As much as you try to organize your life, life will surprise you.
For many people in the music conservatory world, the message was always, Focus! 'You can't do everything; you really need to specialize.' And especially at an early age, I ignored this advice.
With 'Boxer,' we made the kind of music we wanted to make and didn't really worry about what the expectation was.
For a composer of concert music, 40 is actually very young. But for a rock musician, 40 is almost past due, where you think of rock music as really part of more youth-oriented culture.
I grew up going to see my sister dance, both at the ballet and later as a modern dancer, and have always been a big fan of the ballet. So I have had a long relationship with dance.
When working with classical musicians, it is important to be clear as possible in the score about what my intentions are. Because there isn't a lot of rehearsal time, especially at the ballet, it's best if everything is written in the score.
Part of what I enjoy about writing classical music is communicating through the score and collaborating with such amazing musicians.
We've played in places where there were more of us onstage than in the audience.
I like to write on tour busses and airplanes. Something about moving.
For me, the exhausting thing about touring is the sitting around, which is why working on my concert music is really great - and also seeing concerts and seeing friends and, whenever possible, getting out to see a museum.
Typically, people think, 'Oh the hippies and the punks hated each other,' or that those things don't go together musically. Sometimes that is true, but we had equal parts of both in our musical DNA.
There are all kind of corners of the musical world that are deeply influenced by the Dead that one wouldn't expect. Lee Ranaldo is a crazy Deadhead.
I've got this diverse education, growing up in classical music and existing between that and music that is more visceral, so for sure, I've always been interested in music from other cultures.
I'm not trying to take over the world, but I find it really rewarding to write, and I thrive on learning.
We've gotten better as a live band. The songs have been allowed to grow with our audience. I don't think I would have done it any other way.
To me, a song like 'Demons' or the title 'Trouble Will Find Me' are acknowledgments that you can't really plan for life, and you can't plan for trouble.
In terms of the music, it feels almost like trouble's a good thing - you never know when a song is going to surprise you. We look for these subversive moments in songs.
As long as I'm still growing as a musician, it keeps me inspired.
I think that becoming a successful rock band is a little like becoming a professional athlete. Nobody plans on it.
Being a classical musician, you can go to school for it; you can go get a degree. Even as a composer, there is a certain career path you can follow, but becoming a rock musician is a much more elusive career. How do you learn that or do that?
There is a kind of adventure- and risk-seeking audience in classical contemporary music that is really empowering and part of what draws me to it. The people that come to these concerts are open-minded and curious.
I think that place is a huge part of pretty much any musician's work, in how one responds to an environment, whether it be your actual surroundings or the more figurative place we're all living in.
It's not a hard sell to be asked to do something in Ireland.
Inviting artists to do something, you want it to be a place where they're going to feel challenged and excited and that will maybe open up some new doorway in their own lives or their own creative practice.