As we delve into our musical talent pool we'd like to bring to the surface Navíd (pronounced: Nah-veed) Lancaster. He's a musician, music producer and engineer, as well as the founder and owner of LANCAST Ltd, an independent company that creates music for film, animation, video games and mobile applications.
How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
Creativity is the ability to express ideas, emotions or concepts in ways that were not there before.
The message you are trying to convey to the observer/consumer may not be interpreted the way you want but that's okay. Nothing is wrong with that.
How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
It's actually in my case both. It has to start with an idea or inspiration. It takes skill and lots of practice to be able to express the idea fully.
When did you realise that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
The musical side of that expression started in my late teens. The other part of that question has a very long answer so here's the short version. Certain members of my family and very, VERY few friends gave their support and I didn't get much from society at large. I got the "Are you sure you don't want to do this as a hobby?" and "You should get a proper job." statements.
It was only after a few years of me doing this that people figured out that I'm not going away and that I am following my calling no matter what.
What is your standard for evaluating your creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are financial rewards relevant to your projects?
We live in a time where a person who creates musical works not only has to compete (in both quality and significance) with music created by his peers but due to the advent of the internet and digitisation, a creative has to compete with all music from recorded history. That may be daunting. I evaluate my works and others by that standard.
Monetary rewards are always desirable however this is a business so you'll have to create what the market demands. The good news is that if you are well known your prices can go up as people know the level of work/experience/quality they are getting to achieve their vision of a final product.
Do you think your perception and evaluation of your creative endeavours are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you believe the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
Re: Perception/evaluation of my works, Yes though I am fully aware of what I bring to the table in terms of experience and imagination. My clients are always very happy with what they receive from me as I work with them from concept to completion.
Musical culture does play a role but again it depends on what the client wants. They may want a death metal song and that is so far removed from steelpan/calypso/soca but again I am able to compose that as well.
What do you do when you experience a creative block?
I walk away and come back to it. Creative blocks are just another challenge to conquer.
How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
That is actually a hard thing to. Do you know how it feels to hear a song in your head, fully mixed and mastered at 1 in the morning? Thank God I do not have to get up, change, go to a studio and record it. I just roll out of bed, turn on my computer and compose right there through my instruments. Makes life easier.
Do you have any special rituals that you do to achieve your creative goals?
Prayer, action, success, repeat.
Stylistically, has your creativity changed as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
As I grew older I started listening to other music genres and music from other countries. This is a natural progression for me and incorporating those ideas has helped me compose and express myself better. I expect this trend to continue.
What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Can't answer that one here though. It's personal.
Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
I am a member of the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Writings says "“O My Servant! The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.” That quote has kept me doing what I’m doing against a society telling me to ‘play safe’.
There will always be highs and lows in my career. That quote keep me on course.
Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
It is important to be accepted as being a creative. That does not mean that you will be accepted by everybody on any level. However, if someone is thinking that it is a fantasy. Life happens.
For the ones who do accept you I see it as a way of networking, getting advice and if you are lucky, being able to give advice to people who are looking up to you as an example of what they could be.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Rejection and the music business are so intertwined they are like family. LOLOLOL. You would not get everything… initially. I am learning that the persistence factor and the constant learning/upgrading your craft are the main ways of getting what you want out of your creative process and output.
Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
I would not change most things. I would like to keep the things that I could have changed in the past as lessons learnt so I won't be burnt by those lessons again.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Never really doubted my talent. I've doubted the processes to create it and to get it out there and accepted. That doubt is changing though .... very rapidly. The agent for change? Hard work and persistence.
What piece of work are you most proud? Why?
I do not have a composition that I am most proud of. All of them are a part of my expression so I am equally proud of all of them.
What is the best advice you've received that helped you move forward on your creative journey?
I was told no matter what, follow my calling and dominate my sector.
I never really knew what that meant until certain people realised I was serious and started to oppose. Even now after all these years, there are people in various industries still trying to block my further progress because of their own hang-ups, insecurities or their illusion that they are the gatekeepers. That is their problem, not mine.
The good news it that I've surrounded myself with like-minded, determined people and it is a big world out there. They can gate-keep all they like. It makes absolutely no difference in the grand scheme of things.
To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
This is work. HARD work. I’ve noticed that young people are attracted to it because they may only see the ‘glamour and perks’ through music videos, press coverage, stage performances and even parties.
That’s just the front-end. Once you get behind the veil you’ll quickly realise the amount of sacrifice, heartache, egos and the ruthlessness of people in this industry are enormous. Don’t be naïve or you and your creativity will be quickly taken advantage of. Learn about your rights and what is owed to you. If your calling is to express yourself through music, by all means, do it. Following your goals is one of the few avenues you have in this life to be truly happy.
For what would you like to be most remembered?
I've never really given that much thought. I think I'll withhold answering that for now.
If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
We'd like to thank Navid for taking time out to share his thoughts with us. You can find more of Navid's work via his website www.lancastltd.com or follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Linkedin.