit of the "dream state" as I believe it puts me in touch with my "true self," and gives me tiny glimpses of knowledge long lost and inspiration to create the unknown even though there’s nothing new under the sun. ;). Creating timeless works of art and putting people in touch with a higher consciousness when I perform is always my goal as an artist. “

II - Intuition (and/or) spirituality…

“Both... I think there's a certain amount of duality in us all as humans. Right-brained, left-brained, scientific mind, spiritual mind... I've always struggled with my "earthly" existence due to my beliefs and spiritual pursuits. Growing up in Christian Protestantism, my mind would always try to separate the practices of the spirit and the "flesh" as it's called in the Church. I always seemed to have an inherent knowingness, if you will, of my spirituality and it has always challenged my understanding of my existence in my body and what we are taught in this world.  I'm also aware that my so-called understanding is the definition of faith, as I have absolutely no evidence or reason on which to base this "inherent knowingness.” Nevertheless, there’s a consistent inner battle taking place that begs for an outcome... whether to Feel or to Feel Nothing, to Be or not to Be (literally), or to Care or not to Care. This constant pursuit of balance amidst it all serves as an amazing muse for creativity and an incredible anthropological study too.” 

III - What does the following quote evoke for you?

“Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair. “ - Sigmund Freud

“I'd have to agree with Freud. I guess the question for me is what does Freud mean by magical powers? Magic by definition acknowledges an existence of a realm, place, or world seemingly believed to be supernatural or having supernatural powers. For me, the supernatural realm is a spiritual realm and I tend to meld the two together. Therefore, what are commonly referred to as miracles tend to be normal, no less amazing, but not unbelievable. The words we share with one another are equally that of a spiritual and supernatural realm which resonate profoundly once we learn our respective sounds and phonetics. I believe the spirit is who and what we all truly are, as well as bio-organisms derived of stardust. We are energy that resonates. This is why a look or a gesture without words can effect us emotionally, a kind word from our fellow human is so powerful, and a negative word so toxic... South Park does a fun episode on the curse word and why it's called a curse word in the first place by the way...lol.”

IV - What is your experience of yourself during times of peak creativity versus times when you feel blocked or simply less creative?

“Well, I guess I'm at my best when I'm operating without thought and stimulated by whatever that may produce. I feel stagnant and often immobile the more thought I put into something. I'd much rather create in the moment, or at least initially, to lay a foundation to start the process. I tend to second guess myself and fall victim to the idea, "The more one knows, or thinks one knows, can sometimes be the very thing holding one back." Thinking too much about what sounds too familiar, contrived, or just bad can be overwhelming at times and I often find myself doing absolutely nothing as a result. I'm happier embracing "the silly" and taking risks before scrutinizing and fine-tuning, and eventually making it my own.”  

V - What do you consider the biggest impediment to a creative life?

“Myself.” 

Vb - What facilitates the creative life?

“Honesty.”

VI - What is your sensory experience of your body when engaged in the creative act?

“OBE - Out of Body Experience.”

Before?

“Anxiety.”

After?

“Freedom.”

VII - My creative process…

“I guess I tend to create from a more tangible or conscious place initially, drawing ideas from sounds I'm hearing in my environment at that moment, which sometimes develop into more realized ideas. Other times, melodies and/or rhythms that constantly come and go, and spin around my head on a regular basis, are catalyst to musical ideas... Most of my ideas tend to be instrumental in origin, but on the rare occasion I feel compelled and passionate enough to use words to express myself, I'll often speak the words in mantra fashion and let any melody, that may or may not present itself, develop on its own volition. My favorite way to create is by allowing my environment to dictate and guide my direction as much as possible. I try to keep as much of my conscious mind out of the process as possible by listening, allowing "whatever" to develop, following the process; and recording as much of it along the way as I can. I'll return immediately or months to years later to see if what I've recorded still speaks to me or not. It can be anything from raindrops on a windowpane or gutter drain to a train rolling over train tracks, or cars whizzing by a country or city road creating their many different volumes, pitches, and tones... All stimulate a melody, or a rhythm, and have the potential of creating something unique. I also try to listen to and study as much music as I can, which inevitably serves as a great template to what is familiar and comfortable to start. Where it goes from there is what I'm most interested in.” : )

So much love to Michael Jerome Moore for his candor, vulnerability, and exceedingly huge heart.

X     

*Please look for the second part of this interview: Artist + Analyst: Analyst’s Asides - MJM coming June 13, 2019.