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Love is Here

4/8/2021

Love is Here

I don’t know about you, but I encounter a lot of (feelings of) depression going around in the communities I am part of. These things get to me. Although I try not to make everything personal, my heart goes out to the (young) people, who are suffering. Suffering up to a point of losing all hope for the future and the will to live.

This is written in hopes of acknowledging, comforting and encouraging, those who are going through a mentally or spiritually, tough time.

Wishing y’all Peace & Lots of Love

Source: Common English Bible

Integrity, the Wholesome Package

1/8/2022
HAH. The Cold caught up with my hat!

Integrity, the Wholesome Package

(or how I value doing good when nobody’s watching)

🎁 Looking up the meaning of the word integrity, gives me an immediate, clear description of the trait that can have such a great impact on our lives when implemented daily: ‘The quality of being honest and fair’.

🎁 Lacking integrity will have the same impact, just the other way around, as in, negatively. Rippling through our actions towards the people around us, like a stone thrown into calm water. I’m encouraging you to go for the first option, obviously.

🎁 Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity, due to slightly challenging circumstances, which forced me to re-think my actions. More specifically, if these actions were actually the correct consequences of previously spoken words, as in, promises made. I know we could debate on when spoken words should count as an actual promise, but let’s just keep it simple and say: if I said I would do something, call someone, send something, etc, I should simply keep my word and do it. I mean, I don’t particularly like it when someone doesn’t live up to what they ‘promised’ me, so it would be hypocritical if I would act the same way. (and worse: judge others by those actions)

🎁 Am I never failing? Ahaha, I wish! It is not that hard to inform someone when an agreement or promise can’t be met at the agreed time. A simple message containing a little explanation can go a long way in avoiding others to lose their trust. How is it then, that sometimes even that small gesture of consideration seems too much? I guess shame and guilt are the first to pop into mind when dealing with this and the two together can be enough to avoid taking this easy step which might lead to awkward situations, spiraling into disaster if the situation gets out of hand.

🎁 Integrity or, possessing the quality to be honest and fair and acting thus, will seep into every part of our live. Whether it be personal, family or business affairs, I should honor the same morals everywhere. Though one might think it logical to act, or rather be, the same person, be yourself, in every way, we all know it usually doesn’t work like that. I will most certainly aim to be myself as much as possible, but for instance, the work floor can do with a little less of me at times. We all have to stick to given rules outside our home and even indoors, we need to be considerate towards our ‘room mates’. I’m just saying, we can be ourselves without intentionally offending or hurting the people around us, if we make the effort.

🎁 It has been years ago, since we were first made aware of the importance of integrity in our life and yes, that was during a sermon in the church we attended. It was a lesson we took to heart, in fact, really spoke to our hearts, for we knew it to be valuable and true. Trying to live a ‘good’ life, holding on to moral standards, striving to not just preach – rather not preach at all – but practice. Make our actions speak louder than words. Though I wholly believe that words carry power, they can be as empty as my wallet at times. Integrity is all about ‘living in honesty’ and being true to your words. Not an easy thing to persistently hold on to, but rewarding in itself. Very rewarding.

Source: Brené Brown

So honesty is key and if I don’t value that in my life, it will be impossible to ever be a person of integrity at all. Taking a closer look at the aspects of integrity, there seems to be about seven and they’re all very much intertwined:

1️⃣ Honesty

🎁 Speaking the truth, being open in the best interest of others and yourself. This should exclude taking advantage of others, since there’s no sincerity in that. Being open does not mean I can just blurt out anything anytime. Like I said, we can be honest without being offensive in any way. This doesn’t mean the truth can’t be unwelcome at times. Being honest will not always make you popular, or make you new friends – it could go quite the opposite way – but the necessity is apparent and much needed. True honesty will eventually shine through our actions, when we fulfill our promises, sometimes including the ones we made to ourselves. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, how are we supposed to be honest with others?

2️⃣ Respect

🎁 We can only earn respect and it certainly helps if we’re giving it to others first. People who believe they deserve respect as their fundamental right, are mostly hard to deal with and I find they will not easily – or not at all – give it in return. Respect includes me being open to other opinions than my own, my willingness to act upon those other opinions shows I’m taking things serious. It also means giving others the benefit of the doubt and to not immediately slay them with any judgement, but to listen to their concerns and/or interests. Giving them an opportunity to speak freely. Ooff, that can be tough, assuming they will also be truthful to me.. Disrespecting people can destroy relationships and will keep me from building new ones. If honesty is our real starting point, respecting others should not be a big deal, our combined efforts opening a two-way street.

3️⃣ Generating Trust

🎁 Trust within any relationship will develop when both parties show their effort and positivity towards building that relationship. In other words, showing commitment, because real commitment builds. And commitment itself speaks of respect doesn’t it? Not giving up at the first signs of disagreement, but working through it, or at least try to. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Actually, in a way it might even show trust in a better way, if you catch my meaning. Respecting each other enough to accept the fact you have different opinions and again, act on it. Trust is broken through rash/ill-timed actions and if you’ve ever tried to talk you way out of something like that, you know exactly what I’m hinting at: there are hardly enough words to undo a bad action. When I expect people to trust me, I have to be ready to show I’m worth their trust and be accountable for my actions.

4️⃣ Pride

🎁 I’m not talking about the unhealthy sort that makes one believe they have the right to feel better than everybody else, but about the kind of pride I can feel when I’ve accomplished something. The tougher the challenge the sweeter the victory, and yes, that is a nice description of the right kind of pride in my opinion. Knowing I’ve had to overcome certain difficulties, had to go the extra mile, to eventually make a difference, that’s a rush. Something to be proud of in a healthy way, because the goal was improvement, preferably for the greater good. The rush from a job well done, the personal reward no money can buy, will only push to do more and even better.

5️⃣ Responsibility

🎁 Another way to earn trust is to show responsibility, being accountable for our actions. And it is exactly as I said: SHOWING responsibility. In all we say we have to show that we mean it. When we’re entrusted with certain tasks, small or big, we show our responsibility by acting on it and completing them, or at least trying our best to do so, all the while using our common sense – I know, I know – to fulfill them with care. As a parent you might feel like your acting on auto-pilot at times, but we’re all aware of the importance of all those little tasks we need to take care of, to ensure our children will be comfortable and where possible, happy. By taking our responsibilities seriously, we show the people around us we can be trusted to do our part, which eventually shows our integrity.

6️⃣ Keeping Promises

🎁 As mentioned earlier, it can be really disappointing when we don’t live up to our promises. We all know how frustrating it can be when we’re expecting that one phone call at a certain time and nothing happens. We all have our schedules and it shows our measure of responsibility if we’re considerate about other’s schedules as well. To be blunt, it’s kind of selfish to not regard others in that way, no matter how busy I am, I should not be neglectful and assume not responding in time would be okay. Of course there are more and less severe situations, but I always like to think, if I can’t be punctual in the little things, how will I deal with bigger, more important stuff? I have to start somewhere…and again, my punctuality will show I’m taking the other person seriously, which will build more trust. Even if only by communicating I will have to get back to them at a later time, due to circumstances.

Source: C.S. Lewis

7️⃣ Helping Others

🎁 Offering help is easy, actually helping might be a bit harder. Now we’re getting to the point why I was re-thinking my integrity to begin with, initiated by a tweet I sent out last year. I think I even posted it in one of my articles. Quick recap: 18/08/21, I sent out a message hoping to encourage (young) people, who are struggling, fighting depression, bad home situations, relationships gone bad, etc. ending the message with my wish for them I’m hoping a brighter day to come soon.

🎁 To my surprise I started to receive multiple messages in a row, right before Christmas, from people who were in need, asking me specifically for financial help. Now we’ve known need, the scare of not having enough money for food, bills and housing. It’s a sad place to be, especially when there are children involved. Of course my heart was touched, but as the messages kept coming from different people, I had to wonder what the flip was going on. I soon found out my tweet apparently had been around and was shared between all these people, assuming I would be able to provide in some way. Nowhere in my message did I mention an offer for – physical – help, let alone financial help, but the tweet was somehow picked up – misunderstood? – that way.

🎁 At one point I felt I had to clarify my previous message with a new one, stating that, as much as I would love to help them all, I’m no fairy godmother, nor a millionaire. I added that I only tend to give – in this case money – when my heart tells me to. I was not looking forward to be overwhelmed with messages sent by people crying for money. I totally got it though…anybody that desperate will cling to anything that hints at the slightest possibility of receiving the so much needed help. Anything.

🎁 My heart was touched and there was a struggle going on in there: Should I help? Should I help them all? Should I help them at all? How much could I give? Could I trust any one of them at all? But I am willing to help, always, should I now feel addressed? Although I did not ever offered financial help to anyone through social media, I knew all too well the effects of circumstances that bad. The holiday season and the general sentiment around it, certainly did not make it any easier.

🎁 I’ve written before about the many people I ‘meet’ online, who are in need in some way. Mentally, physically and yes, financially. This experience only confirmed again how serious the situation is for many and I’m sure this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Saying I want to help others is a start and actually understanding what they need and having an idea what can be done to remedy their problem is the other part. The SHOWING part. The INTEGRITY part. Was I able to transfer money to them all? Would that have remedied their problem? No and No. most of these people need structural help, which I can’t give them, not in a financial way. And as much as I offer for them to talk to me when needed, when you’re that low, you’re tired of talking. All focus and effort, whatever’s left of your energy, is pointed at getting help, getting money, to simply survive. Not live. Survive.

🎁 Still, I do offer help in the ways I can. Being there when they need to talk, hoping to encourage them as much as possible. Trying to refer to other possible options – where they indeed could find that structural help. Trying not to be ‘that know-it-all’, but just listen. Helping others doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture you know. I mentioned many times before, it’s definitely not always about money either. Listening to others without immediately feeling the need to give them our ‘advice’ – or rather, our opinion in most cases – sometimes is enough. People need to know their feelings are valid, not to be swiped under the rug as if their not important. Simply telling someone there’s no use in feeling that way, won’t take those feelings away. On the contrary, it might make them feel even smaller and ashamed.

🎁 Helpfulness can be shown in so many ways. At home, at work, literally everywhere. It can be divided in two important elements: Responding to requests as soon as possible and as far as within our capabilities, and/or directing one the right way to find the help needed. The second is, being prepared to give up our time and possibly our scheduled events, to instead accommodate others. In other words, putting the other before ourselves. The Effort that’s Called Support remember? And yes, helpfulness will get us our own reward, just like the pride we feel after a job well done. I am sure many of you have experienced that at least once in your life. Well, I do hope so.

🎁 Though all of the above traits work separately, it’s not hard to see how together they can make us a person of integrity, when we act on them. Integrity is not considered a value in itself, but there’s definitely value in integrity. As a matter of fact, Google describes integrity as a Highly Valued Trait. ‘The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles’, sounds like a difficult model to conform to, but I can, if I want to. So it was a good thing for me to dwell on my integrity. A reality check to see if I still have it at all. Growing older and hopefully wiser, I might need to revise some stuff, find a different angle from which I look at the world, though I’m guessing some things might never change 🙄

🎁 Personally I count integrity as one of the most attractive traits, because it tells me so much about a person. It’s why I’ll keep striving to be a person of integrity myself, it should give you that same impression of me. Having integrity means I can be confident, since I will not corrupt my morals even when all odds are against me. My self esteem will keep me on the right track. Living a life according to my principles, or standards if you will, and that’s what I would expect to see in other persons following the same ‘rules’. I know that being a protagonist, I will always have to balance Idealism with Realistic Expectations and I am well aware I’m not always succeeding at that. Still, I’d rather stay idealistic than become rigid and unapproachable.

🎁 As the famous writer C.S Lewis said, I quote: ‘Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking’. I’m already dancing like no one is looking, it’s almost the same thing in my opinion lol. How easy it is to corrupt oneself when alone, with no one looking over our shoulder, no one to answer to. No, integrity will hold me accountable, speaking to my soul, judging me, directing me to do the right thing. Do I sound like a saint yet? Haha, y’all know I’m not, but there’s always a higher road we can take in life, a better path to follow. To ‘do unto others as I would have them do unto me’, and I don’t want bad, but good things done unto me, wouldn’t you? Integrity is the Wholesome Package with which I can achieve that.

Source: Common English Bible

Wishing y’all a Lovely Weekend and oh yeah, Hope 2022 will be all & more than you ever wished for

It’s the Right Time to be Kind

12/25/2021
Been at my knitting therapy again

It’s the Right Time to be Kind

(or what I hope this Christmas will bring you)

🎄 Well Hello there. Have I been neglecting you my readers, or no? My last personal blog post was from the 23rd of September, so yeah… I thought to be back in a couple of weeks, but weeks turned into months and here we are, nearing the end of 2021. Fast. To be honest, it doesn’t even feel like months, pandemic time seems to rush even harder than it normally does. Covid seems like a relay-run sometimes and we’re just waiting for the next variant to take over. But I couldn’t leave this year without a note to y’all, so let’s go.

I’m freakin proud of this cardigan no matter what you say

🎄 I sure hope you’ve all been doing well, times haven’t been easy and it seems we’re not there yet. So we’re entering the third pandemic year and we still have to hold on. I might not have been publishing much, except for the Spotlights if you’ve been following that section, but the blog has been running pretty well anyways. Of course I’m very grateful for that and for all you who kept reading. I’m still so very amazed as to how far the blog has come, including the literal sense of the word…like, globally: 82 countries have been covered this year (total 84) against the 70 from last year. Can’t really complain about that.

It always amazes me to see this

🎄 Going at it with my whole heart, I had to slow down at one point. Those of you who know me a little, are already aware I tend to run, run, run, till I can run no more and have to make an almost full stop. Am I trying to change? Yeah, sure, but it’s also just who I am and to not completely lose the joy I started out with, I decided to concentrate on the Spotlight side for a while. So not a real full stop there – progress somehow – but I was taking it a lot easier. A LOT easier. But enough of that.

🎄 The past months have been filled with thoughts and not all of them were always happy. But that’s life and I can only guess as how you got through it. Much has happened and in a way, nothing really changed. An absolute positive thing, is that our girl is back here with her fam, so we have the joy of watching our grandson grow. A privilege that is. So do I feel different as a grandma? Yes and no. Yes: because our daily routine has been altered for real – but we’re not complaining. No: because we’re still the same people and the actual responsibility is not ours. Though of course we do feel responsible for coaching the little one through life winning. Can’t start early enough right?

Started with the back

🎄 Other than that I have been kind of busy with ‘building’ relationships – for as far as possible – with my new online friends. More are added everyday and it’s nice to see and experience there are still a lot of really nice people out there. People might go on about how things online aren’t real, but to me, a lot of relationships in real life aren’t that real either. So what’s the difference? You can trust people for years and they still might not just let you down – which will happen because we’re just human – no, they might actually hurt you on purpose. So yeah, you either trust someone or you don’t in my opinion. Gotta start somewhere.

🎄 If anything, the last year made it clear we need each other. If this doesn’t apply to you, well, I’m both happy and sorry for you. Happy you’re fine on your own, sorry you might miss out on great stuff other people could bring to your life. Maybe even what you can add to their lives. The very fact most people are tired of all restrictions – which seem to have gone back to where we started – and fail to act upon them, shows how much most of us long for human interaction. I know, most of it is probably purely because of selfish reasons and I’m certainly not saying I condone that, but I do understand. We’re just not build to be alone and isolated for long periods of time.

included lyrics from my fav song

🎄 Apart from wishing to catch up – for real – with friends/family whom you haven’t been able to see for so long, just a simple day out has been out of reach for too long and has been cramping our very sense of freedom. Freedom. Most of us are just so used to go about our ways aren’t we? To go when and where ever we want to. This whole period has thrown us back to what’s really important in life. Getting confronted by everything we’ve been taking for granted. Life is full of unexpected changes and thus the opportunity to conquer new – unknown? – territory. Have you seized it yet?

🎄 Limited by our movement, resources and otherwise normal, human interaction, we have to actually THINK about how to fill another day without going slightly mental. Especially since the situation is lingering far longer than we hoped it would. Weariness set in some time ago, carrying the ability to make us less alert and more vulnerable. We need each other to keep a grip on some sort of sanity, if only by simple words of encouragement every now and then. And you all know, I’m all for encouragement. It’s such a powerful tool and highly underestimated most of the time.

Sorry-not-Sorry, it’s all about Disco Love

🎄 I know my words of encouragement have brought some light – and hopefully life – to a lot of people. There’s nothing better than having the same encouragement coming back to me at times. Reap what you sow you know? I hope you do. And yes, there are also times I’ll fall quiet, rethinking stuff, recharging and finding new inspiration. How interesting it is, we can actually get this from simply talking to other people too! Better yet, after some ‘quiet time’ I’m most happy to find out others have been experiencing the exact same thing and we reconnect even better than before.

🎄 (Re-)Connecting is key. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always very good at it. Getting to know one is one thing, staying connected is a whole other animal and – to my shame, but fortunately I’ve found I’m not the only one – I’m not particularly excelling in that department. Luckily there are enough people who will just take the first step – again lol – and strike up a new conversation with me. They know I’m always at the ready for a chat. Sometimes for a simple catch up, other times for pretty serious stuff. Y’all most likely have noticed – because I did share – how I (un)intentionally ended up being a ‘mom’ to many. It’s what has been foretold would happen and in a way I’m proud – the good kind of proud mind you – I can be ‘there’ for them.

Liftoff, by Discoholic

🎄 And yes, it has taken up a lot of my time and has occupied my thoughts. Though I aim not to worry, concern is not far away with all that goes on ‘around’ me. We all just try to keep on going on despite all the limitations we’re dealing with. For some it’s not all that hard, but for those who were already in a precarious situation to begin with, these times can be mentally unbearable. It’s tough we can’t actually ‘be there’ and hug that one person close, to express our sentiment and feeling for them, no, we mostly have to make our words count. Words have always been way more important than we were inclined to believe, but today… you do realize there is LIFE in what you speak right?

🎄 You probably know what a few words of sincere encouragement can do to your soul, paying it forward to someone else can make all the difference. You might belittle it, think it’s nothing special, you might not even witness the effects – at first, or ever – but again, just think about what a couple of kind words have meant to you in the past. Words can destroy, but they can also rebuild what’s been broken and this time of the year, a lot of words will be spoken. The usual niceties and ‘wishes’ are thrown around with ease and, dare I say, sometimes without meaning. I try to refrain from it as much as possible, but  it’s hard without unintentionally hurting someone’s feelings.

My avatar, original by Instantreigen

🎄 I recently read somewhere that kindness has the power to dissolve any damage done by mistreatment and there’s truth in there. Kindness heals. Kindness costs us nothing but effort and though that may sound easy, it’s not. But we can all do it, aim for it, act on it, be it. The effort lies in making time, thinking before we speak, don’t let our fears get in the way of expressing our feelings towards another – the good ones I mean. I know it’s often so much easier to utter our grievances and disagreement, but being kind doesn’t come that naturally. At least not all the time, not to me anyways. But we all benefit from kindness. Seeing how any kind word has been received around me, it’s clear to me there’s a massive need for it.

🎄 Again, I love to be on the receiving end as much as the next person. It definitely feeds my soul and sooths when times get rough. If ever self doubt had free reign, it has been lately. I mean, too much thinking can lead to too much self analyzing, overthinking really. And like I recently shared: ‘Perfectionism is the pain in my flawed butt’. Wanting to keep the perfect schedule, writing the perfect article…all self inflicted lol, but still. Sometimes I need to calm the heck down and be kind to, ME. Apparently I’ve become an essential part – or so they say, I’m yet to be convinced – in the Disco community and with it came a lot of new friends, new opportunities and new Spotlights and inevitably, new responsibilities. To be honest, time flew by because of it.

Art by Instantreigen

🎄 And so I was reaching the end of 2021, more than a bit surprised with myself I didn’t feel the need to write another – personal – article. Just a couple of weeks ago we were able to have our son and daughter in law over for a midweek and it was soo good to see them again, it really had been too long. I basically used every kind of ‘excuse’ to not write. I know, I didn’t really need one, but still. However, slowly it started to come back to me and after my last knitting frenzy hit me – during which I definitely didn’t feel the need to write –  I knew I couldn’t leave this year without having this out in the open. Christmas, or rather the whole Holiday Season, is the time to reflect, to look back and also, to look forward.

🎄 Did I want to leave the blog unused? Did I want to stop? What would be the next step? No, writing is in my blood and so is encouraging people. Reaching out is what I am called to do and this is still a great way to do so. My original schedule – publishing every Thursday – might not be working anymore, but I’m not letting this go while it’s truly reaching people in places I could not have imagined it would. I’m not sure as to what the next step for the blog will be, but I will keep on writing in 2022. If only to let out my thoughts and yes, frustrations sometimes lol. I hope I can keep you intrigued enough to keep reading.

Yep, truly happy with the end result

🎄 So here I am, writing on this – quite miserable, referring to the weather – Christmas day. We’re having a couple of lazy days and though you may think writing to you is not being lazy at all, I’m truly relaxed and words are flowing, as they should be. This Christmas I hope you’ve encountered kindness and you’re ready to share some kindness, it doesn’t have to be a big thing but needed all the same. I hope you will have a great Christmas, though it might not be easy on everyone, I still wish you the best. If times are tough for you right now, I hope things will get better soon, I hope someone will bestow some kindness upon you, so you can find some peace with whatever is going on in your life.

🎄 Everything happens for a reason they say – and I strongly believe it to be true –  which can be hard to accept when things are bad, I’m hoping you can say they actually were, afterwards. Because those things are only clear after they’ve passed unfortunately. I’m sending you a virtual hug and want to let you know, there is always someone thinking about you, even from a long distance. I hope this will comfort you a little, because as much as I would love to be able to do more, I have to make my words count for now. Being nice is not enough, try being kind. It’s the right time to be kind. Today.

xxx

Hope y’all are enjoying a Kind Christmas, thank you for reading and see ya next year!

Spotlight 2 on Lope & Kantola

Special Feature 12/6/2021
Lope & Kantola

Meet Lope & Kantola: Yes, we’re back to this groovy, (more than) Disco duo from Finland. I could repeat the Spotify intro, but you can read that for yourself in Spotlight on Lope & Kantola. However, what other ways are there to properly introduce them here? I think the most important one is how they call themselves: ‘Disco dads’. It was this description back then, that really got to me and I still feel it is one of the most accurate, all-encompassing slogans I’ve encountered since I started the blog. Don’t let these loving and proud dads fool you into thinking they have no clue about what’s going on in the music scene today, They Know. Oh and yes, you might recognize some of the pics from last time. It’s OK, they’re still pretty cool!

My Kind of Music, With Lope & Kantola (2)

Get a LITTLE CLOSER and Meet the Disco Dads.

This third Spotlight 2  – or in Lope & Kantola’s words: Colorful Expressions Vol.2 – makes me a happy girl indeed, because I’ve been looking forward to it for some time now. Quick recap: Ville Lope & Marko Kantola are a duo that won my heart last year, with their funky, groovy tracks lead by their distinct heavy synth work. Though in the same spheres as my preferred choice of music, theirs was a bit different than what I was used to listen to. When their songs got recommended on YouTube by my fav channel (The Jukebox Music Club) I knew I’d found some jewels. The next step was making contact and our history took flight.

It’s been a little over a year since their first Spotlight, when things were still pretty new to me and though some things never change – the quality of their music for one – other things definitely do change. This is why I always had these ‘follow-ups’ in mind when I started. In a way the first article was a long introduction and to be honest, you can consider this one to be ‘the sequel’. My first and foremost wish, is for Lope & Kantola to reach a larger audience and if this helps only a little bit, it’ll be worth my little effort. So after you’ve read part one – I really hope you did! – it’s time to make new memories.

It took me some time to actively start using Bandcamp, but as soon as I discovered this is where artists can get the actual support they deserve – yes talking cash baby –  especially on the Bandcamp Friday’s, I was set on following and supporting them there too. As I also did with Lope & Kantola, who confirmed to me the appreciation for how it works, I quote: ‘Loving how Bandcamp is instant’ and they confirmed it by giving me the next example, I quote: ‘To get that 18 euros would require 5660 plays in Spotify. And add the delay to the payment’. I might have briefly mentioned the workings of Spotify for artists before and as much as I don’t really like to give out these figures, a reality check will certainly help out any independent artist out there. We gotta have to show our love for real.

This doesn’t mean Spotify should be overlooked, as one of my fav artists explained, I quote: ‘Spotify is one of the best places to get heard and shared’. And though I was very reluctant at first, I now have to agree and hope to contribute to spreading Lope & Kantola’s music by adding their tracks to my weekly Spotify playlist, Some Groovy Medicine. The Spotlight articles are my personal little stories about how I’ve found these amazing artists and trying to support them the best way I can, in hopes of encouraging you to do the same. Lope & Kantola are included in the group I kept in contact with – a pretty large group by now – though music wise it got a little quieter after their track ‘Club’ released May 27, 2020. Fortunately it didn’t last all that long.

Lope & Kantola use ‘cottage getaway weekends’, to get together and focus on their music, since they live quite a distance from each other. It was during one of those weekends, they came up with the next song, released February 5, 2021. Coming back strong with a track that was inspired thus, I quote: ‘Imagine a dark autumn night, getting pitch black outside and you get the feeling to do something fresh and unheard in visual style of Stranger Things. Painting Nights is just that: 80’s synths and neon lights’. In all honesty, I’ve never watched Stranger Things, but I was all too happy to be hearing new music from one of my fav artists and so I told them exactly that. Lope & Kantola seemingly just picked up where they left off, though their answer made it clear that wasn’t entirely correct. I quote: ‘Making music is one battle. Releasing it is another struggle. It needs decisions.’ By that time, they were not the only ones who expressed this feeling with me.

It was during that same conversation in February – really, where did the time go? – I mentioned I was in the process of starting the Spotlight 2 series and asked them if they were interested. They told me to ‘just ask’ whenever I was ready, but it took me until recently to get to this point. Lope & Kantola have been making music close to 2 decades together and that’s perfectly clear when listening to them. Though every new track might be fresh and different, it will always have that Lope & Kantola flavor. I might be aiming to listen to all the artist’s music before writing, I do not always succeed. This leads to really discovering some treasures afterwards, almost like finding all those secret places in a new home only after moving in.

A little while later I discovered a couple of Lope & Kantola’s tracks, including some of my favs, were greyed out in Spotify. I wanted to ask them about it, but only got to that point when they released their EP ‘Audiophile’, May 6, 2021. To my big surprise, there they were! I’ll leave any further explanation to the guys themselves. I was not only happy to have those songs back in my playlist, there was a very sick addition as well: a remix by Kahikko – a name frequently popping up in Lope & Kantola’s tracks/remixes and definitely one to remember. The original ‘Under Cover’ with 387K+ plays, is their most streamed tune on Spotify and one where my real appreciation took off to ‘repeat mode’ afterwards as mentioned. It’s their No.1 song for a reason and the vocals by Lucas Marx are fantastic. This remix however, can hardly be compared to the original, but is equally awesome and ended up in my ‘On Repeat’ list, as well as my Top 100 songs of this year.

Though our kids like most of the music I share – pfieew – they have their own favorites. It doesn’t happen that often, but when our daughter added a couple of Lope & Kantola’s tracks to her playlist, that definitely made me smile. Since I am a BIG believer that any artist can only be encouraged by something like this, I shared it with the guys when they released their next song, July 9, 2021. The title seemed an immediate reference to the pandemic and the consequences the human race has been dealing with since it started. Their own comment on Bandcamp, I quote: ‘What would it be like to travel without moving? What would it be like to be Abroad at Home?’ Lope & Kantola’s (social media) posts are always dusted with a sprinkle of irony and it’s one of the things I can really appreciate. Their attitude seems to be: Don’t whine, just keep going. They’ll take you out of your rusted routine AND your ‘home’, with their music and sense of humor.

Their next released song only confirms this. ‘Dual Ipa’, released August 6, 2021, is all about feeling good. As if there could be any misunderstanding about it, Lope & Kantola confirmed the reference to a certain artist – or better, pun – was intentional. And was it a coincidence International Beer Day was happening at the same time? I distinctly remember them mentioning they would have loved to have written one of her songs (Don’t Start Now), as stated in Spotlight on YOU, I quote: ‘A current song I’d love to have written myself.’ Their new song was released on my birthday of all days, so what a great gift indeed. Summer was still ruling, even here in Ireland, we were melting away. Though Lope & Kantola’s comment was done with all the best intentions, I quote: ‘This frosty one is at it’s best on a terrace. Enjoyed cold and in good company’, temperatures only went up listening to it. ‘” Just Wanna See you Dance..” By the way, I love a good IPA.

Lope & Kantola’s latest release extends on their views regarding the pandemic. Not only that, it’s also a song that expresses concern about all the people who have been struggling with depression as a consequence. The song released September 10, 2021, which was also World Suicide Prevention day. Though the duo has a great sense of humor, they showed their serious side by creating this song inspired by the following, I quote: ‘Ever since the pandemic hit us all, it’s been hard to let people near you. Feeling alone, it’s been hard for anyone’s mental health. This song was inspired by that longing to be close to other people’. Lope & Kantola were not afraid to address the topic all over their social media. The song has a raw edge, corresponding to how many people are feeling. “I know it doesn’t make sense at all, but here I am outside your door. I get too scared to face the truth”.

Fast forward to (late) last September, Lope & Kantola had me laughing out loud when they responded to me sharing their song ‘Weekend’, a part of that week’s playlist. Since it’s updated every Monday, I added the caption: ‘Wishing for the next?’ They replied in their story with, I quote: ‘Oh right. We need to decide what to release next’. I might not have meant it that way, but I am always happy to hear new Lope & Kantola stuff. Their music is of the happy kind, meant to make you feel better and consistently manages to make me smile and groove. I have witnesses to prove this to be true. I repeated my wish to do a second Spotlight, my only concern being, to come up with some new, hopefully interesting, questions. You know it might seem easy, but it can be a struggle for me lol. Their reply was as dry as to be expected, I quote: ‘Come up with some. We’re down whenever you are’. Right. Green light almost fluorescent by then.

It was October by the time I got me some nice questions. Or so I believe. Where I might have been too eager when I started, hoping to publish articles every week – man what was I thinking  – I soon got that it would not work that way. Not for the artists, nor for me. So when Lope & Kantola asked me if there was a deadline, I was already used to tell every artist to ‘please take your time answering’. I mean, we all have our schedules to work with right? When I received an apology in November from the guys because it was taking so long, I told them not to worry at all, since I would be occupied with my kids who were coming over. Next to that, I already had a couple of other Spotlights lined up. But you know.. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait and after my break, we’ve finally arrived here!

Now the songs shared here is are mix of their most recent releases as well as some older ones and I really want to encourage you to not skip Lope & Kantola’s earlier work! If you’d take the time to listen to it all, you’ll see what I mean, when talking about their special L&K flavor. For instance, I was very happy to discover their EP ‘Love Burst’, released in 2015 on Spotify. So very recognizable still, compared with their newer stuff and boy, so very funky too. When I said they are more than a disco duo, it was mainly because I couldn’t really define their genre. y’all know I’m not a fan of labeling/genres and a lot of those are overlapping anyway if you ask me. It’s why I always ask the artist to describe their music. In my opinion, Lope & Kantola play a wide range of Disco, EDM, Synthwave all fused with a sprinkle of House? I suck at this, but all I really care about is how it makes me feel: It Makes me Dance, hence, I Love It.

Some older work (including re/mixes) you can also find on SoundCloud – as mentioned in their previous Spotlight and, again, on Bandcamp. Several singles released in 2016 (Like ‘All This Time’ and ‘In The Sun’) tell a story of driving beats, making me want to stomp my feet and bob my head till it hurts. The heavy synths remind me of some older work from the French musician Skalp, if anyone even heard of him at all and maybe more close to home, Doktor Plekter. Prog Disco? It’s funky and dramatic in an almost overpowering way, leaving me wanting more to chase every lurking hint of negativity, away. It’s impossible to ignore the energy flowing from it.

As much fun as this has been so far – well, for me at least lol – we’re reaching the point you’ve all been waiting for. If by now my love for Lope & Kantola is not clear yet, I’ll make sure you’ll end up on the naughty list this year! Their musical journey isn’t over yet, because they ‘whispered’ they’re mastering a new 6 track EP as we speak and I can’t wait. The only question is whether it will be released this year still or at the beginning of 2022. Again, Good Things Come etc etc. Before we’re going to let the Disco dads have their say, I want to just shout out a BIG Thank You, Lope & Kantola! Thank you for taking the time, again, to be here and also for making really incredible music! Very much looking forward to your new EP indeed and of course you will be added to the 2021 Spotlight page! Anyways, no more waiting, Let’s Gooo!


The Interview

1️⃣ How have you been? It’s been a little over a year since the first Spotlight. Has the pandemic affected the way you look at producing music and/or your creativity? Or did you find some unexpected benefits from it?

‘This whole Covid-19 era has been quite difficult for us. Where as many of our colleagues have benefitted from the “excess time” they suddenly had in their hands after the gigs were cancelled, we basically took a hit to our productivity or time to be used on production.

Ville tells in early 2020 there was a complete seven week lockdown: the kids were off daycare and me and my wife had to split 8AM to 8PM in half: That time was solely used to cope with the day job.

Marko’s situation wasn’t much better. His wife works in healthcare. That combined with shift work leads to the fact that we didn’t have the “extra time”. Far from it.

On top of all this, we found it was hard to get any extra influences when there was no events and many people were struggling to release any music’.

2️⃣ At one point I saw some songs greyed out in my Spotify playlist only to discover they were re-released last May on the album ‘Audiophile’. Can you tell us a bit about how this came to be?

‘These tracks were released on a label earlier. This label went successfully under the radar and there were no new releases or any footprint of their existence. Somehow we ended up in situation where we had a difference of opinion on whether they should pay us royalties or not.

They were kind enough to waive the rights to the tracks when pointing out this dissonance in honoring the contract.

When the tracks just magically disappeared from the streaming platforms, we uploaded them via our distributor as an EP (we rather call it an EP than an album). We’re super happy we got to keep the big play count on Undercover. It would have been a shame to lose some 400k plays in our Spotify play count’.

3️⃣ For me the biggest surprise on that album was definitely the Kahikko remix of ‘Undercover’. I was already in love with the original and it’s hard for me to say which version I like most, since they’re so totally different. How did you guys manage to in fact, re-create the track?

‘Kahikko is a good friend of us. Undercover has been his favorite track from our portfolio ever since he heard the song the first time.

Undercover is also one of our favorites and we had super big hopes it would take off even bigger that it did. Perhaps the success would have been bigger if it got bigger recognition from the Finnish radio or got some big plays from the well known DJs. Now we stayed pretty much undercover with the song (pun intended)

We had given Kahikko the remix pack earlier and we had an idea to have it “officially” released on the said label. When things changed it was natural to have it released as a part of this bigger compilation’.

4️⃣ But before that you released the single ‘Painting Nights’ and afterwards, three more singles: ‘Abroad at Home’, ‘Dual Ipa’ and ‘Little Closer’. So you have been pretty busy. Can you give us a bit of background info how these tracks were created/ the thoughts behind them?

Chronologically:

✳️ Abroad at Home was actually a song we wrote as a “support song” for this one Finnish YouTuber. He’s making videos of all light weighted electrical vehicles, mainly on e-mopeds. He’s been a huge fan of us for a long period of time and actually is using “Miami Girls” as his video outdo music.

Miami Girls & boy was my interpretation off… love those background stories for real!

He was about to go on this epic 500km road-trip, which took him all July. When we heard about this we offered him a chance to get a custom song for this trip. Abroad at Home is actually a title that he suggested. We’re happy that we came to agreement he got to use the song as he wanted and we still got to release the song as a single. Everyone won!

✳️ Dual Ipa was sort of a funky track just kinda created itself. Flowing perfectly forward it was just huge feel good track.

Added with a good pun or a dad joke of a title and the happy incident of releasing it on international beer day – damn we got good laugh out of it!

✳️ Little Closer is a bit darker, yet pop-ish song. The title came about when we noticed the international suicide prevention day was approaching. Although we’re happy that there hasn’t been any unfortunate endings in our circle of friends and family, we feel mental health issues is not something we should keep quiet on. This was our way of raising awareness. Luckily we got this through to Finnish national radio and pushing the important message of talking about how you feel to people’.

5️⃣ At the time you guys were also looking into finding a label to have your music released with. Are you still looking for that, or have you decided to keep everything in your own hands? And what would be the benefit for you, by using a label?

‘To be honest, we live in odd times. Having a label isn’t a must these days. But having a good one might be a business venture that benefits both parties.

See, these days anyone can release a song on streaming platforms, the distribution isn’t some black art it was even 10 years ago. But it doesn’t mean that going independent is a fool proof method of maximizing ones revenue of music income. 

Having a label can be a great thing when they are bringing something extra to the table. It could be a kick ass network, amazing promotional push, solid marketing machine, a vision how to build one up as an artist. As long as they are bringing something extra to the table and are super nice people to work with, we’re happy to start discussing.

No, we do not know in which direction we should start asking. Perhaps some label finds us interesting and want to play ball with us’.

6️⃣ How would you describe your music now? Which genre(s) would you place it under? Do you guys ever considered changing it up (again)?

‘This is a great question. To be completely and brutally honest, from time to time we’re completely lost with the genres. Perhaps that’s the reason why we haven’t found a label home yet.

Being genre-fluid (in lack of better term) is a pro and it is a con.

It’s a downside when we don’t always know what to do next. We’re sort of losing the true north on our compass.

It’s an upside because we can always “freshen it up” by switching from house to disco to retro to future pop and so forth without a need of asking a permission to do so. We still do think regardless what the genre of a new release is it will sound like us.

Wouldn’t you agree?’

I ABSOLUTELY AGREE

7️⃣ What can we expect from Lope & Kantola in the – near – future? Do you think when things will get back to a new/more normal, new doors will open for you and if yes, in what ways would that be? Live performances perhaps?

‘We’re sort of still coping from the covid times and it’s been almost two years we’ve been to the same studio session in person. We managed to meet during the summer though!

Somehow during the process of answering this interview, we’ve managed to finish a 6 track EP. “Stories Untold” is coming out in January 2022.

We’re always playing around with idea of doing an album – and then backing out of it and thinking of a series of EP’s. In our circle of close producer friends, we’ve been known for always having a double album (or two) worth of release ready(ish) tracks lying around on the hard drive.

See, it’s not to be taken as granted on the days of digital platforms that releasing an album is the way to go. Sure, if having a bigger story to tell, an album could be the best format available. Then again, the algorithms and how the interwebs and human mind in the age of social media is working, it’s preferring smaller pieces of content in more frequent pace.

However, now the decision is made. There will be more getaway writing camps in order to make a Lope & Kantola album. The concept for it is already outlined, the songs just need to be written. The album should be ready in late 2022′.

8️⃣ Is there anything else you would like to add/share with your fans/the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘Always, always, always support the artists you love and find. Dropping a positive comment here and there doesn’t take too much time of your day, but can give boost to the artist that could mean more to them you could ever imagine’.


Again: Agreed on that final comment! And also again, Big Thanks to Lope & Kantola! Listening to their music is such a joy, which I hope you, my readers will also discover for yourself. Please check them out, you can do that right here:

Follow Lope & Kantola on: Spotify Bandcamp SoundCloud Facebook Instagram Twitter

Wishing y’all a very Happy Weekend, come a Little Closer, crack open an IPA and Fly With Me

Spotlight on PURE PURE

11/27/2021
PURE PURE

Meet PURE PURE: According to his SoundCloud, Instagram and Twitter bio, he is into F u t u r e h o u s e m u s i c, and his Bandcamp bio mentions he is a ’14/yo French house Producer an DJ’. So yeah, that should make things clear now shouldn’t it? Yeah, no, but that’s why he is my guest today! He only started to make music about a year ago, so although his discography is not extensive (YET!), I’ll go through what tracks are available, to give y’all an idea and hopefully encourage you to keep an eye out for more of this young talent. We’re off to the USA once more, here we go!

My Kind of Music, with PURE PURE

You Might Need Him PLAYING AT YOUR PARTY.

PURE PURE and I first ‘met’ at the end of August this year, when he responded to my Instagram story, in which I shared some music from one of his friends. One of the first questions he asked me was: ‘Do you produce at all?‘ Ahaha, nope. But it was a very good convo opener and we soon were talking not only about music, but also about a lot of other stuff we were interested in. He very quickly dropped the question though, if I wanted to listen to a new collab he was working on, requested by another producer. Of course I was interested and it got the ball rolling as in, it was a small step from there on to listen to his music.

PURE PURE warned me about, I quote: ‘Everything I have out now is very much shit’. Well Alright then. He further mentioned, the music he was currently working on was much better. PURE PURE’s music is found on SoundCloud mostly and if you look closely, the earliest uploads are from only about 6 months ago. However, I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of tracks he did release about a year ago, when he actually started. I did not really agree with him on those tracks being that bad and so we talked a bit about why he felt that way. His reply, I quote: ‘I didn’t really do much mixing/ mastering to it at all and didn’t add like effects or give it a decent structure’.

Anyways, he removed those tracks from SoundCloud and added the ones you can now find there, but there is still one saved on Bandcamp, called ‘Mute City’. Next to that, PURE PURE can also be found on Spotify, but more about that later. Since some time had passed since our fist conversation until moment I actually starting working on this Spotlight, I was kind of surprised to find a different discography. So, back to his SoundCloud releases, the first two are mixes, where PURE PURE makes you feel he’s DJ-ing on your personal house party. When I asked him about this he replied, I quote: ‘So basically playing at your party was kinda like what I would play if I were to be at a party, I played some future funk but also some rap stuff from DRAM and a few other guys, some people don’t know this but I’m a huge fan of hip hop and I love to dj it’. Now you know.

Now I think the mixes both rock and would definitely be a welcome guest to my parties. The music varies as PURE PURE mentions, but all in all it’s a groovy mix that will go down well with most people. I mean, I can’t really imagine people not getting down to these beats for real. Having talked to PURE PURE quite a bit, the mixes pretty much feel like ‘what you see is what you get’, meaning: the guy is not shy about his music as well as other things going on in his life and that openness makes him so approachable, just like his music sounds. Still with me here?

Not much later, PURE PURE mentioned he was working on an EP, of which he was already quite proud – and why wouldn’t he be – if all goes as planned, to be released this December. When he asked if I wanted to have a sneak peek and listen to the unfinished EP, I did. All I will say to you, is what I told him: I love where it’s going and it’s giving off a lot of energy. He then asked if I wanted to do the Spotlight after the release, thinking it would be a great promo for the new album. Well, yes, we basically already agreed to do the interview during our first talk.

However, as time passed, PURE PURE had a look at my blog and how the Spotlights work, got more and more enthusiastic about it and he asked me if we could not do the interview NOW. That was about 2 months ago lol. Unfortunately, I already had a couple of articles planned – as always – and on top of that, wanted a little time-out. But finally, we’re here today. I love the way PURE PURE was so eager to do this, that he twice requested me to, I quote: ‘Just send the questions now, while I have time’, while it was the middle of the night on my side of the globe haha. No matter, this party is started now, so let’s get it on.

In the meanwhile, we had been talking about everything and anything: how PURE PURE loves animals, how music has always been a part of his life also due to his parents love for it. How much his parents mean to him and support him – I told him I was very happy to hear his parents are actually invested in his music, not something I hear all too often unfortunately. How he kind of hates school and would rather spend all his time making music, saying, I quote: ‘I’ve been wanting to do this since like 2nd grade, all my teachers were all confused when I said I wanted to dj lol’. And also, how we both had our experiences with racism. A very diverse conversation indeed!

At the same time, PURE PURE joined in on a compilation album being released on Spotify. Under the Neon Japan Records label, he added his track: ‘Yongen Yaja Nights’, claiming, I quote: ‘Yongen Yaja Nights is easily my favorite song I put on, nothing compared to my EP though’. Well, if PURE PURE is comparing the two and says the upcoming EP is, what…better? different? that’s saying something don’t you think? Still we talked more about other stuff too, like going to concerts and how his taste in music changed through time. Well, he might be young, but he knows what he wants and likes and the drive is certainly there, I quote: ‘I be watching tutorials all day when I get free time from like school.’

The next track by the way, has reached 3K+ listens and that’s quite a feat for a song that’s only been out there for about a month. Again, PURE PURE has only just started and the songs he uploaded have been well received. He hopes to be in a band in the future, playing the bass. Well, I’d say, Go For It, with this great attitude, you’ll probably achieve anything you set your mind on! PURE PURE is already well known in the community and has a lot of music producing friends, one of which is Fvert, who was a previous Spotlight if y’all remember. Music goes beyond borders and online collaborations are being cultivated everywhere. When PURE PURE mentioned to me there might be a collab coming with Fvert, I just told him to Do It.

PURE PURE’s next track is also close to reaching 3K listens and if that doesn’t make you wonder what kind of magic he is brewing, you probably don’t want to be convinced at all. As I said earlier, PURE PURE is pretty open about what’s going on in his life, if you’d follow him on social media, you can see for yourself. He repeatedly confessed his astonishment about how well his music is liked and it’s always a good sign to me, when artists aren’t afraid to show their gratitude towards their audience. Again, being approachable as an artist has this incredible attraction to me, making me feel I can not only connect through their music, but also feel and understand a little where they’re coming from.

‘1998 called, wants its hair back’. The intro to PURE PURE’s next track. From dance, to hip hop, to french house and now future funk. Again I wonder how it is possible for anybody to find time to make music – and sometimes A Lot of it – while also juggling school and/or work. And yes, I am my own worst critic, so I totally understand what PURE PURE was saying about his first released – now removed – tracks. My point: having that little free time, producing something is possible, but producing something that is truly cool and you can look back yourself at feeling proud? Ooff, good stuff.

Talking about PURE PURE’s school, he told me about how much he is into history and also that he was looking into an exchange program, because he would love to come to Ireland, or even better, Australia. See, this guy is not afraid to live and not only through his music! When he messaged me some time later, he is going to Greece/Europe, for the next spring break in 2022, his enthusiasm was palpable in every way. Easy to talk to, easy to laugh with, easy music to listen to, PURE PURE has a great future ahead of him I’m sure.

We’re already at the last released track by PURE PURE. I hope all the above has encouraged you to follow this young talent and eagerly see how he will develop. Just recently I saw a tweet where it was stated, how cool it can be when you already knew that one artist when they were still ‘small’, after they’ve grown ‘big’. This was so up my ally and it’s one of the reasons why these Spotlights give me so much joy. I wish all artists here a bright and successful future, but even if they don’t make it ‘big’, having the opportunity to meet them – even if not in real life – and most of all, discovering and enjoying their music, is a big win to me.

PURE PURE is the next on the growing Spotlight artist list and I’m thankful he wanted to be here. So, before we go listen to the man himself, I want to say, BIG Thank You PURE PURE! I know you’ve been very busy with school and all, so I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I’m also very much looking forward to how your EP will sound  – and if there has been a lot of changes made, since my early listen. I will add you to the Spotlight page, where you will stay indefinitely, together with all the previous Spotlights. Now Go!


The Interview

1️⃣ Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us: who is PURE PURE, when and how did you start making music? Does your name has a special meaning? Do you play any instruments yourself and/or do you sing?

‘Hi! I’m pure pure, I make French house and other sub genres in my free time! I got into DJ-ing originally but stopped after a few months after I wanted to create my own music, not just play others haha.

Big thanks to neko milkshake, he assisted me the most in making music and taught me how to work the daw. My name has a few meanings, in my favorite anime “K-On” one of the rejected band names was pure pure, and in my favorite city pop song “stay pure” my omega tribe also inspired, it has one more meaning but I won’t share it on here, feel free to DM me on Instagram if you want to know the 3rd and biggest reason lol.’

2️⃣ Where do you get your inspiration from? Who were/are the biggest influences on your music? How would you describe your music? Have you ever considered/tried other genres or do you feel this is it?

‘I mostly get my inspirations from playing video games and watching movies, like really old shitty movies. My favorite games to play include legend of Zelda and Pokémon and my favorite movie is lost in translation as it always inspires me to make music.

Music wise, I’m a huge fan of Daft Punk, Cassius, phantoms revenge, QB9, Neko milkshake, and Mr Oizo. But non French house artists I love the Clash, Temporex, Sex Pistols, the cure, Phoenix, yung lean, men at work, and bladee. I’ve always wanted to be in a punk band on bass as I play it, my best friend plays guitar so we will start playing together soon and hopefully get some gigs’.

3️⃣ You’re pretty young still and after releasing a track on Bandcamp and some more on SoundCloud, you only recently released a song on Spotify, part of the album NJR Vol. 1, under the label Neon Japan Records. How did that make you feel? Can you give us a bit of background info about how the song came together and how it ended up on the album?

‘Releasing on NJR was awesome! Huge thanks to Crimson Ray for inviting me and everyone on their being super supportive, it was insane seeing my song as most viewed on SoundCloud, it was my first song to get 1000 views!

It was originally going to be apart of kinda a “love” themed project but it was scrapped when I got rejected haha, It was the only song on the project that was somewhat good so I decided to use it in the compilation when the owner Shanpu told me that their was going to be a compilation for the anniversary.’

4️⃣ What do you think is the hardest part of producing music? Do you have a nice support system (family, friends etc) to motivate you and keep you going? What do you find the most fun part of producing music and why is that?

‘The hardest part for me is finding inspiration, sometimes I just don’t want to make music but those times will eventually pass. I have many awesome friends and my parents and family are supportive of everything I do.

I think my favorite part of producing are seeing the response to my tracks, comments will genuinely make me smile like I almost cried when I got my first comment’.

5️⃣ How do you combine making music with school? How much time per week do you spend on it approximately? Do you aspire to become a full time producer as soon as you get the chance?

‘I’m pretty shitty when it comes to balancing music with school but I’d like to believe I’m getting better, I do my work during the day and do my music during the night as I feel that’s when I’m most Productive.

During the prime of making city loops I’d say I spent 9-10 hours a week on the daw. If I ever get the chance to do music full time, I will jump on it immediately. Personally I hate school and I don’t wanna go into college (sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this) but music full time seems much better than living a normal life and working a boring office job lol’.

6️⃣ One of the first things you told me, was that you think the stuff you’ve put out until now is ‘pretty much shit’, but your ‘unreleased stuff is all ok’. Why do you feel that way, how did you grow from then to now? (what’s the difference in your opinion?)

‘I felt this way because frankly, all the music I had out at the time was super shit but I’m super proud of City Loops EP which is my best work yet, I tried many different production techniques and I feel it went very well for my first EP. I grew a lot by watching just tutorials on YouTube and asking friends for help’.

7️⃣ You told me about a couple of interesting collabs that might be happening. Is there anything you can share about that? If not, what would be your dream collab or project for the future and why? What can we expect from PURE PURE in the – near – future?

‘I have many collabs on the way! I will be featured on Maitro’s upcoming album dragon ball wave 4 along with a few compilations and collaborations with my friends!

I have a tonnn of dream collabs, mostly just the OG French house people like Alan Braxe, Fred Falke, Trankilou, St Germain, and Archigram.

For future projects I’m planning on releasing a second EP around Spring time then begin working on my album which will hopefully contain 20 ish tracks, I can’t say much about it other than the fact it will kind of tell a story’.

8️⃣ Is there anything else you would like to add/share with the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘Not that I can think of! Just go stream my new EP And tell me what you think of it🙏.’


Again, big thanks to PURE PURE! It was fun working on this and I’m very much looking forward to more from you! Wishing you all the best and hope we stay in contact. And you my readers, please give his music a chance! You can do so here:

Follow PURE PURE on: SoundCloud Bandcamp Instagram Twitter

Wishing y’all a very Festive Weekend and while you’re at it, let PURE PURE play

Spotlight on Radd

Special Feature 11/1/2021
Radd

Meet Radd: A Music producer residing in Florida, USA, and according to himself, I quote: ‘Amateur artist! I make music as well!!’Twitter. And oh yeah, when I asked him whether his name was spelled with all caps or not – because I noticed it was used in different ways – he replied, I quote: ‘It used to be all caps but I didn’t see that as me, I’m a more softer person’. Aaw, my heart! You Win, Let’s Go!

My Kind of Music, with Radd

RADDical! OUTSIDE THE BOX, In About 1392 Ways.

We’re off to Florida for today’s Spotlight and it’s going to be a surprise for you AND me. To be honest, today’s guest’s music has me a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount he has produced and released since, hold up, 2018. When I mentioned this to him his answer was, I quote: ‘Eep, sorry about that hehe I will make sure to never make any music again’. Well, shit. Welcome Radd! I can’t even claim I’ve listened to it all, because, well, you’ll see for yourself I wasn’t exaggerating about the 1392 ways…I really did try though. (Oh and I can’t believe I have to say this again, but click on some tracks will ya!)

Radd’s complete discography is found on Bandcamp, where I count 30 releases, starting July 2018. including mostly albums, but also a couple of EP’s and singles. Where I thought OPTML’s discography was already mind-blowing, Radd’s has me in awe again, and listening to it all would certainly take up a couple of days time. It’s funny he realizes this all to well, which is why he – very methodically – released a compilation every year in September with the comment, I quote: ‘For anyone interested with my stuff, but don’t have the time to find the best bits, this is for you! :)’. You could say this is a tremendous help when starting out discovering, but the real die-hards will just plow through…right?!?

Any real observer will have recognized Radd’s portrait is done by the lovely Instantreigen of course! Shoutout to them for providing yet another beautiful piece of art to upgrade this Spotlight! And yes, you guessed right, Radd is part of the same group of friends/collabs/labels, as both Mr. Hoosteen and Instantreigen as well as OPTML are. You can see numerous references to either one of them, because of their art, musical additions and/or support given. What a great way to know there’ll always be this group of people that will have your back, no matter what. I’m suspecting they will be the ones to offer honest advice and opinions, helping Radd grow beyond his own limits.

Talking about growth…if referring to numbers…I’m curious where Radd’s discography will be in another 5 years. Using his words about it again, I quote: ‘fdgahdg – discography big – yeah I have albums – yeah its a lot – then you look at 1390 and stuff and…🤯’. Anyone that driven is sure to be propelled by their love for it because there’s no other way in my opinion, anybody could keep up that kind of level of creativity and the need to release it into the world. It’s the main reason I am sharing ALBUMS here and not mere singles – though there might be a couple of them included. As always, this page is not enough to display it all, but let’s get the fire burning for now and you can take it from there. Radd’s passion for music should be enough to give you a head start.

Searching for Radd’s music on Spotify might not be easy, but if you manage, it might leave you just as confused as it did me. So when I met Mr. Hoosteen I asked him about Radd’s Spotify account because of the very real difference in music that’s offered. It was then quickly explained to me that indeed, that Spotify account was a mess, a jumble of more artists with apparently the same name. Talking about what’s lacking on certain streaming platforms…This was recently confirmed by Radd himself, so again, take my advice and find his music on Bandcamp. Everything is there and it’s more than enough for any hungry House/french touch soul, to feed on.

I regret to say, this means I won’t be able to add that much of Radd’s tracks to my SGM weekly playlist, but I’ll make do with what I have and trust you guys to go and explore. Radd to me seems a very humble person and not at all one to take the stage at any time, so to have him here as my guest is a real treat. My initial request was kind of disguised at the time when I did the Spotlight on Mr. Hoosteen and if you were paying attention, you’ve seen the shoutout done to Radd. Radd was not immediately convinced he should be doing this, hiding behind his – just as talented – friends, Mr. Hoosteen and OPTML. Well of course I did not fall for that, especially after I started listening to his music right away. It all felt so right to me.

When I finally made the ‘official’ request, I was very happy Radd agreed on the spot. From what I’ve seen so far, he has a smart sense of humor – always a win in my book – and always puts his friends first. That says a lot about a persons intentions and loyalty, aka, integrity, which is a valuable thing in this world today. After I sent him the questions, he informed me a couple of days later to update on his progress, I quote: ‘follow up: I’m still working on it but this feels like an essay of sorts haha, I’m on number 6 rn :p’. I love a good essay! And the more details the more interesting the interview becomes. Another interesting thing Radd has been doing since October 2019, is releasing an album with a new song created every day, during that whole month. Just. How??

When asked by Smittz – remember him? – how he does it, Radd answered, I quote: ‘October energy, the spookiness in my bones courses through my bones. That and just selecting samples that inspire me to work lol selection is important’. Listen, I simply can’t imagine writing an article every day for a month long. I think it would leave me utterly unhinged, as much as I love to write and never seem to be able to shut up. Still. The only other artist I’ve interviewed and managed to complete this ‘ridiculous’ challenge, was T-BOW, who did this twice, not related to any spookiness as far as I recall though. If this doesn’t convince you of Radd’s creative mind, really, I’m going to break up with you and you’ll be spending Christmas alone.

Experiencing Radd’s music is like traveling through uncharted – for me – but colorful territory, while I have to be on my guard and expecting the unexpected at about every turn. See I’m not a gamer, but I’m guessing this would be how I feel like when starting a new game. Radd’s music paints an environment in my minds eye, only to be compared to the unlikely online world we’re so much part of today. Wait. Words. Radd’s music takes me from the arcade to the movie theatre, from the dance club into space. I would definitely label his music House, but ehm… It’s so, so much more than that. It might just be his starting point, but he’s taking the listener on a journey after which you’ll never be the same again, or…you won’t be coming back at all. In short, he might shake the foundation of what we think any genre should be…

Oh and wait, referring to space, I can’t let this one pass. Let me first say that Radd’s inventiveness regarding the use of album/track titles is absolutely appealing to a simple soul like myself. They’re fun and begging for attention and one very good example is the next album – for which we make a little U-turn on the timeline. I mean, no one can fault me for mentioning this particular one, since it includes the name of my hubby lol. And yes, of course it was one of the first albums I had to listen to, ejecting me right into orbit. I love how Radd uses so much variation and truth be told, this album does give me that outer space feeling. Since my hubby and I are both into sci-fi, this one certainly deserves a mention today!

Back to the timeline as was, 2020. Radd is consistently releasing music and one has to be wondering if his creativity ever diminishes. But no. Some lighter stuff, some a bit darker, some sounding seemingly uncomplicated and others sounding like they’ve been created to fit an orchestra. It’s tough to pin his music down to just one genre, which is fine by me, surprise is all a big part of Radd’s game, or so it seems. He is basically free-wheeling himself through music land. I dare you to form your own opinion because it’s definitely up for some discussion I would think. Of the good kind of course. But yeah, it’s up to you to explore and discover…

Coming to Radd’s third compilation already, in September 2020, I’m happy I can ‘skip’ listening. Wait. I’ve started at the beginning and this is yet another collection he made of ‘his best bits’, BUT you’ll have to check them out if only for the special edits and bonus stuff! Anyways, I’ve still got a long way to go lol, though I’m eager for it. And don’t even think he’s slowing down, because RADDical! Vol. 4 released last September! The consistency and you could say, almost calculated manner in which Radd keeps it all flowing, is nothing short of admirable. It seems he is following his own calendar and has some things very clearly scheduled for himself. I’m guessing his fans have started to sort of rely on that, expecting Vol. 5 by September next year. I’d say.

The same goes for Radd’s ‘October Energy’, the second album in this series released October 2020. Now while listening to Radd’s music, the one question that kept going through my mind was, if there were any grand changes detectable in the way his music sounds through time. You know what – please don’t be offended, since I’m only ‘judging’ this as a mere listener – I really don’t think there has been and the reason I feel that way, is BECAUSE of the diversity in it. Oh I’m positive he has grown in regards to the technical aspects, the mastering, the mixing, in other words: the way he produces now compared to how he did a couple of years ago. But not 2 albums are the same, so it’s pretty hard for me to discern. Wait, so what I’m saying is: Radd started out grand and grew RAD. (sorry-not-sorry, just had to at some point).

The very first time I listened to Radd’s music, it was the EP ‘Heaven’, which actually can be found in the earlier mentioned jumble on Spotify. It was enough to tickle my musical taste buds, but yeah, I had No Idea what I’d gotten myself into when asking Radd for an interview. This is a very good thing though, because it again challenged me to reach further and beyond what I’m used to listen to. I will be honest with you: while writing this, I still have about 9 albums to go through, but trust me, I will. My honor requires me to do so lol. I am a fervent believer I need to give it all a fair listen, to at least give an equally fair opinion. Makes sense right? So it’s up to me to finish what I started. Do not worry, I got this.

BUT, we’re closing in on the reason why y’all are here. This leaves me with sharing the ‘last but not least’ release from Radd, the third album filled with his ‘October Energy’, officially released on Bandcamp October 31, 2021. Mr. Hoosteen made a remark on the song titles, I quote: ‘Please tell me every title is relating to the number it appears?’  Well, have a look yourself and you’ll get that Radd makes excellent use of words/puns to display his tracks. You gotta admit the fun in that. I’m more than happy to give Radd the stage and let him do the really interesting talk, but first: BIG Thank You Radd! I have deep respect for what you’ve been cooking up in just a couple of years and will be on the lookout for more. That is, as soon as I’ve finished what’s still left for me to listen to lol. I’ll add you to the Spotlight page asap, where you will stay indefinitely, together with all your predecessors.


The Interview

1️⃣ Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is RADD? Does your name a special meaning? When and how did you start making music? Do you play any instruments yourself, or sing?

‘Hello,! My name is Radd, and im an electronic musician to keep it simple; if I’m ever asked which genre specifically I tend to say french touch electro which usually confuses most people I know face to face haha.

I’m based in Florida, and making music is just something that I really like to do. Think of it like my auditory legacy to leave after one day when I’m gone, with my beginning to the end on display, a sort of wordless audio autobiography. My name did have a special meaning, but since then it’s moved on from that, and now it just means, me! :>

I started making music around my freshman year in high school, I have a really convoluted long story that explains exactly how I started making music, literally as detailed as stemming all the way back to a miniscule and minute detail that my older brother made in elementary school, but yeah I started just, putting beats and melodies together during my freshman year and, like didn’t stop and, well, I guess I’m here today!

I do play the drums and I’m told that I sing well but currently neither element has been used or implemented into my music whatsoever, I just don’t think it fits the vibe of my music style hehe’.

2️⃣ Where do you get your inspiration from? Who were/are your biggest influences? And how would you describe your music? Do you design your own cover art?

‘My inspiration, hmm, I get inspiration from the artists I listen to, but my direct inspiration came from Daft Punk and Justice when I started out, with producer friends of mine inspiring me to make music of my own, and I’m glad they did. My biggest influences nowadays still include Justice, but less of Daft Punk, and more out of the box interesting musical producers and groups such as Siriusmo, Vitalic, the Chemical Brothers, SebastiAn, J Dilla, Duck Sauce, Boys Noize, the Avalanches, and like, many more haha, too many to count.

I describe my own music as big. I feel like just, big, is a good descriptor for my music. I try my best to fill in all the mental holes when listening to a song, like whenever you listen again and again you can focus and marvel on each part of the song, and there’s a lot of parts and so many layers. I try my best to make a song feel as full as possible, whether that be when I’m making electronic based stuff, orchestral based stuff, or even sample based stuff. I try to make my music sound big! Like my own little electro orchestra.

As for my cover art, I usually collaborate with artists or make the art on my own. A very frequent and trusted collaborator is Mr. Hoosteen, who is simply amazing at graphic design, and has basically frontlined the art direction of the Signal album era’.

3️⃣ Do you feel you’ve found the genre that will stick or are you still exploring other genres too? If yes, which ones would that be and why?

‘I don’t think I’m particularly done genre exploring, but I don’t think that my current musical elements are going to be going anywhere, at least for a long time haha.

I’m hoping to explore more genres and even just delve deeper into the ones I already have done so with, such as Hip Hop, Orchestral, Plunderphonics, and Emotional Music, I uh, don’t know if that’s an actual genre but I want to make music that causes specific emotions when listening to it hehe’.

4️⃣ What would you consider the biggest eyeopener since you’ve started producing music? What would be the first piece of advice you’d give anyone who wishes to start and came asking/ what was the most valuable piece of advice you yourself received?

‘My biggest eyeopener when making music has to be that you just need to keep trying. I mean look at where I started, a joke song edit where I replaced vocals in a daft punk song to say “Gerald” multiple times lol.

So my first piece of advice is, look at your favorite artists’ beginnings, and when I say beginnings, I mean very beginnings. Their first audio thing released in their name. I think you’ll find that it sounds a LOT different, and definitely not as good. This shows that you just need to keep at it, and keep trying. This isn’t really advice that I received, but rather advice that I sort of learned throughout the years’.

Jammin’ Geralds Now I was specifically told NOT to listen to this, but c’mon…if there’s ever a trigger hehe. But Seriously, a real fun listen, so go ahead!

5️⃣ You very recently released the album ‘1392’ on Bandcamp, can you give us a bit of background information about how this album came together? How does your creative process work?

‘1392 actually isn’t fully out! It’s a song-a-day release that’s an ongoing tradition every October, inspired by the “art piece a day” that some artists do every october. Same as that but, with music! This is the third installation of the 1390 series, with the number counting up one each time. For these albums I make a song a day, and tend to try and have a gimmick with each album. What the gimmick is I leave for you to solve hehe. But I really love doing these every year because it’s great music practice and it really helps me improve, even if it’s a bit stressful at times. And yeah, of course I might not do this EVERY year but, I sure hope to try haha

My creative process is very interesting, to say the least. I tend to start with a small idea and build from there, building and layering more and more, until you probably can’t even tell what the original idea even was, and I have a very large sounding song. Most of the time, these ideas come from little melodies, drum patterns, or samples that I find. For instance, my releases Heaven and Up2U were sample based inspirations’.

6️⃣ When would you consider ‘goal achieved’ after releasing new music? What would be ‘a dream come true’, regarding your music? Can you share at least one great comment you got on a track/album and what this meant to you? Can you tell us about what support from friends, fam, other artists, means to you?

‘Honestly for me, my goal achieved is just the really basic “when I think it’s done/when I’m happy with it.” There’s not really a criteria I attempt to meet, but a dream come true for me would be like, being able to try out so many different things at least once, and being happy with it. Like making a song with vocals primarily, a well made plunderphonics track, or a hip hop track with lyrics that I wrote, those are some of the things that I would like to achieve as a ‘dream come true’ as you said hehe.

As for a comment on my music, I don’t really know anything specifically, but whenever people say that my music sounds “big” then I know that I’m doing what I do right haha. I haven’t had any comments that really stood out and stuck with me or anything, but all the support that I get from my friends and other music artists means a lot to me! I don’t really have any family members that support me though, but I’m holding on!’

7️⃣ What can we expect from RADD in the – near – future? Anything specific you can tell us about, like fun collabs or projects ‘you’ve always wanted to do’  maybe?

‘Well I have like, way too many things planned haha, but to reveal one thing for sure; the Signal era is officially over. Sure I have like, some unreleased things regarding some of the tracks of the albums like edits and other lil things, but overall for big releases and singles, it is completed.

Now I’m hoping to move on to various singles, EPs, and mixes, and I’ll tease some now: An EP with a ton of weird vibes and sampling, A mini album based on one of my characters in a sadder reality than his story actually is (this one has been a wip forever but I hope to release it 2022), and a single from this mini album as well!

There’s also a HUGE mix of my own music to be released SUPER soon!!, like, end of October soon lol, and finally in terms of complete ideas I have like an EP that’s organ focused based on the word “linen”? Just a lot of strange stuff coming soon haha. I also have a TON of unreleased demos and scrapped tracks that I may release as B-Sides eventually on stuff, but for now they sit in my folders.

As for collabs I’ve always wanted to do, me and Mr. Hoosteen have been talking about working together on this, let’s say, “project”, so far there’s only been ideas but I hope we actually come up with something one day!’

8️⃣ Is there anything else you would like to add/share with the readers/your fans? Something I did not ask about maybe?

‘Something to add, hmm, honestly I don’t know! Besides telling anyone who is interested to be looking out for new stuff soon, I don’t really have anything else to say haha

I guess that I make art too? I like drawing cute things and I’m soon planning to merge my two creative outputs and using my main character in more of my music as like a sort of mascot, finally putting a person or face with my music!

But yeah other than that, I, guess that’s it! Haha, sorry if anyone was expecting more :p

Anyways, thanks so much for having me Wien, this was so fun to do <3′


Aaw, well, again Big Thanks Radd! it was so much fun having you here and I wish you all the luck in the future: that your creativity may flow forever! And to you my reader, you know the drill, go find Radd and listen to his music. There’s so much of it!!

Follow Radd on: Bandcamp YouTube Twitter

Wishing y’all a very Happy Weekend! Now let’s get Jammin’ Geralds

Flashlight on Riah 💕

Blogpost 10/28/2021

Flashlight #4: A short personal impression of my HelloWien pfp. Just Feels.

Flashlight on Riah 💕

Well now…no music this time, but a ‘little’ piece of art, because, why not? I have been doing some Spotlights on art, so this is only a natural consequence thereof. And I just couldn’t let this opportunity pass without shining a little light on the artist, yes indeed, Riah 💕

Riah sent me three sketches and asked me to decide on the expressions and features. They were all fantastic, but I chose this one, because of the cheeky wink. It was also great to hear she had fun herself while designing, which always shows in the end!

Sometimes you meet people under the strangest circumstances and meeting Riah definitely fits that category. Now I’m not going to fully disclose what happened, because that’s just a bit on the personal side for both of us, but I can tell you it was a surprise for both of us and ended up with me commissioning Riah for something special. Riah loves to draw pony’s and, having raised a girl myself who was – and still is – quite in love with ‘My Little Pony’, this would be pure nostalgia for me.

I had been thinking for some time about commissioning someone, but I just couldn’t decide on what exactly. You got to understand, in my twitter community, there are multiple very talented artists, who spend their free time drawing, painting and/or otherwise designing/creating – digital – art. I’ve long been admiring the funny, colorful and very unique profile pictures of a lot of peeps and so after giving it some serious thought, I finally decided to request something similar for myself, BUT in Halloween style. Meeting Riah was simply written in the stars.

Not long after the sketches were done, Riah showed me the general lineart and asked me if I wished for anything to be changed. Well, No! haha I loved where this was going!!

Today I received the final drawing and it is such a perfect piece I want to share it here and show my appreciation for Riah’s work. I basically only gave her my favorite color – now what would that be?? –  and a rough idea of what I thought could be a fun picture. She followed through with style and anticipated my vision entirely correct. I mean, I’m just guessing it would have been easier if I’d given her a more detailed idea, but I was curious of how she would pick it up and I’d seen some of her work, so I trusted it to be good. And I was right.

Safe to say, I’m very, very happy with how it worked out! The colors, the expressions…the fun is jumping from my screen and it’s everything I could have imagined it would be. And More. Apparently Riah knows me better than I thought, seeing how she added some really cool details in the drawing, which makes it so much more personal to me. See if you notice them 😉

I LOVE IT SO MUCH!! 💖💖💖

Find Riah on Twitter, though her commissions might not be open, it could be fun to just follow her, see where she gets her inspiration from and watch what she creates. She won my heart with her bubbly personality way before I received the drawing, so: Big Thank You Riah! I will treasure this one forever and hope in turn, I made you smile today!

Spotlight on Fvert

Special Feature 10/23/2021
Fvert

Meet Fvert: A Future Funk music producer from Spain, who welcomes us to the ‘New Future Funk Era’, stating he ‘Just makes Future Funk’ and he ‘Hopes you like it’. He’s a member of Nightfall Collective as well as of Neon Japan Records and he loves UniBe@t. That is about all we’re going to get from his social media bio’s, but alright, here’s Fvert on Spotify.

My Kind of Music, with Fvert

How To Make BURNING JEALOUSY Still Sound FUNKY ASF.

Whoaa, today we’re going to Madrid, Spain, my fav country of all time! All you who have been following the blog know how much I love it there. The weather, the food, the people, it’s like coming home to us, every time.  But enough of that, today’s guest is a very young and very talented Future Funk music producer and I’m excited to tell a little bit about him and to share his music. Well a part of it, because he’s been pretty busy already and has released his music on several platforms. So let me start off with the first track he released on SoundCloud, about a year ago and so very sweet.

I don’t even want to think about how young Fvert was when he started producing music, I’ll leave it up to him to reveal that later, or not. But it’s obvious right from the start, there’s definitely talent there. Fvert released his first EP not much after that first track on SoundCloud, the album ‘Music Heaven’, where you can find his ‘early’ work lol. Man but this sounds almost ridiculous, but it just proves how young my previous Spotlights must have been when they started producing music as well. Most of them are in their twenties now – still pretty young – but are well experienced and know the drill. The same will happen with Fvert, since his enthusiasm and joy clearly shows through his music. No need to fake anything, this shit’s real.

Running into one of the most cheeky mixes of that One really cool hit EVERYONE knows.. Really made me smile. If there’s one thing that will always appeal to me, it’s the fun aspect. If it’s not clear the creator had fun putting it together, how would that even reflect positively on others? Well, Fvert got it. Listening to his music, I can only say, has been a real joy. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but Future Funk basically came to me as sort of a side dish with all of the jazzy/groovy/funky stuff I was already listening to whole of my life. Don’t get me wrong, but the genre feels like a natural evolvement of all that. And yes, reviving great memories for sure. I’m a sucker for it, I know.

Nice transitions, funky beats, loads of recognizable samples (and loads I’m still figuring out 😂), crispy chops and sunny vibes all over. What more can a girl ask for? It does feel a bit like music heaven tbh. Since I’m the upbeat type of girl, Fvert’s discography is certainly speaking to my soul, music made to dance and feel happy. And how did I even find him you may ask? I think we saw each other pass on social media while trying to help out a friend in need. And – yes I sound like a broken record – we may or may not have seen each other during Discoholic’s streams.. So sue me. I already mentioned that musical rabbit hole and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, just going with the flow ya know. Because yes, Fvert’s music falls into the right category…

Anyways, we became online friends after he responded to one of my IG stories and I started to share his music. Yeah that would do the trick hehe. But seriously, my first real introduction with Future Funk was when I discovered FIBRE, and I’m still grateful for that. Having him as this year’s first Spotlight was so worth the wait and I know, he’s one of Fvert’s music heroes, because he told me this himself. When I asked him if he was interested in doing a little interview and gave him the link to check out my site one of his first reactions was, I quote: ‘The page looks so great. And also big artists there…I saw FIBRE’. Yep. Y’all know how big of a fangirl I am and I can’t stress enough, how much some artists mean to me. Their music always lifts my mood, flavoring my day.

When I’d noticed Montaime started following me on SoundCloud – so unbelieveably cute! – and shared my thanks, Fvert responded with, I quote: ‘Lol, that would be a dream for me’. Well dreams do come true sometimes you know! I’m confident Fvert fits in with the heroes list perfectly, it certainly is one name y’all should be on the lookout for. If it wasn’t for all those cool artists, this site would pretty much suck, so it works both ways and if you want to support Fvert in buying some of his music, Bandcamp is the place to be. The first release there is the album ‘Fvert Year (2020) vol​. 1’, containing 18 tracks, which you may recognize from SoundCloud. So this is your chance to shine a little light and appreciation on his work, he deserves it.

One of my best friends is living in Spain – near Madrid in fact – and she kept me posted about how things were going during the pandemic. Fortunately she made the best of it and gave it all a turn for the better. Fvert obviously did the same, producing singles with titles like ‘Quarantine’ and ‘Wear a mask plz’. It hasn’t been an easy time, but seeing young people actually using their talent to help make others more aware of the situation is totally awesome. At the same time, Fvert shows his sense of humor, when he releases a single on Bandcamp, which you can buy for the amazing price of just €420 – for those of you who don’t know, the clue is in the amount, yeah you can Google that – and adds the comment, I quote: ‘If you buy this you are dumb’. Whoopsies.

Never take yourself too seriously. That’s what I keep telling myself, because somehow, that never seems to end well. Following Fvert online, there’s no doubt he frequently laughs at himself. Honestly, from what I’ve seen so far, you can’t survive in the music business without a healthy dose of irony, aimed at yourself. Maybe it helps starting out that young, though I also know, teen years can be the most vulnerable. Being able to laugh at yourself will get you a long way in brushing off the haters. I may not be a producer, but believe you me, I know what I’m talking about. Some of my best memories are from me laughing at myself before other kids could and dissing them at the same time, because they thought they were being funny. Sorry-not-sorry 😉

Going forward, Fvert released a whole new album called ‘Burning Jealousy’, the 25th of September this year. ‘Flashbacks’ is the closing track of that album and it delivers some very groovy Future Funk. The album title as well as all the song titles clearly speak for themselves: we all can relate to unrequited love and what kind of emotions it sparks. Jealousy, burning or not, is mostly topping the list. Young or not, those feelings can be all too real – I hated when people wouldn’t take me serious going through something similar when I was younger myself. Age doesn’t matter, the only thing that could change, is how we deal with it. The album is a collab with Cherry Condos, with whom he already released one track on SoundCloud earlier, called ‘My Love’.

You can be assured to find the songs added to my weekly SGM playlist since they’re all very well fitting. Now I can’t tell you much about Cherry Condos, but I did ask Fvert to tell us a bit about this collab, so we’ll have to wait and see what he’s got to say about it. However, the album feels like a perfect get-together and the end result is a juicy piece of music for us to dig into. Having followed the discussion online about the Wikipedia Future Funk page and how things are not quite correctly named, I’ll just leave it with the same thing I said before: Future Funk? It’s Past Funk for me, making me feel the music again (and again).

What is most important to me, is where Future Funk is coming from and what is basically contains, the latter topping MY list. The use of samples of songs by artists from the 70’s till the 90’s and then specifically from my fav genres like Funk/Jazz/Disco, makes the genre very approachable and an overall joy to listen to. I keep repeating myself, but it’s just so much fun to hear the appreciation for a music era that could have gone and passed without a second thought, but is now thoroughly being revived. I’ll keep my ears and eyes open, for whatever else is said about it, but in a way, and don’t get me wrong, it really doesn’t matter all that much to me. I get it might be important to those who actually produce it, but music should only tell me one thing: Does it Get to Me?

As a listener, music needs to reach my heart and soul. If it doesn’t go beyond my ears, it’s not for me. Which is fine, because there’s more than enough for everyone to enjoy. But as a Funk girl at heart, it’s exactly That, that will resonate and cling to me. However, if there’s one thing the Spotlights have taught me, it is to stay open to new musical experiences. And yes, I said STAY open, because Funk was definitely not the only thing I listened to when growing up. With an oldest brother who loved to dive into the more alternative music culture, I followed suit. Anyone who has read My Kind of Music 1 and 2, will be aware of that. So yes, I always try to stay openminded, though there are some genres that are definitely not my cuppa tea. Not Fvert’s music though. There’s no question whether it found my heart or not.

Fvert was fortunately pretty eager to go along with an interview, as a matter of fact, after I sent him the email with my questions, he replied, I quote: ‘I’ll answer them in a bit, will take some time on thinking about the answers haha’. After I reassured him he could take all the time he needed, he still came back later that day, saying, I quote: ‘Is it okay if I don’t send you the answers today and I do the thing tomorrow?’ Aaw, I do love it when artists are into it that much, but I told him to Pleaase take his time 🙂. This is exactly one of the reasons why I love my Spotlight artists so much though, most of them have been so cool about the whole thing, never been interviewed before and so much fun to work with. It’s why they’ve found a place in my heart, forever.

We’re reaching the end of my usual little ramblings and I’m hoping you have taken some time already to listen to some of Fvert’s music. I can’t stop thinking about where Fvert will be, say like 10 years from now. The talent he’s shown so far is already up there, so it’s going to be fun watching him grow not only in age but also – hopefully lol – in wisdom and creativity. As always, you can find all the links to his music profiles below, if you’ve missed them earlier and please, give his music a try on whichever platform you prefer. I’m just saying, my joy could be yours and it’s the reason why I’m sharing his music today.

This leaves me with only these last words: BIG Thank You Fvert! So far you’re the youngest interviewee on the blog – though there might just be coming someone soon who’s a bit younger still – and it’s been my pleasure to have you as my guest today! Your music is fun and funky and I’m looking forward to more from you in the future! We’ll keep in touch and I will add you to my Spotlight page as soon as possible, where you will stay indefinitely. For now, I’m going to end with the only track left from your new album, which should lift us all to another dimension.


The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Fvert? Where does the name come from, does it have a special meaning? Do you play any instruments yourself and/or do you, sing?

‘Fvert is just a Spanish guy who likes Future Funk LMAO. The funny thing is that Fvert doesn’t really have a meaning hahaha, the name just came up because I was chatting with a friend and I just spammed my keyboard, and Fvert came as a result, you can also see that the letters are so close to each other, I just thought it was a cool nickname and grabbed it hahaha. I played the guitar for 3 years when I was like 6, I’m not a really good musician haha, but I’m retaking it, really wanna learn’.

When and how did you start making music? How would you describe your music? Have you ever considered/tried, other genres? Where do you get your inspiration from? Who do you look up to in the music scene, how have they influenced you?

‘Hmm, everything started when my dad played a psytrance set on a travel we were doing, I liked it and started listening to electronic music, this was in 2016. I got stuck in genres like trap ( I was a big trap nation fan) and Future bass, even when I got my first computer 2 years later I tried to produce something, but I didn’t got anything good and left that over there.

Then in 2019 I discovered Future Funk, I quickly got the hang of it and liked it so much, then in March the virus got us all into a quarantine. I had so much free time and I started learning how to produce it. I was always trying to make songs with a desired style, but one day I was listening to new music on Artzie (since I was a bit new to the genre) and I found “Konnichiwa” by Unibe@t, that song is the reason why I’m here now. It made me realize that there was actually something else to do instead of just adding drums to an 80’s Japanese song, that is when I started making Fvert’s music style. I’ll describe my beats as something innovative and fresh to listen to, I always try to blend new sounds into the samples I use to make my music.

About the people that had influenced me, I could mention so so many names, such as FIBRE, desired, ev.exi, BarbWalters, Tokyo wanderer, tendencies, but I think the one that has done the most for helping me and inspiring me was Unibe@t, he made me realize that I need to do what I like and to not care what other people say about my way of being or producing, and the most important thing, to be unique’.

Can you tell us about at least one highlight and why was this so special for you? What do you hope to achieve with your music, as in, what are your goals?

‘I remember a year ago, I got followed by ev.exi and then by unibe@t in the same day, I could never forget that day, it was awesome to see how the producers that you love and you are getting inspired by, actually feel your stuff. I expect to get a million plays on my songs someday, that would be sick, but honestly the thing I care about the most is just doing music I like and still vibing with this awesome genre’.

Very recently one of your songs, ‘ Shadows’, was released on an album by Neon Japan records. Can you give a little bit of a background story as how this came to be? I believe some of your friends are also present on that same album?

‘I started chopping that sample like a year ago, I got inspired by a desired tune with it at that time. Did some chopping, but didn’t get a clear idea, then I retook it a year ago, made a fat bass with it and used some weird kicks, in my opinion, it’s a banger. I like it, and also the time I’ve spent producing it, it’s worth it for the result I got. I really wanted to also help my NJR bros and so I just said if they could put them on the volume 1 album and they said yeah, it resulted in one of the favorite songs in the compilation according to the members, but not as good as the Pure Pure banger there lol’.

Right after that, you released an album together with Cherry Condos, called ‘Burning Jealousy’. Can you tell us a bit about how the album came together? How did the collab happen and how does it feel to have a whole album out there?

‘It is funny that the whole thing started because we got paired on an event in the R/Future Funk discord server, I really didn’t know about cherry before that, he just typed me a few days before asking me for a drumpack I think. Then we did our Collab song “My Love” and I really liked how we worked together, something comfortable and funny to do. So I just asked him if he wanted to do a split album, and now here we are hahaha.

I really enjoyed doing this and people really like it, which is nice. I’ve never got a physical release of my music, and now I’m so thankful Alan from Coraspect Records accepted the album as a part of its catalogue, I just need to thank all of you who helped me during this journey’.

In fact, al your releases on Spotify alone, are from this year. Is there more coming? What can we expect in the – near – future from Fvert? More collabs, or more solo projects?

‘I am not a Spotify fan, if I’m honest I don’t like it, always loved sharing my tunes on SoundCloud, but I really wanted people to enjoy my music wherever they want, so I just made a Spotify account, and will be working more on it. I’m actually working on some music, some few more collabs and more stuff, since I’m taking a bit more time with my production style I can’t release songs so quickly, anyways something big is coming for the next year, and yeah, some more collabs with my bros :)’.

What would your first advice be to anyone who starts producing music? What has been the most valuable piece of advice you yourself got, regarding producing music?

‘Be patient, sometimes you can’t find a good sample or even get a good result on your projects, you just need to don’t stress yourself and if you need some breaks, just take them. When you are forced to do something you won’t ever get a good result, so just take the music as a hobby and some way to have fun.

And also, if you have any questions or you want to know how to do something that another producer does, just ask them, they can really help you and answer so many questions. In my case, it worked and so well, just be nice to them and try your best and be understanding :). The most valuable tip I got regardless producing music was about how to write a bass, FIBRE and ev.exi had helped me a lot with it, and I really need to thank you dudes’.

Is there anything else you would like to add/share, with the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I’ll just say that I am so grateful for the support I’ve been having during this years, you are such awesome people. Hope you’ll keep enjoying my jams and grooving even more with every new release.

I need to specially thank all my close internet friends; Your Tea, Lolicombat, Pure Pure, the mf Shanpu, Nes, Cherry Condos, Goodbye, Oceanus… This list is too Big to name it in here hahaha, also, the whole NJR collective, Nightfall, the r/Future Funk discord server, Coraspect Records, The New Cyanblue, and specially mommy Wien for making this possible <3′.


Again, Big thanks to Fvert! So cool to have young people talk about their music and dreams! And to you my readers: Yes, I go by many names, you just have to keep up people! Please give Fvert’s music a listen, you can do that right here:

Follow Fvert on: SoundCloudBandcampSpotifyInstagram Twitter

Wishing y’all a Happy Funky Weekend! The Future is Now!

Spotlight on OPTML

Special Feature 10/16/2021
OPTML
(Another Awesome Portrait made by the Lovely Instantreigen)

Meet OPTML: A house producer and DJ Based in America. Inspired by house music from the late 90’s from Daft Punk, DJ Sneak and Gene Farris, OPTML seeks to bring back classic vibes and make you groove. After forming the label Cockatiel records in 2018, it has been their goal to push boundaries and make people dance along with other artists such as Radd, Monte Hills and STEB. Source: About OPTML, Spotify.

Our Kind of Music, with OPTML

HOW IT FEELS? Believe Me, NOT THE SAME.

WHY? Because YES, you read that correctly, today’s about OUR Kind of Music, spiced up with a nice surprise for y’all, because today, for the very first time, I Have a Co-Writer!!

Let me introduce to you my very talented, very enthusiastic and very eloquent friend and Co-Writer of the day: Smittz! Another friend found in the Discoholic spheres and one that stole my heart because of his absolute magnificent, magical way with words. And oh yeah, his musical insight. How can I not be a sucker for that, tell me huh?! 

Smittz – Twitter

We were joking about the above a little while ago when I mentioned it would be great to have him write a piece to add to a Spotlight. Well Evil Wien – she’s been busy lately – dropped a little bomb only yesterday and asked him if he wanted to play a part. Really mean, because I basically counted on the fact he could not resist the offer muhaha. BUT seriously, I’m so grateful he wanted in on this because it makes this Spotlight all the better for it. I am positive he will out-write me and if so, it would only proof my point: He’s just as amazing as today’s Spotlight herself.

I asked him to choose a couple of tracks and to give his vision on them, or as he said so himself, I quote: ‘Creatively dissect’. I gave him total freedom, trusting in the fact he would be able to add something extra/special to this Spotlight, even, or especially so, if we would incidentally choose the same track…and whaddayaknow…You’ll find his amazing additions in Blue. He’s been writing until the early morning hours, I know this, because I literally saw him working on the google docs document – named ‘Colorfully Expressin” 🥰 – he allowed me to edit. I rest my case. Mind you, OPTML only found out about this when she got her first exclusive look (like, an hour ago)

We fly out to Tennessee to get some heat baby! How I wish, because temperatures there would certainly agree with me! If you remember – I know, it’s been a while, but c’mon – the Spotlight on Mr. Hoosteen, you may have noticed a shoutout to today’s guest. It’s a bit tricky for those of you who haven’t heard about her yet, because she is releasing music under different names. Yeah, I only found out about that recently. I will introduce all aliases here today, hoping to avoid any confusion on your behalf in the future. I promise the heat is on when you discover the manifold treasure that is called OPTML. I’m going to quick start with her, since this is her main profile and I got to meet her thus, blowing my mind with a track that seems to be written for me.

‘Man, it’s become a task in its own right just to keep track of all the great artists I’ve had the privilege of getting to know this past year – both musically and personally! Following Discoholic’s online presence immediately led to a treasure trove of independent artists coming to my attention, and among them were OPTML and the members of the label she runs, Cockatiel Records.

Even as someone who only recently hopped on this groovy express train, it feels like I haven’t missed a beat thanks to the picture OPTML paints through her music and interactions with other producers. It’s similarly stunning how rich of a career she’s been able to build up over the course of only a few years – with two LPs and a myriad of EPs and singles under her belt, there’s no sign of stopping for this musical maneuverer. And to think I haven’t even touched on her music itself yet!

It’s tough to choose just a few favorite tracks from their library, but I’d say the ones that resonate with me the most have got to be…’

So yes, we ‘met’ through Mr. Hoosteen – with Discoholic as our binding factor, can’t escape my No.1 artist – and together with the previous Spotlight on Instantreigen, it feels I’m completing a trilogy. Or am I? Since another musician friend is already lined up for a future Spotlight…It’s always so much fun to see how one Spotlight leads to another and I’ve seem to be fallen into another musical rabbit hole. Including the wicked Spotlight twist of ending up with a co-writer! It also means, I’ve been diving into more House music lately and I just want to be upfront with y’all, there’s still much to learn for me. Again, for me what counts is ‘How It Feels’, and in honor of Mr. Hoosteen – and because my co-writer is giving me a little bit of that today 😉 – here’s his version.

You all know I used to hate Spotify with a vengeance, but that has changed drastically. Now I am very much aware that it’s not a fav streaming service among artists and I fully comprehend why, but still, this was where I looked up OPTML first. I immediately fell in love with the album ‘Cœur De France’, where – you guessed it – ‘How It Feels’ is part of. The track was already added to my Some Groovy Medicine playlist at the end of June this year, but, as I tweeted earlier, since I recently got more followers – I flip out over every new one – I might as well add tracks anew, to reach a bigger audience this time. Tbh, even if someone would go through my SGM archive, the best tracks are destined to be heard multiple times, preferably on a loop. Just keep groovin’ y’all.

‘I can relate, having heard not great things about Spotify and its distribution process before picking it up at the beginning of this year. While I still understand and mostly hold the same sentiment, on a purely functional level the platform’s treated me pretty amazingly when it comes to keeping up listening habits and finding new artists – I guess you just have to feed its algorithms a specific kinda stuff to get worthwhile results. But I’m getting off-topic here!

How It Feels is a great opener to an even greater album, introducing a really sweet but mature mood that’s carried throughout the LP. The track’s intro section raises interest very well, laying some foundation with minimal percussion accompanied by only the sparkly chord stabs, and you can hear them present for the rest of the track’s runtime even after the main vocal sample and bassline take prominence. Not that I mind it in the least, the sample’s incredibly catchy and its usage here is top-notch!’

But enough about that track when there’s so, so much more! If you wish to check out OPTML’s whole discography, I recommend Bandcamp, where she is operating under different names. When we got to talk a little about her music, one of the first things she told me about were her different aliases, I quote: OPTML is my main stuff for music, then there’s Gravity Zero, which I originally started off with but changed my name as I changed the type of music I make, Gravity Zero is a bit more Techno. And finally there’s just Emily (or EMLY sometimes) and those are for very personal projects/remixes’. I realized I had some serious listening to do and find out about all three music profiles. The above mentioned track is actually from Gravity Zero’s album ‘ Mood Boosters’ and speaks for itself. Then, I just fell in love again with ‘Emily’s Edits (Vol. 1)’.

Emily’s bio on Bandcamp simply states, I quote: ‘Trans Disco DJ that likes to play with filters’. Even if I don’t get the meaning completely, I sure love the end result! Must be the very obvious Disco influences which my soul definitely gravitates to. The edits are catchy and of the happy kind, so what’s not to love. Next to a couple of albums filled with great edits/remixes, there are also a couple of albums with Emily Originals. The cover art all looks very colorful and inviting, one thing that surely tugs at my heart’s strings to go and have a serious listen. I always wonder – and sometimes see the struggle – about how artists come up with album/song titles. Y’all know it’s another one of my weaknesses, because I just can’t resist an intriguing title and they mostly prove me right…

There’s so much to discover and you only have to be ready to be pleasantly surprised, just as I am. OPTML is showing off her talents in different ways and refuses to be simply satisfied with choosing one path. This way I think it’s fairly safe to say, she offers something for everyone. You gotta take some time to sit down, listen and enjoy the variety of sounds that will be sure to tickle your ears. If you can’t find anything that pleases you, then really, What’s Wrong With You?! The Emily brand alone, released 7 albums so far and I’m sure there will be more to follow.

Sorry-not-sorry if I’m zig-zagging my way through – what’s new anyways – but let’s go back a little while to Gravity Zero. Here the bio’s only clue is ‘Techno’ and well.. It is. If you’re like me and started out with OPTML, you’ll definitely be in for something totally different now. I can’t escape the feeling of being thrown back to the 80’s (was it? I’m horrible with names and era’s, the last might be plain denial) and getting those synthwave vibes. Some tracks could’ve easily been used for those early suspense/sci-fi television series – if anyone reading is even old enough to remember 😂. So yeah, Techno is not my forte, but I’m always up for something ‘new’, stepping outside my comfort zone so to speak.  I told you this Spotlight is spiced up, and yes, that’s also what happened with my taste in music, listening to OPTML. We all need some spice of life to change things up now and then right?

Gravity Zero’s first album release was in 2018, I’d say about the same time OPTML started to release music as well. Again I’m counting 7 releases on Bandcamp, including a couple of singles, EP’s and albums. I can only be amazed when artists show this kind of creativity. In a way I’ll always compare it to the creativity I need to write – I know it’s not quite the same – and I did need a little break from that and focus on other stuff, life as it is. Seeing how much OPTML has produced in just a couple of years time is simply astounding. You should know, she’s also still studying and had to face a couple of exams while answering the questions below. All the while still busy creating new music. Just. How? She deserves for our headphones to be stuck to our ears, getting drenched in her music.

Now you may think we’ve covered all the brands that together represent OPTML, but we’re not quite there yet. I quote: ‘There’s a couple other names too like OPIUM_424 and DJ Cockatiel (a new project in the works right now) and those are also for very specific types of music, hip hop and Chicago House respectively’. When I expressed my surprise by saying: ‘O WOW, you’re one busy bee!’ the answer I got was not really what I expected. I quote: ‘No I’m just indecisive on the name I like’. Well Alrighty Then. Referring to OPIUM_424, the EP ‘Always Tired’ was released in 2020 and can also be found under the main character of this show, OPTML. Her bio mentions the same as well, I quote: ‘I’m a just bedroom producer who makes music for the fun of it. Local DJ as well’. I dunno, does OPTML ever take a break At All?

OPTML stands for 24 releases on Bandcamp alone. Pffieew. Quite a bunch of them released just this year and as mentioned before, I was swept away by the album ‘Cœur De France’. If you were an early listener, you probably caught several tracks from that album on my SGM playlist, including the bonus track, which is not included on Bandcamp. At least not as far as I can tell lol. The album to me is a brilliant mix of Disco and House, or should I say, French touch. It’s funky, with creative loops all the way through, making sure the listener never gets bored. It’s sweet with a bit of an edgy undertone here and there, which gives it all a nice little crunch. Aah well, you know how I love to compare music to food right? The album is just a very inventive dish, to tickle your taste buds. The extra track is a bonus indeed, dessert is served right here.

‘Armand’ alone was enough to catch my eye when first going through Cœur De France, guessing it was titled after a certain French Touch mastermind – and I’d say that link holds up well!

This track serves as a great way to progressively pick the album’s energy back up after the previous track Käfer was a sea of immersive synthwave, and the middle ground it strikes makes it just right to listen to even in the very early hours of the morning. (Something I am personally very, very guilty of when it comes to dance music, even at this very moment as I write this section. Who would’ve thought?)

The sampling work in Armand is once again excellent, with the thin spread of guitar helping to guide the beat along at a solid pace, and the little vocal accents that appear throughout add a really nice amount of warmth to the mix. It’s the kind of track I could just get lost in!’

When I mentioned how much I loved the album, I was recommended by OPTML’s friends to listen to ‘Back To Wax Vol. 3’ next. So I simply followed instructions and found they weren’t wrong! ‘Low And Dirty’ immediately blew me away – yeah it had me screaming okay? See I like a fair share of House, since it’s mostly giving positive vibes and that’s what we all need in life. Well, I DO. And Man, I need to get back to the DJ Cockatiel reference, because, well, I haven’t even touched this yet, but OPTML started the Cockatiel Records label not so long ago. Yep, no rest for superheroes. On top of this all, she’s also involved in the OMEAC label and yes, this is indeed run by…Mr. Hoosteen. If you like going full circle, I can assure you, OPTML has got it all covered. I’ll let her do the honors of informing you about it all. My time is up, though we’re not totally done yet… seems that Smittz has something more to add…but let’s get Low And Dirty first.

‘OPTML’s Back To Wax series of EPs is one I’ve only caught up with very recently, and I gotta say I’m kicking myself for not getting to them earlier! Each edition explores a ton of fun themes, with Vol. 1 focusing on some elegant yet danceable filter house-esque tracks, while Vol. 2 is full of ethereal acid tunes.

The third entry, however, is probably my favorite of the bunch, taking a bit more after future funk with an experimental production style – and while it was a close match between it and Koala, Shut It Down’s gotta be the best example of this.

From the moment the track starts the main riff it builds upon jumps right in your face, with a uniquely choppy combination of effects that give it just the right balance of tension and sleekness. And then the compressed horns are introduced, backed up by vocal accents that are just barely unintelligible – I’m a sucker for electronic tracks that add humanization in tiny amounts like this; it’s a great way to suspend part of the listener’s disbelief and keep things thematically interesting, even after countless plays! Speaking of which, I cannot get enough of the sample chops that first appear about a minute in, they’re so damn groovy’.

‘I was first introduced to STEB’s work through the recent release of this single, and both the original and OPTML’s spin on the track are amazingly well-done! While the original mix went for a chill, fluid housey feel, OPTML’s remix completely flips it on its head – it’s now an aggressive, venomous big beat track with some genius bits of sound design to really drive in that abstract tone. I was told by her soon after giving it a listen that this release was especially influenced by The Chemical Brothers and their work, and it immediately clicked – OPTML is someone who truly understands all the nuances behind the style of such a pioneering group! You didn’t hear this from me, but I wouldn’t doubt there’s more output like this lined up for the near future, shhh…’

Well, that’s it for now, though there’s a very cool bonus later, which I’m sure you don’t want to miss! For now, I just want to say; BIG Thank You OPTML! It’s been a ride, going through all your music and it has definitely broadened my music vision. You’re such a humble and driven person and it was great meeting you! We will for sure keep in touch, there’s no escaping me now 🙂. Now let’s hear what you have in store for us all!


The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you introduce yourself and tell us, who is OPTML? Does the name has a special meaning? When and how did you start making music? Do you play any instruments yourself or sing?

‘Hello there, I’m OPTML, and I am a DJ and producer from the state of Tennessee near the Nashville area. Because of where I live, music has always surrounded my life. Some of my earliest memories include listening to The Beatles and Queen in that car when I was a child. At an early age, I had always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. Around when I was 8 or so, my parents enrolled me in taking lessons to learn the violin, I didn’t really like it. When I was 10, I had decided I wanted to learn guitar instead, I didn’t quite like that either. I had always wanted to learn to play drums, but my parents wouldn’t allow it. However, that would all change once I entered middle school.

I had decided now was my chance, I signed up for marching/concert band with a couple of friends and the 3 of us had chosen percussion to be our instruments of choice. I believe this was the turning point into what really thrusted me into enjoying music more than anything else. Around my Junior and Senior year of high school, I started listening to a lot of House and Techno. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. I knew that I wanted to make something like that, but I was unsure how to. I started a project called Gravity Zero and began to produce music on my laptop. I was having lots of fun doing it. By the Summer of 2018, I had finished 14 tracks and decided to release them for the public to hear. 

After releasing that album I had decided that the name Gravity Zero felt a bit too generic and I wanted something that would help me stand out a bit more. I came up with the artist name OPTML purely because I thought it looked cool and that it would grab people’s attention. So far, I think it is working’.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Who have been / are, your biggest influences? How would you describe your music? You are interested in several genres/styles of music, could you tell us what it is that appeals to you in those genres? Do you feel challenged by it and how?

‘I take a lot of inspiration from different artists that I’m listening to. I’m always finding a new sound that I want to pursue. Most recently, I have been listening to the UK band Underworld. I really love their blending of Techno with Pop elements. I also get inspired by my peers a lot, like Mr. Hoosteen, RADD, STEB, Monte Hills, and InstantReigen. They are all so awesome, and I’m so happy that I’m fortunate enough to call them friends. However, my heart will always lie with Chicago House and DJs like Gene Farris and Paul Johnson. 

I think the reason I always am working in different genres of music is that I’ll find a new track I like and then I’ll think to myself ‘Yeah I really like that, I wonder if I could make something that sounds like that’.

Most of the stuff I have made in my last 3 years of producing is house music, but I’ve been wanting to break from my mold a little and experiment with different things. I’ve dabbled in some Ambient and Hip Hop here and there but I’ve recently started to combine the two with my Big Beat projects. That stuff is inspired heavily by artists like The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, and Underworld.

There’s something nice about a sampled drum break layered with strange synth noises that I find really appealing. I think it’s because I get a chance to really experiment and try out new things while still making a track that can make people groove and dance. Can this be challenging sometimes? For sure, it’s almost like I’m learning how to make music again but that’s what I really enjoy about it. I like to push myself creatively and see where that takes me’.

Can you tell us a bit about how your creative process works? What do you consider fun parts of producing and what are the parts you are likely to struggle with? What keeps you going?

‘A lot of my creative process consists of me digging around for new samples, that’s probably the most difficult thing to do right now because of COVID. Fortunately, restrictions are starting to lighten up a little and now that I’m vaccinated I can go looking more often.

Because of where I live most record shops’ used section consists of old country music, which does not really appeal to me. I have been lucky though and found some really good old disco records that are ripe for sampling. Once I’ve found something I like I just mess around with it until I get something that I like.

There isn’t really a strict process that I have going, I just try my best to have fun with it. As long as I am having fun and enjoying what I make it comes pretty easily to me, I’m at a point where I’m making about 2-3 tracks a week right now and while some of them will probably not be released I do it to keep my mind flowing and moving through creative possibilities’.

Looking back, what piece of advice would you’ve loved knowing about earlier and would be the first thing to give to any new artist? Can you share at least one major change you went through while producing music, like a turning point maybe?

‘One important piece of advice that I’d give new artists is that they shouldn’t try and get too caught up with the details of their music when starting out. There’s probably a lot of things that you will wanna do but won’t know how to, and that’s okay. A lot of learning comes from experimenting with a lot of things and trying new things out. You’re probably going to fail, a lot, I know I surely did in the beginning.

I think the most significant turning point for me was when I joined OMEAC. I met so many cool people that also made music. Steen, RADD, and I became quick friends, and we’ve been inseparable since then. We’re always showing off the new stuff we’re working on to each other, and I think because of that, we’ve also taught each other some tricks for when producing too. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them’.

You’re involved in Cockatiel records as well as OMEAC records, can you tell us a bit about how you are/got involved and what your role is in both?

‘Cockatiel Records is the label that I started back in 2018 with my friend GrimmNemesis as a way for us to put both of our music onto one place and to eventually bring on other people whose music we liked. So far I feel as though we have a solid lineup, including me, GrimmNemesis, RADD, STEB, and monte Hills, as well as a couple of newer artists too. I wanted to make Cockatiel Records as a way to bring people together through music, both the people producing it and the people listening to it. There are no strict limits on how I run the label. It’s all about making the music you feel like making and doing what you want to do creatively. 

Around 2016 is when I started really getting into house music, and it’s also when I discovered OMEAC. I really liked the music all the artists made, I found it really inspiring. OMEAC was actually my main inspiration for starting my own label, I wanted to form my own community of artists and listeners. I believe I joined the OMEAC discord server in 2018 not long after starting my own label and that’s where I’ve made most of my friends. In 2020 I released my first EP on OMEAC, ‘Back To Wax Vol. 1’ and not earlier this year I released my single ‘How It Feels’ and album ‘Cœur De France.’ There isn’t really much that I do in OMEAC that’s more of Hoosteen’s project, and while we do often work together and share releases I think we both are still trying to go for our own sound and style’.

Looking back, what goals you’ve set for yourself you consider achieved? Can you name at least one highlight and why this meant so much to you? What would be the ultimate goal, or, what is a big dream in music production you hope to see come true one day?

‘I think I am at a point right now to where I am happy with where my music is. The fact that people actually listen to my music at all, and even like it, is amazing to me. I like the music I make, and I like the friends I’ve made along the way. The community I’ve made may be small, but I really appreciate it. I think the biggest highlight so far is releasing my album ‘Cœur De France’ on Cockatiel and OMEAC Records. I put a lot of love into that album and had been working on it since 2019, it’s probably one of the best-produced projects I’ve released recently.

My big dream in music production is to form some kind of band with like-minded individuals and produce an album. Like some kind of weird combination between ‘Au Reve’ by Cassius, ‘Audio Video Disco’ by Justice, and ‘Beaucoup Fish’ by Underworld. I’m currently picturing it as this strange fusion of Rock, Disco, Techno, Big Beat, and House. I have no idea at all how I will pull this off but it’s been a dream of mine for a while now’.

You only recently released ‘deep grooves for not so deep people’, maybe you can give us a bit of background info on how this album came together? And you describe yourself as: ‘I’m a just bedroom producer who makes music for the fun of it’. What can we expect for the – near – future? Will you keep exploring other genres, or do you feel you’ve found your way?

‘When I made ‘deep grooves for not so deep people.’ I wanted to explore a slightly different style of house than what I usually make. My typical style of house is very inspired by Funk and Disco, this EP takes a slightly darker route with ethereal chords and deep basslines. It’s a little bit more chill and low-key to what I’m used to but I think people will like it. 

As for what’s in the future you can definitely expect more experimentation, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of doing that. I’ve got a lot of big beat tracks that I’ve finished so there will probably be an album for that in 2022 if all things go according to plan. I want to explore some more genres of music soon so we will see what that brings in the future. I feel like it’s going to be very exciting’.

Is there anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I didn’t ask about maybe?

‘I’d just like to give a shout-out to all my supports and friends. Especially the peeps in the Cockatiel and OMEAC Crew, you guys all rock. And a special shoutout to all the people who have helped me along the way with both improving myself and my music, I wouldn’t be here without you all’.

Wow, Thank You again OPTML! Putting this Spotlight together has been something else for real. The Artist, the Music, another very cool portrait done by Instantreigen and the fact Smittz has been co-writing, it all adds up to a fantastic end result in my opinion! Not to mention the way we’ve all met, which we have to – again – thank Discoholic for.

Since OPTML did a really terrific job remixing ‘Discadance’, by Discoholic, I think it’s only fair we end today with sharing a little bit of that Spotlight by sharing that remix. I told Smittz we would both comment on it, but honestly, I’m already biased enough as it is 😂 So Smittz, you have the stage and also: You made me very proud to have you here today, let’s do it again shall we?

I forget just when it started, sometime around mid-August maybe? First sparked by I believe the Elite 6, a bunch of producers in the Discoholics Anonymous Discord server had decided to remix Discoholic’s 2020 single for the hell of it, which led to more artists wanting to take a creative crack at at the track and joining in over time – and man, nothing but good has come out of it ever since!

From Mr. Hoosteen to Monte Hills and Mere Notilde, it was only a matter of time before OPTML came down with disco fever too. Her take on Discadance is unlike any of the others, opening with a trippy, dissonant version of the chord pattern that was at the core of the original. It’s a bold move that works wonders at setting an anxious yet polished tone that lasts for about the first two minutes of the mix. Right around that point, though, any sense of musical worry’s taken off your shoulders by a smooth, crystalline beat that sprinkles in Discadance’s characteristic vox samples at a really interesting rhythmic point.

These two sections mingle towards the end of the track after both have been made more intricate, followed by a DJ drumloop buffer as is customary for a ton of house mixes. Even as someone with no actual connection to the DJing scene, there’s always something fun about seeing them pop up in tracks, haha. Overall, OPTML’s Brick Haus Mix is a rock-solid creative take on what I’d easily consider one of Discoholic’s best tracks to date!’

‘Alrighty, I think that should just about wrap things up. Passing the mic back to you, Wien, it was such a pleasant surprise getting to be able to contribute to this week’s Spotlight! I’m still really flattered that you hold my writing in such high regard, pfff… Only learned from the best! Thanks a bunch again for giving me a platform to present some of my thoughts on a great artist and great friend, it’s really the least I can do to try and give back, y’know? Keep on keeping on, I say’.

Follow OPTML on: Spotify Bandcamp SoundCloud Twitter Instagram Website

Follow Smittz on Twitter!!!

Wishing Y’all a very nice weekend, I mean, I know How It Feels, you just wanna relax

Homemade Discohol

9/23/2021
See that happy face?? Yeah, just finished one…

Homemade Discohol

(or how I drink my disco)

🍹 Today is Cheat Day. Yep, another recipe, because we all need some more fun and this recipe is sure to give you some. Also: Me Lazy this week and trying to have a life beyond the blog – whahaha as if this article did not take me just as much time. If you like the taste of coffee ‘sweetened’ with some alcohol: I’d describe it as a Very Fancy Coffee Milkshake so if you hold on to that thought and just try to imagine the taste, you got the idea. And oh yeah, for those who don’t follow the Spotlight section, sorry-not-sorry, but here’s some disco in disguise for ya. A tiny crossover which could very well end cross-eyed.

🍹 Disco is in my veins, so I was destined to DISCOver this drink – take a wild guess where I heard about it 🤐. You can imagine there just had to be a moment in my life, I was going to make this. Maybe you think this would have been better timed when summer was still at its peak, and yes, you probably seen my post on my birthday, but hey, this tastes incredible whenever. During wintertime, I suggest you simply get under the covers with this sweetie and enjoy. Did I just write that out loud? Aah Well. I know you Dutchies love your coffee, so for you at least, this is a must! Maybe consider it a fancy dessert, whichever way, I’m sure you’ll love it.

The original Discohol recipe is NOT mine and very easy to follow, so I will start with that if you want the easy way out. I’m not judging. Really. Not. Really.

4 oz of vanilla ice cream

2 oz of Kahlua

2 oz of Baileys Irish cream

Blend alcohol with ice cream & the result looks something like this:

It’s NOT mine, Look it up will ya

🍹 However, since I wasn’t able to get Kahlua the first time, I searched the internet and Lo and Behold, Kahlua can be made at home. I’m telling you, it’s really pretty easy and to be honest, when we got the real Kahlua the second time, we both agreed, the homemade version was actually better. Kahlua producers if you read this, I hope you’ll follow my recipe next time – because yeah it’s tweaked. It’s here, it’s free. Just Sayin.

🍹 Me being me, I wasn’t satisfied with only a half-homemade drink, so when searching again, I found evidence Baileys can be made at home as well. Now here’s the catch, the people who did try gave different, or, not ANY measurements at all… I know what you’re thinking…me and measurements in my recipes given here. Uhuh 😏 You’re right, I learned how to cook like my Mom: follow a basic guideline but always trust your personal taste! In other words: Own It Baby.

Balls You Need

🍹 Yesterday I finally decided to go for homemade Baileys because, yeah. It took me some effort trying things out, but the tastings in between made it all worthwhile hehe. So, if you wanna give it a go, I basically figured out the recipe for you. I already adjusted the amount of cocoa and granulated coffee, since I freely admit, my Baileys looks a bit on the dark side, but let me assure you, the taste enlightened me, so there was nothing lost to me, simply working on my color scheme ya know. Feel free to adjust anything to your taste. Here We Go!

Homemade Kahlua – What You Need:

See that tiny little cup? It’s like a shot of vodka, but hey, use a pitcher if you want. Of course you need normal cups for the coffee 🙄

Step 1️⃣ – Make Coffee Syrup: In a saucepan, bring the coffee and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Step 2️⃣ – Combine Ingredients: Stir the vanilla extract and alcohol of your choice into the cooled coffee syrup until they’re well mixed, done!

Step 3️⃣ – Store: Pour into clean bottles, cap tightly and store in a cool, dry place.

Homemade Baileys – What You Need:

Feel free to use your fav brands & oh yeah, same little cup was used. For the whisky!

Step 1️⃣ – Combine Ingredients: pour cream, condensed milk, instant coffee, cocoa, vanilla extract in a bowl and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.

Step 2️⃣ – Finish: Add the whisky and mix for another 30 seconds, done!

Step 3️⃣ – Store: Pour into clean bottles, cap tightly and store in a cool, dry place.

🍹 Go crazy, I mean, there are many possibilities, for example, my hubby loves whipped cream, so yeah, ours is topped off with it. If you don’t like disco – Why Are we Even on Speaking Terms?? – maybe you’ll like this instead. Anyways, it’s How I Drink My Disco, CHEERS!!

Wishing y’all a very Disco Weekend, plz sent pics after you had a couple of these

Indestructible Joy

9/16/2021
You can’t see it, but…yeeeeey…I can wear both earrings again!!

Indestructible Joy

(or how happiness is surpassed by joy)

💫 A lot of what I’ve been talking about lately can be filed under – no, not whatever – Positivity. I mean, you gotta need a positive attitude to be able and willing to help out others and to keep choosing to look upon life without losing hope. It’s not that I never lose hope, I’m just as human as y’all are, but I always end up choosing for the good part. And you know why? Because JOY.

Unlimited Resource

💫 I first want to clarify the difference between happiness and joy. Though joy never goes without the uttering of happiness, the other way around is not guaranteed: happiness is not always a sign of real joy. Wait. WHATT?? Happiness is basically an outwards expression, while joy is an inner feeling. Joy has been won through trials and hardship and is of a lasting kind because of it: you could say it’s the harvest of what gives your life meaning and purpose. I can pursue happiness, but Joy, I Choose.

💫 Does the above makes sense to you? Let me try to elaborate. I can find happiness in a lot of things and yes of course, within people, but it’s a feeling that mostly doesn’t last. It is caused by an external happy occasion – there you have it – which could be anything really, from a nice card, to winning a prize in some raffle, you name it. I agree that some happiness will last longer than others, but it will eventually pass. No matter how hard I try to hold on to that feeling, as soon as the occasion has passed and the aftermath dies down, that happy feeling will slowly but certainly faint. I can only hope the next event will bring me that same happy state of being.

💫 Now JOY…when mentioning ‘joy has been won through trials and hardships’, this is what I have been talking about all along and what I mean: no matter what I’m going through in life, no matter how hard, and oh yeah, sometimes it seems unbearable, if I Can’t Manage to STAY Positive, I Will eventually CHOOSE to go back to that state of mind. Because choosing to go back, means going back to love, peace and thus… joy. There is no greater joy, than the one we feel when we manage to overcome our hardships in life. When we know we’ve defeated those trials that have been at us for so long. It’s more than a passing feeling of happiness – though we sure experience it that way – it’s something nobody can take away from us again. Well, unless we let them…

💫 There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing happiness. We humans thrive on the feeling, so it will definitely make us reach further and helps us grow. However, when the euphoria passes, it can leave us ‘hungover’, coming down from that mental high can be pretty tough to deal with. it’s like waking up from a beautiful dream: the only thing we wish for is to fall back to sleep again and carry on dreaming. It’s just how life is, with its ups and downs and the higher the ‘ups’, the deeper the ‘downs’ seem to be afterward. Happiness is like a drug and I’ve known people who would do anything to pursue and capture that feeling again and again.

💫 I remember a conversation I had with a woman, one half of a couple, who was convinced they were the only couple who were dealing with marital problems. Uhuh. In her opinion, her pursuit of happiness was a daily failure, one she was not shy of sharing about at all to anybody who wanted to listen. Her complaint was rooted in the fact ‘she had never been happy – she didn’t consider her marriage a success – and didn’t know how to get there’. Asking her what that happiness should entail, wouldn’t render a logic answer in any way, so you could say she didn’t even know herself what exactly she was expecting out of life and more specifically, out of her marriage. I discovered years later, she was divorced.

💫 Now I’m not judging that divorce. There are a lot of reasons why that could happen to any couple and I’m not even going there. But if I am solely depending on my hubby to make me happy, that’s asking for trouble… I’m not saying this because Steve isn’t able to add to my happiness and even better, to my joy, because he definitely is! And one could argue the fact that spouses are responsible for each others well being, because yes.  But my responsibility towards my joy is first and foremost my own. I can pursue happiness with everything that’s within me, apparently succeeding, while ‘jumping’ from one height to the next AND still feel empty in between. OR, I could choose to stay in love – now there’s a double meaning for ya – and have joy even when circumstances would assume the opposite.

💫 So in short I could say: happiness is temporary and obviously fluctuating, while joy is constant. If you’re in the first group, I hope you’ll find all the happiness there’s to be had for you, but just know, there’s more beyond that. If you feel you’re in the latter group, good for you! You’ve surpassed the happiness limits, to upgrade your existence within the JOY realm. While happiness can be chased and still stay elusive for many, I can choose joy as a way of living and become fairly invincible when it comes down to fighting the daily negativity and stress of life in general. Wow, sounds great, so what does it look like to live joyously?

Here we Goooo

1️⃣ Joy is (a) Constant

💫 Well I’ve already mentioned this one, but let me just add: do you realize that ‘constant’ literally means ‘unchanging factor’ and in other words ‘a situation that does not change’. Is It Even Possible, you may think. Well, it is, if you choose so. You see joy is more than a feeling and though it may be impossible to define and hard to describe, most of us do have a sense of what it looks like, how it ‘feels’ and more important, how blessed we are if we reach that state. Joy is directly linked to love and peace, better yet: Love is Joy and so is Peace. You want to argue about it? Didn’t think so…

2️⃣ Joy Inspires Creativity

💫 You know the saying ‘bubbling with joy?’ Real joy has the tendency to flow over, coming from within you, flowing into the world. It simply cannot stay unnoticed for long and I’m sure you’ve either experienced your joy affecting people around you or you being affected by someone else’s joy. It’s infectious in the very best way and encourages to express yourself in any creative way that suits you. The opposite is also true unfortunately: whenever we’re down or sad, or worse, depressed, in short, without joy, our sense of creativity feels clogged. It’s one of the things I hear most from the artists I am in contact with all over the world, (feelings of) depression will keep them from creating because they’re basically fighting for emotional and mental survival first. It’s a particular tough one, because creating can bring healing… I can vouch for that, since writing is a lot harder when I’m stuck in my head and keep focusing on all the bad stuff that’s around me. Therefore, The Choice.

3️⃣ Joy is Often Unreasonable

💫Aaah I Love This One! If you’ve been following my blog you can already sense where I’m heading at. You see, I believe real joy is something supernatural, since we humans tend to live by our emotions/feelings, which are not always that positive and joy is not depending on how we feel. Wait, whatt? Well of course joy is giving us all kinds of good, positive vibes, but even without them, joy can still rule over our lives. Joy goes beyond our natural feelings and can only be taken away when we allow it. O dear, now I’ve done it… more on that later. Anyways, joy is the reason I can make decisions that go against reason or common sense. The choices I’ve talked about, the ones that were looked upon with doubt and disbelief… the joy – read: also peace and love! – we had, made us do it. My real joy comes from my faith and that goes beyond any human limit.

4️⃣ Joy is Untroubled

💫 Oeff, is it? Yes I guess for me it is. A state of joy will make me look upon the bright side of life even when amidst of trouble. Can you look beyond yours? Can you ‘see’ what lies behind the ‘enemy lines’ ? Can you imagine, No, believe, you can get through it without losing that joy? It won’t be easy, far from it sometimes, but real joy also includes trust. Trust that everything will turn out just right, or, maybe even better. Since real joy is linked to peace, I can feel okay with making unusual or unexpected choices, I can also live without fearing the future. Listen, I’ve said this before, but I’m not in control of my life anyway, not really. There are so many things way beyond my control and worrying about it does not make me feel any better, nor does it have a positive effect on the people around me. That’s not the vibe I want to radiate. Does it mean I’m never troubled? Oh man, I wish, but I CHOOSE not to hold on to that. Repeatedly.

5️⃣ Joy is Enough

💫 I don’t know about you, but the above leaves only room for this conclusion really. Joy is Enough, because it includes all the main ingredients for a fulfilling and yes, indeed, happy life. It’s not a coincidence the Bible puts Joy right after Love and before the rest: Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. These 9 together are called fruits of the Spirit and it’s obvious joy happens on a much deeper level. In my opinion it is almost impossible to have real joy in your life if you don’t know love. Love is where it all starts – and should end to go full circle – it’s the basis on which we build, it’s the rich soil on which we sow and eventually, reap a plentiful harvest for a satisfying life. Of course you don’t have to agree with me and let me add that I really do feel for everyone who’s missing love in their lives. Whether it be the love from your family, or the love from a partner you are so desperately hoping to find. I do hope you will love yourself first though.

How-To

How do I Choose Joy?

💫 Now that we’ve gone through the characteristics, you might be wondering about how nice this all sounds, but you also have no idea how to get there. I wish I could give guarantees with every article I write, but there’s no such thing unfortunately. However, I have been trying to describe what real joy looks like, let me summarize. After you’ve realized you have a choice available, you have to be aware of the following: Choosing joy is similar to choosing love, it’s not a one time thing, it has to become a habit. Like with all new things we have to learn, the key is to repeat and repeat it many times a day, every day. I can say it will become a true habit at some point, maybe not as in, you will never feel unhappy again, but returning to your new basis will become easier and easier. Simply because you will be convinced that it’s the best way to cope with circumstances in particular and life in general. You’ll learn to look beyond it all and focus on the bigger picture.

How do I Make Joy a Habit?

💫 I’ve mentioned before it seems easier for us to hang on to the bad things than to rely and focus on the good stuff. This is certainly true when it comes to bad habits, they just seem to put up the least resistance and fighting them daily, repeatedly, is a drag really. It requires effort and, dang it, commitment. If we want to make joy a new habit, we have to turn our focus outward, again, repeatedly. Our attention should no longer be on our troubles, difficulties or even, ourselves, so yes, it requires self-control and some selflessness…it helps to connect with the ones around us who seem affected also. If we look again at the shortlist where I believe joy is a part from, it makes sense to reach out to others, to support, to aid and to receive it back. Though it’s not an easy road, it’s how joy will be cultivated and multiplied.

Destination Joy

💫 Now you might be on your way to joy, but it’s still not quite the same as actually Being Joyful. It means you’re on a journey and the road can be rocky at times. With every step you take you’ll be learning to anticipate the traffic, as in, the people around you, as well as the bumps in the road. Together they will make you realize the choice is up to you again and again: will joy stay yours along the way? We all get side-tracked sometimes and we might have to turn around a couple of times to find the correct path, because there’s no way we will be able to do it all perfectly and in one go. But that’s OK, we learn while walking and we can consider every successful step as – little – victories, encouraging us to go on.

Joy as a Resource

💫 Last but certainly not least: you might not be aware of it, but you’re the only one who decides if you allow your joy to be taken away by circumstances or people. It’s exactly the same as with Love and Peace and all the other ones in the list. Their ours to ‘own’ and ours to ‘give up’. Free will, free choice, every time, every day. Yes again, every day, because joy is an unlimited resource! Joy grows joy, it multiplies itself, spreading when given away. Sow joy and you’ll reap it too. It’s just how it works even if you won’t see it immediately, the good will come back to you, sometimes when you least expect it but need it the most. If there ever was a time I needed this unlimited resource, it has been these last 2 years, dealing with the pandemic in my personal life. No matter how hard it was at times, holding on or, returning to joy, returning to the Giver of Joy, has been my saving grace. Every. Time. Indestructible Joy, get it while you can!

Source: Common English Bible

Wishing y’all a very Joyful Weekend, pass Start & go straight to Joy jail. You’ll be FINE