We had the good fortune of connecting with v394 and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi v394, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
For me it’s hard to not make stuff. If I go a day or two without making music or visual art, I feel a little lost or like I’m just taking without giving. I don’t want to have a one-sided relationship with art where I’m a passive receiver. Also, this might sound dumb but there’s a lot of bad art out there, so why shouldn’t I throw some of mine onto the pile? I like the stuff I make, so that’s enough reason for me. In the end, I wouldn’t even say that I’m purposely pursuing an artistic or creative career, I’m just trying not to be bored or boring.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I write, record, produce, and sing on my songs. I also make all the visual art for my music, like on my songs “Heat” and “Clarity.” Besides doing all that and making music that’s pretty alright, what makes me different than other musicians is not necessarily something good or something that I even like to talk about. I have a pretty bad hearing impairment where my eardrums don’t work correctly. I really can’t hear sound above a moderate decibel level and even slightly loud sounds hurt. I have ways of mitigating the pain and discomfort, but it’s basically something I deal with all the time. So yeah, I guess that’s a challenge I have to constantly overcome. I occasionally wonder why I chose to go into music considering all that, but there’s just something about making music that gives me a feeling I can’t get any other way.
On a less negative note, most people are surprised to hear that I was raised on Santa Catalina Island. You know, that weird little place with bison and all that. After 18 years of being stranded on that little island, I went to Stanford, where I really got into making music. Studying music and making a lot of songs there really opened up my creative world, which is why I make music across so many genres.
Speaking of, what I’m most excited about is all the music I have ready to release. It’s a little ridiculous but I’ve resorted to tracking all my finished music in an Excel file. At the moment I have about 50 songs finished, and another 50 that are pretty close to being done. And then there’s another 150 instrumentals that just need vocals. So look out for the billion songs I’ll be releasing every year from now until the end of time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ah, so many places. I like eating way too much so we would hit up a bunch of restaurants. In San Diego, we’d get a lot of tacos at Coal Bros Taqueria, specifically the Black Al Pastor tacos because they’re great. Check out Fortunate Son for the best Americanized Chinese food I’ve ever had and order basically all the chicken dishes: Orange Chicken, Kung Pan Chicken, and Chicken Wings.
Maybe we venture up to Oceanside and walk the ridiculously long pier before going to Dija Mara for the amazing Pork Belly Skewers and Parlor Doughnuts for dessert.
If we were to keep working our way up the coast, I’d probably take any friends to visit Catalina Island. We’d do all the tourist stuff like go to the back side of the island, see some bison, have a beach entirely to ourselves, and then obviously eat too much again at a place like The Naughty Fox, which has a great burger.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When it comes to music, I’ve had the fortune of meeting a lot of talented vocalists. I sometimes sing on my songs when I can’t easily find someone else to do it, but a lot of my soon-to-be released songs feature great singers performing the vocals I’ve written for them. So, big shoutout to all of them.
When I’m not losing money as a musician/artist, I make a living as a copywriter. In my career, there have been a few people that changed my life by giving me a chance when nobody else would.
One of them was a guy named Jd who I talked to for a few minutes at some industry events. I met him at a time when I was considering quitting my job because I didn’t like the type of thing I was working on, and I couldn’t picture myself doing it for the rest of my life. I talked to him and we just had a genuinely good time chatting. For whatever reason, he believed in me and what I could do. And he ended up giving me a job working on stuff I really enjoyed. Without him, I don’t know where I would be or what I’d be doing.
The second person was Tyler, who I met while interviewing for a role that was basically a dream job. I didn’t get the position I interviewed for, but Tyler gave me a different opportunity at the company. That changed my life and led to the best job I’ve ever had.
Without both Jd and Tyler, I’d have a completely different life. I really appreciate the opportunities they gave me.