More shots of downtown Knoxville

I was able to get a few more practice shots in yesterday. This time, my photographer friend David Bridges let me borrow and test out a wide angle lens for the first time. I think I managed to grab some pretty cool shots. Let me know what you think! Definitely open to constructive criticism as well.

Getting into photography

I’ve always been fascinated with photography… I love how one still image can capture so many powerful emotions. If done correctly, it can tell a complete story by itself. Or, it can simply serve as a reminder of the beauty in the world around us. With that said, I bought a Canon Rebel T5i a few months back, and I’m just starting to use it. Now I’m addicted. I’ve made a few stops with it this week and took a few pics that I’m really proud of. The one that sticks out to me the most though is this one:

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I was walking around downtown Knoxville on my lunch break just looking for interesting things and taking some practice shots. I walked through the beautiful courtyard outside of the courthouse and sat down at one of the benches there to take it all in for a moment and figure out what was most interesting to me there. This statue is at the center of attention in front of one of the main entrances. I’d walked past it countless times without really paying much attention to it, but with camera in hand, it took on a whole new meaning to me. Patriotic symbolism and solemn focus stand out, and the color contrast with the background make this an awesome work of art.

It was fun seeing the area of town I walk past all the time through a “new lens,” and I’m looking forward to doing the same at other spots around town.

Back in the swing of things…

I’ve finally got some good news! The inspiration is back and I’m working on a few musical ideas with my good friend, Justin West. He’s laid down several rough guitar tracks for me to track drums and bass to and get some vocals going. Thus, the project is in its very earliest stages, but I’m excited to finally get back on track with music and apply some of the things I’ve been learning as far as recording goes.

As always, a huge thank you goes out to everyone interested in following my work and for being here, reading this post. I can’t wait to see how these songs turn out!

I’ve been neglecting this part of me for far too long…

I started a new job a few months ago and since then I’ve drifted away from all of these creative endeavors that I was pursuing… I seem to have entered a phase where I’m largely uninspired. I still dabble in writing music every now and then, but I haven’t really worked on completing a full song in quite a long time. I guess it all kind of started when I released the EP in October. I rushed it out before I should have. I had spent so long working on those four songs that I just wanted everyone to hear, even though I knew they weren’t really ready to be out in the public. The mixing quality is sub-par and a reflection of my amateur attempts to convey my abilities in a recorded medium. I had no idea what I was doing throughout the majority of the process. I do not have a seasoned ear when it comes to recording music. The levels are all off; and it was difficult for me to tell in my home studio due to sub-par speakers and again, a lack of knowledge. I took my work to some professionals that I trust and listened to my work through a proper setup and it was quite awful. I could instantly hear how muddy and confusing all the noise was.

Don’t get me wrong, I did appreciate the constructive feedback, and it was extremely helpful. For a time, I took the advice I was given and started from scratch in remixing the songs that I had made. But eventually I just became very demoralized for some reason. I guess I felt like I had put in over 5 years of work into these four songs for nothing. 5 years spent on this and it turned out sounding so bad… how much more time was I going to have to invest before I was happy with these songs?

Now that I think about the whole situation though, it’s all really just a test of my fortitude as an individual, and my ability to weather the storm. Perhaps I should leave the songs from my Awake EP in the past to serve as a reminder to never release music until I know that I will be happy for other people to hear it. I think that was the biggest lesson learned from my first major mistake as a musician. Now I’m just looking to move on to pursue new musical objectives.

Anyway, I’m done with the depressing part of the post now. I really just needed to get that off of my chest and let those who care know why I’ve been neglecting sharing my work for the past few months. Thank you all for your support, and know that I am not giving up! I’m just taking a little break until the inspirational phase finally kicks back in for me. It has always come and gone for me; it’s just on a bit of an extended vacation right now!

Also, just as a little end note, I’m thinking of expanding the site’s name to “Flagasun Studios.” That way it can kinda encompass all of my creative works and also create a bridge for me to eventually use my website to serve as a contact point for some freelance video editing work, among other things. Times and tastes are changing, so we’ll see what the future brings!

Behind the Lyrics, Pt. 1: “Awake”

In October, I posted the lyrics to the songs featured on my “Awake” EP to build up interest in the music leading up to the release on October 28th. But I’ve decided to go a step further than that; I want to also try to shed some light on the meaning behind the words in these songs, or at least what I was thinking as I wrote them. That’s something I wish more of my favorite artists would do, so I thought I would do that for anyone interested in that type of thing. Anyway, here’s the first verse in “Awake”:

Trees form the canopy

Straight lines in front of me

Normally they stray my path

Dear God, I wish they hadn’t

I’ll preface this paragraph with the revelation that the whole song is basically about my songwriting process in a metaphorical way. Trees have always been a source of inspiration for me. I am especially at peace on a cool, breezy day watching the trees sway back and forth, serving as an indicator of an approaching storm.  The “Trees” I’m referring to in the first line embody my sense of creativity.

The “Straight lines” at the beginning of the second line are the path laid out before me by conventional music theory and previous musical instructors that I’ve had over the years, who often teach similar practices in terms of chord progressions that sound good to the common ear and other things of that nature. These common practices tend to lead musicians to revert to them, because they are tried and true methods of producing major “hits” and chart-toppers, and thus, they “stray my path” from being unique. The final line vents my frustration with this dilemma.

I’ve walked a lonely road

How dare you say that I am no one

I beg to differ

If only I could resist her

I would be free…

I have no siblings, and I’m quite introverted. I think that’s why I’ve found comfort in writing songs by myself, and this is the “lonely road” referred to. The two lines that follow that are just me wanting to prove myself in the musical realm. And I feel most free when my mind is clear enough to focus solely on writing music.

I lie awake and find (x3)

Another one is missing

When I wrote this song several years ago, I had some issues with falling asleep most of the time. I would lie awake for hours at times, just thinking of certain melodies and playing them over and over in my head until they sounded right. The “missing” lyrics would eventually come to me, and then I could finally rest.

Music is a vital part of my life, both as a listener and a producer. I think this song represents my nature as a perfectionist and my drive to learn how to make my dreams happen one step at a time.

Here are the lyrics all together:

Verse:

Trees form the canopy

Straight lines in front of me

Normally they stray my path

Dear God, I wish they hadn’t

I’ve walked a lonely road

How dare you say that I am no one

I beg to differ

If only I could resist her

I would be free…

Chorus:

I lie awake and find (x3)

Another one is missing

New EP, Awake, Released Today!

Today, after almost 5 long years of work, I have finally released my alternative rock EP, “Awake.” Between college, a job, relationships, and learning much about the recording equipment and software that I have and trying to fine tune each part of every song pretty much completely on my own, it took me much longer than I had originally anticipated to get some music out featuring my vocals. But the moment has finally come, and I’m extremely happy! You can listen to it all here:

https://flagasun.bandcamp.com/album/awake

Now that’s it’s out, there’s still a lot of work to be done: videos, promotion, and maybe even a live show or two sometime in the future! I’ll keep you guys updated, for sure.

“Awake” Lyrics

As promised, here are the lyrics for the title track from my upcoming EP release!

“Awake”

Verse:

Trees form the canopy

Straight lines in front of me

Normally they stray my path

Dear God, I wish they hadn’t

I’ve walked a lonely road

How dare you say that I am no one

I beg to differ

If only I could resist her

I would be free…

Chorus:

I lie awake and find (x3)

Another one is missing