November 2017: Love And All That is Above, A Journey Outwards...
Full moons have the effect on shining light on personal truths, making us feel somewhat funny sometimes, or having a project come into fruition in full circle.
This November 2017 full moon is really a special one.
I release a track that I have been working on for months which marks the start of a new musical direction I've been dreaming about as a kid.
Music has always been a part of me since a young child of 4. I’d love creating rhythm with anything I can hold and enjoyed disturbing my elder siblings during their piano lessons till my mom slotted me in for a session too..
Since then, I explored learning in Yamaha Junior Music Courses like anyone else… and finding a teacher I really connected with and learnt the piano till Grade 8 with her.
I was in the choir in primary school and the symphonic band in secondary school playing percussions.
Music has always been something I’d dreamt of doing since 12.. I was exposed to many different genres of music growing up and learnt to appreciate various forms.
Aside from the usual pop/rock/alternative/jazz/classical genre I was immersing myself in growing up, another part of music drew me in very deep at the age of 10/11 onwards.. New Age Music, World Music, Shamanic Music, Spiritual Music etc..
If you remember the days of Readers’ Digest. They came with a HUGE catalogue of music CDs for various things, books, memorabilia etc.. I got to know about Binaural beats, Brainwave states, meditation music from the catalogs which I still keep.
Come to think of it, Some of the names of the sound therapists and music composers I am learning about produced some of those CDs!
There was a time that TV 12 in Singapore created a compilation CD , “Inspirational Moments” in the mid 90’s. I fell in Love with them as it was a good way to get to know various world music artistes. Since spending a large amount of time appreciating this genre of music, I found it really intriguing how I felt calm and peaceful when I listened to them, so that got me really inspired to create similar soulful healing music when I grow up. I had the vision, idea, intention but didn't know the technicalities around the subject so it seemed like I had to "wait" for a better time when I am older to be able to fulfil this vision..
In Secondary school, I was being more exposed to percussion and drums and started taking drum lessons outside of school and started getting really crazy about drums and all sorts of percussion from each part of the world.
I was very much into the world music culture .. You could always find me at WOMAD music Festival every year catching these aboriginal , tribal soulful music and got to even meet and hang out with an African musician who played the Mbira ( Thumb Piano) . He gave me one of his Mbira’s and taught me to play a tune with it while he sang along.
It was one of the most spiritual musical experience ever. I was visually brought into the fields of Zimbabwe, while farmers toiled the day’s harvest and celebrated their rewards and hardwork.. vast fields under the sun…..and I’m back in the studio with him. Fwah.
After secondary school, I studied Contemporary Popular Music in LASALLE majoring in Percussions( ironically). It was a niche major but this brought so much learning depth and challenge that contributed to my growth as being a versatile musician although I’m mostly known to be a keyboardist.
Playing in a community-based percussion samba band (OneHeartbeat Percussions) also shaped the balance of being a classically trained percussionist vs playing with feel and improvisation in a soulful way.
While all that was happening, I was learning a lot of electronic music and production in school and took DJ lessons outside of school with the awesome bunch at E-tracx. Being an underaged clubber in my teens, I was exposed to so many good dance music at Zouk when it was an era of good quality music being churned out.
Because of my love for drums and world music, Tribal / Afro House music was the reason I wanted to learn to DJ. At that time, there was a famous percussionist, Maniam, who played the Djembe at the ladies platform during peak hours with the DJ and I was really inspired then. Who would have thought few years down the road, I was right where Maniam was playing performing as "The Vibesetters", for Zouk's We Love House Anniversary in 2006. We were a Live DJ Duo created together by my DJ classmate and partner in crime, David Tang, who also carved a name for himself after being champion for a DJ competition. We started playing at every club and many events as he dished out wicked percussive house, broken beats while I play the percussion and keys. We later evolved to "The Synth Experience", experimenting on more electronic based synth stuff. Since then, we started DJ'ing on our own and I still keep alot of this soulful and percussive feel to my DJ sets although some might think its "passe" or not in trend. Well, trends rise and fall, but good old classics stay!
You must be overwhelmed by now with the amount of things I immersed myself to for the crazy Love of Music!
But.. Of course I knew..
There can be only one or 2 things we can focus on each time to be good at…
Musically and spiritually I was always hungry to learn and experiment more..
I gradually started composing music for some films…
Online Music Trailer : Faeryville 2015
V1K1- A Techno Fairytale
I also moved away from DJ'ing in the nightlife scene and moved towards DJ’ing for Yoga events , curating and choreographing music to enhance, integrate an uplifted experience for people. As my personal life shifted, so did my purpose for playing and creating music..
And something was missing after doing it for sometime….
Through my journey with the singing bowl work, yoga ,meditation, reflection and playing music, it seems that the true nature I set out at 11 in wanting to create music for healing hasn’t really shown forth in its entirety yet.
It is there.. but not quite there. I always have been quite a timid, shy person by nature but with a fiery passion inside that I didn’t know how to bring forth out to the world.
If you have been following my blog, you'll notice there is a process, a progress in the path of healing that no shortcuts can be taken to get to a better place..
I am very very very fortunate and thankful to be able to be doing what I love, with passion and commitment. It hasn’t been an easy journey because it is a path less taken.
I could have chosen an "easier" path in the music entertainment industry that was already in my hands and in my path for a point of time.. I could have gone further to create more fame, fortune, recognition in a commercial mainstream way( which to me was soul debilitating )… but I listened to that 11 year old timid self calling out, and I knew I wasn’t happy. In fact, that life led to a self-destruction mode because I wasn't living a life that I truly wanted and all the self-sabotage patterns were acting up just to show me it wasn't right.
Thus, I was broken by my own experiences, so I walked away from that path, stepped down from the limelight and started leading a more humbled life. I started dressing down, and “norm core” myself so I could just take the public transport with more ease without people looking and talking.. Yes I value my personal privacy and life very much! That is why you won't see me posting nonsensical "attention-grabbing" content. :P
It has been 8 years since turning my back from the mainstream culture...
Well I must say I am soo much happier a person now with the freedom to be who I want and do whatever I feel with good conscience and wisdom. I've learnt to ignore what people think of me and started focusing on what’s more important and it is enough to keep me going.
Music saved my life because in times of depression and anxiety, in times when you feel like the whole world is against you, times that you have no idea about yoga, meditation, or selfcare, this is the simplest but most profound medium for healing.
Some people are amused about me playing in a hard rock instrumental band vs being a yoga teacher and now a sound practitioner creating music for healing and playing the bowls…..
Well we have all the facets of ourselves.. the shadow and light part of ourselves to acknowledge and live with!
Creating music and playing with In Each Hand A Cutlass is a very cathartic process of letting aggression, joy, beauty, structure, chaos come together organically with a bunch of people whom love music just as equally . We aim to break boundaries and labels.. like our bio states:
In Each Hand A Cutlass is not just a band with a fancy name. It is a statement of intent.
I can’t agree more the same way with my own personal motto as well.
DJ’ing is an expression of putting the eclecticism of my influences and presenting it in a good flow.
So here I am.
Now, creating music for healing is like the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining, the healing balm. You know you will be supported with it through the process of healing and being at peace. The path of being a singing bowl practitioner and sound therapist has indeed deepen the understanding in crafting and facilitating music and sound therapy/experiences in the objective of shifting the human consciousness towards healing.
Being the old soul I am and growing up in a generation that believes in paying the dues, doing the work from ground up, to build a good foundation slowly but surely with consistency.. It has taken a long time for me to come to this. Just like the maturing of a good wine or whiskey... It took so long.... to build this musically, spiritually, professionally with courage, confidence and maturity and start showing this side of myself to the world which I didn't dare or want to before.
I'm not doing this for any commercial reason. I rarely think this genre is anywhere "popular" but well, I just do it with purpose and keep going anyway!
I don't quite believe in the culture of the number of "likes" or superficial trends of what nots. I just believe in being real and doing it as it is even when everything else fails one day, the rawness and realness will still stand in a timeless effective way. In fact, don't you think humanity is going backwards anyway? As technology advances... Basic humanity values seem to regress through the crap happening in the world..... what about our consciousness, tolerance, healing, loving and being? We dig up ancient records and go back to ancient wisdom, to understand how the ancestors of this earth lived their lives so we could also get back to being more human and be the spiritual and intuitive individual we can be while living in this highly dysfunctional, technological world..
Think "Black Mirrors" -- It is such a good show about the state of humanity in the modern technological world.
Human Being.. Being Human.. What does it really take ?
This is my Experience. This is just the beginning of a new paradigm shift.
From here on, I’d like to share this to the world with intent, love and gratitude.
Love And All That is Above was part of a final lab project at Globe Institute of Recording and Production. I intended that to be a first song to reignite the vision I had when I was 11. ...to be based on the concept of Self-Love . Love is one of the highest frequency .... no matter where we are at in life, we can always give ourselves more love, then slowly we will build more patience, tolerance, gratitude to the things and people around us... It serves to raise our own meter of Love for the Divine, ourselves and towards others.
I thank you for your patient reading and openess to read through this personal, sentimental and emotional post.
May the music bring you peace, hope, love and blessings from deep within.
Keep it Real.