A Root of Injustice

Many people desire a peaceful and fair society, but too many people take for granted the systems that rule over their lives, from cultural bubbles, religious bubbles, and economic systems assumed to be univerally superior because every other developed nation uses is, and it therefore remains unquestioned.

I want to use music to create a culture of educated music lovers, fight injustice and to stand in support and be a voice for those who are struggling in different ways due to the injustices of society. And many of those injustices, whether it be authoritarian bullying or being underpaid or overworked, or discrimination and poverty in society, etc. all stem from Capitalism and most people don’t realise it.

I believe that in order to have a truly fair society, we must be aware that just because Capitalism is the main economic system, does not mean it is just, nor does it mean it is the only way.

Explaining how Capitalism is equivalent to slavery and theft through the control of wages, how a truly democratic society would be greener, more tolerant, more equal, and give us more leisure and family time, see the below video made by “Sustainable Humans”

つつましさと傲慢

昔教師の知り合いがいて、よくフェースブックで生徒の弱さを非難していました。「努力が足りない、ばかやろう!」とか「世界は甘くない、俺も甘やかさない!」とか言いました。「この頃の奴は弱すぎる!」という言い訳で自分の守るべき生徒をいじめました。

そういうこと珍しくないですよね。

でも、よくあるからといって、それが正しいと思いますか?
よくあるから別に悪いことではないと思いますか?

ずっと前からあったことだからそのままで別にいいという考え方のせいで世界の不正が続きます。そのままにしないで不正義戦うべきだとは思いませんか

望んでいるのは、不正や残酷に対して沈黙しない文化を作ることです。優しさと共感と同情のレボリューション、自分の地位を乱用して弱い者をいじめるようなことと戦うことが起きてほしいのです。ポジティブな態度だけでは十分ではありません。それだけでは不正を見てみないふりをするだけになりかねませんもっと積極的に人への優しさを現す必要があります、同時に罪のない者をいじめる者と戦わなければなりません。

の残酷な考え方は音楽世界でもおなじみで、大学で学んでいたときに思い知りました。
下手でもつつましい人もいれば、下手なのに傲慢な人もいました。
上手なのにつつましい人もいれば、上手なので傲慢な人もいました。

私たちの社会ではよくスキルによって人を判断して、下手な人を見降ろして上手な人を褒めます。
私はそうではなく、つつましさと傲慢によって人を分けるべきだと思います。
上手でも傲慢な人を軽蔑すべきで、下手でもつつましい人を褒めるべきだと思います。

つまり、あまり上手じゃなくても、自分の弱さをよく知ってる人をはげますべきだと思います。

僕はこの残酷な傲慢な考え方をこの世から消すことにもっと貢献したいです。この社会をもっと優しくすることにもっと貢献したいです。でも一人では何もできない。君も同じ気持ちであれば力を合わせましょう一緒に世界を変えましょう

Humility and Arrogance

I used to know someone who is a teacher who talks behind his students’ back by ranting openly about them on facebook, criticises them for not trying hard enough, telling people to “suck it up” and that openly insulting the vulnerable with the excuse that “I don’t like to sugarcoat things,” “people are easily offended these days” “this is just the reality,” “the world is not gonna be kind so I don’t have to be.” he makes fun of how the student apologises, mocking him for not working hard enough. That way of thinking sounds familiar huh? I hope that all of us can learn not to be silent in the face of such cruelty, that we can lead a revolution of both kindness, empathy and compassion, but also a zeal to relentlessy fight against those who would abuse their positions of privelege over the vulnerable. It isn’t enough to simply be positive, you can be positive by ignoring social injustice. We need to be both actively pursue kindness and at the same time fight for justice, fight with fire against those who hurt the innocent. This attitude is alose prevalent in music, as I have witnessed in my studies. There are people who are unskilled and are humble. There are people who are unskilled and arrogant. There are people who are skilled and humble. There are people who are skilled and arrogant. I think our society is too used to dividing people based on skill, looking down on the unskilled and applauding the skilled. I think instead, society should divide based on humility, disapproving the arrogant and encouraging the humble. Instead of mocking those who aren’t great, if they are humble, they should be encouraged. I want to do what i can to contribute to the eradication of this culture of arrogance, and that us only possible if we all do it together. Let’s fight together to make a kinder world.

Preparations for Debut Single

I am currently working towards releasing my first few debut singles! I originally planned to make a 4-song EP for December but due to some overseas trips and scheduling, I found it more practical to release two singles over the course of the next four months.

I have currently booked to do a recording session in mid-October for my first single, which will feature the songs “Control” and “In Denial”. I am currently seeking assistance through contacts to work on my style and appearance as an artist and will be doing a few photoshoots both in Japan and Australia to prepare for the singles. I am also currently doing a heap of CD album art design as well as other promotional Graphic Design art.

My first single should be released some time in November and will be available online, with physical CDs as an option for those in Japan.

The second single should be released maybe in January.

I then intend to work on creating a debut album sometime in the middle of next year.

Stay tuned! Please sign up to the mailing list and follow me on my facebook page too 🙂

Pathways: Independent vs Music Agency

Sort of sharing this old old article because it prompted me to think about a certain path forward I had once wanted to take, but now am unsure about.

Canadian anime vocalist Himeka vents about frustrations working in the Japanese music industry

This article is about Canadian singer Himeka, who once worked for Sony as an anison artist. I looked her up because I am aware that Nano and Himeka used to do covers together. According to the article, I noticed two things – that Sony had potentially chosen her because of her “foreignness”. You know how I feel about treating race as a stereotype or novelty. But more interesting was the claim that the music industry cares more about using music to make money as a business than to move hearts. Certainly, it may be expected that music agencies would naturally be money driven if you are to think as a pessimist – I like to think that there are some that are at least balanced (Nano seems to be doing fine at Victor Entertainment).

But this made me think about whether I even want to try out for a famous music agency since I can’t stand work/church politics and heirarchy, I will not get along if the higher-ups only think about money. As a result, I am heavily leaning toward making my own way as an independent musician – a harder, lonelier, narrower road, but one that is completely under my own control. That way I can focus on writing exactly what I want to write about rather than writing only for big profits. Meanwhile I will diligently be on the lookout for big agencies that genuinely ARE there to make a difference in the world with music, if such an agency exists – one that gains money for the sake of music, not music for the sake of money – I would strive to do all that I can to ensure that that kind of agency comes out on top to lead the way for the next generation of music agencies.

Right now, I do have some acquaintances in a small agency that seems to be moving on the right path. I might be participating in some things with then in future and hope to help them if I can be of any help. Stay tuned because if it happens, I’ll share it on my FB page.

But what am I saying, It’s not like I am anywhere near anything. Oh well, just wanting to lay down my vision and desire for change in the world. Whether it happens or not, we’ll see.

Accepting people: Culture and Ethnicity

This post is in regards to diversity, human unity, and racism. While it is not directly related to music, it is a great stimulus to talk about something I believe is important, something that I want to spread through my own music. This is some insight into my thoughts regarding how I think humanity needs to move forward and accept each other and come in unity. It is something that a lot of people perhaps will not agree with. So we can agree to disagree.

I found an article today about a White man who loves China and wants to “become Chinese”. As expected, all the comments were that of outrage. But then if you really think about it, is it that obvious who is right and who is wrong?

Here is the link. http://huffp.st/1BpjinZ

I was relieved to see one or two properly thought-out replies amidst the overwhelming flood of negative comments. 

If you know me, you may know I am always outspoken and in the front of the charge fighting against whitewashing and racism, fighting for Asian-American representation and the like. However, this story is a little different.

The thought that crossed my mind while reading the article was that while the intention of the share was to be “anti-racism”, I can’t help but notice that it is an example of Asians racially discriminating against who they say belongs and does not belong. I also noticed a similarity in asian attitudes of adoption, there is this unhealthy obsession with purity of bloodline and importance of the ancestors. While yes, the man can’t become Chinese in the fullest sense, he maybe knows this (it isn’t like he is going to do plastic surgery) he is at least Chinese in culture. Therefore, if he is intending to respect the culture and not mock it, instead of focussing on all the ways he does not belong, focussing on his “otherness”, why can we not just focus on how we can accept him as a brother or son (while acknowledging on the side all the important historical and ancestoral issues that he does not share with the Chinese)

What I want to say is, yes, it is not right to “not see colour”, (e.g. the struggles of police brutality are most strongly felt by the Black community and it waters down the problem by saying it is not an issue that concerns any particular colour), but at the same time, it is so easy and common to go the opposite extreme by *focussing* on colour in situations when other factors are more important. This article may seem like it is combating appropriation, but instead, I believe is reinforcing a racially discriminatory method of judgement upon the guy. Racism happens when we reductionistically judge people by their ethnicities as if that is the sole indicator of identity. While I acknowledge that the world must not cease to see colour, I wish that the world would stop judging by colour, especially under the guise of the noble act of calling out other people’s attempts to integrate with their beloved cultures that just happen to be homogenously ethnic.

I think that homogenous countries don’t need to be forced into being multi-ethnic countries like America, Canada, etc., I think they still ought to embrace multiculturalism at least in a smaller degree. I hope they embrace people who are integrated as their own just like (some parts of) America, and Canada does. 🙂

And I hope, as a musician, that I can share this middle-way idea so that people of different cultures may focus on what is in common, that they will be accepting instead of focussing on differences. Again, this is not to stop seeing colour, but to stop judging by colour. It is recognising the unique struggles of each colour, but at the same time, not judging a person’s identity reductionistically based solely upon ethnicity. And to do that, I believe we need to focus more on culture than anything else.

Self-Improvement and Following the example of the pros.

I have recently made new connections and friends through my singing teacher. Having gone to listen to their concert, I am inspired by everyone there, from the amazing skill of the boss, to the amazing songwriting, performance and production of the many artists that work there.

In particular I made a friend who is also multilingual, with similar cultural experiences, and far ahead on the same road, someone whom I can look up to as a big example. (Also similar genre and fashion style for what I want to be when I debut someday) Seeing him perform and rehearse really gives me motivation as I say in my mind “I can’t wait to do the same stuff someday”.

I know I am not good enough as I am, so I have a strong drive to keep practicing until I can get myself to a place where I can finally release something. And watching these guys perform was really helpful to me to see the distance I am striving for. I believe that being surrounded by such people is important as it was difficult to get anywhere back in Sydney, both because the culture I belonged to did not truly value the arts, neither did many of the staff at my music university truly care for and nurture us as artists. It was dog eat dog and without encouragement, the easier option was to give up. But moving away from that situation allowed me to see what was important and to renew my motivation.
While now I am not quite there at this very moment, I am surrounded now by people who I am inspired by. Perhaps you can say the stage is set for the next chapter of the story.

So for the meantime, I am aiming to go Karaoke to practise alone once every two days if possible.

That’s where I am now in the journey.

Current Plan

It is difficult grabbing the attention of major labels in Japan such as Victor, Sony, or Warner, so I tried to look into smaller labels. However, I consistently found that smaller labels had a surprisingly low sense of style in their marketing. In other words, in the West, we have Youtubers like Sam Tsui or Pentatonix, who, before they became famous, made music videos of an almost professional quality. Meanwhile, non-major Japanese music labels, despite being professional, still tend to use smartphone-quality footage, edited on iMovie. There is a big gap between high-quality visuals and low quality visual here, with not much in between. I believe that if I can create something of a medium to high quality on my own and with help from friends, I can already rise about maybe 80-90% of the other non-signed musicians here.

In this way, my current thinking is to put the attempt to land a job at an agency on the backseat and instead aim to become an independent and self-sustaining artist.

I have acquired some contacts with music production services. So my next step is to choose 5 or 6 songs I have written, record and mix them professionally, and then begin selling them, and using the professionally mixed tracks as the new demo CD to send to agencies.

I have also discovered that the local music store allows local musicians to sell their CDs through their store on a physical display.

I then hope to make a music video to generate interest on Youtube or other social sites.

I will still apply to agencies, but the difference between being self-made before joining and joining as a newbie whom they produce is that if you enter already having proven your own skills, they are less likely to control you and you are more likely to retain your freedom and creativity and set your own boundaries. If you join as a nobody (as I am at the moment) then I have no right to anything and must follow their wisdom (and thus owe them much more if I do succeed through their help). Freedom of creativity is important particularly for me, working in the rock genre, because I believe that part of the spirit of rock is to call out injustices and to radically call for change in society. I do not imagine that to be quite as easy to do if your goal is to contribute to humanity and the world, to inspire people, to reach people’s hearts and defend those in need while you are run by an agency whose main goal is to generate sales and please fans. I’m sure there are some major agencies who do claim to put a high priority on the grand goal of serving the world rather than money, but you can never really know. That is why it is more free to fight on your own, as hard as that may be. In this way, I am open to either path, but must first establish who I am, and set in stone my unwavering intention to speak out boldly on topics that may not be “comfortable” enough for maximum sales.

The road is difficult, but I have hope that it is possible, and all it takes is perseverance and unwavering hope. I believe this to be true whatever your own dream may be too.

PC Build Finished

Finished building my PC from individual parts. From the same price of a medium level iMac, I made a high end PC with a lot of extra features that can help in music production. Officially switched over from Logic X to Studio One as Apple is beginning to move their attention away from professional consumers toward casual users.

Starting up with music again, but taking a while to migrate tge old Logic files track by track to Studio One format. Got some song ideas, might take a week or two to start uploading again.

Meanwhile, Some pics.