Ericksii's Pursuit of Passion by Chad Erickson

My passion project is making music. Yeah, its music made on the computer. But hey, it feels and sounds like music to me so I call it music. Many people above the age of 40 would call it “techno”, since to that generation any music that has a hint of electronic production is dubbed “techno”. But to those who are more knowledgeable about listening to electronic dance music, we describe our music as melodic trance/progressive trance/blah blah blah/*fill in with more esoteric genres here***. Whenever I find myself thinking about genres of music, I conjure up an image of a long-haired, no-shoed, tie-dye-shirt-wearing, stoned hippie saying “it’s all vibrations maaaaaan”.

My brother, who is my music production partner and other half of “Ericksii”, and I have always been above average fans of music. Thanks to our parents’ CD music collection that was accessible to us growing up as children, we were exposed to high quality music from early age and learned to appreciate many different genres from different time periods. Through a gradual process of listening to more and more electronic-inspired music, going to shows, and live music festivals, we started to become very interested in the whole dance music scene. What particularly interested us is how democratized the electronic music scene is and how for a little investment of money we could purchase all the things we needed to start making music.

So, the journey began in January of 2016 when we downloaded a free trial of Ableton, which is a music production software commonly used by many electronic producers. Between the learning curves of learning music theory, using new technology, meeting industry standards, and dealing with negative feedback on our music, the process of trying to make good music is a lot of work that can at times be discouraging. However, in light of all the challenges, at the end of the day I still get to make music. It feels like I’m just playing around, which I often am. As a human, it just feels good to make things and share them with other humans and (hopefully) get good feedback. However, if no good feedback is received, the process of making something is always inherently fun.

I definitely never identified myself as a creative person growing up. I always tended to show more interest in sports, math, chemistry, biology, etc. The aforementioned subjects lack the creative luster that shines so bright on subjects like music, art, theatre, etc. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate the creative potential in anything. In fact, I would argue that the ability to employ creativity and apply non-conventional thinking to conventional fields is necessary to achieving success.

Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t encountered the oft-quoted “society” that tells me I should just get a job like a big boy and stop playing with my “music hobby”. For the most part, people either mind their own business or only show me respect regarding my passion project. As much as I would love to paint myself as the victimized-musician-whom-no-one-believed, I can’t. Granted, I am surrounded by many friends and family who have chosen a stable career and income over something less stable like music. This environmental incongruence does make me question my own path. I would argue, however, that it is healthy to periodically question my path and reevaluate my progress and goals and see what’s working and what isn’t, which will determine if I should cut my losses and move on to something else or keep working on the passion project. With that in mind, the most difficult part of the whole process has been having the proper amount of patience necessary to keep moving forward. We humans historically have a difficult time thinking about the long term and instead live our lives trying to maximize the short term. Engaging my long-term thinking brain is always my most difficult struggle, not just when it comes to music production, but life as well. That theme is something that we try to express through our music both lyrically and musically. We aren’t so self-important as to think our music can change someone’s perspective on life, but we do our best to infuse our music with at least some substance.

As much as we love making music, being able to share our music in a live environment at dance clubs and bars is by far my favorite thing to do. There is nothing better than seeing music you created actually serve its function, which in this case is to make people dance. We try to make music that people can enjoy both listening with headphones at home or in a loud club environment. The latter is something that we get to share with people, whereas the former is inherently a private matter.

At the time of this writing, we are still on lock down due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Needless to say, the live music industry took a hit (as with many other industries). So, we have been really focusing on finishing high quality music and pitching music labels to release our tracks. We have also taken this time to take a step back and dedicate some more resources to the business side of our music career. Namely, establishing an online presence and engaging with supporters of our music more.

The whole disruption caused by the pandemic has been a much-needed reality check to many of us. I’m very grateful I get to spend the majority of my day working on something that I am very passionate about. I hesitate to give anyone advice on pursuing a passion project because the whole process is a deeply personal journey. If you want something bad enough, you will figure out a way to make it happen. Use challenges and struggles as opportunities for growth and, along those lines, try to re-frame every failure as lesson to be learned.

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