Hello…How Are You?

Greetings, folks. At the moment, I’m sipping a delicious cup of hot cocoa at Blackhorse Espresso, a favorite hangout of mine. When I was living on the other side of the campus of Cal Poly, I frequented one of Blackhorse’s now four locations, which was in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. The other three locations also occupy the city, but the Foothill location, closer to Cal Poly, has been around for at least 2-3 years. Because I live closer to campus, this is one of the great local San Luis Obispo cafes where I will pop in, get some bevs and munchies, then settle in a seat a table, getting stuff done. I usually have an agenda, but I’m more organized at some times than I am others. It’s almost always music-related, or at least most of the time it is.

At this moment, it is, in a way, music-related in what I’m currently doing, which is composing this blog, to let you know what I’ve been up to.

As you may know, I have decided to put my radio show on pause. It was something that I was reluctant to do, and have attempted to do so a few times. I have no regrets about it, as it has allowed me more time to have some space. As a consequence, I have not listened to all of the music that’s been piling up in my inbox for almost a month. I don’t feel sorry about that; I do appreciate all the support from the labels, producers, and promo professionals who do look up to me as a resource. I’m really appreciative of that, and I’ll aways be appreciative.

But here’s the thing about what I’ve done with my radio show: it’s been said that quality in delivers quality out. I spent around 5-6 hours/week, sometimes more, giving my attention to going through all of that music. The way it works is: I get music, and usually I have to listen to a song or two or more per promo. Understand that listening to the promo is not the same as listening to it on my iPhone, because I have to physically be at the computer, and be focused. The listening part can be 1-2 songs per release, but sometimes it’s a whole album. I have more time to listen to those few songs for one release, but not 12 tracks for an album. And I have to do all that via streaming, on the Internet, which means I need to be at a place with, at the least, a fast Internet connection. Then I have to give my feedback on the release; only after I do so is a download link made available for me to put on my computer, and maybe use for a show or mix.

In addition to the preparation, there’s doing the show, and then there’s the post-production of editing the raw recording, which is just the music, then doing what are called stop sets, which are essentially voice overs, putting together the playlist, which has to be completed manually, then uploading both the show and the blog before publishing both to the world. That’s another 2-3 hours; for one person, that’s a lot of work.

I’ve been happy to do it, but I’ve reached an inflection point. For the last few years, I’ve attempted music production. There is a lot to knowing about it, especially if I want to work at getting good at it. It’s been an on-again, off-again thing…mainly off. There are a variety of reasons why my beat making journey has taken its own sweet time. The more I wanted to scratch that itch, the more that something had to give way.

What finally had me decided to go all in? Asides from the fact that I was feeling very left out, in spite of all of the acquisitions that I now possess to make music, I have lost something else in the last year: my weight.

While reading (reading = listening to audiobooks) a book sometime last year, the author recommended another book called “Why We Get Fat (And What To Do About It),” by Gary Taubes. I should let you know that I’m not a diet person; that is, I never followed those fad diet books. But I have weigh as much as 240 pounds. For the last 3 years, my weight hovered between 225-235 pounds. I was on five different medications…for cholesterol, and for high blood pressure. As Taubes states about his book, it in of itself is not a diet book; rather, it’s a book that made the case that current public policy and medical orthodoxy doctrine has contributed to the most obese population in history. The book goes into great detail on how this came to be, using historical and current data for a myriad of sources, concluding in the end that carbohydrate-rich foods resulted in the obesity epidemic, rather than people’s willpower, or lack thereof, among other myths. At the end of the book, there were recommendations on what to eat, as well as what not to eat. It might not be what you’d expect: for example, foods such as whole eggs, meat (yes, even bacon) were encouraged, but other foods such as black beans, brown rice, wheat bread, cereal, were off-limits (I mentioned those “dont’s” because, at least in another book I read, these were considered to be “good” for me. Instead, I think those foods helped maintained my weight, rather than lowering them. And somehow, they also contributed to keeping all of the bad stuff in my body there.

As it was, though, not only am I about 15 pounds closer to my high school weight, but I was able to ditch all of my medications. All of them! (Current, my weight is just over 200 pounds.) To me, that was the most amazing thing. Plus, my energy has gone up. And at my age, I think that most folks would feel as if their bodies are in decline. Not me.

What’s the point of me writing about the weight change? It’s that it became to catalyst for checking out other things in my life. Music production, and just getting involved with music in general, is a much higher priority for me. I have other priorities and aspirations too, but this has been one that’s been hanging around my neck like an albatross. I’ve been wanting to make it happen for years, but I was trying to do way too much, music-related or not, and the results ended up being a bunch of things that end up never getting done. Plans ended up laying in waste, strewn across the virtual floor.

I was determined to make the change that need to happen to move forward, so letting go of the radio show was one thing. I’m not yet sure if totally letting go of music feedback and reactions will be next; I find that I need lots of space, and it may be an expensive thing in terms of time and resources, but there are some things that have to be all or nothing, and I think that may be next…I haven’t decided. It’s going to depend on how well I can keep up, versus music production.

Music production, it turns out, is a lot to learn, and finding the time to be fair was taxing in of itself. But if they say that steady is the race, then at the least I did stayed steady. It wasn’t always consistent, it wasn’t always ideal, and trust me that it wasn’t always fun, but I stayed on course, even if that course was haphazard. There were a few times when I quit, or at least threatened to. At the least, I did recognized them for what they were, which were signals that I needed to stop for awhile. And I think those stops saved me from total abandonment, which is a good thing.

So that’s where I stand right now. And I’m going to also start to share, at least selectively, my experience in production. Maybe I’ll share the music of others, as well as my own, but if you choose to be part of that journey that I’m embarked on, you’re welcome to it. I might have other things to say that have nothing to do with music, but you’ll know that when I know.

I’m going to end it here, because this has become longer than I expected it! I will do my best to keep you in the loop at least weekly, maybe every two weeks at most. Find me on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. You can also send me a message via the Contact link on this site.

Be good; peace.

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