Get out of your own way

My wife asked me yesterday, if you were to teach "Creativity", how and what you would teach?

It makes me think about the things that I learned in last 4 years of grinding. When I say
grinding, I mean, developing, training, practicing and researching the groove, musical execution and excellence.

It started in early 2013. When I had a chance to meet an award-winning producer at an apartment near Opera House in Sydney. In mid 2013, shortly after my Japan trip, which opened my eyes to who I am, I quitted my secure job. (I was a General Manager of Asia of a International corporation at that time) then went on to pursue music down to melbourne, which I'll write about more in detail later.

I will write about the journey of my research & training in depth later but today I want to write about the latest revelation that I've found which changes the way I approach music and even life. When we strive to make better music or do better job, be better person. We literally strive. We try hard. When I sit down on my chair to make a beat, I watch all these top-notch artists videos and see how they are playing keys, or making beats, what's their posture like, how are they playing, what's their body movement like, how are their body counting the down beat etc. I put so much effort into this and I had so much disappoint because no matter what I do, I couldn't get the sound I want, I couldn't play the notes that has all the waves and time and space within. I was only able to play what I call empty and flat music that is full of jerks. Notes are jerking all over the places. It was frustrating. I went through so many tutorial videos, videos of the artist (Alicia keys, purdie, Barry Harris, 9th wonder, Kanye West, Scott Storch and much more) I like playing keys and drum machines. I would even download the videos on my harddrive, then slow it down in attempt to see the movement of their arms, body in slow motion. What are they doing that I am not? What do I not know? 
Well, and I asked cried out to God for many days for many years, I guess I didn't cry out to him but I cried out complaining, blaming Him for making me the way I am. Why do I like the things that I can't be. Why do I hear certain music and sound that I can't make? It was hard. It was like a painter who sees all sorts of colours of the world yet can only paint in black and white and striving to find how to paint in colour. Doesn't this sound crazy? A lot of people would go, what they heck is this person talking about? My life was in pain and disappointment for a long time and I would never want to go through this again. It was really hard because I had to get up everyday and go to work which takes 2-3 hours of travel time each day and sit there and do what I considered "an easy job" that I had no inspiration working towards. I did this for over 1000 days. I would ask myself, if I can spend all these time practicing and finding out how I can play music that I hear "good", I am getting old, what am I doing here at work? and it really takes a toll but I know I am capable of performing well at work but because my mind was fully occupied with the research and music, I couldn't be who I am at work. When other colleagues were making steps upwards, I didn't because I didn't put my mind to it. I would spend the most of my free time at work researching music. Now I look back I don't think I was smart, not that I am dumb but the emotional imbalance has limited me to think with narrowmindset. And it was especially hard when my body got weekend and got sick. And my wife was sick too, she was much more sick than I, and further more, she had so much stress from her work, she didn't eat anything for the whole day until dinner time every day. She would have to go through all kinds of issues like indigestion problem and many other issues for years, for years... which I'll talk about some other times. Seeing her sick face was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, much harder than me feeling sick. I'd ask her to leave her job.. but anyways this is for another time. Anyways.. we put our hope in God. We made many wrong mistakes but God kept drawing us closer to him. I am not worthy for his love, but somehow He drew us closer and kept guiding us through this time. Especially through the sermons at Church on Sundays, he really spoke to us directly and so relevantly, encouraging us, giving us the truth about the sitatution, drawing my wife and I together as a unit. What I want to talk about today is that yesterday at the sermon, the pastor has talked about getting wisdom from God. Asking for insightful mind. Long story short. I asked for God's insight and wisdom over our sitatuion and over our future (My wife is about to quit her job, hoping for better future, when there's going to be an immediate financial demand early next year... it sounds like a gamble doesn't it but we have no choice). Anyways, with music, this is what he thought me. Ok so here we go. The wisdom is that I should stop striving, stop trying, but know how to rest, know how to relax, know how to do less. What? I should stop striving? What about the musical excellence? how do I get that? How do I make awesome beat if I try less? That doesn't make sense. But this actually made sense for me. So when I play beats or keyboard, if I relax my torso, my shoulders, my upper arms, forearms and fingers and just let the gravitity do the work, the music was more abundant. (not sure if this is the correct expression). When I try more, my body was more stiff, more I used my muscles, more it put tension and prsessure on my body, more I had to fight against the gravitity and there was more of "I" but less "music". Music is God's creation. When I get out of own way, then the music shines more. Does this make sense?
Here's an example: "Less of me" vs "more of me me me"

I am thinking, LIFE is same. more I get in my own way, more I am lost. I just want to thank God for his guidance and his wisdom. I am continuing to seek his wisdom and insight today because I have to accept that I am so far away from being perfect. I don't know shit. I don't want to pretend that I know shit. I just think God is good. That's the vibe for today's thought! Peace.

Do Not Fear but BEHOLD

There are many things happening in my life, yet nothing is happening.
Does that make sense?

Well.. my wife is about to resign from her workplace after a long process of going back-n-forth, being unsure and indecisive. We have a home loan that we need to raise in about 2 month time for our very first apartment that we've purchased off the plan early this year. The mortgage broker says, do not change your job, if you want to change your job or quit your job, do it after getting the loan approval.. so I don't know what's going to happen. Maybe we may have to let the apartment go meaning we'll be financially damaged once again. Maybe it's not the best financial decision but you know what.. I believe that one's well-being and the richness of our lives come inwardly. And if my wife wants to start building her life up again starting from her inner-self and take care of her condition, then, I am all up for it. I put her health first before anything else. I believe that God will be in charge of this situation as he has promised us that the plan is not to harm us but to prosper us and give us hope and future. I believe that through this journey, she and I will come out as pure as gold. 
It's time to be confident, time to trust God, time to witness His goodness, time to let go of our worldly desires and start building our lives up with the right foundation. I know our lives are made by our maker for a divine purpose, that is to love Him and love others. I know that God can use the gifts that he has entrusted to our hands. Let's take a pause, breath, recharge, reassess, and BEHOLD. 

4656 Fancher Drive,Dallas, TX.jpg

일기 쓰기 시작

Self Idolisation

I've learned that I have been doing things to glorify myself. I feel that from a point of my life, somewhere somehow, things that I do on social media and even with music has become an activity to glorify myself. The photo I posted on social media, the conversation I had the other day with a friend of mine, the frustration I felt from lack of understanding in other people, even the sexual desire has been focused on myself, me, me, me, it was about pleasing myself, praising myself, comforting myself... Self glorification, self idolisation, whatever that is, it has certainly been my foundation in my thinkings, decisions I've been making and to be honest, there's been so many things that has backfired on me due to this brokenness. Yes. It's a brokenness that needs healing. Being brutally honest here, that I need healing. My brokenness has caused so much confusion, so much of the inconfidence, the timidness, anxiety and loneliness. It is the foundation of sin too. It may be hard to understand but I think self-idolisation is at the core of the sinful nature. It is me trying to be God.

Pastor Brian asks, "if your prayers are answered, does that change your world or THE world?"
Reaccessing my life, I realise, my prayers are indeed for me, and me alone that it has nothing to do with the changes the world desperately need. 

So here I am, praying. I pray that my desires would change, that I would no longer self-glorify but really care and love others, love God with all my heart and my soul, to make a real difference in the world. The thing is, I don't know what that means in my life, I don't know what loving others truly look like because I haven't done it for a long time. I am emptying myself to fill it in with God's goodness and true humility. I ask God to show me the ways to love others and love him. To use the creativity and gifts that he has given me to love him and glorify him and express His message through the work that I make. I hope to see people's lives changed, lost being found, troubled ones find peace and joy, people eternally saved, having breakthroughs in their lives, witnessing God's goodness in their lives, poor being strengthened... I want to reflect His beauty, the beauty within me, Him living in me. Like the sun that warms us, gives us life, comforts us, I hope my music show people the loving heart of our God, comfort them, gives them life, and warms them up to life. No more I, I, I, but be a vessel that reflects God's light upon people. That's how I want my music to be. 



What's up in Singapore

Blog 5 (in Korean)

2017년 5월, 싱가폴을 방문하였다.
홍콩같거나 그냥 모던한 부자 도시나라라고만 생각하고 방문한 나에게는 매우 놀랄만한 곳이였다. 
관광객들이 가는 쇼핑몰보다는 현지 사람들이 사는 곳쪽으로 들어가 어떤 건물에서 사는지 왜 건물디자인은 그렇게 되어있는지 그곳 사람들의 표정과 언어를 보고 억양을 들어보는 것이 신선했다. 

1. 길거리에 음악이 많이 안나온다. 한국처럼 길거리에 온갖 음악이 한꺼번에 같이 나온다거나, 일본처럼 길거리 가로수에 스피커를 장착하여 재즈를 틀어주지 않아서 조용했다. 대신 현장의 사람 소리를 들을수 있어서 좋다.
2. Armenian street있는 Peranakan 사람들의 대한 뮤지엄에 가보았다. 싱가폴에 정착한 퍼라나칸 중국계의 역사는 인상적이였다. 왜 이민왔으며, 어떤 옷을 입고 있고, 어떤 그릇과 의자 등을 썼는지. 어떻게 국민으로 인정받고 또 정치적인 참여를 시작하게 되었는지 등. 잼있는 사실은, 멜번 001프로덕션 나의 마스터격인 씨우 아저씨가 peranakan 출신이란 사실을 그와 대화를 하며 오늘에서야 알게되었다.  
3. 싱가폴은 과거 Dutch와 British의 영향력아래 있었는데 실제 Singapore National Gallery같은 건물들의 설계나 디자인이 그를 반영한다. 
4. 과거 활발한 무역도시로써 많은 이민자를 받아서 그런지 다양한 사람들이 공존하는게 흥미로웠다. 인도계, 아랍계, 중국계 그리고 말레이계. 그들은 다 말레이 억양의 영어를 쓰며 공존한다. 호주에서 온 나에게 흥미로웠던 것은, 호주같은 다문화 사회는 그래도 백호주 "Aussie"라는 정체성이 존재하고, 미국처럼, 이민자들이 그정체성에 흡수되버리는 사회적인 흐름이 있는것과 반면, 싱가폴의 다문화는 Centralised Identity라는게 없이 각 인종의 정체성을 그대로 유지해 가며 공존하는것 같다.
5. 그래서 그런지 다문화 커플을 한커플외엔 보지 못했다. 
6. Arab Street가 인상적이였다. 주변엔 왠 마사지집이 그렇게 많은지.... 그러나 테라스하우스같은 형식의 건물들로 이뤄진 그 주변은 여기가 아시아인가라는 생각이 들정도로 유럽 Victorian느낌이 나는 건축물들이였다. 호주의 테라스보다는 조금더 레고같은 컴팩트한 느낌이 묻어있는 건축물이 신기했다. 
7. 그 중앙엔 웅장하고 모스크가 있었는데 짧은 치마입은 한국여자분들이 모스크안으로 들어가는 것을 바라보고 있는 무슬림신도들의 눈빛이 인상적이였다. 
8. The Substation이라는 아티스트 공간을 우연히 찾았다. 한벽을 그래피티로 도배한 3층 테라스 하우스에서 댄스클라스, 인디 영화 상영, 음악 공연등을 하는 공간인데, 싱가폴에서 이런곳을 찾으니 너무 반가워, 안에서 일하는 여성 분들과 함께 싱가폴의 아트씬에 대해서 대화를 나누고 나왔다. 싱가폴에 가서 이곳의 스케쥴을 찾아서 공연도 한번 가보시길^^. 

싱가폴에 대한 음악을 만들라면 올드스쿨 붐뱁비트와 먼가 감성적인 재즈의 퓨젼이지 않을까라는 생각을 한다. 그래서 여행, 도시, 들었던 음악, 사람들, 길거리의 향기를 생각하면서 만든 비트들과 함께 Beats Vlog 시리즈 여행기 영상을 만들어봤다.

밖에 써져있던 문구가 맘에 와닿아 이글로 블로그를 마무리한다^^

"Founded in 1990, so much love, grit, and sweat has been given by artists, activists, filmmakers, musicians, punks and other people who felt they didn't quite belong in Singapore. For everyone who didn't have space, we made space. Their Art, their songs, their stories still haunt this place. We are a home for the arts, We say A not The, because ultimately, our dream is that the home for the arts in Singapore: open, plural and willing to embrace those who don't fit in"


Music Producer 101 - Musical Inspirations 1

Saturday morning view

Saturday morning view

Blog 5 - Musical inspirations 1

Last Saturday morning, I was working on some music and I impulse felt like sharing some insights on the musical trainings and inspirations I had in last 3-4 years.

Have you ever wondered why top American records feels (not sounds) different to Korean records, for example? Bruno Mars' records feel different to a lot of songs we ger here in Australia and in Asia. It's not about good vs bad and the sounds they use might be similar but how the music makes me feel is so different for me to the point where the tunes make me dance differently, if I am a choreographer, I would have to come up with different "feel" of routines.

Coming from 80's Korean background, I didn't have formal training in "making groove" but I realised that groove is at the core of making music. I dreamed of making music at age 19 as a hip-hop dancer. This was back in 2001. At that time, I was really into doing free-style dance moves, rather than fixed routines or/and technical break moves. I wanted to dance freely to the rhythm of the beat and express myself in time. Later I learned that how 'time is space'

Here are the first two inspirations in my research that help me earn learn rhythm and time. I'll share more in the coming days!

지난 토요일 아침 문득 지난 3-4년간 연습하고 배웠던 음악과 영감에 대해서 누군가에겐 도움이 될수 있지 않을까 싶어 나눠보고싶은 생각이 들었다. 

톱 미국 음악들은 왜 호주에서 나오는 음악이나 한국음악과 그 음악이 주는 느낌이 왜 다를까? 좋고 나쁨을 예기하는건 아니다. 예를 들면 브르노 마스의 음악은 언제가 같은 '필'을 주지만, 호주 노래들이나 한국 노래들과는 다른 느낌으로 다가온다. 너무나 달라서 내가 만약에 안무가라면 전혀 다른 '필'의 안무를 짜야할것 같다.

나는 한국에서 80년대에 태어나서, '그르부'라는것에 정식 트레이닝을 받진 못했지만 음악을 할수록 음악의 코어엔 그르부가 있다는 것을 깨달았다. 19살 춤추는 것에 빠져있을때 90년대 미국힙합을 많이 들었는데 그땐 멋지게 춤출수 있는 음악을 만들고 싶었다. 어떤 짜여진 루틴이나 기술적인 브레이크 댄스보다는 그냥 비트와 그르부, 그리고 'time'에 마춰서 프리스타일로 추고 싶었다는 기억이 난다. 음악을 하다보니 그 '타임' 이란 '공간'임을 배웠다. 

앞으로 차례 차례 나눌수도 있겠다만, 오늘 처음 포스팅으로는 내게 영감을 준 두명의 아티스트와 그들의 비디오를 소개한다. 

Barry Harris. What a teacher and what a musician he is. Can you feel the "And"?

9th Wonder really stands out for me when it comes to feeling the groove. The way he plays notes and feels time is very insightful. Key question for me was can you express the groove without jerking

Here are a few things I've picked up from these masters. 
1. Feel the time. Down beats are not made of jerks or rushes but in time and space. so check how fast or slow you are in comparison to the actual speed of the time of the tempo. 
2. Technique matters. Just like it is important as a soccer player to have the right technique to kick the soccer ball with power, it's the time for musicians. In order to express with control and freedom, having the right technique such as correct hand posture is more important than I ever thought. 
3. Phrasings are everything. Music is made of phrasings. It's like how a great movie actor/actress would read a sentence of a movie script. Be real, mean it, it cycles and it goes with the breath. 
4. "And" is 2 and 4 in 4/4 music.  Don't just know where the "And"s are but feel where they are with your body.

이들을 보며 내가 픽업한 몇가지를 나누자면.
1. 시간을 느낀다. 다운비트 (1과3)를 강조시키려고 져킹을 하거나 급하게 힘을 주어 연주하게 되면 시간이란 공간을 스테디하게 느낄수 없음으로, 실제 템포보다 훨씬 빠른 속도로 음을 때리게되어 그르부를 망치게 되더라
2. 테크닉이 중요하더라. 축구선수가 축구공을 파워있게 찰려면 몸의 각도, 때리는 임팩트 타이밍 등 다양한 테크닉에 대해서 이해하고 있는 것 처럼, 음악도 마찬가지였다. 건반을 치는 사람이라면 테크닉이 좋을수록 (예: 손의 포스쳐) 템포를 느끼는데 장애가 없어지더라.
3. Pharsing이 모여 음악을 만든다. 음악은 여러 프레이징들이 모인곳이다. 영화 대화를 멋지게 읽어내려가는 배우처럼, phrasing은 자연스럽고, 끝이 있고, 싸이클 되며, 호흪과 함께 가더라. 
4. "And"는 2와4에 (4/4박자일 경우) 있다. 엔드를 몸으로 느끼는것이 중요하더라.

I don't claim to know all, in fact, it will be an endless journey but it is my joy that I'm on the way. 

To be continued.....


Aussie Christian Rapper

Blog 4

I had a session with a christian rapper called Zero last night going through his new tracks for the upcoming album, 24/7. Zero is a Shri Lankan Aussie rapper, down to earth, very genuine guy who works at a prison here in Sydney Australia dealing with lots of kids of needs, helping them as a mentor which I admire him for. I have mixed and mastered last two of his albums and he came back for another joint! Check him out here

어제 밤, 7월7일 2017년 금요일, 호주 로컬 크리스챤 래퍼인 "지로"라는 친구의 새로운 곡들을 듣고 믹싱 세션을 함께 했다. 스리랑카에서 태어나 호주로 이민온 이친구는, 나이에 비해 어른스럽고, 솔직하고 진솔한 친구인데 시드니 외각에 감옥에서 일을한다. 그곳에서 문제를 가지고 있는 어린 친구들에게 멘토어가 되어주고 다양한 이야기도 함께 나누며 일하는 모습이 인상적인 친군데, 지난 두 앨범을 내게 믹싱/마스터링을 부탁했었는데 3번째 얼범인 이번에도 믹시 마스터를 하게 되었다. 이곳에서 그의 행보를 체크아웃할수 있을것 같다. 앞으로 호주의 아티스트들과 더 작업을 할 기회가 생기지 않을까 싶다. 

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Two Fratelli Cafe - 시드니 존스베이 투프레텔리 카페

Where I camp out everyday, called Jones bay Wharf in Sydney, there is a cozy cafe called Two Fratelli Cafe. David is Italian and he has been running the cafe for more than 15 years. What I love about the cafe is the calming jazz music he puts on and the music helps me elope from the daily routine. I had an opportunity to take some shots at the cafe. My favourite lunch menus are Octopus & Chorizos with Salad and Pumpkin soup for the winter. Check out the cafe when you visit Jones Bay at Pyrmont.

매일 일하는 곳 근처에 투푸르텔리 카페라는 코지한 곳이 있다. 이탈리안인 주인인 데이빗은 그곳을 운영한지 15년이나 되었다는데 자주봐서 친구가 되었다. 이탈리아에 어딜 여행하면 좋다는 조언도 해주는데, 그가 트는 재즈음악과 단정하면서 미니멀한 인티리어는 하루일과를 잠시나마 잊게한다. 지난주에 그곳에서 그의 음식과 일하는 모습들을 사진찍을 기회가 있었는데, 시드니에서 피아몬트나 존스베이로 산책처럼 구경온다면 꼭 들리면 좋다. 추천 음식은 문어와 초리조즈 샐리드 그리고 펌킨수프이다.  

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You Can Make It. Vol. 1

Hey, guys! 

As a music producer, I thought this is something I can do for music lovers. I made a new Spotify playlist comprise of touching tracks that I love listening to. These songs made me get through some rough days. Hope you enjoy the playlist and always remember that YOU CAN MAKE IT!

리스너들을 위해 스포티파이 플레이리스트를 만들었다. 열심히 낑낑댔던 날 힘이 되어준 곡들이다. 듣는 사람들의 발자국에도 힘이 되어주는 노래들이 될꺼라 생각한다!

Also guys, let me know what your favourite track is in the comment section below!

- Leehahn