Daniel Carlson

Musician, Filmmaker, Photographer

"My hope is that, for those of us who’ve had a positive shift in process - or the way we look at our process - we’re able to carry that shift (and that lens) out of the pandemic."

Describe yourself as a maker/artist/creative 

I’m a musician, filmmaker, and photographer living in the East Village of NYC.

What are you currently working on?

Musically, I’ve been working remotely with a rotating cast of friends on a bunch of cover songs. Some are people I’ve worked with before, others I’ve wanted to work with. So those are continuing. With the visual stuff, here again I’ve been doing things with friends. Made a few short films, a few music videos, those kinds of things. I just finished a dance film called “All The Lonely People” for Tom Gold Dance. At the moment, I’m editing an episode of a 1984 public access TV show called The Friday Club that a bunch of friends and I did. We thought all of the episodes were gone into the ether, but a VHS tape popped up in the mail a few weeks ago and a couple of us are trying to get it into some kind of watchable shape. Turns out an hour is a very long time for a bunch of teenagers to be entertaining ...

Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?

The biggest shift has been with the music making. It’s something I’ve done since I was kid, but in recent years I've found myself wondering where the sense of play had gone. It had gotten to the point where I was writing and recording and putting records out and, while I was proud of the finished product, I wasn’t really enjoying much about the process. Then, when the pandemic started, it felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. As if I’d been given a license to goof around and not worry so much about how things came out, about what others thought of what I was doing. To be playful. And of course working with others helped to create a sense of community, which has been absolutely crucial as the months have gone on.

 

In your opinion, what is the role that the creative process can play in helping us confront our “new” reality?

It’s a great question. My hope is that, for those of us who’ve had a positive shift in process - or the way we look at our process - we’re able to carry that shift (and that lens) out of the pandemic. For me, I hope not only to retain this sense of playfulness, but also to be able to apply it to other aspects in my life. To be more open. To take things a bit less seriously.             

 

Any advice or insight you'd like to share?
 

I’ve been thinking a lot about audience. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about selling millions of records and touring the world. But, more recently, I’ve been thinking about art and smaller communities and audiences, about making things just for a few people and how fundamentally different that is than trying to appeal to the masses. At the beginning of the lockdown, I made a series of funny - well, they were supposed to be funny - daily videos where I followed the daily musings of Tom Hanks while he was in Australia with Covid. Twenty or so people watched them every day and I got the sense that, for a few of them, it took them out of their heads for five minutes every day, gave them a bit of clear air.  And while those videos - along with the songs I’m doing - aren’t going to change the world, any time and energy I spend entertaining or distracting or engaging people is, I think, time and energy very well spent.

See more of Daniel's work here

© 2021 by Made in Isolation

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