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How can Sound heal the planet? Ask Sound Healing Day Founder, Jonathan Goldman

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JONATHAN GOLDMAN, M.A. is an international authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. He is author of numerous books including HEALING SOUNDS, THE 7 SECRETS OF SOUND HEALING, and his latest, the best-selling THE HUMMNG EFFECT which won the 2018 Gold Visionary Award for “Health Books”. Jonathan is director of the Sound Healers Association and president of Spirit Music, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado. A Grammy nominee, he has created over 25 best-selling, award winning recordings including: “CHAKRA CHANTS”, “THE DIVINE NAME” (with Gregg Braden), and “REIKI CHANTS”. Jonathan has been named as one of Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine’s “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People” . Healing Sounds can be found here


What excites you the most to do your work?

There are so many things that excite me. But perhaps, it’s the absolutely incredible feedback I get from people who have had some sort of experience with sound and how powerful sound can be. When they come to the realization that sound can heal and transform and understand that they be the people who not only are able to receive the healing and transformation, but also can be the ones who transmit this powerful energy to others, it’s truly life changing. How extraordinary that when they become reawakened to the power of sound! We all have this ability to use sound for healing, but so few of us are aware of it. I am grateful that every day, this awareness continues to expand and grow!

How do you remain confident in your ability to produce what you produce? After all, there’s so much noise in the world, especially media noise! And how do you keep “sane” in this time of “turmoil”?

I like to believe that what keeps me balanced in this time of turmoil is simply that I practice what I preach. I use sound— experiencing the effects of self created sound through humming, toning or singing, or by listening to music or using tuning forks or Tibetan Bowls or some other sonic instrument–to achieve balance.

 In your opinion, what is your most prized accomplishment?

I don’t know. There are several, including the discovery of the Divine Name, helping spread awareness of the power and importance of humming and of course World Sound Healing Day. Overall, I suppose you could say it’s simply that I’ve been helpful in awakening people to the power of sound to heal and transform—both on personal level and on a planetary level!


Discover World Sound Healing Day


How do you maintain a balance between artistic and creative integrity and commercial success and/or finance?

This is an excellent question that I can’t truly answer except to say that I like to believe that all of my projects are spiritually guided. I’ll hear an inner voice or get the idea that something needs to get done. And then I’ll make sure someone else hasn’t done it first—I don’t want to copy the work of someone else. There are too many things to do that haven’t been done. Then I do my best to manifest whatever this idea is. And thankfully, most of the time there has been a wonderful balance between creative integrity and commercial success. These projects have worked and often become very popular. My primary focus when I create something is to have the intention that it’s going to be of benefit to the people and our planet.

What would you like to do that you have not done yet?

I suppose I’d like to somehow do some sort of project that would encompass bringing as many people as possible into understanding that we are all one and that we need to generate compassion to each other. Sound can really assist this. I think that once we realize that instead of competing with each other , we can work with the spirit of cooperation and we can change and fix many of the things that as a species we’ve helped create—things that are not necessarily positive for our continuation on this planet. Many of these problems we’ve created. And so, if we work together, we can most probably find solutions to these problem,. That would be incredible.

How would you best inspire or empower someone who wants to go into your field?

I’d begin by first having experience the power of their own sound. Either through conscious listening (called “psycho-acoustics”—the sound goes into our ears and into our brain, affecting our nervous system, heart rate and respiration) or through conscious humming (called “vibro-acoustics”—the sound go into our body, and resonates our cells down to our DNA). Once someone experiences this, there’s no turning back. It’s as though one of our senses has become enhanced and our consciousness becomes expanded. That’s all that’s necessary. If you give someone this experience, they will want to share it with someone else. It’s that simple and that powerful.

If there are any word or a sentence (or paragraph) that you refer to every day to stay inspired

It’s an awareness that we need to love ourselves and to love others as well. And that by generating kindness and compassion we can do this. In addition, I guess, there’s an understanding that we need to be in a state of gratitude and appreciation for all that is. And finally, it’s a consciousness that knows that we are ultimately all connected to each other and to the Divine. Most frequently, I use sound in order to manifest these various aspects of being.

 What is the last concert you experienced?

The last live concert I experienced was in a very small venue. It was a brilliant flamenco guitarist named Miguel Espinoza and his jazz ensemble, Flamenco Fusion. I’ve seen many musicians and been playing guitar for over 55 years. Miguel did things when he played that I’d never seen a guitar do before. It was really amazing.

The last concert I experienced that was not live and in person, but filmed, was Paul Simon. There’s not much that can be said about Simon that hasn’t been said. The more I experience his music, the more I am truly impressed by the genius of this man. His work on “Graceland” was truly incredible. It was only years later, upon watching a documentary about the creation of this work that I realized not only his brilliance, but also the importance his decision to go against what was at the time considered “politically correct”. During the recording of “Graceland”, South African musicians were off limits. But Paul Simon didn’t care. And he created a new form of music while expanding South African music. How awesome

What was the first musical performance you experienced?

The first musical performance that I experienced goes back too far in time for my memory to recall. I was exposed to many, many different types of music from a very early age. The first musical performance I experienced that I remember was of me playing in front of an audience when I was about 15 years old. It was a four piece rock n’ roll band—I was playing guitar—and we did a lot of pop songs at the time. I remember one song was “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. It was so much fun playing. What a blessings!

10. Do you have a favourite motion picture?

Having a degree in film making from Boston University, I’ve got a lot of motion pictures that I really like. I suppose, I could say that among my favorites is “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, Steven Spielberg’s amazing film about the first extra-terrestrial encounter. I usually watch it every year on my birthday.

At times like these, with so much news of dysfunction and chaos, how do you prepare for your day so that you can maintain your integrity and autonomy—without going insane?

This is very much like the 2nd question. Usually, to start the day, I do something that is calming and meditative. Often, I will do something with sound, such as listening to soothing music. Or I will hum for a few minutes. It’s really important that if possible, we don’t immediately begin to race into the day. It’s much too easy to burn out that way. So, beginning the day slowly with a state of gratitude is so important. Many people have stated that the most important thing we can do to calm and heal ourselves is to remember to breath—by this, of course they mean to take some nice deep breaths throughout the day.

I would add that if possible, adding humming to this. From my perspective, humming may be the most powerful technique we can do that will calm us down. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It reduces levels of stress related hormones. Humming increases levels of melatonin (great for sleep enhancement and also to reduce depress). It also increases levels of nitric oxide (N0), a molecule that is a vasodilator and causes our circulatory system to relax and become more fluid. Humming release endorphins—those wonderful self-created opiates that work as natural pain relievers. Humming also causes the release of oxytocin, the “trust” (or “love”) hormone, which breaks down barriers between ourselves and other people. These are just a few of the scientifically validated effects of humming.

What would you recommend to anyone who wants to go into your field?

This is very similar to question #6. I would recommend that if anyone wanted to go into the field of using sound as a healing and therapeutic modality, they need to experience firsthand the effects and power of sound. It’s that simple and that profound. In addition, I would suggest that everyone could benefit from expanding their awareness of how sound can heal and transform. We are all sound healers.

Is there a story or an experience that you encountered and/or exposed or helped to bring to the surface that you are the most proud of?

Perhaps that which I am most proud of is the present. By this I mean that in less than a week, we will be celebrating the 17 Annual World Sound Healing Day. And I am very excited about this because I truly believe this event has the potential of helping shift the consciousness of all beings on our planet. The idea of World Sound Healing Day came to me nearly 20 years ago, when I was in a deep state of meditation. I heard this inner voice say: “You have been working for nearly twenty years, helping bring awareness of the power of sound to heal and transform on a personal level. And you’ve been quite successful at this. It is now time to expand this work and bring awareness of the power of sound to heal and transform the planet.” I thought this was a great idea, but after that whatever inner voice I was hearing cut transmission, so I had to figure it out myself.

Seventeen years ago, I created a day in which people throughout the planet would sound a tone encoded with the energy of love and compassion to the planet. I chose February 14th as the day when this would happen. And the sound created was the “Ah” sound—a sound that’s almost universally understood as being a sound of appreciation, compassion and love. I gave this event the name World Sound Healing Day. And every year, awareness of this event has grown and grown. There’s even scientific data to indicate that it may well be possible to for human consciousness such as manifests on World Sound Healing Day with what I call the “Gaia Matrix”—the field of consciousness of our planet. If this is possible, we may indeed be able to shift and change the awareness of all sentient beings, allowing a higher vibratory level of evolution to occur. And I think, more than ever, events such as World Sound Healing Day are important and necessary. For more information, I ask that you go to www.worldsoundhealingday.org

JONATHAN GOLDMAN, M.A. is an international authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. He is author of numerous books including HEALING SOUNDS, THE 7 SECRETS OF SOUND HEALING, and his latest, the best-selling THE HUMMNG EFFECT which won the 2018 Gold Visionary Award for “Health Books”. Jonathan is director of the Sound Healers Association and president of Spirit Music, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado. A Grammy nominee, he has created over 25 best-selling, award winning recordings including: “CHAKRA CHANTS”, “THE DIVINE NAME” (with Gregg Braden), and “REIKI CHANTS”. Jonathan has been named as one of Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine’s “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People” . For more information, visit: www.healingsounds.com

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A web of Life for ALL Life

How can we eradicate heart disease?

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In his groundbreaking books, “The Complete Miami Mediterranean Diet” and “Heart Attacks are Not Worth Dying For.” Dr. Michael Ozner, the celebrated preventative cardiologist provides insights on how to realistically create a healthier lifestyle through proper diet, nutrition, exercise and stress reduction, and the new developments offer insights to eradicating heart disease!

Michael Ozner, MD, FACC, FAHA, is a board-certified cardiologist, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and of the American Heart Association, Medical Director of Wellness & Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida, and a well-known regional and national speaker in the field of preventive cardiology. He is also the author of The Great American Heart Hoax, Heart Attack Proof, and The Complete Mediterranean Diet.

Dr. Michael Ozner is a board-certified cardiologist and Medical Director of Wellness and Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida. He has dedicated his career to the eradication of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, namely heart attacks and strokes.

In his new book, Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For, Dr. Ozner shares his revolutionary approach to ending heart disease, an epidemic that kills nearly 18 million people every year worldwide. Dr. Ozner discusses a paradigm shift about how we can stabilize, regress and, in some cases, eradicate the buildup of fatty deposits in the artery walls, called atherosclerotic plaques. This can significantly lower the risk of heart attacks and other vascular catastrophes.

His latest book provides a straightforward pathway written for patients and their doctors to end the devastation of heart disease and live a longer life. As a primary course of action, Dr. Ozner advocates making lifestyle changes that include the Mediterranean diet, exercise, stress reduction, smoking cessation, and quality sleep.

But many people are not able to achieve optimal heart health just through these measures. For those individuals, Dr. Ozner explains how utilizing lifestyle interventions, advanced blood testing, vascular imaging, and highly effective medications (when needed) can safely reduce and potentially eliminate risk of vascular disease and coronary heart disease.

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Ozner talks about the root cause of heart disease-and the steps you can take to eliminate cardiovascular disease risk factors while achieving heart health and longevity. (Description Courtesy of LifeExtension).

 

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Fearless Bravery: Pennebaker and Hegedus on Documenting Life as it is happening

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“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”  — William Shakespeare. 

If all the world’s a stage, we can clearly state that documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker literally invented a way to capture life as it’s happening without being invasive or intrusive.

They have captured some of the most exciting moments in rock and roll and real life. From Dylan’s Don’t Look Back to the debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in “Monterey Pop” to the behind-the-scenes Political documentary, “The War Room,”  D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus  created some of the most exciting and ground-breaking cinema  ever photographed.  But it’s not the type of footage you’ll see in mass market, but instead, they bring you into the story, into the lives and places, backrooms, dressing rooms, stages and airports, seeing the moments that make the difference, telling the story of life as it’s happening right in front of their very eyes, not sure what’s to come next….. Yet  captivated  by every new moment…because as documentary filmmakers, there is no script—ever, and they’re living through the moment as they’re looking thru the lens.

They have captured some of the most exciting moments in rock and roll and real life. From Dylan’s Don’t Look Back to the debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in “Monterey Pop” to the behind-the-scenes Political documentary, “The War Room,”  D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus  created some of the most exciting and ground-breaking cinema  ever photographed.  But it’s not the type of footage you’ll see in mass market, but instead, they bring you into the story, into the lives and places, backrooms, dressing rooms, stages and airports, seeing the moments that make the difference, telling the story of life as it’s happening right in front of their very eyes, not sure what’s to come next….. Yet  captivated  by every new moment…because as documentary filmmakers, there is no script—ever, and they’re living through the moment as they’re looking thru the lens.

Uncut and verbatim, the conversation we had many years ago reveals the inner workings of their creativity, what makes them tick…..and what gets them to talk. This conversation took place in 1994 at their home on the Upper West Side in New York City.  Broadband was new, we didn’t have the smart phones or the tech that we have today. Please keep this in mind as you experience the conversation.

 

There had to be a moment when you know what you wanted to do.

Chris Hegedus:   I always knew as a child I wanted to be in the arts, and I went to the Hartford Art School and then the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design, which had all sorts of interesting people there. People such as Philip Glass, and painters and filmmakers, and it was a very creative environment. Because the art world was burgeoning towards conceptual art and performance art, I didn’t really see how to make a living doing it, and after a while I lost interest in it because I really didn’t want to be a conceptual artist.

I didn’t see a place for me in the art world, and most of my work at the time had been photography and minimal art film making, and when I graduated from college, I got a job in Ann Arbor working for the University of Michigan Hospital working for a surgeon there, he gave me a job making films of surgery, and I got dropped into a career where most people have to go to medical school first.

And is was fascinating to me, and it seemed like this was a way of making films, getting dropped into peoples lives and getting into this inate voyeuristic scenario watching this entire drama unfold infront of you. In this case, it was the drama of what went on in the operating room. I used to make the analogy of this was like Doctor Marcus Welby or Mash—but much more like MASH. That really turned me around. That there was a job I could do in filmmaking, and that I could do films about the real world.

I had seen some of Pennebaker’s films, and as I graduated from film school, I knew I didn’t know how to be a Hollywood Director. I saw how to make these stories happen in real life. But the equipment became developed so where we could rent a rig in the late 60’s or early 70’s and we could get our hands on great equipment, and my interest escalated with the advent of more technology become easily available.

When you are documenting life as it is happening, do you feel it necessary to get into a comfort zone so that they audience can feel that they are there with the subject you are filming? In a way, filming so that the viewer can be part of it?

D.A. Pennebaker   I Don’t think it’s our problem so much, but I think that you’re not thinking about it this way. It’s like you are writing a play based on characters, whether you are Shaw or Aristophones, but you are writing a film about characters that you know, but in this case, the characters are right in front of you. And the instant is right now. And if they are going on the plane going somewhere, you make a judgement call to see if you want to film that. And why do you want to film it? Well—it’s a connective to where we are going. And where we are going is really what it’s all about. We’re not interested in airport conceptual filmmaking, but at the airport, they might make a phone call, they might look out of the window, they might say something, and those are the longshots…you say that you want to get someplace with them, so when you get to the place where you do want to film what we want to film, we’re part of that entourage. And that in a sense, is what guarantees you the continuous entrée. And it’s maintaining that entree as continuously as possible during the process of filming, but you are really writing a play, but the pencil is really uncertain and undetermined, and you can’t be sure if this line is what you want until you sit down to edit it, but you know you need to have something up on the screen to look at. It’s not a problem if the characters are going to act for you. If that were the problem, you wouldn’t even start it. Because if you thought that there is a chance that they would be acting, you would say, fuck it, I can’t do it, it’s too hard.

 

 

Obviously you must have their trust in you before you start the process of documenting them….

 

Pennebaker Maybe it’s not even trust. It’s trust in a way, like if you go out drinking with some friends you don’t want them to pull at you in some way, to get the fifty bucks you have in a pocket. But it happens is because they want to do it. Now why they want to do it is not our problem. When James Carville says “Why should I let you into my secret chamber?” which is the size of a basketball court, the only thing you can tell him is ‘because you want to.’ Now he has to figure out what that means. And when he does, you do it, and you’re not promising him any spiritual solution, but he has figured out what you are doing, and he figures out that out based on what I’ve done in the past, and he knew I had done Kennedy, and it was a politician, and he felt that the two of us didn’t have any other agenda. We weren’t going back on the air that night and put any footage on television and make him look like an asshole. That is something that he figures out, and when you come to a hard place, you don’t ever get to a place where you push a piece of paper in front of his face and say “James, you signed a contract, we have to do this.” They decided to initiate in a way, and the way you do it, gives them the sense that it’s their film. Whether or not they act is not the issue or important. Whether Dylan is acting. Now Chris, when you wanted to be in the arts, and you saw yourself as an artist.

 

When I grew up, an artist was a guy who painted a picture. Never in my life did I see myself as an artist. And my entire life, I was figuring it out, what was driving me. Because I was unemployable, I didn’t want to do what others were doing. I was trained as an electronic engineer. I was hired by a big company to build big projects. I was projected on a road, but I never saw myself wanting to be an artist. I didn’t know what an artist was. It took me years to figure out what the problem was.

 

As we are sitting here right now, Broadband technology is rather new, and there are companies who are making it possible for digital filmmakers to get their work out there.  Do you feel this is going to be the forefront for filmmakers?

 

Hegedus Sure! We wouldn’t have been able to make the last three films had it not been for digital. We’re doing a new film on digital. Startup.com was shot on a tiny DV camera. It makes it all possible. To do it on film would have been so costly and we wouldn’t have been able to raise the money to do it on film. The digital side is a definite reality of staying alive as filmmakers. Nobody was going to fund Startup.com, so we did it ourselves and we were able to do it. Moon Over Broadway was so expensive on film and so was The War Room. Because you had to pay the actors because of the unions, and we were filming in a Broadway theater. And it puts filmmaking in the hands of the multitudes now, you can edit on computers and it’s a whole different age.

 

Pennebaker     I think that what is going to determine if we’ve come to a branch in the road and there is no turning back, well, I think we’ve already crossed that path. The most interesting films we’re going to get as opposition to Hollywood films, which are predicated on a celebrity driven performance, that has been promoted and is so well known that people are going to see it—so you have something that is so conditioned by broad advertising appeal…but the young people coming in, the imaginations that are coming in, these people cannot afford to do it in film, they cannot afford the film stock, the labs, the prints. When a Hollywood Film comes out they are making 12-15,000 prints, and sending them out to theaters all at the same time, and running ads, and their ads and promotion is probably the same cost as making the film. And then you have independents turning out ‘crackers’ that some people are interested in seeing. So that aspect of the thing, driven by the fact that the theaters are going to show some of the films in video soon. Video projection is going to save the lives of a lot of smaller theaters who cannot afford to compete with the bigger theaters. And TV—well, TV isn’t interested because TV wants to sell cheese. They are not interested in the independent film making market. It contradicts everything they want to do.

 

I have always admired your commitment to quality…

 

Pennebaker   When you speak of quality, people know about intuitively, but in the end people only hear what they are prepared to listen to.

 

I remember listening to my 78’s, the quality of them is so much better than the LP’s….. I know that my brain is very seducible, I can’t say that is no good because I don’t hear it now. But I can hear and see what I want to hear and see, and the imagination is so powerful, that the new independent films are going to have so much imagination…people are going to make them, and theaters are going to run them. And they are going to be a little adjunct, but will never get 200 million heads…… So he really can’t worry about that major market. That’s only for the people selling cheese.’

 

You had mentioned Phillip Glass earlier in our conversation. He appears to be an artist who is able to balance and maintain artistic integrity and commercial success.  A rarity.

 

Pennebaker   Well he can make an opera and get it out. That’s a hard thing to do. We can make a film and get it into the theaters. That’s a hard thing to do. Most independents have a hard thing doing that, surviving from film to film. The question is, “is that journalism or is that art?” A lot of people are interested in knowing if these films are perceived as journalism. It doesn’t matter what our intentions are. But how are they perceived by a larger market…… Journalism doesn’t interest me so much.

 

 

Couldn’t “Don’t Look Back” be viewed as journalism, or a different kind of journalism, because you were capturing Dylan as it was happening, bringing and audience to witness the story as it is happening?

 

Pennebaker   But is that Journalism?

 

I don’t know

 

Pennebaker   I don’t know either!

 

Since documenting life as it’s happening right before your eyes, in order to create the mosaic you are looking for, does the editing process  become a grueling process?

 

Pennebaker    It’s like you are shooting again. And the difference in the process, I believe the difference, in a movie, the camera is part of the set, it is part of the actors, it moves like the actors, it is behind the glass. It moves like the actors. It doesn’t look around. For us, the way I see the camera, is the camera is the audience in the theater, and everything that happens on the stage is organized by someone else, someone else is planning their life day by day, moment by moment, and we’re not part of it. We have to make decisions what to shoot, when not to shoot, and we’re like the audience that is surprised because the camera is surprised in a theatrical kind of way. The editing takes that position and puts it is a more theatrical way. There is no certain way we always do it, but in the end, we come to an agreement about the way we want to be a pair of eyes, a pair of heads watching it.

 

 

Hegedus  There are two parts of our filmmaking. The first part is our detective work, it’s shooting the film and anticipating what we want to do, like in “The War Room” before we shot the film, we visualized the film as about a man becoming President. But when we got in there, we made decisions like “What is the story we are going to find here?” and who is passionate about what they are doing, and the stakes are high, and we were lucky to follow James Carville and George Stephanapolous. The second part is when you get the film back, is trying to make the story with the material you received, and that is an entire different kind of detective work. When you are making the film, the characters create drama. So before you are editing, you realize that the story line needs to create drama, so it’s all created in the editing room. The structure and the style, and how it evolves. And that is something you really think about when you are shooting, because when you are making the film, you are obsessed with capturing the moment and trying to figure out what the story is and how to get access to the people, and get what is there.

 

You seem to find a way to maintain your own autonomy, a rarity in this overly commercialized world run by a studio system whose only interest are profits.   What was it about growing up, your life as a child and your upbringing which may have implanted this way of being?

 

Hegedus    My mother was a teacher who loved the arts, and she fostered the love of learning. Somehow, and maybe it was inherit in growing up, there had to be some sort of passion that you have within you. And I don’t really where it comes from…..but it happens. So, who knows why you become passionate about what you are doing. My father was a corporate sales executive, not an artist so much. He was very much in the business world. A funny thing that happened recently at a family dinner, is my mother asked a question to everyone, “Tell me, if you weren’t doing what you were doing, what would you want to do?” And my father, who really surprised me, told everyone that he would have really loved to have been an artist!!! For me, I felt as if I was doing what I wanted to be doing.

 

Pennebaker   I think that the language acquisition moment—it can happen at any time in your life. It was when my friend Francis Thompson brought in a film and showed it on my wall. I had a projector in my apartment and a turntable underneath it. We used to show films like this with music going with a film, and I was about 25 or 26 at the time….and I had thought a lot about music, art and poetry, I was writing at the time, and doing a lot of stuff that was peripheral around the arts, and he had this film called NYNY and it was all abstract pictures of New York City.

 

It wasn’t that the pictures told me anything amazing, it was that he had done it by himself and I knew that I was probably not going to write a big novel, and while I had friends who were painters, I knew that I wasn’t a great painter, I knew that there were people who knew more than I did, and I couldn’t catch up with them, and I knew they would lead, and I became very depressed. But I had a company downtown that made computers and I abandoned it. And when I saw this film, and I realized “that’s it! That’s what I am going to do the rest of my life. I wanted to make films!

 

And I had all of these other things I have started, and I had a wife, and a child, and a life going, and now it became so clear to me…..and I knew how to make distorted pictures like Francis used, but I wanted to make a film by myself, the idea of controlling the work was so amazing….. and I loved working on films, and I learned how to make a scene, and how to make dialogue by doing it, but I couldn’t stand not being responsible for the final thing…. The final thing should be a jewel….and in most cases it was flawed and a badly cut film (by others) because they didn’t have the control of its final destination. It was a bad imitation of a jewel. And the first time I made a film the way I wanted to make it was don’t look back

 

Were you a Dylan fan?

 

Pennebaker    I knew that he was going to be a very important person.

 

So you weren’t a fan initially?

 

Pennebaker   Well, I became a fan because he was such an amazing musician. I was looking into the fiery furnace there, and I was about 40 watching a younger person trying out things, experiment. I had no doubts that the film I was going to make would be around for 25 years after I made it.

 

How long did it take to edit?

 

About three weeks.

 

 

Did you know what you wanted it to look like when you were done filming?

 

Pennebaker   No, I didn’t. I put off editing for about two months. I didn’t know what the film was about really, and it wasn’t until Michael Quinn said “If you’re not going to do it, I will do it. So I put my mind to it, and edited it on a viewer, not really an editing machine…”

 

How could you suggest to the up and coming filmmakers, art students, music students, anyone who is in the creative fields to find a way to maintain a level of autonomy, with the understanding that most of the people at the top levels of the studios, don’t really care about the story they are telling but are interested in the financial return.

 

Pennebaker     They really need feedback. They want somebody to tell them they love them, or that they have something good, it comes out of that need initially.

 

Hegedus     People in our career, you have to be incredibly passionate and have incredibly strong convictions of what you want to do. There are not a lot of financial rewards.

 

Pennebaker    You also have to be brave. Because with every chance, there is a chance of total disaster. And you have to be able to deal with that. But to deal with the idea that it might be a disaster. That is an aspect of independents that people don’t think about—is they are very brave. Bands such as Depeche Mode—are very brave….. But you didn’t answer my question. Art versus journalism.

 

I don’t really know. Isn’t life part of journalism?

Pennebaker     And now my final question….Do you have any sense in your own head of what defines art?

 

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Beatles Producer George Martin: Can too Much Technology Stifle Creativity?

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A note from Mobilized’s Creative Director: I first met Sir George Martin at a party for Pete Towshend at Sardi’s in New York….it was an event for the Special Olympics, I think.  As I’m speaking with a friend, she taps me on the shoulder and says “Oh, George Martin is here!” to which I thought to myself, “Ah, the Father of God!” 

I wanted to say hi to the man whose magnificent productions we grew up with.  Our first conversation was a quick one.

Me: “There are two words I have wanted to say to you for over thirty years!”

George Martin: “And they are?”

Steven: “Thank You!”

He tapped me on the shoulder, said “Thank You” and we went our separate ways.

I’ve been trying to find a way of sharing parts of this conversation with others, afterall, Mobilized is not music publication.  But I believe that learn from all of our experiences. From every conversation, from every step, from every advance and from every step backwards.

I felt, maybe people from other walks of life, outside of music, production and the arts could take a little advice from the master of sound, the man who shaped so many wonderful songs from  The Beatles

Over the course of the next several months, we plan to find a way to share the inspirations of innovators and inventors from all walks of life. But for now…..

It was certainly a very different time, there is much we just didn’t have in the ways of technology. In this interview from fifteen years ago, producer George Martin speaks of why too much technology stifles creativity….as well as where some of the ideas come from. Inspirations that can inspire anyone, anywhere, anytime, no matter the field one works in.

“I think that learning how to make change in anything is important, whether  you make cars or records. You will find that a person will be doing a better  job when they learn their craft before they attempt to work at it, and don’t  bullshit people. Don’t pretend you know something prior to doing it. Have  confidence. You have to have confidence or people will walk all over you.”

George Martin has produced the Beatles, America, Jeff Beck, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and even Peter Sellers’ comedy records. He is much more than a “producer’s producer” but he not only is able to extract  the very best best out of the artists he works with, he’s humble too. Maybe it comes from confidence, having the knowledge of the instruments of the orchestra, how they work both  individually as well as together.

But with confidence comes conviction. The sheer and utter faith in one’s  ability to shape sound. In this brief yet informative conversation, we spoke  with George from his home in England, where he assured us that a great  recording should always start with a great song, and that despite the  unfortunate situations of our creative industries being taken over by  marketing companies and non-creative corporate conglomerates, a great song  will last forever.

In the early part of the 1960’s, a young music manager named Brian Epstein  was contracted by four musicians from Liverpool to secure them a record  deal.  While just about every record company he spoke with passed on the  band, it took incredible persistence for Epstein to continue pursuing a dream that would go down in the history books forever.

Essentially, it was the creation of a very special team that enabled the  Beatles to become as big as they became, and, while the time was ripe for  such a band to succeed, it’s doubtful something like this could ever happen  again, as if there was only one time in the history of the Universe where these stars would unite.

Brian had the vision to solicit the attention and support of an EMI staff  producer, George Martin, who, in the past had produced orchestral  soundtracks as well as comics such as Peter Sellers.  Martin’s knowledge of  orchestration—and–most essentially, the relationship between all of the  components of the orchestra enabled him to create the type of records he  produced, and at a time where music technology was starting to grow, they  didn’t have the tools and technology of todays digital studios, instead, they  were forced to create by pulling ‘rabbits out of their hats,’ and invent new  ways of producing records.

While one can find it amazing to listen to their later works, one wonders  what was going on in the mindset of Producer George Martin, what he saw in  the band, and how he empowered them to be better than great, to be the best  they could be.  And considering the lack of technology available to them,  that some of the Magical  Mystery Tour they encountered, was the journey they  made during their recording process.

“First of all, I’ve never really experienced dealing with people who don’t  have a musical education, ” Martin said from his home in England.    “But  having said that, there are some very successful record producers who just  are not great musicians. But I think that it is an enormous help to be a  musician and to know what the guys in the studio have to do, to have some  experience in knowing what they go through. It is definitely an asset to  know the terrors and the difficulties that a musician goes through so you  can understand how to handle them. I think there are so many facets to being  a record producer that are important. It is like teaching in a way. I  started out as a musician and I got involved in the recording business by  chance.

“I really wanted to write music for films. Orchestrating music was very  important to me. In regards to the studio business, I did realize that I had  the ability to get the best out of people and making them better if I hadn’t  known them. I think that a producer has to look inside the person and say  “what is there that I need to get out of them and how to get them to release  it?” You got to get inside the person. Each artist is very different. There  is a lot of psychology in it. I learned that diplomacy and tact were  important when I really didn’t have those attributes and made a few mistakes. Then the ability to shape music and know what will appeal so you  can take a bit of raw material and shape it knowing that it is good the way  it already is, however it could be better if we did something with it.”

But then is it a producers main job to continually ask the questions “What  if?” during the process?  Is asking questions an essential part of  production?

“Yes, of course,” he admits.  ” You see, that is one of the problems today. Technology has been getting more sophisticated and clever and more  complicated with each day that goes by instead of years, and it is quite  mind-boggling what you can do with it.. It’s a far cry from where I started  when you had to do everything by the seat of your pants and some rubber  bands, mast tape and sealing wax. Now everything is right in front of you  and available for a price and because of that, it is really easy, given the tools, to produce first class sounds, and you can create a song that doesn’t  sound wonderful, in a back room. This stifles creativity because you don’t  have to work for it, it’s already there! When you’re hungry and you have to  work hard for something, you can be more creative than when something is  handed to you on a plate. Technology has helped music and creation, but we  shouldn’t abuse technology.”

But as someone who has spent a lifetime within the trenches of the music  industry, one wonders what qualities are needed in order to fully develop  talent, or to develop the creativity of another person, even if they’re not  in the creative fields.

“The record industry is very different today. The people who actually run  the record companies today don’t make records. They are marketers. They take  the product off the street while the producers are finding the talent. It’s  rather like comparing it to Hollywood when you had great studios and talent and now you have nothing  more than finance companies organizing and buying independent films and  projects. I guess I was lucky in a way because timing is everything and I came into the business at a very important time when the recording changes  were coming out of mechanical into the electrical into electronic and Stereo  was coming in and people were getting sophisticated in their thinking, but  it wasn’t too sophisticated. When people say to me “I can’t believe that you  made that record on a four track” I say that it was an advantage because  having the constraints that you had, you had to work  through it, you had to  work harder, you had to think more to get the effects you wanted. I feel  that having the constraints really helped me in many ways.”

Other than the constraints that faced him, it was essential for him to have  a full music background.  And sometimes it takes a little creative  ‘borrowing’ of ideas from another source in order to fully realize the shape   of something new to come. For example, the string arrangements of “Eleanor  Rigby.”

“”The production and the scoring are two separate things. But my role model  for that was Bernard Hermann who did the scores for Alfred Hitchcock. He was  a great film score. I got the idea for the jagged strings from, I think,  Fahrenheit 451. And it was very, very effective. Also the harmonies that  Paul gave me gave me a bit of Benjamin Britten.”

What can a person in any field of work or industry learn from the creative  alchemy of George Martin?

“I think that learning how to make change in anything is important, whether  you make cars or records. You will find that a person will be doing a better  job when they learn their craft before they attempt to work at it, and don’t  bullshit people. Don’t pretend you know something prior to doing it. Have  confidence. You have to have confidence or people will walk all over you.”

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