Words And Beats | Interview with Gene Katsuro

Words And Beats | Interview with Gene Katsuro

Hey friends,

Welcome to the first episode of Words and Beats with Phantasiis!

Today we are talking with Chicago based producer, Gene Katsuro from MakeYourOwnDamnMusic.

In this episode, we discuss Gene’s creative process and mindset towards music. We dive into how music shaped our lives and why we must save music and not the other way around. Also, we dive into the world of meditation and eastern philosophies on how our psychology affects our music output.

We also discuss mental health and touch base on our personal experiences and struggles.

This was a true honor for me because Gene was the one who motivated me to get serious about music and start releasing songs. I never thought that I will be interviewing him and I am thankful for this opportunity.

For more about his projects please see his links below:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HowToMak…

Back at the Craft | Update

Back at the Craft | Update

Here’s a song that I’ve made recently. It’s an instrumental where I try to emulate the Lo-Fi genre. I hope you like it!

“Where I’ve Been” – Ernesto Delirium

I stopped making music for several weeks due to my mental state and negative mindset. I started exercising during that time and did meditation consistently.

I feel that I started to notice a difference about three months in. I started to have more energy and was gradually becoming more at peace with myself.

That was the hardest. I’m the type of person that’s harsh towards itself. I’m my worst critic, and this feeling intensified after leaving the hospital. 

Friends have been instrumental during those tough times. Without their support and unconditional love, I would probably be dwelling on negativity. Thank you for being there for me. You know who you are.

I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop lately. It helps me stay focused and keep a groove when I’m shadow boxing or going for a walk. The picture below is from jog where I had to start writing some verses on my phone. That was the day when I recovered my inspiration for the craft.

Here’s the place where I recovered my love for music.

I got the opportunity to join a non-profit as a full-time employee. Right now I’m adjusting to the schedule and seeing what are going to be my time windows for creativity. I’m somewhat worried that my physical activity will decrease as well as my musical output. 

Going for walks during my lunch break have been good for me and I want to keep them consistent. 

One thing that has been helpful is improvising a standup desk. I used my piano stand and a guitar case and voila. This setup has been great for my back and overall posture. I feel more comfortable during music sessions by alternating siting and standing. I wonder why I didn’t think about this before.

Say hi to my new standup desk 🙂

I’ve been reading about Japanese psychology once again. This book has been helpful many times when I’m not doing well or I feel that I’m not being proactive. I found this podcast which has brought me to the world of spirituality and understand more about meditation. I’ve been listening to many episodes and I find meaning with the teachings. Sometimes the stories bring tears to my eyes.

I’ve been doing a lot of healing during my meditations. Feelings of guilt, sadness, pain, anger and sorrow have been present when I’m meditating. I let them consume me and release them in silence. This has been highly therapeutic for me.  

I’m in a better place now. My mental state has improved to the point of feeling like my usual self. I feel more connected to something greater than myself. I’m becoming more attuned with my body.

I’m giving myself permission to be happy. I’m allowing myself to enjoy life and be okay with who I am. After being in a dark place for several weeks, I feel that I’m recovering my identity and confidence. I’m making progress.

There’s plenty of inner work to do. I’m glad for that because it means plenty of growth opportunities. Its a road that I hope never ends.

I hope that this translates into my music.

Wishing you creativity and wellness.

Ernesto

RX to Self: Please Slow Down

RX to Self: Please Slow Down

It’s been 12 years since I started this path. Mental illness wasn’t the problem. The struggle was how to regain my confidence and self-esteem after the first onset of symptoms. 

In retrospect, I felt like an observer. I was aware of my surroundings and the people around me. The constant struggle to try to belong to the scene that was right in front of me. Family reunions, going out with friends, going to a concert. Anything social was uncomfortable to me. 

More importantly, I felt I wasn’t my true self.

When I’ve moved to the US 10 years ago, the idea of being an observer started to fade. I became careless about it. I was happy to start a new chapter in life where I could be more independent. I’ve lost school years during my time in Mexico, and I was determined to never let that happen again. Until my symptoms started to take a slow and tender grip on me.

And there I was, going to school with the best intentions to not breakdown. I had the will to not surrender. I had to prove myself that I could do it, that I could belong to the group. Instead of being an observer, I’ve became a witness of my own thoughts. I’ve started to become anxious about others being witness of my symptoms. 

The daily inner battle lasted for several years. I’ve started to evolve with it. Faking that nothing was happening with me. I became desensitized of my needs, and it took a toll  on me from time to time. By this I mean going to the hospital several times because I couldn’t take it anymore. 

Stigma is real and I believe that mental illness is a topic that not many of us like to discuss. Perhaps is lack of understanding, or simply lack of sensibility. 

What if instead of talking about mental illness, we reframe the context to mental wellness? The emotions and ideas portrayed by the word ‘illness’ and ‘wellness’ are diametrically opposed. However, these two terms are interwoven, they are connected. You cannot have one without the other. 

I’m a human being that’s working towards that balance. I tend to overextend myself when I’m doing something that I love. It may be when I’m working or studying, being with friends, being in a relationship, or making music. These are things that I tend to have trouble to keep in harmony.

I’ve got the opportunity to recover my path after a recent hospitalization. I’ve moved the start of my graduate program for the spring, and I’m working on getting more experience on the field of psychology and mental wellness. What I’ve noticed about this, is the way I’m experiencing it.

I’m becoming more aware and attuned to my body through meditation. I’ve been doing it more often, and now I’ve got the opportunity to join a group of guided meditation. I’m learning to regain my attention and focus on what’s around me. Sometimes is hard to practice it, but I try my best on every chance.

I haven’t played much music, nor composed anything. I just don’t feel ready for now. I’ve been writing on my journal, and talking with family and friends. Trying to pick up my pieces together after my resent episode. I’ve been applying to different jobs and trying to reconnect with myself, once again. 

Taking stock on how I’ve dealt with my relationships with people I love is something I’m working on this morning. In order to that, I need to slow down.

Thank you for reading.

On Wellness,

-Ernesto  

Rx to Self: Part Three

Rx to Self: Part Three

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: Misinformation and poor communication 

I tend to do things on my own for most of the time. The idea of self-sufficiency is something that I look up to. When my family and I were figuring out the logistics for my grandpa’s treatment, things got complicated. 

Communication was key during these times. Specially for my father and myself because we were taking action at the early stages.

However, due to the nature of the situation, I didn’t realize that my father and I had to do plenty of crowd control within the family. 

We had to be rational, assertive, and sometimes rude to some of our family members and friends. The reason for this was that there were plenty of individuals that had the best intentions to help, but in fact were causing unnecessary drama, distraction, and stress.

It sounds harsh at first, but imagine this situation: suppose that you were waiting for a doctor’s call at a given time, a matter of life and death. Suddenly, your phone gets blasted with phone calls and text messages from numbers that you don’t even know. 

How would you feel and what would you do?

Keeping in mind that you might be sleep derived, hungry, possibly anxious, and on edge. Would you like to answer to all of these messages, unknown callers and tell them the whole story? What if you miss the phone call that you actually need?

Rx to self: Focus and be in the moment, for who needs it, and for your own peace of mind

This is when I had to minimize distractions. Prioritizing and basically ignoring a lot of attention requests. I needed my whole cognitive, rational, and emotional stability in order to perform on what mattered at the moment. 

What I was experiencing with my phone was, in a way, what in the social sciences is known as mass hysteria. At a given point, there was a rumor within my own family that my grandpa was basically dead, and that we had prepare for the funeral.

While it’s understandable that we worry about this life and death situations, it’s important to realize that it’s dangerous to assume the worst and treat it as a fact. It’s as if you already lost the fight without even trying, and actually feeling depressed already.

However, once that digital communication issue was minimized, we had a system going on. The right people was helping us out, and I’m forever thankful for their time and care. We were finally getting things on track and the unknown was less intimidating.

We were living the present and being proactive, instead of reactive. Less worrying and more doing.

In short: even on this type of situations, you still have the right to choose to who you give your time and attention. Most importantly, you don’t owe anybody any explanations. That night I was reassured about that.

All of these unnecessary attention requests and explanatory demands happened when I took my grandpa to the emergency department. 

That moment I felt an aversion to distraction.

But goddamn, I was focused.

No time for emotions or worries. 

It was time to act and listen.

New Year’s Evening

New Year’s Evening

It was a cold, rainy evening. I had a cold, and I didn’t really wanted to go out. That was my comfort zone claiming its place. I’m glad that I didn’t let it take over.

This New Year’s Evening was one to remember. My partner and I made some home made pizza. The pizza base was made of cauliflower (?). I didn’t knew it existed, and it tasted like the real thing.

I was recovering from a week of poor sleep, and I passed out on the couch. We were watching a podcast on YouTube. By the time I woke up, I believe two hour episodes passed by. 

To my surprise, my partner made home made chocolate chip cookies. I’m not a fan of sweets, but these cookies were good. No bias. 

We decided to go to Balboa Park. The park was close to empty, and it was gorgeous. We started taking lots of photos. It was an awesome experience.

What’ve I learned was to not let my comfort zone take over without asking myself the reason why. Of course, it seemed natural to stay home because I was ill and sleep deprived. I stopped for a second to think why it seemed logical.

It turned out that my reasoning was not enough to justify that decision. I decided to go out and have a good time with my partner. Worst case scenario, if I started feeling worse, we could just drive home.

In short, when you make a decision based on your comfort zone, ask yourself why, and see if you can justify it. 

I’ve been able to sleep well for a couple of days. I’m slowly returning to baseline. I’m excited for the future.

Wish you health, success, and strength for this New Year.

Thank you for reading,

-Ernesto

Checking-in

Checking-in

Its been a week of poor sleep. I feel as if my circadian rhythm got shifted. I go to bed, and wake up after three hours on average. This is not my usual self. It’s been months since I had an extended period of irregular sleep.

It’s the stress.

I’ve been dealing with situations since I took a break from school and work. These are challenges that I’m solving one by one. They just appeared one after another. As an person that dwells into introspection, this has been tough to deal with to say the least.

I’m not worried of having an anxiety attack, or fall into depression. What I’m worried is to not being able to be objective when needed, especially now. Having a good night rest has been a craving these couple of days.

I know I’ll get there. For now, being in the dark, fully awake is not feasible. What I’ve been doing is to stand up, make some coffee, and listen to Lo-Fi hip-hop. Then I’ll be either reading a book, or writing on my journal.

I cannot longer wait for sleep to get back to me. If I feel awake, I have to stand up and do something. It’s a habit I’ve been developing, and now it feels second nature.

Right now, my mind and body are out of sync. I’m listening to the music inside of me, finding what’s going on, and what I’m doing (or not) about it.

I’ll find my tempo again.

Thank you for reading,

-Ernesto

Mirrors (The Devil) – Lyrics

Mirrors (The Devil) – Lyrics

Mirrors

I just crossed the line
With graceful movements
I saw the evil in my eyes
In the mirror monuments

Fear screamed from the mirror
A fear I couldn’t believe
A fear so mysterious
A fear with no reason to be

Walking forward, with no direction
I immerse myself into dimensions
Looking for answers, asking the questions
Nobody is there

I have nobodies’ attention

The corner of the room
With white walls that turn black
That is the place where the fears start to bloom
Once they are in, there is no turning back

Blinded with blasts of paranoia
Penetrating my eyes
It gives me feels of euphoria
A feeling that I have to hide

Forcing the throat
To scream away the fears
Until the bleeding comes
Until the ears cannot resist

Terrorizing howls enter through my mind
Then they turn into images of horror
And through my eyes pass by
Black, gray, and red are the colors

That kill the soul inside

Everything started that morning
While staring at the mirror
I found another face

And it wasn’t me
It was the devil.


Forever After (Anxiety) – Lyrics

Forever After (Anxiety) – Lyrics

Forever After (Anxiety)

Feelings

That I don’t want

That I don’t need

Why can’t I just make them disappear?

 

It makes me sad

I can’t control it

It’s in my mind

I can’t avoid it

 

This obsession

that I have

with my thoughts

I cannot stop

 

Why I can’t just shut my mind?

Why I can’t just close my eyes?

 

But I can’t

I am too anxious

Overwhelmed

So pretentious

 

It appears

that this will be

forever after

inside of me

 

I am worried

It’s hard to breathe

I am nervous

It’s hard to think

 

Anxiety follows me

You are not in here

I don’t want this

I don’t need this

 

This obsession

that I have

with my thoughts

I cannot stop

 

Why I can’t just shut my mind?

Why I can’t just close my eyes?

But I can’t

I am too anxious

Overwhelmed

So pretentious

 

It appears

that this will be

forever after

inside of me

 

Forever after

Inside of me

I just want this

To disappear


The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious

The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious

I had an anxiety attack while getting ready for my internship. To be honest, I don’t know what triggered it, it just happened.

I was doing well for several days. This episode served me as a reminder and a learning experience, too.

Continue reading “The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious”

During the Night

woman sleeping
Photo by Ivan Obolensky on Pexels.com


During the night

I feel them

Coming thirsty

Eating my will and confidence

A thousand hands

Reaching to my mind

Touching my fears

Tempting with my life

A voice speaking

“Good night”

Until I fall sleep

Nightmares rising

Waking alone

Full of marks and scars

Inside my thoughts I’m becoming

An outsider of my own mind.

I Remember

IMG_0737


“I remember the blood on the walls. The painting on the wall, it was her, the maiden with the black dress. It was her gaze, her black eyes that looked at me. The red was everywhere. I can’t forget it. I was laying on the floor, anxious and paranoid. And then, I saw hell on the tv screen.

I rise myself  and go to the bathroom. I looked at the mirror and my face wasn’t there. It was the head of an animal, with two long horns. My hearth stopped. I couldn’t look at the mirror. I didn’t wanted to see my inner demon.

My thoughts were rising. Everything was a spiral in my mind. Then I saw a letter that said that sometimes I hallucinate. That my mind was gaining control of me. The tears dropped on the letter. I felt guilty without apparent reason. All I knew was that the letter didn’t lie. Someone special sent it to me on my last day of transformation.

With such innocence, anyone can tell you the truth. That these were my last days of mental freedom. I became colder with my loved ones in one way or another. Since that day, people who knew me didn’t looked at me at the eyes the same way. Yet, I can see my weakness in their eyes. As if I lost a game and the consolation price was isolation.”

Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect

Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect

This past Friday, October 12, was my anniversary. When darkness happened. When the first set of symptoms triggered. When darkness arrived. I was 16 years old. I still wonder why.

The only worry I had is to get good grades. Making friends wasn’t necessarily a priority. I was a lonely guy. I didn’t mind. I preferred silence. My classmates used to call me “the silent one.” I used to wake up, go to school, ask questions during class, and go home. I had a few friends in my neighborhood. That’s all I needed. 

Then it happened.

Continue reading “Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect”