Wherever the train takes me / Vol. 1

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This week I’m finally going to upload the first (of many? hopefully lol) series of beats from an ongoing project called Wherever the train takes me. As I mentioned previously in some old blog post of mine (I’m too lazy to backtrack HAHAHA), I brought my netbook and MIDI keyboard with me during my trip to Japan last Spring–and I got to make some beats while I was there, during downtime (especially when I sprained my ankle in Osaka and when I was sick in Tokyo HAHAHA). I made rough drafts for (almost) every place I went to and I continued working on them when I got home.

I didn’t really have a solid concept in mind while I was working on it, and I only thought of grouping them under one project when I was almost done–I realized that the places I referenced to happened to be train station names (or at least near one).

Making music abroad–and doing it in Japan–was surreal for me cause for one, I love Japan more than anything in the world, more than myself ahhaha, and I remember five years ago when I was there for my student exchange program, I started getting into producers like Lone, SBTRKT, FaltyDL, Disclosure, Toro y Moi, Yasutaka Nakata of Capsule, etc. and that period in time was one of the first instances I thought of my interest in producing electronic music.

It was also my first time traveling with ~*music gear*~ cause usually I document my trips through my Fisheye film camera, my phone camera, or I bring a notebook with me (I even make travel scrapbooks HAHAHAHAHA)–it became way for me to ~*immortalize*~ my travels in another format. Each place holds a different meaning to me and a different story (I came up with the track Kagurazaka while I was recovering from my post-tattoo procedure fever), and through music I was able to turn what I felt about each place in a tangible form.

When I finished everything, I asked my friend Ryan, who happens to be one of the best illustrators in Manila (his portfolio would attest to that), to create the album art for it, and we got to discuss the project when he was conceptualizing the design. During our discussion, I realized I could make it an ongoing project since I travel every now and then and I decided I’m just going to bring my MIDI keyboard with me everywhere forever HAHAHA.

I guess that’s it lol, Wherever the train takes me / Vol. 1 will be up on August 15 on my Soundcloud and Bandcamp

Under Construction

I keep updating this blog only on a monthly basis and I intend to change that for the rest of the year (at the very least). Since I deactivated my ~*social media accounts*~ I’ve had more time for my actual life and I recently realized how difficult it actually is to have a full time job, work on an EP, go to school every Saturday, do two 6-week online courses… and maintain my sanity (and health) LOL. In the next few weeks I’m going to be in maintenance mode and I’m deliberately keeping lowkey cause this is probably the only period this year I’m gonna be able to slow down before everything goes full speed again.

Lately I’ve been feeling tired on a level I can’t exactly put a finger on, but I just felt like I have to back away from everything and keep still. And to make productive use of this slow down period, I’m trying to finish the EP which I decided to work on a few weeks ago.

This afternoon, I was walking around the campus while listening to some of my drafts and it felt surreal cause I remember how half a decade ago, I really wanted to make music–and now I get to listen to the music I made while on my way to the same halls I used to walk in.

I’m halfway through the EP and I’m going to try just a few more things before I finally go ahead with it–the next half is a complete mystery to me. But so far, I’ve decided on what it’s most likely going to be:

  • I will call it Deep Sea Pearls (but I might change it cause I’m impulsive as hell ahhahaa)
  • The overall sound of the EP will revolve around the title and concept
  • I might have 5 songs (or more… or less. But it really depends on what I’m going to scrap/change lol)
  • Most of it was conceptualized in Taco Bell hahahahhaha
  • I’m gonna stay away from social media until I finish it (but I’m thinking of not coming back anymore… loljk I need to put up the links on social media so nvm lmao)
  • Ideally it’s going to be out when I turn 25 (which is a few months away… idk I don’t mind pushing it back cause I get lazy sometimes HAHAHA)
  • And more or less it’s going to be done by the time I hit my first year of producing music!!

Overall, I feel like I’m absolutely clueless about what’s going to happen to me tomorrow/next week/next month/next year but I’m just gonna keep doing stuff nonetheless, I’m looking forward to seeing where everything takes me and the person I’m turning out to be. I already feel like an entirely new person after shutting down my social media for a week LOL.

July is almost over?!

This month felt like it went by in a blur–I wanted to do so much when I’m just getting started. July turned out to be a lot quieter than I thought it’d end up being. I did get to do a bunch of things, though:

  • I’ve been attending my Japanese language classes for 3 weeks now! Coming back to Ateneo has become a breather for me (suprisingly–cause I used to be so stressed & anxious back in college) and just seeing the trees and walking around campus calms me down. I haven’t been studying legitimately because I know much of the lessons we’re talking up now (cause I decided to repeat everything so that I can fill in the lapses in my memory), and since I know most of it, I actually still have the time and energy for…
  • The EP I’m working on! I decided to begin working on an actual extended play weeks ago after I finished the songs I made in Japan (which I will be uploading soon… and I’m really looking forward to the album art I asked my friend Ryan to make!). I’ve been trying to overcome blocks over the past few weeks, and I had a bunch of draft beats but the EP didn’t feel real to me until I finished the first song just last week. It was a spontaneous beat I started in Taco Bell Gateway and after that everything just fell into place. As much as I want to upload it immediately, I have so much polishing to do and I still have a long way to go for this project–I’m planning to do at least 5-6 songs and I don’t know what the rest of the journey is going to be like. It might even end up as an album, IDK. I’m just going to let it take me wherever lol.
  • I’ve also been staying lowkey hahaha I deactivated my Facebook account cause I hate everyone, and I want to focus on making music + keeping myself sane. I also deleted all my social media apps for the same reason. I go through a lot of emotional ups and downs so this might be temporary… or this might be different. Hahahaha. Either way I’ve been trying to balance my ~real life~ so I guess this is how I want it to be for now.
  • I’ve been obsessing over Tyler the Creator’s new album Flower Boy. I listened to the album for the first time in Gong Cha as I drank my pearl milk tea, after I paid for the condo dues that afternoon. While I was listening to it, the only thing running on my mind was that I have to make songs as genuine, raw, and heartfelt as that album. It felt like a splash of cold water and I think this helped me a lot in finishing the first song I came up with.
  • I had dinner with my former Japanese roommate, Wakana who came here for a weekend. Seeing her again her makes up for not being able to meet in Kansai when I went to Japan in April this year. We ate sisig in Wok This Way in Katipunan, which I haven’t been to in like almost a decade haha. She wanted to have halo-halo and we ended up in Chowking–I had no idea the halo-halo there was actually good!! She enjoyed getting to eat Filipino food again after a long time, and seeing her eat enthusiastically reminded me of how excited I get every time I get the chance to Japanese food. And we had conversations about our mutual admiration for each other’s home cultures, which somehow made me appreciate my home culture even more (and still appreciate Japanese culture at the same time). It’s so convenient to take what is accessible for granted, but all it takes to fix that is to get a better perspective of things.
  • I watched Kita Kita twice (so far), which is now my favorite local film of all time (probably). I watched it in Gateway (which I used to frequently go to when I lived in QC) last Saturday after my Japanese language class , and again yesterday ALSO after my Japanese language class (but this time in the condo cinema, cause I won free SM Cinema tickets from the raffle at work). I think I’m gonna watch again next Saturday hahahaha. Today I even drew daruma dolls because of the movie (I don’t know where to buy one here so I made cut outs myself and made wishes hahahaha). I think I want to make that Sapporo trip (that I’ve been planning for years now) happen soon!!

At this point I really have no idea how the rest of the year is going to turn out. So much has been changing and I’m really just set to working 5000x harder than I already do–and I think I’m going to have to write more often here so that I can keep track of things. ❤

June… so far

I never really thought I’d come to this–but life has been feeling pretty hectic lately. I think it’s mostly just cause I view it that way–cause whenever I recount the things I’ve actually done this month I realize that they aren’t much hahaha. But I guess I’ve been doing stuff more than I usually do.

I’ve been meaning to write about this two weeks ago but I’ve been ~busy~ and ~exhausted~ these past few days lol and I’m going to jot down what I’ve been up to this month just to try to get some perspective (cause everything feels like a blur lately).

  • I attended a volunteer training session at Kythe two Saturdays ago, which I’ve been looking forward to for a long time cause the last time I volunteered for Kythe was for Kythe Flying (last March). I remember last year when I met my co-volunteers for the first time, we were talking about how we wanted some sort of training to help us manage expectations and brief us about volunteering for kids in hospitals. I also haven’t visited the hospital in a while so the recent training session was a refresher for me and I feel better prepared as a volunteer.

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  • After the morning training session at Kythe, I walked to the nearby Afters Espresso & Desserts in Tomas Morato, cause I’ve been wanting to go there since 2012/2013 when I first heard of it from someone on Twitter. I had my DSLR with me so I decided to just go and take photos of my lava cake and the place (I haven’t done food photography in YEARS). I felt like my 19 year old self again.

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  • I went to Fete de la Musique again this year (my second time), and I got to hang out again with Dee (also for the second time) who’s actually a friend of a friend. The last time I saw her was at No Rome’s gig in Warehouse Eight (which was called Deadication) around August 2016 (not sure about this hahaha) right after I got hospitalized (that’s another story lol). My favorite sets at the Bedroom Beats Stage (where I was last year as well) were by Pure Mind Quiet Heart, Nights of Rizal, and the Balladeer. Then I found Franco outside Black Market, whom I’ve been going to gigs with in the past couple of months. We all went to the Circus Stage which had the best vibe (then again, I don’t know much cause I only went to two stages HAHAHA). There was even this indie french band whose name I can’t remember lol, but their set was good (how descriptive lmao). And after going around Makati for hours (wherein we failed to enter all the stages that we wanted to go to cause they were either too sketchy or closed already), we ended up in Next Door Noodles to eat at around 2/3am (I’m not even sure anymore).
  • My workload has been getting heavier these past few days and weeks for some reason, and I’ve been handling work for Malaysia and Singapore (on top of my local workload). I don’t have as much downtime as I did before (to write or make music in the office hahaha) which is why it took me a while to find time to sit down and write again. It’s not bad at all having this kind of workload, cause I still get to work on music anyway… and sleep.
  • I still am working on music but I’m trying to be patient with improving my mixing and mastering skills (or the lack thereof). I have a couple of beats lying around, and I decided to create another soundcloud account as a dump of beat sketches I’m not sure what to do with yet. If I do finish them (and decide to push the ideas forward) I will either put them up on my ~official~ account or my open-secret account lol. I’m probably going to upload one or two tracks there in the next few days haha
  • Later I’m going to try to finish errands cause it’s a long weekend and it deserves to be a productive one. I was supposed to go out this morning but I feel sleep-deprived and I’d rather chill today cause I haven’t done that in a while (obviously). Surprisingly I don’t feel like crap today (cause most weekends I do hahaha), I found the strength to write again hahaha and I feel like doing other things later today.
  • I enrolled myself in a Japanese language course (again) hahaha. I honestly just want to go back to school for a change of scenery but I don’t have enough interest, time, and funds for a master’s degree (and I’d rather earn money full-time tbh), and long-term my goal is just to keep learning stuff. After the music production short course I took last year, I realized I wanted to enroll myself into more short courses that would help me gain/improve skills. And then when I went on a trip to Japan again, I also realized that I didn’t want to waste my knowledge of Japanese language even if I’m not planning to live/work there any time soon. I was going through some local openings and it might be of practical use someday, and I think I just want to take another vacation in Japan again and actually know how to talk to the locals more. I remember my Japanese language professor in AIU (who happens to be my favorite college prof of all time) made me promise to continue learning the language, and I want to honor that this time around and moving forward. I know it’s going to be very difficult and I might feel like giving up at some point but I know when I look at the bigger picture, it will all pay off. ❤
  • My Japanese friend (whom I shared a room with at the Ateneo University Dorm) will visit the Philippines next month and I’m going to meet her after the first session of my Japanese language class in Ateneo. I’d say some of my fondest life memories are from college and I’m always looking forward to revisit the life I used to have years ago, no matter how long ago it was. ❤