Once Upon A Time ...  

Colours seemed so much brighter as a child. The world was so unassuming. I chased butterflies through fields, trying to grasp them. I watched through shadowy windows, the sun piercing a dusty dawn. Dispersing a cerise sky. I watched the sun scatter dreams from her eyes like cinders and smoke on hypnotic airstreams.  

Now, the colours have faded. The world is demanding. I listen for silence through echo chambers of gloom, trying to mute them. I gaze through vibrant windows. Sinister shades spiral in over green meadows. I saw the sun burn out years ago, swept away like embers in a tempest.  

It’s difficult for me to put into words really, the above is the closest I have got to date. It’s merely a reflection that life as a child was incredibly relaxing and happy. I was content, so I had the time to appreciate the world around me and observe things that were beautiful, things that you take for granted as you get older:  

  • Sunrises and sunsets.  
  • Crisp, hazy mornings where dew dozes on leaves of the drooping trees.  
  • Damp grass, ornate with shimmering raindrops that dance as you amble through them.  
  • Autumn Leaves. A cacophony of warm colours to fuel our souls through the cold, dead winter.  
  • Rainbows.  
  • Frozen, icy meadows smothered with frosty silk. Flamboyantly gleaming.  
  • Snow.  
  • Icicles clutch to skeletal trees. Shimmering vibrantly as they thaw.  
  • Neon florid skies, cloudless skies, bloodshot skies, auburn skies.  
  • Clouds that morph into a million ideas, only to dissipate like modicums of silt in the ocean.  
  • Gazing through the night at distant city lights that invoke deep, ethereal moods of marvel.  
  • Observing the cosmos through the inquisitive mind of a child who dreams the days away imagining where it all ends.  
  • Contemplating the moon, the universe, the stars and the ceaseless heartbeat of eternity. An infinity you can gawp into but on no occasion understand.  
  • Becoming motionless as you sit, indulging in stasis, scouring boundless skylines for drifting satellites.  
  • The overwhelming and absurd fact that the beacons of light that burst and sparkle in the remoteness may not exist anymore.  
  • Fires that crackle and snap. Frenzied embers flourishing up to the sky, pirouetting alongside sluggish cinders into drowsy atmospheres.  
  • Heat pulsing over frozen, weary bones. Warmth.  

Everything was enhanced when I was younger. My senses were fiercely sharp. Everything was beautiful and curious, exciting and mysterious. There was so much to do, so much to see, so much to love. 

To quote some beautiful lyrics from The Birthday Massacre from their song "In This Moment":  

When I was younger  
The days all seemed to last  
So much longer  
But that was once upon a time ... 

Memory Lane 

Memory Lane. 

My grandad was a strong person too. He was quiet and somewhat reserved, but when I accidentally spilled something on the carpet, for example, all he needed to do was give me a look and that was enough to scare the shit out of me. I called it the “Panda Stare”. 

When I was very little my grandad would pick me up above the kitchen table and let me push the light that dangled over it. I used to love doing this. I’d push it back and forth while shouting “Swing, Swing!”. When I got a bit older and a bit too big for him to be picking me up anymore he used to hold my hands and I would stand on his feet. He would walk around the room with me like that for ages because it made me happy. 

He took me to watch trains pass by at a bridge just outside of Leeds city centre every Sunday afternoon. He would lift me up, so I could see over the bridge when a train was coming, and I used to gesture with my hand at the trains, miming at them to blow their horn. They always did because what sort of a monster wouldn’t do that for a child?   

There was one steam train that came out of Leeds at 3pm on Sundays. We always tried to ensure we were there around that time to see it. It was the only steam train that we knew of that was operational anymore in that area. It was a little green engine that we named “Smokey Joe”. I was obsessed with trains as a child and still enjoy them to this day, and planes. My grandad enjoyed both and talked to me a lot about them growing up, so I learned a lot more about trains and planes and how they work than anything else. 

I remember sitting on a plane once going to Ibiza with my Nan and Grandad and I was watching the TV screen onboard. They were about to do their safety spiel and I saw a CGI, animated plane on the screen. It glided majestically across the bottom and did a full 360-degree loop before coming to a stop at the right-hand side of the screen and disappearing. I turned to my grandad, gasped, and exclaimed; 

“Our plane isn’t going to do that is it!?” 

My grandad turned to me with a smile and said: 

“Well, I hope not” and continued browsing the magazine from the chair in front of him. Probably looking at what beer he was going to have. That was a reassuring response. 

Grandad bought a lot of Hornby train-sets and trains for me. It was amazing because I would always turn up at my Nan and Grandads house wondering if there would be a new train waiting for me up in the attic. We used to sit up in the attic and set different tracks up and get the trains running. When I was very young I would often call him the “Fat Controller” after the fat controller from Thomas the Tank Engine. I often found myself alone in the attic after calling him that, it was a mystery to me as to why. I was completely oblivious. You probably can’t call the character that anymore, it’s too politically incorrect. Maybe it should be the “Full Figured Controller” now or something. 

He was a real character and a bit of a rebel too. He bought me a cannabis lolly from a stall in Ibiza when my nan told him not to (I don’t think it had cannabis in it). He bought me a replica metal Luger pistol and put it in our suitcase for our flight home, even though my Nan told him not to. We went for a walk up a mountain in Ibiza and there was a sign in Spanish. We ignored the sign because Nan and me couldn’t read it. Eventually my Nan wondered what the sign further back said. My Grandad said; 

“It said something about not passing this point, dangerous cliff edges and rocks falling … something along those lines” 

Nan couldn’t believe that he understood it and just chose to ignore it. I could, because it’s exactly the thing he would do to amuse himself and me and wind Nan up further. 

Surely enough, we got around the corner to find a gaping hole in the side of the mountain with a 500-foot drop, so we had to turn back anyway. Grandad wanted to look up there and he was damned if he was going to let any big red warning signs get in his way. You must admire that level of rebelliousness I think. I mean that is pure dedication, risking your life and your family’s life just because you wanted to see what was up there. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it never seemed to kill him, thankfully. I get the impression he thrived on danger sometimes, like he got a kick out of it. Maybe adrenaline perhaps?

If you could work with anyone who would you work with?  

Hey all, 

I had the above question fired at me in response to my last blog post prompting people to ask me questions so I thought I would respond as a blog post as there is it's a pretty big question. 

Let's say that I was signed to some huge label like, I don't know, Sony for example. Somebody with the clout to get any guest appearances on an album I was working on. Who would I choose? 

Ed Sheeran would be one without a doubt. I see a lot of similarities between Ed and myself. He's like the more successful, ginger, version of me in a way. We both started off doing cheeky little acoustic songs and have both developed over the years. I love that Ed is bold enough to do whatever he wants, he's not afraid of being labelled as a pop star. His latest collaboration album shows that he's not afraid to be bold and experiment with a variety of genres which is something I can totally get behind. I never really know what Ed is going to come out with next but can guarantee it will be stuck in my head regardless of the genre. I think we would bounce some ideas around and come up with something really unique together. 

I used to be afraid of the "Pop" label and I get the feeling that maybe Ed was too in the past. I think it takes a real boldness to create whatever you want and not care about the labels or opinions. I stopped fearing the "Pop" label too and stopped forcing myself to do only one certain genre. It's liberating and keeps music fun, which is what it's all about at the end of the day. Why box yourselves in? 

(Worth noting that the comparisons I make between myself and any mentioned artists here are entirely subjective, I am not arrogant enough to put myself on the same level as them in any respect - just some similarities)

Mike Shinoda would definitely be another one. Mike has always been strikingly diverse musically too. He's another artists that keeps me on my toes with his songs. I always loved Linkin Park growing up but they lost me somewhere along the way. I can't figure out why, I guess their new music didn't really speak to me or I didn't really respond to it on a personal level anymore. Whatever the reason was, they were still incredible nevertheless throughout their whole career. I have to say though that "Post Traumatic" is one of my favourite musical ventures mike has done. It's refreshing to hear and experience life from his view rather than as part of Linkin Park. It also shows he is a highly talented and multifaceted musician, producer and writer in his own right and wasn't just feeding off the energy of Linkin Park but was actively enhancing it throughout their journey with his input. 

I Reckon me and Mike could really click together musically too. I love that he blends so many different genres into his music. Pop, Rock, Dubstep, Electronica ... There's a whole spectrum of musical techniques and ideas that he just manages to combine incredibly well. 

This is something I like to do too with my music. I will try anything musically, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but at least I gave it a shot. If something doesn't work, I usually find a way to make it work. I would definitely have to work with Mike, I often wonder what sort of crazy mash up we would make together given the opportunity.

This blog literally could go on forever if I go into this much detail for every artist so I will just round off with some brief Honourable Mentions: 

Poppy - Same as above really, she keeps me guessing and surprised every time she brings new music out which I admire. 

Eminem - Because, well, Eminem ... 

She Wants Revenge - Because I would have to harness that dark, eerie Gothic vibe they have going on and merge it with my style, that would be interesting. 

- Eqavox 

Music Promotion 

Hey all, 

Hope you are all doing good. 

I have recently really been attempting to promote my music more proactively than usual.

In the past, I have lacked the confidence to do so, but I have spent far too long seeing so many of my musical peers put the effort and time in and actually progress while I get left behind. 

I don't know whats more disheartening, watching your friends grow and progress to a level you wish you were at and mightily surpass you, or trying to promote your music only to face rejection 99% of the time. 

Below are a select few of the places I have reached out to in order to try to help me out:

  • BBC introducing 
  • Anrfactory 
  • Indiepulsemusic 
  • Submit hub - multiple submissions (100 submissions to different bloggers, reviewers, podcasters, broadcasters, twitch streams etc ...) 
  • Aurgasm 
  • Omarimc 
  • Radio Warwickshire 
  • Pop justice 
  • Label radar 
  • Indiemusicreview 
  • Gorillavsbear

This takes up a huge amount of time. Time I could be otherwise utilising towards making my next song instead. I do, however, understand that without promoting your music you are unlikely to progress. 

BBC Introducing have listened to my song but that doesn't necessarily mean they will play it. In fact, it's likely that they won't because they have never enjoyed any of my stuff. 

Submithub was 99% rejections. Rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection. The worst part of this was that I was paying good money just to be rejected too, literally pissing away money. 

I have given Facebook Advertising a chance and boosted my music video to "Heartbeat". 3 days down the line, money was being taken from my account but there were no likes, comments, shares or any interaction whatsoever. So I burned away even more money and achieved nothing. I cancelled the advert down eventually before they took more money from me for something I was gaining nothing from. 

I submitted "Heartbeat" to Monstercat only to be rejected by two of the labels they affiliate with thus far. 

Of my many emails I have sent out to local, independent radio stations I have had zero response. 

I am trying to find gig opportunities but find myself staring into the void because my music won't fit in in the majority of local venues. 

It's not all doom and gloom though. I have had some support from a number of people now. People who are sharing, retweeting etc. People who are playing my tunes on their online radio shows. I also have a radio interview later this month (More on that shortly). 

I never thought this would be easy but it is so easy to feel crushed when you are putting so much time into trying to make something of yourself only to feel like you are talking to the wind. 

I would like to thank the people who are supporting me though. There are many people I know who have been around for a long, long time now with me and I have also noticed some new supporters emerging. 

Your support means everything to me and I am by no means ungrateful. No amount of rejections could shadow your support or make me forget about you all. You are all the reason I carry on. 

Please, please help out and proactively listen to smaller, independent artists. It's exhausting work for them to try to promote their work, especially without any backing from anybody influential. We all need your help to spread the word about our music. 

I aim to keep at it, regardless of how it makes me feel. As I say, some positives are also coming of it so I aim to just stop focusing on the negatives so much. 

Thanks for taking the time to read, 

Eqavox

Submithub. 

Hey all, 

I recently signed up to a site called "Submithub" and thought I would sum up my experience here. 

For those that don't know, Submithub is a site where artists / bands can go and submit their music (at a cost) in order for it to be sent to bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, radio stations, music reviewers etc etc. 

I paid for a significant amount of credits. You then use these credits to get your music sent to various individuals of your choosing. You filter by genre to find the best people placed to promote the style of music your song is, at which point, you can then submit your tune to them. 

You use your credits you have purchased to submit the music to a variety of people. Some may have, for example, very established Spotify playlists with a large number of followers or a Youtube channel with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. 

The site itself is a brilliant idea in principal. You submit your tune, you control who the tune gets sent to and who listens to it all with the hope that your song will get some juicy promotion. Maybe it will get featured on their Youtube channel and help promote you?, Perhaps you will end up on a big Spotify playlist with thousands of listeners. 

Sounds great right? - but here's the thing - You are paying out money with no guarantee your music will get anything at all. You could be throwing money at this platform relentlessly and still get nowhere. 

The issue is that music is subjective. My latest single "Heartbeat" has so far been rejected by about 40 of the 100 people I sent it to. I am not bitter about it, we all have personal tastes and you do get some valuable feedback in some cases. In others though, you are just left feeling like your work is shit. 

These people are rated on the site. Submithub has got your back in that they let you know how good these people are at responding to submissions, how fast they respond, the ratio between songs they decline and approve, what their website / Spotify / Youtube engagement is like, if their traffic is consistent and legitimate etc etc. 

This is a brilliant tool because you don;t waste your time sending your music, lets say a dance track, to somebody who enjoys country music. It also ensures you have some semblance of power as to the selection process.

The premise itself is brilliant,but I am not convinced. These people are getting paid to listen to your song, consider it for addition to their playlist / channel / website or for review and provide some feedback (if that sort of thing is important to you). 

Some of the people take their role more seriously than others and provide reasonable and fair critique and feedback, the sort of stuff that has value in and of itself. Suggestions on how to improve moving forward ect but some don't have much to say and are clearly just in it for the money. People do often rate the feedback they get though and you can make your submission choices based on if they give good feedback or not because Submithub makes it public. 

I mentioned earlier that music is subjective and I have certainly found that to be the case here, I think this is why you need to take the feedback with a pinch of salt and not take their words too seriously. People often contradict each other because, you know, we are all humans with different brains and ears and minds and we know what we like and what we don't like and thats all good. However, I do think it would drive you mad if you because obsessive about their feedback. 

For example, some will say;

"This is a brilliantly clean mix", while others say "The mix sounds too muddy"

"I don't like the vocals, they are too processed and have too many effects on them", while others state, "I really like what you have done with the vocal effects" 

"The vocals feel very forced" while others say "The flow of the vocals are very natural and sit well in a mix" 

None of the above are right or wrong, it's just peoples opinions. 

Personally, I don't mind people criticising my music constructively but you do have to remember that that is just one persons opinion. Good or bad - there will always be people who like what you do, your style and how you mix, manipulate and create your tracks. There will always also be people that think everything you do is horrible or sounds messy, muddy, the mix is all over the place, the vocals don't sit right, the vocals aren't loud enough or are too loud, the drums should be louder, the drums are too loud, there are transients in the mix. 

There is no "Set" way to make music. No rules. I left my University course because they tried to make me do things in a certain way. Use certain softwares. Mix and master in a certain way. I didn't like or need that. I have got to the stage I am at on my own and have taught myself how to make, write, record, mix and master music from scratch and write songs too. 

So, if you do use Submithub. Take it with a pinch of salt as I am doing. 

It's disheartening having rejection after rejection of your song you worked hard on and love which is why I won't be using their service again unfortunately. 

I hope this provides some insight into what it's like promoting your music for struggling musicians such as myself. It always costs money and bares little fruit in return. 

Here are some examples of the feedback I got on "Heartbeat". Quite a variety here, some useful and generally very nice, some I could have done without. But you live and you learn. 

Here is the video / song if you haven't heard it so you can make up your own mind: 

- Eqavox.

Heartbeat. New Single.  

Hey all, 

Hope you are all well.

i woke up a while ago at 2 am with a melody in my head. I left the bedroom (so as not to wake up Michelle) and hummed it into my phone to record it. 

Then, some lyrics joined the melody the following day;

”I can feel your heart beat, feel your heart beat, feel your heart beat baby, as we dive into these car seats, down these dark streets”

”That would make some sort of catchy and sexy chorus”, I recall thinking.

Fast forward to a week later and here I am with the entire song written and recorded, mixed and mastered. 

Now I have a music video to that song and I’m really really excited to release it tomorrow (Saturday) - or later today really as it’s just turned midnight here.

The last few months have been torture mental health wise. I couldn’t have made it through without Michelle. I couldn’t have made it through without music either.

I haven’t been creating much but I’ve been listening to a lot of music to help me through the dark times. I just didn’t have the energy to record - I’ve been too anxious and depressed to even consider it which, in turn, was incredibly frustrating. 

I firmly believe wholeheartedly that I make my best work after the hard times are over and think “Heartbeat” is a prime example of that. 

If you like the song, just wait till you see the video to it 😧🤯. 

Im hoping to promote my music more heavily once I’ve recovered fully from everything that’s happened recently and have a radio interview scheduled for next month too (more in that later though) 😉.

The song is available digitally in most places now so do feel free to check it out please, share it around, tweet it etc and help me kick start the promotion ball rolling. 

Catch you shortly and take care 👍.

Eqavox

Autumn Leaves  

Why did you glide away like windborne seeds?, 

Who found themselves dancing on a gentle breeze, 

Drifting by swooning, crooning Acer trees, 

Flirting with fireflies and autumn leaves 🍁  

You sailed away callously on Atlantic oceans,  

Now we are exposed and broken like our hearts have frozen, 

You were meant to breathe and dream, because we had chosen,  

To put all of our trust in a moment so abruptly stolen.  

Why did you ride to us like a Trojan horse of thorns?, 

That charged fearlessly, dragging wild thunder storms, 

That woke us in the early hours of the dawn, 

A vision of a future that was already torn, 

The breeze became weary, she dwindles to a snooze 

The seed sinks from the sky like the drops of dew. 

Together, with time, we will see this through,  

I’m certain of that but the fact is it’s true 

  

That we’ll never get to see 

You flirt with fireflies or dance in the autumn leaves 🍁

Book Preview.  

I started to realise that some of the people on my Facebook are not looking out for me and started to even suspect certain people were out to get me. I eventually realised that these people are likely a select few of my colleagues who I never really wanted to accept in the first place but did so to keep faith with them. It’s like trying to disarm a King Cobra or remove the venom from its fangs with your bare hands. 

After the discarding of Facebook fakery, I have been enjoying the peace. I have been relishing in my new-found freedoms and have been able to be more open about my illnesses gradually. It’s taken a while. I’ve tried my best to ensure that there are only those I trust on Facebook now. 

A few nights ago, I was having trouble sleeping. I was thinking about how drained I am at pretending to be somebody I am not. Hiding who I am from the world. I thought about all the people I have on Facebook now and realised these were all people I don’t fear. They don’t make me feel intimidated or like they have some hidden agenda, I felt more comfortable. 

So, I stayed awake and wrote a blog post on my website. A blog post that defines me, who I am, what I am, what I am struggling with, what’s going on in my life and how I am dealing with my issues. It was less detailed than this book is, but basically broadcast that I have been sick for a long time and I am starting to recuperate. It was a way of asking people to bear with me while I focus on recovery. 

I opened Pandoras Box and felt a transitory sense of anxiety. My family weren’t mindful of my issues. Nobody on Facebook was aware. Nobody I worked with was cognisant of my problems other than management. 

I’d veiled it tremendously well, but I’d been overloaded while masquerading behind this facade. I didn’t want to camouflage anymore. So, I shared the blog post online. I felt myself relax as the mass on my shoulders was hauled off me. And with that relief, I glided into insentience, contented. 

I assumed I would feel frightened, apprehensive and exposed after being so honest, but I drifted off, like drowsy vapours across a dusty evening sky. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

I awoke, again with the aforementioned apprehension, 

To a multitude of notifications that instigated chronic tension, 

Do I look like I am only looking for pity or attention? 

Should I scour through the comments like it’s some sort of intervention? 

I try to get back the strength I had, though my skull is full of questions. 

Here I go again, feeding my anxious obsessions, 

Perhaps, I never should have mentioned anything in my reflections, 

I’ve singlehandedly stripped away all my outer layers of protection, 

And laid my self on unsympathetic, dark pavements after losing my direction. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

This is what I thought I would feel when I woke up. Some semblance of regret at ever having done it and, in truth, I did initially. I woke up criticising myself and expecting a sea of negativity, people telling me to man up or people telling me to just get over it. This was a concern even despite the careful screening and culling I had done on Facebook recently. But it was a short-lived concern. I am happy to say there was nothing but support from everybody and I was astounded by the amount of people who had struggled with similar issues and never spoken out about them. They just buried them away like I continuously did for so long. 

I realised how easy it is to overlook Anxiety and Depression from outside of someone’s life. This made me realise that nobody is ever going to notice and help or support you unless you are honest with them. We get comfortable and content with being concealed. 

To do this, you first need to be honest with yourself. Accept your issues. Admit you are not well. Accept yourself as you are. Speaking out to people who can assist, doctors, counsellors etc was the place I chose to start.

25/05/2019 - Fragile. 

Hi all.  

Apologies for the lack of music recently. Me and my missus had to move house in March as the landlord decided to sell up. We moved into another nearby village and ended up living next door to a mentally ill woman who was always shouting at herself angrily, banging around, blasting out music. Always watching when we left or cane back home and was often in a very close relationship with far far too much alcohol.  

Luckily, we managed to get out of the 6 month tenancy early and have moved again back to nearby where we used to live and are much more settled and happier.  

However, I haven’t managed to set up the studio yet or spend any time making tunes. I never really felt like doing music much at the old house, I was just on edge all the time and so was Michelle she the cat, Winston, so I was anything but inspired.  

Rest assured that when things finally settle down I endeavour to get back to making some more tunes for your ear holes.  

I also recently spent a couple of months in therapy after being diagnosed with Anxiety by the doctor. I explained how I had been feeling for as long as I can remember and it seems I have an ongoing anxiety disorder I have had for many, many years.  

I have accepted the fact I have been ill for a long time and took the plunge to get help. The doctor prescribed me some drugs. I had done time off work to recover and process things better and adjust to the initial side effects.  

I prescribed myself some therapy. I was seeing a counsellor at regular intervals throughout the past 2 months. I’m feeling stronger now and much more stable mentally. I have good and bad days though and I’m still pretty fragile - there’s a lot of ups and downs and life keeps throwing shit at us but I have to remember that we always find a way through them somehow.  

When it is time, my studio will be set back up again and I can get back to doing what I love. As you can see from this blog post - everything has been very up in the air.  

I’m glad I acknowledged I was ill. I’m glad I’ve accepted and made my peace with that. I’m glad I’m proactively working towards a better future. I’m glad I have an extremely supportive girlfriend and a cat (who couldn’t care less but provides me with immense comfort anyway).  

Maybe one day I won’t be sick anymore.  

I have also started writing a book in my spare time and have made significant progress with it. It seems ike a very honest and engaging read highlighting issues I’ve experienced throughout life - the impact that has had on me and has advice thrown in on how I am changing my life and taking back control.  

I am hoping I will finish that one day and self publish it and I’m really hoping it will help people and provide a different take on the “self help” book genre.  

🐻 with me - I’ll be back as soon as I can.  

Much love ❤️  

Ryan (Eqavox)

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