Studying the Science of Music & Sound to Stimulate Your Brainwaves w/h CEO of BrainFM Daniel Clark- Part Two!
So I use Brain.FM all the time and many of you do also! Today Dan rejoins us to talk about some of the new research they’ve been doing with the help of grants, benefitting those of us with ADHD/ADD/Neuroatypical, new studies exploring neural phase-locking and how business is going in general. You may improve your focus AND get 20% off by using this special link to BrainFM with the coupon code: FASTER Enjoy!
A little more about our guest today:
Daniel has been in love with technology- and its potential to positively impact the world- for as long as he can remember. From building websites when he was 13, starting a design and advertising business at 18 and driving $2MM in revenue for multinational brands as a director for a boutique ad agency, he has truly been at the forefront of how technology can exponentially grow successful businesses. One of Brain.fm’s first users, he called the company 12 times before they agreed to bring him in for an interview. When he did receive an offer, he jumped at it (even working for free for the first few weeks). He eventually moved up to Head of Technology, and is now the CEO. As CEO, Daniel is constantly striving to build a company that can not only change the world through music, but also be one of the best companies for people to work for and grow with. Daniel has visited over 20 countries across five continents, with plans to set foot on all seven (including Antarctica).
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & Daniel Clark discuss:
1:10 – Intro and welcome back Dan!
2:24 – For those who don’t know; tell us about Brain FM and describe what it does?
3:46 – So since our last talk in 2018, how has the company grown, or changed? Ref: Checkout our first interview w/ Dan
5:10 – On the studies Brain FM are conducting about using it for pre/post-op and how people are now able to wake up twice as fast from anesthesia – tell us more about that study!
6:41 – On how Brain FM is a tech company that respects & uses science, using it in the right way
7:54 – What has Brain FM learned to help people focus & stay calm, amidst the craziness of where the world is now?
9:15 – On the benefits of using headphones, just in general
10:00 – On creating helpful habits for maintaining a good a mental state w/ the use of tech
11:12 – On developing daily rituals
12:50 – On the grants Brain FM have enabling them to use music for ADD/ADHD and Neurodiverse brains specifically
15:00 – On the importance of music memory and its ability to distract the brain in one way, allowing better focus in other ways. Ref: for those of you too young to remember this song from “St. Elmo’s Fire”
17:53 – On the importance of taking the time to learn your brain & how it functions, just like you take the time to learn how to use anything else important in your life & your pursuits
19:07 – Tell people how they can find you and get more info on you? DClark on INSTA is kind of the only place and those are private so; it’s all about BRAIN.FM with Dan right now. You can find THEM @BrainFM on Facebook and @BrainFMApp on Twitter and INSTA
19:50 – Dan Clark, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it. Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review. We appreciate you guys being on the podcast , we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcasts out there, so I love that, and that was all because of you guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it’s you, someone you know, You can always reach me via [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you’ve read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ or https://www.audible.com – whatever, drop us a review, you’d be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.
20:13 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first episode of the new year that I am recording here in my apartment, because we all know that Coronavirus does not respect a calendar, they don’t have little day planners and say, “Oh, it’s 2021, we can stop doing anything.” But that being said, welcome to a new episode and a new year of Faster Than Normal. Of course, now that I think about it, you’re probably hearing this in March, so whatever, screw it. It’s good to be back. It’s good to see you guys. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be talking to you again. I’m glad to have my guests. My first guest, my first recording guest of the year, is someone I had back on 2018. Dan Clark. Dan is the founder of Brain.fm and Brain FM. I, I use them religiously. I put music on, I put audio tracks on it my headphones, when I’m working, when I’m trying to sleep, um, it’s been great. During the past year, when you know, you go to bed and, and something stupid has happened in DC and you wake up and some more stupid shit has happened in DC. So it is, it has been very useful to actually keep my sleep going. Dan, welcome back, glad to have you again.
Glad to be back.
You’re still in New York, you’re surviving, and you’re, you’re still alive with the family?
Surviving and thriving. Yeah, um, you know, we, uh, we’re, we’re not giving up on the city and, uh, you know, it’s definitely coming, coming back stronger than ever.
I agree. I mean, being born and raised here, I could not agree more. Of course my, my upstairs neighbors have decided this is the perfect week to redo their floors. And so I’m, I’m, I’m questioning my, my, my decision to stay here, but I’m sure that’ll stop as well. Anyway. It’s good to have you mentioned, Dan, Dan has an interesting background, Dan, um, you know, he worked in advertising, he worked for multinational brands then. He was one of Brain FM’s first users. He called the company 12 times before they agreed to bring him in for an interview, and then when he received an offer, he worked free… for free for a few weeks, eventually moved to the head of technology, and now.. he’s now the CEO. And for those who don’t know what Brain FM is, Dan, tell us a little bit, cause I mean, I just, I’m a, I’m a huge fan, but I won’t do it justice, so tell us what it is.
Yeah, sure, so at Brain FM, we make functional music to help you focus, relax, and sleep better. Uh, what we do is we combine science and technology into music you’d actually like to listen to, and we’re putting in rhythmic pulses that create patterns that emulate, uh, the patterns that you naturally have in your brain when you’re in certain mental states. So focus relaxed or asleep and by listening to the music with these certain patterns, your brain starts to mirror the music, which allows you to shortcut into that mental state and then stay there as you’re using the product.
And I can tell you as a user of the product, it is, it is hugely, hugely beneficial. It actually helps me. Uh, when I sleep, I probably use it at least twice a week. You know what? I use a lot, I use it when I’m not sleeping in my own bed, which over the past nine months, it hasn’t been that much because you know where the man to go. Uh, but other than, you know, when I was on planes and stuff like that, or when I was in airports or, you know, having to crash in hotels, whatever, you know, but you know how much I travel, I was using it religiously. And it was, it was, I think it was something along the lines of it…it made me feel like I was home, right? And it took any of the pressure of where are you, what you are doing, off, and I just, I was able to fall asleep and for someone with massive ADHD and sleep apnea, you know, that’s a really good thing, so, I mean, I’m a huge fan. Um, tell us about, so, so last time we talked to you was I believe 2000….I want to say March of 2018. So it’s been almost two years, um, has the company grown? How’s it doing?
Yeah. Great questions. Um, the company has grown pretty significantly, um, we’ve probably grown over a 100% since we’ve talked. Um, but what we’re doing now is really just getting ready, um, for, for growth. Um, we’ve done a lot of really interesting things which we can explore. Um, one is, you know, continuing our ADHD studies, um, which is, you know, we have grants for, to, to validate that we can be an effective treatment, um, to help, you know, other treatments that people are doing. We’ve done other things where we’re taking the same technology and we’re doing it with people that are going through surgery. So pre and post-op, and we’re finding through some of our pilot studies, um, people are waking up twice as fast from anesthesia. Um, and we’re also, you know, creating systems for enterprise companies as well, so we’re really, um, spreading the foundation to build and grow on. And, um, you know, it’s been really interesting, especially with this pandemic where people’s whole lives have changed to somewhat, and they’ve been really looking for tools to be able to help them keep their same level of productivity or their same sleep patterns, and like you were mentioning, and we’ve had a lot of people, gravitate towards, um, you know, tools like Brain FM.
So let’s actually talk about that for a second. Cause you mentioned, you know, that it, talk to me first about the fact that people are waking up twice as fast from anesthesia, that sounds… like really, really awesome. Talk to me a little bit about that. What kind of study?
Yeah, it’s really exciting. So, so, you know, what’s,…what’s really cool is the idea of functional music has been around forever. There’s binaural beats and isochronic tones. We’re a different approach called Neuro phase-locking, um, and the… the cool thing is that there’s actual real science that is happening in your brain, right? So, kind of like when you shine a light bulb in someone’s eye, it contracts because of an outside stimulus… that’s what’s happening in your brain, when you’re listening to Brain FM. We’re actually aligning the functional networks of your brain to communicate more effectively. And that is the reason why people are waking up from anesthesia faster, was because of the physical effect that we’re having, um, on people. Um, so it’s, it’s really exciting because not only can we help people in their regular life, but we’ve stumbled across this possibility of helping people in, you know, alternative settings. Um, and it’s very exciting because if we can help people, um, you know, wake up faster, there’s a lot of really great stuff there, um, but there’s even more really interesting stuff pre-surgery, where if we can lower your blood pressure before or during surgery, we might be able to, um, you know, help cardiac arrest and things like that. It’s way too early for us to tell, um, but it’s fun because we’re, we’re basically starting to see that the real science that we have in our product is, is, um, an effect that’s not only effective in focus or sleeping, it’s, uh, effective in much more areas.
That is amazing work, and I love the fact that you’re a technology company that’s actually respecting the science and using it the right way, I think that’s fascinating. I remember when I first interviewed you, um, I was, I was, uh, good friends at the time, I still am, with a woman who I also had on the podcast who was a PhD, um, at Harvard, she was getting her PhD and she couldn’t stop raving about you guys. She heard about you on the podcast and then immediately downloaded and was addicted because it’s like, “oh my God, this calms me down as I’m trying to study, right?” And that was huge for her because she couldn’t, her focus was, was, was a big thing, so I love that it’s, it’s, it’s moving on into more science. Talk to me for a second, about the second part of what you said when it comes down to, um, uh, doing, uh, getting people calm or focus in this ridiculous dumpster fire dystopian nightmare that we’re currently living in. Um, you know, I mean, literally they, they, you know, I can’t, I have to, I’ve learned to shut off. I mean, I always shut off my phone, but now I keep my alerts, my, my news alerts off most of the day, because I go down a rabbit hole, right? 10am,, it’s, you know, a CNN alert needs to forget the James Earl Jones, this is CNN. It needs to come with the tagline about “what now” right? And so let’s start reading a story, so, so instead of that, talk about what, what, um, Brain FM has learned, and is doing to help people sort of, not only focus, but stay calm and, you know, not want to jump out a window every five minutes in, in this nightmare that we’re living in.
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s really interesting. So, you know, our bodies and our minds are made to mirror the environment that we’re in. So I’m sure you’ve heard sayings, like, you know, the people that you, surround yourself with… the people you are, um, you know, what goes in your mind, uh, you know, where energy goes, attention flows and results didn’t follow. I think this is a Zig Ziglar quote, right?
Um, and, and it’s all, it’s actually true, so what happens inside of your brain is, is, is where you know where your attention is, that’s where things like your reticulated activate your RDS RAS system is, is, is looking for, so when you buy a car, and then you see everyone that has the same exact car, that systems like that in place, um, and when you’re looking at negative things or something like that, it’s sometimes helps us skew to be more negative sometimes. So it’s really important to control your environment, um, and what’s really difficult sometimes is, um, you know, having that stuff in your mind and then still trying to be productive, right. One of the easiest things though, that we can do by maybe … we can’t physically control our environment, but we can control our environment through sound. So, you know, putting headphones on from its own place without even Brain FM, you can really block out, especially with sound canceling headphones, the technology that we have today, It’s really easy to put yourself in a corner in your house, put on headphones and escape, and then there’s an interesting thing where if you add that and then Brain FM with all the science that we’re creating, um, what we’re finding is people are able to say, okay, no, this is my focus time. Um, this is my relaxed time, and, um, it’s, it’s very interesting. So when, when this all started, we started doing focus sprints together. so we created, you know, YouTube lives of a couple of hundred people coming together and saying, this is what I’m going to do today. And from that, we started really learning about how to just develop really strong habits to make sure that we are maintaining healthy mental states, and just a healthy life. So, you know, one of the things that I started getting into is every single morning, no matter how I feel, I have an iced coffee and I have Brain M playing, right? Um, I also do a chill session throughout the day, soI’ll do it like after lunch or something like that, just to make sure that I’m, um, you know, being able to like, like plug in, and then unplug, and, uh, when we started explaining this and sharing this with people, we found a lot of people were like, “I don’t know what I would do without Brain FM,” especially, you know, having, you know, their, their, their husbands in the same room or their kids, or their cats, you know, I have a cat running around right now, I don’t know if you can hear him, um, and it’s, it’s things like that, that all combined, to creating this habit with technology, to make sure that we are really the ones in control.
No question about it. I think that, you know, you said you mentioned something about habits and as, since we’re at the beginning of the new year, obviously this won’t air for a couple months, but you know, everyone says, resolutions, resolutions, resolutions. I’ve always been in the opinion that resolutions fail, but rituals succeed and you create rituals by creating habits, right? And so I’m not going to lose 20 pounds by tomorrow, right? and believe me. I’ve tried, but what can happen? Is that I can vow to get up a half an hour earlier every day and just try to do that for 30 days and, and, and exercise, right. What will happen at the end of that month is that I will have created a ritual that will transform into the resolution that I wanted, right? And so music and sound plays a huge part in that, in my, in my experience, in that I know that, you know, I’m a Peloton junkie, as you know, and, and I, I took, um, I had my best output I’ve had in months the other day, ‘cause it was the greatest showman ride. And I know every song by heart, right? And, um, well, top of my lungs, right. you know, dying, you know, and my, my, my, my organs are spilling out of my body, but because music can do that in so many facets and so many facets it’s creating, you’re creating habits and rituals. And I almost look at along the lines of, I, I, told my daughter, there was absolutely no way we were getting a puppy, uh, during lockdown, which of course means I have a puppy now. And as I tried to train it, it really is just repetition, repetition, repetition, and you get the dog, you know, you get the dog in the habit of going out at 4:30 in the morning to pee… Talk to me about 4:30 in the morning to pee, right? And so it’s the same thing, you know, if that, if you hear that music, that specific type of music, it tells you it’s time to chill, it’s time to ramp up. So under that, and I think that that more than anything, it needs to be a lot more studies into that. And you have some grants. Well, you’re learning. And you mentioned that you’re learning about, uh, what music can do for ADD/ADHD and neuro-diverse brains touch on that for a second.
Yeah, sure. So we have a, a lot of grants that we’ve, um, we’re currently, you know, waiting to hear back from as well as, um, some grants that we’re executing. Um, it’s very interesting. So, you know, we…some of the adaptive technology that we talked about in the beginning with, as those rhythmic pulses and what we’re doing is we’re adding modulations to sound, um, and what’s happening is it’s kind of like, almost like a helicopter effect, like <helicopter sound> and it’s in a certain pattern. That is, um, is aligning those functional networks. What we find in ADHD brains is that that pattern has to be ramped up significantly higher because of the hyperactivity, um, that, that, uh, people with ADHD have. And what’s really interesting is when we combine that with this higher level of, um, modulations in the music, what we’re able to do… is help people unlock their flow state very quickly and faster in ADHD brains than we are in maybe normalized brains. Um, you know, we’ve, I, and I love your podcasts because, um, you know, it’s all about ADHD as a superpower. Um, I believe that with someone that has it as well, and it’s very interesting because, um, we’re starting to unlock why and, and starting to harness that. So, um, one of the things we just actually released in our app is this thing called the Neural Effect filter where you can actually say, I want high setting, you know, or low setting or whatever, and start taking the technology and control it yourself, and um, people with ADHD, um, click that high button all day because that’s exactly what they need to help support them, um, and the really interesting thing is, is part of the reason why Brain FM works so well, um, is not only the, the, the biological component, but because it’s actually distracting your brain just enough to help you be more effective. It’s kind of like, taking care of your monkey mind almost.
Um, it makes, that makes sense. It makes complete, perfect sense. I remember before my parents knew I was ADHD, and I was just a disruption in class, I remember that they would never a punishment for me, it was, I wasn’t allowed to listen to music while I worked, and that was the biggest mistake they ever conceivably could have made because I did so well once I had music going in it, even to this day, I mean, I, you know, we all have music memory, right. We hear a song and we think, “oh my God, I remember exactly where I was at that moment. I still remember. I still remember, uh, waking up, uh, I guess my alarm went off, but it was, I must have been like 14, 15, 16. Uh, my alarm went off and I was, I was, I was,uh, it was soft. It was like a Saturday, so they didn’t have to wake up early and it was a radio clock radios, and it was, it was the song, um, uh, St. Elmo’s Fire, Man In Emotion by John Parr. And I remember listening to the whole song sort of half asleep, half awake, and seeing it by the end of the song I woke up and I was like, this is going to be the greatest thing in the world. this level of focus and, and, and, you know, to this day, it’s still pretty hard to get back. You know, it there’s so much that that being able to take a certain percentage of your brain and just like you said, distract it to do something else, allowing you to focus on the stuff that matters, you know, when you, when you stop and think about it, um, uh, one of the, one of the things about ADHD is, you know, kids get in trouble all the time for speaking out of turn, I remember I used get in trouble for making the, the kids laugh, like being the class clown, and what I learned later in life was, that I was actually trying to give myself more dopamine. Uh, so I could sit down and focus, right? I was actually getting in trouble because I wanted to learn, right. I couldn’t stay still. I couldn’t because I wanted to focus, but I needed the … And so, so it’s the same thing, being able to distract the brain in one way allows you to focus better in another way, it’s phenomenal.
Yeah. And I think we’re just starting to figure that out. Like neurochemically, um, you know, biologically, uh, there’s, there’s a lot of really interesting things, um, the more we study Brain FM, the more, um, and this sounds weird, but the more impressed we are with, with the, the kind of perfectness of, of the, the system, you can do similar things that, you know, these modulations, you can do it in light, you can do an Vibracoustic. So like by, um, you know, vibrations and things like that, um, you can do it with other mediums, but what’s really interesting is your ears are one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Um, and they can, they can, um, detect, um, frequencies and things way more intense than…than other parts right? And it really allows you to not, uh, have to like pay attention. It’s something that works well with, with what we’re doing in our daily lives. So most of us sit at a computer and we have to sit down and work right, and you can’t have flashing lights in your face and all that stuff, but you can easily put headphones on and it like aids you and supercharges you rather than taking something away. Um, and it’s fun to start figuring this out and, and start making the product better. Um, while we learn about the human brain at the same time.
I think it’s the best part is that, is that, you know, the more I start to sort of understand my brain and learn about it and, and I don’t want to say biohackers God, that word is so fucking overused right? You know, I, I don’t, I don’t need someone to tell me what macronutrients I need to be injecting in my eyeballs or some crap like that, but the premise of just understanding how your brain works, I don’t think enough people take the time to realize that, you know, the, the best tools are the ones that you understand completely how they work. I mean, when I became a skydiver, I had to learn every single inch of my parachute because you know, it has that sorta job of, you know, saving my life. And I, you know, you don’t want your last 30 seconds on this planet before you impact it, you know, to be what does that thing do? And maybe it should, you know, should they have done that? And, you know, and so you learn and, and, and you feel more confident and safe, right? I trust my gear. I, I trust my training and my gear, and I think that we all need to spend a little more time understanding our brains and learning about our brains and learning what affects, what, you know, it’s something as simple as why I exercise so early. I know that if I do have a better day, right? I’m not, I’m not a PhD. I don’t, I’m not, I’m going to do, uh, you know, a neuroscientist. I don’t understand what the chemicals, uh, what their names are, but I understand what happens when I get off the bike, right… and how I feel. And so, yeah, I think more people need to do that. I love that you guys are taking the role in that. Um, we’re running out of time. Dan, it’s… it’s Brain.FM, I know that we used to have a, a, um, a, a discount code for you guys, so I’m assuming I’ll get a new one from… from you guys, and we’ll, we’ll hook that back up because I want to start promoting it, we’ll promote it on the, uh, on the site and the podcast, but I really appreciate you…. you spending the time. Do you have, like a blog or do you have a… what’s your social so people can follow you and all your, all your exploits.
Yeah. I mean, so I don’t really do tons of socials. Um, you know, I have an Instagram, which is just the Clark, um, which you can find me, but, um, but yeah, I mean, I really putting all my heart and soul and Brain FM right now, and then, uh, eventually I’ll have a social life again.
Awesome, I love it, and, and know you, I thought the same thing until I sold my company and no, you, you don’t, you’ll, you’ll find something else to do and you won’t have a social life again, it happens. But anyway, Dan, thank you so much for taking the time, guys, this is Faster Than Normal. We love what we do, do, and we love just as passionate as Dan is about Brain FM, we are just as passionate about what we do here. If you liked what you heard, drop us a review, leave us a note, shoot me an email. Let us know who else we should have on the podcast, we’re always looking for new guests, we would love that. Reach out any time http://www.petershankman.com/ at Faster Than Normal at @petershankman. We will see you next week with a brand new episode. Thank you again for listening. Have a great day.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week.