052 – My friend Cat Clyde

I’ve talked about keeping in touch with old friends, how you never know where they will end up, and it’s a great feeling to be able to catch up from time to time. Some friends just naturally fall by the wayside as your lives change, but other friends it’s always nice to catch up with. My friend Cat Clyde is like that to me.

Cat Clyde is an old friend who I went to high school with. We shared many music classes, band projects, and I even started recording her as I was getting my feet off the ground in my recording career. We spent much time together bonding over the creation of music, late-night studio trips and we worked on many projects over the years. 

I still remember many nights going out to “The Swamp” (a studio I worked at just outside of town) to jam, create music, hang out with Cat and our friend Katelyn, and various other friends that would join us. We would spend hours there, returning home at 6-am many times with the rising sun.

Upon finishing high school, we saw less of each other, but still the occasional visit from time to time. When I was at school, Cat came to visit with her guitar in hand. When I moved to Toronto, Cat would text me whenever she was playing a show in town so we could catch up, and it was always a treat to go see her play. As we both kept pursuing our passion in much, we slowly saw less of each other. She’s always been someone I’ve kept an eye on and I knew she would take her incredible talent to great places.

The other night, I finally got to see her play again. This is the first time I’ve seen her play in 3 years or so, and the first time I’ve seen her play under the “Cat Clyde” name, even though I have been following her amazing growth with the project since it’s inception.

As I stood in the crowd and it really hit me how proud I am to call her a friend, how happy I was she was doing what she loved and knowing I was there since the early years of her growth. I watched a packed room full of people sing along to her songs and cheer, unable to take their eyes off the amazing stage performance and beautiful voice. She put on a great show with her fantastic band, and it was such a treat to hear a show that was so accurate, sounding exactly like the record. It makes me happy to see her succeeding doing what she loves and staying true to what she wants to do. Her style is the same as I’ve always known her to be doing and you can tell it truly comes from her soul.

I did get to catch up with her backstage before and after the show, and it was fantastic as always. I can’t wait to see her again, and hopefully with less of a gap between visits than before.

If you haven’t heard her, you should check out her music and what she’s been up to as she finishes this tour.

Always remember, if you stay true to yourself and do what you love, you will make things work. I can’t wait to see where Cat goes, and I think this is still only the very beginning for her.

https://www.catclydemusic.com

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

051 – I got an office!

Did you read the title?

That’s right, I got an office! A space for me to go to work everyday!

Let me tell you about how this came about and my decision to put money towards an office space. The beginning of this month is when I got back to Vancouver from my trip to Ontario. I was there for over 2 months for some work, weddings, visiting family, and other events. While in Ontario, I had a lot of time to work on my projects, and also lots of time to reflect on my own self. It was the longest I had been away from Vancouver since I moved out here. Moving to Vancouver brought on a completely different living arrangement, habits schedules, along with different work then what I was used to in Toronto.

In my 7 years living in Toronto, I was working for a studio where I would go to work, then come home and work in my apartment where I lived alone. I had a limited number of relationships due to my work hours, and near the end, I had a long-distance relationship. Basically, no one was around to really distract me when I came home and wanted to work.

I am a workaholic, and working 12-14 hour days at the studio, followed by working at home for another 6 hours was not uncommon. I would rarely take breaks for meals and typically just ate at my computer. I lived by my own schedule, although at the time, I hardly realized it was a schedule.

Moving to Vancouver, I moved in with my partner and my schedule drastically changed. I had things to help her with, more household chores, and different types of couple events now that we were no longer long distance.

During this trip to Ontario, I was staying at my parents, where I spent much more time to myself being able to concentrate and work. This made me realize how much more productive I was in a situation where I was able to shut myself away and concentrate on what I was doing.

So, upon returning to Vancouver, I decided it was the right time to put some money into finding myself somewhere to work. Somewhere that wasn’t searching for a coffee shop (which I would often do) and could go every day to get some good solid, uninterrupted, time to concentrate on work.

That’s where I find myself now, I found a great little co-working space that is a 15-minute walk from my house. There are 7 other people in this space, which consists of 2 sound studios for post audio, 2 private offices which are used by a video editor and a 2-man production team. Then there are 2 dedicated desks, one of which is now my “office”. The space has a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a common area with couches, plants, and lots of natural light.

I feel like this is the beginning of a new chapter for me. I am focusing in on my plans for my business, have been having more video editing and web design clients, and now I have a space to work daily. I’ll let you know how it goes since this is still only my second week here.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

050 – The Deny The Threat Project

The following was written Sept 30th, 2019:

I write this after a fantastic weekend of creating music with some old friends of mine. A group that continues to be inspiring and exciting to be around. Those friendships that never seem to fade and nothing seems to change even when it’s been years, this is what this group of friends is like to me.

Deny The Threat is a band that I started working with when we were all in high school. They were one of the first bands I had in my home studio as my “guinea pig” band. I was in the same class as the drummer, and one day I asked him “Hey, you play drums right? Want to record?”. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a lifelong friendship and lead to many projects together.

The band at the time was gaining traction around town and was one of the more well-known bands in the area. They were headlining most of the local metal shows and playing almost every weekend. I loved that I had a band with some traction in the area, and was able to use their name to impress other bands. 

We continued to grow together, learning more about recording, writing, playing, producing, and just dealing with life in general.

Slowly the band started to play less and eventually called it quits when everyone went their separate ways for schooling and other life endeavours.

Moving forward, I have worked and interacted with each member of the band on their new projects. We all stay in touch while we continued to grow as creatives in our fields. We all live in different parts of the world now, but through the power of the internet, we decided we wanted to get together again, have a hang and make some music altogether. That slowly morphed into a project of a live set playing some of the old songs, recording them and making a live video!

That happened this past weekend. We set up in the brand new SG Studios (which has other significance to us that I’ll explain in another blog) for 2 days, rehearsed the songs, setup filming (the drummer, Malcolm, how has a production company now) and had an extremely fun and inspiring weekend together.

It honestly gives me happy goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s such an amazing feeling to work with the guys who were around at the beginning of my career again, while we also continue to be good friends and support each other with our various projects.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a greater group of guys. I will be posting that video when it comes out, so stay tuned!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

049 – A Shift and Focus

For just over a year now, I have been freelancing. The past month marks a year since I moved to Vancouver to have a change in my life and to pursue different aspects of my creativity besides just being a studio engineer. This was a great decision and allowed me to learn so much about myself; what I like, what I don’t like, what makes me thrive, and also what doesn’t.

Over the last year of building ANAK Creates, I have been trying to figure out my best avenue to output my knowledge about making music and the music industry. I knew from the start that I wanted to be able to help people make the best music they could by bringing my top-of-the-professional-industry knowledge to everyone, but I hadn’t totally figured out the best way for me to execute this. The problem was I had many ideas they all felt great, so I wanted to pursue them all. My vision of how it was going to play out shifted constantly while developing my ideas while allowing me to be able to do the things I wanted to do with my life.

Now, a year later, I have decided that it’s time to really drive forward with one avenue, make more of a concrete plan of the road ahead, where to start and where to add the other pieces. Now that I’ve seen my ideas start to consolidate, I am feeling much more confident with my vision. 

Over the past month, I’ve started working on that plan. I have taken a step back from a lot of what I was doing, and I have focused on future planning. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be perfecting it, and (very important) putting it down on paper. I need to write it out so I can see the path, the end goal, and breaking down the steps and the order of things to move toward my ultimate goals.

I know things will still get “in the way” and I will keep finding different things that I will want to pursue, but now over the next year, I will have my plan that I will be following out first and foremost. 

As I put together this detailed plan with my goals I get more and more excited to really shift in and focus on what I want to do and how I now see my business really getting going. I can’t wait to share with you everything I have planned as it begins to unfold.

If you are in the same boat, remember that it’s okay to keep jumping around and exploring, that is how you really discover new things you enjoy, but at a certain point, you do need to pick something to dive in and focus on to give it everything you have.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

048 – I stepped back to re-evaluate

For those of you who have something you put out, something that’s consistent and ongoing, you’ll understand this quite well. I’m talking about things like blogs, videos, or a podcast. For me, I have a weekly podcast, that I have just hit the 15th episode. When I wrote this, it was the first week I didn’t post a new episode in over 3 months.

Why?

Although one excuse I give myself is that I didn’t have enough time, that really wasn’t the case. If I really wanted to, I could have managed to record, edit, and put it out, but I didn’t. Yes, I am busy, but I probably could have managed to dedicate a few hours in my week to do this.

The real reason is I felt that even if I had put the time into doing the podcast, it wouldn’t have been as good of a value to the listeners as I would want it to be. I have been batteling to keep up with ideas and structure of the podcast for a few weeks, and with my extremely busy life at the moment, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fully develop an idea to give it the most value that I knew it would be worth. So I decided it was a good time to take a break, and I think it will be a few weeks of a break.

This break now has an aim, however. I want to work on the backend of the podcast, do some re-structuring, where I can take what I’ve learned from doing the first 15 episodes, take the feedback I’ve received, what people like and what could be improved, and develop a much stronger weekly show. I also want the opportunity to do some forward planning, be able to have a few episodes lined up ready to go so that I don’t have to feel constant weekly stress because I will have a buffer. There are some weeks where I have many ideas, and other weeks where I have no ideas, so having that buffer allows me to utilize when the ideas are flowing and create the best content for the listeners, so win-win.

If you are someone that finds yourself in a similar situation, know that it is okay to take a break to step back and re-evaluate. It helps both your mental health and enthusiasm for the project. This also benefits your audience because they get better value from you.

I can very much attest to this as I have been going through a bit of a struggle with these feelings recently. It’s all about re-framing your state of mind, and know that once you come back, you’ll be stronger than ever.

I wrote this on September 30th, 2019. It is currently November, and I still have not come back with the podcast. However, it is coming, and there will be more details here about what else is coming soon. A lot of work has been happening!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

047 – Vancouver – The city of nature [Video Project]

It’s official, finally, it’s out!

I am so happy to announce this video project that I’ve been working on with my production partner Janik Rai for while now. We spent so much energy coming up with the ideas, filming and editing this project and it was such a great experience.

We set out to create a video that pushed our skills, with filming, editing, and for me sound design as well. We wanted it to allow us to try new things in our craft with the end goal to have a video that we could use as a demo-reel of our skills while also directed at the companies we want to work with, doing the type of content we want to help them make.

We made 2 videos, the main video is on Janik’s channel, which he edited, we both filmed, and I sound designed. I pushed myself hard with my sound design skills and learned so much.

The second video is a behind the scenes vlog, which is on my channel (fits more with the vlogs I do typically there) which I edited, to show the fun experience of this project.

Here are the videos and the links, I hope you check them out, enjoy, subscribe and let us know what you thought!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

 

Full Video

BTS Video

46 – Motivation Struggles

A struggle with motivation. Sound familiar? I know I’m not the only one this happens to, and it’s something that I wanted to just exhale. There are 2 main points to writing this out that I wanted to touch on. 

First; I want to let others know they are not alone. This blog is a place for me to just write whatever I am feeling, and right now this is what’s on my mind. Sometimes that means fun experiences, other times it is topics like this. I want to help remind others that they are not alone when things like this happen to them or they feel down about what they are doing.

Second; Sometimes when you feel stuck, the best thing you can do is to use your outlet to let it out. This looks different for different people. For many creative people, their outlet is in art, music or writing, etc. Personally, I have many different outlet avenues, such as music, writing, and also focusing on business and that side of my creativity. All of them serve different purposes in helping solve different things that I’m going through at any given time.

You need to find an outlet that helps you get out of the dark places in your mind that you can find yourself sometimes. This outlet can be very direct, like writing songs where you get to directly write words about what you are feeling. Other outlets can also be in-direct, like woodworking or video editing, which may simply help distract yourself from whatever is happening, allow your subconscious brain to process things, while putting you in a happy and calm place.

Currently, I am going through a bit of a motivation struggle to motivate myself to do certain things that I need to do. It has stemmed from simply being overwhelmed by the number of things on my list alongside stress from other life situations I was dealing with. I have gotten more of a handle on certain things, but I still need to get “re-motivated”. When you fall behind a schedule you set out for yourself, it can take a moment to accept and re-plan to move forward. It’s not easy but sometimes you need to take a look at your calendar and re-organize it.

Consider this my reminder for you, if you ever find yourself in this situation. It will pass, and you will be stronger and on a better path because of it.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

45 – Instagram Anxiety

Over the past month, I have had something thing that I am calling “Instagram Anxiety”. It’s not what you would expect. I’m not like most people who stress over posting enough and wanting their grid to be perfect with the right photos. It’s actually just the anxiety of opening the app to reply to messages, comments and engaging with people. It’s almost like social anxiety but on Instagram!

When I am on Instagram (on my ANAK Creates account) I am very active, I love to comment on people’s photos and engage. I have made many friends through Instagram, and very much enjoy it. The problem that happens (and has happened a few times but not to this extent) is that when I don’t check it for a day or 2, then I get this feeling that it’s going to take so long to catch up when I do, since I don’t want to leave anyone out. I am then waiting for the right time to do so, which just postpones me opening the app, resulting in more notifications stacking up, which just feeds onto itself.

This results in what’s currently happening, where I haven’t opened that account in over a month. I have seen a few messages come in asking if I’m still around because they have noticed my lack of engagement. This does make me feel better knowing that people do notice the work I put in.

This type of anxiety is not unique to Instagram for me, I can also get it with emails and texts, where I will feel like I can’t engage, making them pile up. I then need a spark of confidence to open things up and reply (which ends up taking basically no time) then everything is fine after that cuz it doesn’t feel like there’s a big scary monster in my head anymore. 

So what’s my plan? I want to make a little video just talking about my time away to anyone who cares. I know I need to just deal with it, and I want to come back strong after a bit of a detox from it. A break from social media like that is good, so I’m not upset about that.

If you ever feel like that, know what it’s okay, anxiety shows up in the strangest ways. I am not an anxious person, but it pops up in some strange places.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

044 – Personal rest day

If you enjoy any kind of physical activity, sports, working out, you know how important taking a rest day is. You need to take a day off every so often, whether it is once a week or every 2 days, those days off are just as important as the days on. The time off gives your muscles time to regenerate and grow and is actually a key part of the process since that’s how you can continue to push yourself.

This is no different for your head and your emotional self. Taking a “rest day” for the mind is important, but often gets overlooked. It doesn’t have to be a whole day, it could be a few hours or even 20-mins. The duration and frequency of these rest periods depend on who you are, what you are doing, and what you feel you need, but we all need some time to recharge.

Introverts tend to need more time to themselves, where extroverts don’t notice as much. It’s almost like you are a battery, and other people or activities pull energy from you. You need to make sure you spend the time you need to recharge that energy.

At the time of writing this, I am currently taking a day to myself. Ever since I flew back from Vancouver, I have been so busy with various people and activities, which left me feeling very drained. I am the type of person that needs my “me time” to do work and to just relax with a good book or video game. Contrary to many people, doing my personal work is actually a recharge as well, so I am lucky in that way.

I flew back from Vancouver, then went straight to a 5-day bachelor party, then I was out with Nikki’s family immediately upon return, then to my family, then to a cottage with more of her family, and then back with her to my cottage. I have only really had my driving time to myself, and that’s not really the same. Today, Nikki went back to her family at another cottage, and I decided that I needed to take a day to regenerate.

I can feel this depletion of emotional energy in a few ways, including physical fatigue and also mental fatigue. This is where I get easily annoyed by small things and don’t care to talk to people. That’s when I decide that taking a rest day is needed.

Today, I have relaxed with a coffee, played a video game (which I have a hard time letting myself do for too long, but I did!) and now I’m writing some of these blog posts because I feel like expressing a few feelings. I will probably do some reading and more video games, but that’s what today is about, doing whatever I feel like without any guilt.

You always need to make sure you stay in check with your body and mind and take time to rest if you feel like you need them. 

Use this as a reminder, we all need them sometimes.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

043 – Niagara Falls Batchelor Party

I am back in Ontario, and the first activity on my itinerary was my friend Ryan’s bachelor party. I am in his wedding party at the beginning of October, and this past weekend was his bachelor party in Niagara Falls.

I won’t tell you everything that happened, but I will tell you some highlights. It was a fun and memorable weekend with friends, that I don’t think any of us will forget (except for the parts that certain people never remembered to begin with).

Ryan (the bachelor), Jay (the best man) and I drove up to our Airbnb on Thursday afternoon (August 15th), arriving around 5:30 pm, and met up Andrew and Connor (Ryan’s 2 younger brothers). The accommodations were a 5 bedroom house that could sleep 13, which was perfect for what we needed. It was only the 5 of us to start, but over the course of the weekend, we had as many as 13 people sleeping there at once.

The first night was “low key” and we played a bunch of video games, something we all love to do together. We also went for a walk down towards the falls, which was only a half-hour walk from where we were staying and was a nice stroll right along the river. A few of us went all the way to the falls, and a couple didn’t feel like it and turned back halfway there. For the ones who stayed, we got to witness the nightly 10 pm fireworks over the falls.

Friday was a recovery day for most, but we did go bowling and play arcade games on Clifton Hill, before having a $10 poker game at the house with all the others who had shown up (8 of us at this point). Surprisingly, I managed to win the game, bringing in $50, so that was fun!

Saturday was the main event. There were 13 of us at this point. We started out paintballing, playing team-deathmatch and capture the flag. We ended off doing “the gauntlet”, which is where Ryan (the bachelor) ran back and forth on one side of a field, while the other 12 of us lined up and shot him with all our remaining paintballs from halfway down the field. He was black and blue after that with welts all over him, but he was a trooper!

After everyone had showers to clean off, we went out to Clifton Hill for some bowling, arcade, then the casino. Some of us then hit the strip club, before finishing off with video games and a backgammon tournament for anyone still up (the tournament started at 4 am).

This was my first time at a casino, and I went in with $20 and tried penny-slots. I lost it all except 1 cent, and I still have the stub to show for it! I did manage to go as high as $36 at one point though!

The next day was a recovery day again for most, but Conner and I got a “fun pass” on Clifton Hill, and managed to check off all the activities we could, including a mini-putt game that I won, and a zombie shooting game which Conner got 2nd out of all 34 people there (I got 4th).

Overall it was such a fun weekend, and I couldn’t have asked for a better bachelor party turnout for one of my best friend’s special weekend.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex