I’m a fan of innovative process because it often gets the mind, body, or team moving in ways that, by habit or default, it has not. Often, new process yields new energy and creativity — and sometimes groundbreaking new products.
Here’s how Makaya McCreven makes music, in his own words:
We improvise, then I edit and rearrange and recontextualize that source material into a new distillation of ideas. Then I can take it and pass it to a DJ, who can remix those ideas. Then [we] take that remix and get a live band to learn the remix, then we can perform it as a live band and use it as a catalyst to improvise over that form or create something [else]. Then we have an additional piece of music that doesn’t resemble the improvisation but is a representation of an electronic-sounding remix of that first reimagination. And if we record that live band, we can chop it up all over again and continue the process. It’s a regenerative process of composition—using what was there to reimagine something new.
And here’s how Tomasso Colao, the best pizza chef within 25 miles of my home, makes pizza:
It won’t be apparent to your naked eye that the dough Colao rolls out is made with powder-fine “00” flour from Naples, into which he’s mixed his 23-year-old natural yeast culture (Colao calls it “my baby,” and he feeds it with flour and water every day to sustain it). That dough — with various toppings — gets a 90-second ride in the oven.
Listen for the distant rhyme — the “regenerative process of composition” — in the way both masters approach their work.