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What is Stolace

January 23, 2019 | Michael | Music

When I was exploring the idea of returning to composing and recording music again, I really didn’t want to continue using the pseudonym Michael Miles — that ship has sailed, I’d like to move onto something new and different, and quite honestly I’m done sharing my Spotify library with a talented banjo player from Chicago. (I’m sure he’d say the same)

The philosophy that I’ve embraced and the approach that I’m taking in my return to music is dramatically different from my previous 20+ years of writing, recording, and performing music; at least I think so. Inspired and greatly moved by the ancient Stoic philosophers Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, I had applied the philosophy of Stoicism to many areas of my life including muic, and have come to the conclusion that I was going about it all wrong — for too long I have been focusing on what I wanted from my music [to become a career musician and have it widely heard and renoun], and not on the process or the journey.

Stoicism puts a great deal of emphasis on focusing only on what it is you can control as well as on the here and now. Translated to music, if I focus on simply making the best possible music that I can make and becoming a better musician and composer than I was yesterday, then I am on the right path. I shouldn’t focus on the results, for the results are up to fate or chance and are completely out of my control.

So what do I call this thing? I didn’t really want to use my name — it’s not that there’s anything bad about my name, but it just didn’t do anything for me or contain any meaning. I wanted to create a name for the space in which I create this music.

With Stoicism as source of inspiration, I was led me to think about what it is that I want out of my music — I want it to bring me a sense of peace, solace, and to focus in on the important things in life. This had me thinking about different words that have meaning for me and the nature of the music that I want to create — Stoicism has been a constant theme for me, and the ideas of solace, comfort, and focus are others as well. I have also been highly influenced (as of late) by a number of Icelandic and other European instrumentalists as of late, like Nils Frahm from Germany, Sigur Rós from Iceland, Hania Rani from Poland, and Ólafur Arnalds from Iceland to name just a few.

After a great deal of word play, it appealed to me to combine the words “stoic” and “solace” to create the term “stolace”, and then throw in a little international flare by changing the O to Ø because I feel it suits it appropriately. It is a little problematic in search results to exclusively use the term “stølace” because if one were to search for the term “stolace”, Google will not equate “stølace” with “stolace”. So I end up using the two interchangeably.

So that, in a nutshell, is what stolace means — the idea of acoustic instrumental music that helps one to find peace, comfort or solace, and focus in on what is important and within the realm of our control and on the here and now. On many levels the exercise of composing, creating, and recording this music has been just that for me — it has helped me find greater levels of peace, has been an outlet that has brought me comfort, and has helped me focus on what is important in life and only on the things within the realm of my control. If I’m fortunate, maybe my music will help you have a similar experience, too.

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