Something I’m Passionate About, and Why.

One of my earliest childhood memories is jumping on my sister’s bed (something I was never allowed to do) while my dad played me my favourite song – The Beatles’ cover of Twist and Shout. For as long as I can remember music has been something that deeply moved me. Besides a few chords on a guitar, I don’t really play any instruments. Luckily I was born in 1990 and by the time I got my first laptop you could torrent programs like Reason and build your own songs without any real instruments at your disposal. I was hooked. Definitely not good. But hooked.

Since that time I’ve gotten a diploma in the field, finished like 2 whole songs (wow), and actually purchased my preferred DAW, Ableton, and [most] of the plugins I use in production. On paper I’ve even started my own audio related business, it just wouldn’t be able to pay for one month of my cell phone bill at this stage. I think we’ve made about 42$ total. But it was a fulfilling 42$! And that’s what I’m after in my entrepreneurial endeavors, baby! #Fulfillment.

I’ve only been producing for a handful of years, but I’ve been a true fan of music for as long as I can remember. My dad passed on his love and fascination for The Beatles and I’ve built on that. I’d easily get Paul McCartney or deadmau5’s autograph tattooed on my body. He also passed on a love for live shows that I’ve taken and run with. We’d go to the type of concerts where you simply sit in your stadium seats and enjoy the show. An experience I still love. But nowadays when I go to a show I’m usually there for some sort of transcendent experience. Music has always been something that can give me chills. I love being immersed in it. And if there’s one thing that concerts offer today, it’s immersion.

Being the arrogant prick that I am, I wasn’t happy enough to simply enjoy music from the sidelines. I somehow thought I had a place contributing to the musical ethos. Silly me. I should have known how torturous it would be to admit I truly love something and try to pursue it. Music production is definitely my greatest source of procrastination and frustration. But I look at my writer’s block as an inner battle that I need to fight every day of my life. It’s no surprise that I’ve only finished a couple tracks. But every step towards finishing a project brings me a type of joy that is worth the trouble.

Since graduating high school I struggled to find something I was passionate enough to pursue in school. I tried university a couple times, I even tried a semester of Police Foundations. But around that time I began taking online courses in music production. Those online courses snowballed into a full time diploma program in Music Industry Arts. And with a diploma in MIA you aren’t very qualified to do anything outside of the music industry. That’s where my small business comes in. I hope to use my passion for music and audio engineering and turn it into an opportunity to be my own boss. Even if that involves menial audio tasks and corporate gigs, I know I’d be happiest working for myself. Paying my bills with work in my field would be bliss.

I dream of working at Shopify as my “day gig” while I take the years needed to shape my small business into something that can actually support me. Shopify seems like the epitome of a company that I can be truly happy working for. The hard work seems fulfilling and the company seems to actually appreciate the effort their employees are putting in. I consider having a job at Shopify to be conducive to following my dreams as a small business owner, so that’s where I want to be.

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My First Float

Prior to my float, I was really only anxious about one thing. I didn’t think it would bother me to be confined to a space where I couldn’t see or hear anything. I was worried that I just wasn’t going to get out of the experience what I was seeking. I’ve wanted to float in a sensory deprivation tank for years now and I was a little scared that it may not be all I had built it up to be. But Allahu Akbar, it was.

There were a couple of things I had to decide before I got in the tank for my float: was I going to bring in a mini noodle for neck support and was I going wear earplugs. I opted for neither as a way of giving myself a baseline experience to compare with later floats.

I signed a form stating I would not use alcohol or drugs while floating. Had I not committed to said rule I allegedly could have supplemented the experience by vaporizing a little cannabis on my way to the float center. Which I certainly did not.

Prior to the float I expected to lie with my arms by my side with my palms up. I’ve just read in a book that apparently when we face our palms up it primes our brain to learn new things and come up with creative solutions to problems. It sounds like hookey shit… but apparently its science mother fucker (no citation needed). Anyways, I actually found it more comfortable with my arms above my head. When my hands were down by my side, I’d be touching both sides of the tank with my elbows. With my hands above my head I could keep from touching any side of the tank.

The first thing I noticed as I dipped myself into the salty water was a slight stinging sensation from my gooch. I’ve got a little bit of the ‘jock itch’, so I had prophesized some discomfort prior to my float. But I’m a man and a man can always meditate through his taint pain.

Once I got the rest of my body comfortable I relished in how the experience was playing out to be exactly what I had expected. I really couldn’t see anything. I really couldn’t hear anything. The water and the air really were the same temperature as my skin and I was simply weightless, floating in nothingness. Every once in a while the slight movements of my body would cause movement in the water that would push me up against the wall. This seemed like something I would get better at controlling over time.

It’s hard to say whether my estimations of time are accurate, but I felt like I spent the first 15-20 minutes of the float just watching my thoughts. Pointless little worries would bubble to the surface of my mind. I had asked the dude at the front desk to play a “relaxing soundscape” for the first 15 minutes and he claimed he would oblige; however, this sound scape was either too quite for me to hear, or the dude simply forgot to play it because I couldn’t hear shit. So this occupied my thoughts for a while. Or I would think of questions that I wished I had asked when I had the chance. What if I fell asleep and your music doesn’t wake me? What is the protocol then? I felt myself resisting little urges to open the door to check things like what time it was or if buddy from the front desk came back to tell me anything.

I was even struck with the fear that I could get locked inside. This wasn’t something I was expecting but the thought felt very logical at the time. I was out of my house and nothing is really safe once you leave your house. And there I was, out of my house, naked, in a tank. But after a few seconds I wagered with myself that even if I had been locked inside I might as well wait till the end of the session to find out. I would see myself as a pussy if I couldn’t make it through the hour without opening the door.

As for the next 45ish minutes I don’t have much to report back. I feel as though I just went into the void. When I have a really solid meditation sitting in a chair I will usually achieve a feeling of nothingness. It’s not the same feeling as sleep, but it’s not the same feeling as being completely awake. And I feel as though I spent the majority of my float in this place. When the music came on to signify my float was over, I honestly thought it was the sound scape I had asked for, signifying I was only a few minutes into my float. I practically jumped out of the tank to check my phone only to realize I had been in there for just over an hour. My first session was over.

Often after a meditation I can feel a little groggy, especially if I’m feeling sleep deprived. But the second I stepped out of the tank I felt alert and energized. I was definitely a little confused by my perception of time, but I felt no grogginess.

During my post-float shower I forgot to squirt my inner ear with the vinegar solution the float center provides. I regret doing so as I got a bit of swimmers ear a couple days after my float. Luckily it was only a minor irritation. I had expected the possibility of getting an ear infection and plan on wearing earplugs going forward to avoid the nuisance.

With my membership I receive one float per month and any additional float is $29. Prior to my first float I booked my next monthly float a little over a month later. But I can’t wait that long. I’m taking advantage of the discounted additional floats and have my next session booked for this Saturday night at 10:30pm. I’m very excited for this next session as it will be double the length of my first float. Late night sessions booked at 10:30 or 11pm offer a 2-hour float.

I’m pretty fuckin’ excited for round 2.

Visit float-toronto.com for your own experience 😀

MY FIRST ORIGINAL – Part 1 – The Demo Stage

I will be posting a multi-part series as I chronicle the creation and production of my first original track — currently titled “Bright Wide Eyes” — from start to finish!

For my “Independent Study Project” or ISP this semester, we have been given the task of recording a song that includes a unique instrument played by someone outside of the program. To complete this task I have chosen to write an original song to record which I will subsequently sell online (but more on that in my future “SOCAN PLAN” post).

Over the Christmas break, I began demoing a track I figured I would be able to somehow mold into the ISP I hadn’t yet been assigned. I’m nowhere near the finish line, but now that it has been assigned, I think I’m going to do just fine.

In the Music Industry Arts program at Algonquin, we are diving deep into ProTools as our primary DAW; however, I feel most comfortable in Ableton… so that’s where I made my demo which can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/djfunknasty/bright-wide-eyes-demo.

As a budding producer, I’d be the first to say I have a shitty workflow. After failed song attempt after failed song attempt, I decided to take the “rip-off” approach to get this song off the ground and see where it took me. This lead to me deeply analyzing the first 32 bars of “Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga and R. Kelly (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3jzMyYgPQs). Taking the time to completely break a song down and analyze every piece of it seemed to be all I needed to simply get started, focus on finishing something, and really fill the soundscape of a song. After the creative juices took their toll I had some loops that were a different key, different chord progression, and altogether different sounding 32 bars. Day one was complete.

To push the song further all I needed was a little bit of weed and a bit of manic episode to run its course. After a few hours of insanity I had the structure to a new song that I loved which only whispers remnants of Gaga.

I have a butthole’s load of more work to do and a million workflow kinks to work through, but I’m on my way to releasing my very first original song and it gives me boners every day!

Here’s what I used in the creation of my demo:

  • DAW: Ableton
  • Drums: xfer’s Nerve
  • Toms: Ableton Core 707
  • Main Synth: Dave Smith Mopho
  • Synth: Arturia Minimoog V
  • Sweeps and Pads: Native Instruments’ FM8
  • FX: Camel Crusher and Ableton’s native effects

The Inspiring Mrs. Funk Nasty

My girlfriend is the President. Fuck yeah! Pretty VIP if you ask me. And she should be the president, she was the founder!

I’m not explaining myself very well.
Today was the uOttawa Dance Club’s Year End Recital in support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, CHEO. Leading the team of hardworking young ladies (and two brave fellas) was my girlfriend, Caitlin.
 
When it comes to the uOttawa Dance Club, my lover is Queen shit, she’s the boss. She started the club two years ago from the flookiest of flooks and it constantly reminds me of how crafty and cool she is. Now I don’t know what the uOttawa dance team was or more likely wasn’t smoking that fateful day in 2011 when Caitlin tried out for the team, but for what ever reason she didn’t make the cut. 😦
 
But fuck that. Ain’t nobody gonna keep my girl from dancing. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, especially after she just spent the last four years as an executive member of the McMaster Dance Club while competing with the Dance Team AND getting her learn on. My baby took that rejection email and made some tasty ass lemonade with it.
 
If you ask me it wasn’t incredibly thoughtful for la team to make their cuts via a mass email without at least BCCing the poor girls, but alas, that’s what them bitches did. But fuck me and my opinions, my girl saw opportunity. That crafty bugger hit ‘reply-all’ and reached out to her fellow disappointed dance team hopefuls, anyone who just wanted to dance. Through this act my lovely lady had just created a community that was going to bring people together and add something to each of their lives. I’m certainly not that cool.
 
The endeavour was definitely a struggle at first, but in these last two years I’ve really watched Caitlin catch her stride. I saw the club force my stubborn girlfriend to recognize how sometimes you simply can’t do it all on your own. She rolled with each punch and eventually brought together a team of passionate dancers she could trust to share her excitement and passion. After watching the show go off without a hitch today, I think its safe to say she picked the right team.
 
I find it truly inspiring to be beside my girl as she lives out each day, doin’ hers, and watch as she brings a little extra light to everything she does.
 
ttyl
 
Your First Gentleman,
Greg Roberts 
Link

New Purchase!

New Purchase!

I just spent the last few hours creating a business plan for what I want Funk Nasty Entertainment Enterprise to become in the very near future and I am on a creative high. I am incredibly excited to have purchased http://www.funknasty.com among other site names, to have begun formulating the basis of my brand, and to have started the registration process for the business name “Funk Nasty Entertainment Enterprise”.

I am very excited to take further steps to establishing the Funk Nasty brand, because this shit is going to get real 😉

YouTube Content ID

In my “Music in the Digital Age” class I was recently tasked with reading this blog:
http://brandsplusmusic.blogspot.ca/2010/08/music-copyright-and-youtube.html
And afterwards making comments on what I thought of YouTube’s content ID system. These were my thoughts:

I think YouTube’s current content ID system, although not perfect, is a promising example of how copyright can be handled.

Long before I ever knew what it meant to violate copyright law, I heard the saying “it’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission”, and this quote/general way of life resonates deeply with me. Slightly breaking the rules (as long as you know that the final product will make up for your transgressions) has resulted in boundaries being pushed in the past. Because of this, progress has often been made. Sometimes rules are made by closed-minded individuals and it takes the force of creative rebels to promote a more utilitarian look at the way art is used. This maximizes happiness and reduces sadness. Isn’t that the primary objective of all art forms to begin with?

YouTube’s current system of asking users not to violate copyright law, while at the same time taking steps to often keep said violations on their site, is in my opinion a step in the right direction. Many discussions of the flaws in this system center around the automated part of the process, which is often incapable of discerning violations from fair use cases. But, we all know that the metaphor of walking before running is cliché for a reason. YouTube’s content ID system is in its infancy; but, it harnesses the potential to completely close the gap between what were once almost unreachable corporate copyright holders and, say, a 12 year old kid who dreams of being the next Kubrick who throws the completely awesome opening of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” into her most recent YouTube Epic. (An admittedly tricky example as the song was written in 1896… but someone must own the rights to the recording I’m sure.)

I have been posting videos to YouTube since 2006, the very first of which blatantly contains two copyrighted songs: Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place owned by Warner Music Group, and Afroman – Because I Got High (Dirty Radio Edit) owned by Universal Music Group. At the age of 15 I didn’t know I was breaking the law by posting my video. I had created a 9 minute film for a school project that I was proud of and wanted to show to the world. Thanks to YouTube’s content ID system, my silly little school project is still viewable after 8 years, currently sits at 18,982 views, and has probably made Universal and Warner literally a few pennies. I have thankfully never been sued and everyone can sleep easy at night. Although ignorance is never an excuse for breaking a law, I think YouTube is putting a value on the creative intentions of its users. This attitude is shaping the face of a generation fueled by the generation of content.

The Inspiration for this Company. (Archive 15-April-13)

The development of Shirts on Backwards has been a long time coming. I had my first encounter with mirror image clothing about a year ago when my girlfriend at the time came home from a trip to New York City. She’s a dancer and had picked up some clothing from a dance school she was hoping to one day enroll in (which she will be doing this summer! Very proud!). I don’t know if you know this, but dancers spend quite a bit of time staring in the mirror, and her new wardrobe was made for doing just that! All the writing was written in reverse and I couldn’t help thinking “What a personal kind of clothing to wear!”

This was part one of the process, and had to brew for a while.

Part two of inspirational process came one day while I was working out, because yes, I lift… just not very much weight…

I was wearing a muscle shirt to aid in my ability to check myself out, as I am gorgeous, like all of you. Said muscle shirt has a fox on the front with two eyes, as most foxes do. I found myself staring deep into the eyes of this fox as I focused my strength and pushed out one last painful rep. The deep stare was liberating. “I need to share this revelation with the world” I thought to myself. At the same time I knew the fox had been done, old news! I needed something fresh, and deep down I knew that my face was the only thing that could improve this situation while making this glorious feeling I had stumbled upon accessible to the masses.

Fast forward to today… we have Shirts on Backwards, and I’m that much closer to being a billionaire.

Thanks for coming!

Greg Roberts

Founder, CEO, Face.