I’m starting by releasing some singles that I’ve been working on. The first one is called “Shadow on the Wall”, which is an instrumental song. It was a fun project to do. It is scheduled to be released on January 8th on most streaming platforms.
If you’d like to pre-save it on your Spotify, click here. You’ll have the option to add your email if you’d like to subscribe to my email list. I hope this song makes you imagine something or sends you to a good place.
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:
I’d like to share with you my newest beat on Beatstars. This one was an interesting one for me because I didn’t expect to turn this dark. When I started making the beat, I was envisioning a feeling of closure, a feeling of redemption.
It turned out differently.
Once I started adding the melodies, I instantly felt the desperation the sound was portraying. Imaging a feeling of sadness that happens when you know something inevitable is going to happen. Hence, the title, “Imminent Chaos”. It felt right to name it that way.
As far as the structure goes, I went to a fast tempo, 150 bpm with a half time feeling. I spend more time on my hi hat patterns because I feel that’s one of the areas to improve with my music. Also, I tried different patterns with the kick drum. I liked how it turned out at the end.
One thing I still need to be okay with is the 808 bass. I’m sure I will make them sound better. On this occasion, the whole mix peaks at -6db. I hope to hear what a mixing engineer can do with the stems.
Please let me know what you think of it. Constructive feedback is always welcomed. Feel free to use the contact form to get in touch.
Here’s a playlist of several singles that I released today on my SoundCloud. For some reason which I yet need to explore, I didn’t want to release it. Perhaps it was a sensation of impostor syndrome disguised as procrastination. I had several songs finished and ready to go, and I still did not do the last step -the easiest one, release them- for several weeks.
I believe I got trapped in a ‘it still needs to improve’ mindset. From now on, I’m going to release more frequently and with less hesitation about quality. I want to release well mixed music, of course. However, what might sound bad for me, my be good for others. It’s all about perspective. I need to be okay with that.
I’m still having recurring insomnia and is getting into a point of frustration. I hope, that with better sleep hygiene and cutting on caffeine I can rest better. I’m revisiting some of books which discuss sleep and how to optimize it. If I get results from what I learn, I’ll share here.
Lastly, I have a question for you:
How often does it happen to you when you have a finished product of any kind, and self-doubt kicks in and you delay its release? I’m not completely sure is self-doubt most of the time. I think there’s something deeper than that. Who knows? Hence, the question. Please let me know in the comments section what is your answer. Also, if you liked any of the songs from this playlist below.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Next week is finals week. I’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology. Last Thursday was my last lecture as an undergrad. I felt nostalgia.
A chapter ends and another begins.
Many years and sacrifices happened to get to this point. Below are some questions that I’m exploring tonight. I would love to read your thoughts on them, too.
1. Would you do it again?
2. What would you tell now to somebody who’s starting out?
3. What would your healthiest and smartest self would advice you?
4. What did you had to give up for to accomplish this?
5. What did you discover about yourself?
Allow yourself to learn something outside from school or your trade. That activity could become an outlet to decompress from school or related stressors. Learning about music and reading non-academic books were instrumental for me. This semester was one of the busiest I had.
Somehow, I wasn’t as stressed as I thought. It felt as if I chose to not get stressed this time around. Peers and coworkers told me many times that I looked calm and zen.
I believe that Morita Therapy helped me with that. I haven’t had anxiety symptoms since October. Reading the book gave me a mental frame to work with my emotions differently. Also, I read and almost finished Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I’ve been a fan of his works for some time now.
Taking a break from social media a few months ago helped with my work and school output. I must say that I eventually returned, but my usage is minimum. I reached a point that I don’t mind not using it; at best I use it to share my blog posts and music, no more than that.
I’ve been working on some beats that I plan to release soon. Music has been an outlet to explore my emotions, creativity, and learning skills. I’ve been getting into producing sample-based music. You’ll notice a different flavor under Phantasiisin comparison with my usual style.
Summer is around the corner, and with it more time to dedicate to the craft. I haven’t written here in a while, but I’m still around.
Life has been improving with more challenges and constrictions. There is beauty on limitations. Having less time for music may be a good thing.
I’m on my last semester for my bachelors degree. It has been a rough one to say the least, and it has made me appreciate my leisure time. Now, when I have a window of free time, it goes towards the craft.
This is my first YouTube video where I’m doing an improvisation over a beat I made on Maschine. I’m using a Boss RC-1 Loop Station pedal, and a Blackstar ID: Core Amplifier. It was recorded on the fly with an iPhone microphone.
I’ve been working on some demos for a project under a different name. I’m hoping to release the new project EP by this summer. We’ll see.
As always, let me know your thoughts, questions or suggestions using the contact form.