CERUMENTRIC is now 9 Years old, and I forgot all about it

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As my wife knows about me, I have a terrible sense of time. I’ve been so busy editing the new song, making some art, and doing an outline of my next write-up, alongside preparing meals and making sure the kids don’t get into any trouble, that I forgot yesterday’s significance:

September 26, 2015 is the ninth year since I took a few drumloops, cut samples using the free audio editor Audacity, decided to make electronic music and call this bedroom act CERUMENTRIC to deal with a painful tinnitus that lasted for two months. I was never expecting anything except to amuse a few friends and entertain my wife and son. Two full lengths and a some EP’s and singles later, I did not anticipate it getting nominated for awards, getting positive reviews, or performing alongside some of Manila’s best indie musicians. We even did self-financed mini-tours across and outside the Metro. It was a lot of fun being on the road.

To be honest with you, there are times when I wish I could just throw in the towel, call it a day, and make my life less complicated. Not that I’ve stopped finding joy in making music under this moniker, but it has its own blessings and curses.

I will reiterate: Off-kilter experimental synthpunk songs with English lyrics about existential dilemmas are not supposed to come from a stocky ‪#‎Filipino‬ stay-at-home freelancing artist dad from the southern outskirts of ‪#‎Manila‬. If it doesn’t follow the ‪#‎OPM‬ blandplate and there are no ‪#‎hugot‬ romantic lyrics about young love or nationalistic ‪#‎Tagalog‬ lyrics set to a danceable beat, then it doesn’t and shouldn’t exist because it will be ‪#‎burgis‬ and ‪#‎sosyal‬ and ‪#‎antiFilipino‬ and doesn’t contribute to ‪#‎FilipinoCulture‬. Your music career in the ‪#‎Philippines‬ is practically screwed unless you have external funding. As the pedestrian creature would tell us, “Walang mass-appeal ‘yan!” (That doesn’t have mass appeal!)

But I’m not doing this for money. I earn a living as a freelance writer and graphic artist. There are easier ways to make money. I’m doing this because it gives me meaning. There are still tons of musical ideas in my head that I haven’t tried. My gear is still slowly falling apart, but we’ve managed to get this far with this makeshift musical contraption despite the odds.

Perhaps I’ll quit next year on CERUMENTRIC’s 10th anniversary. Just maybe, I’ll change my mind again, like I do every other year, because something comes up and another strange circumstance grabs me by the collar and shakes me, telling me to stop being a fool. But I’ve been on this fool’s errand to a musical rabbit hole for years now, and I’ve somehow gotten used to this, that I just can’t imagine life without it. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening to the music, thank you for believing, thank you for riding along with the changes, and you know who you are because there’s not a lot of you, really.

Suddenly Clueless Blogger

I have a confession to make. I am Mr. Suddenly Clueless Blogger and I honestly have no idea what exactly to blog about, other than that I am an underpaid songwriter/musician trying very hard to enlarge his audience for the past five years. Other bloggers have advised that ‘honesty is the best policy’, but it only opened up more questions for me. How honest exactly? What should I be honest about that you, as a reader who might be interested in the life of a practically unknown musician living in the Philippines, would want to read and follow up on?

OK, maybe I should treat this entry like an introduction, as if I’m talking in front of a crowd. I engage in public speaking from time to time, something I wasn’t initially inclined to do because I am an introverted person forced to behave like an extrovert because of socio-economic pressures. Here goes:

My name is Erick A. Fabian Sr. I prefer to be called Erick because that was what my mother called me since I was small, even if my full name is Frederick. I don’t feel like a ‘Frederick’, I feel like an ‘Erick’ and that’s what most people call me now. I’m way past my mid-30’s now. It makes me feel old because I got old too early. The responsibility for my younger brothers fell on me at a young age when most kids at 10 years old concerned themselves with school and having friends and video games and robot cartoons. I did not have much of that growing up because my family could not afford a new TV. I watched TV in my grandma’s house, which was the one facing the main road in the old family compound.

I am happily married to a smart, strong, beautiful, and supportive wife and we have two boys. The younger one is currently 8 months old and I am the one staying at home to care for the kids while my wife juggles several consulting jobs. Yes, I’m an enlightened husband who does not care about traditional gender roles and I am not insulted or offended when people call me sensitive. I may look like I can beat up any person my size who pisses me off, but I’m quite a softie. I find it hard to say no when somebody begs for my help, even if I don’t necessarily like that person.

Other things you might consider before engaging me and my art:

1. I am a secular humanist and I am skeptical of religion and supernatural claims. I don’t go out of my way to disagree with people, but the moment they use their religious beliefs to compel me to do things that they find acceptable, then we have a problem. That includes using religious beliefs to influence public policy and law-making. I support a fully secular society that does not give favors to ANY religious group, whether that group is the majority or minority. Public good should be based on a neutral view that includes all members of a society.

2. I am against homophobia, sexism, racism, and any form of unjust prejudice, and I support LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, even if I am a ‘straight ally’.

3, I am very passionate about my music, so you will get to read about my musings and first-hand experiences as a gigging musician and producer.

4. I come from a low-income blue collar background, but because of university, and my earlier predilection for reading, I highly value intellectual discourse but hate flowery language. I love polite language, though, and I would advise people to learn how to speak politely.

5. While I have been aspiring to become a professional musician since I was 13, I wasn’t always active in music. The past 12 years or so were spent doing the following: writing/journalistic work, graphic design, computer tech support, sales supervisor for a defunct cellphone store chain, a Tower Records staff, project manager for a government-owned corporation, fine dining restaurant waiter, recording engineer, producer, event organizer, speaking engagements, etc.

Having taken that out of the way, here’s to more future posts about my life and viewpoints. Thank you very much for reading.

SUNSET DAYDREAM: A Summer Mixtape

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The CERUMENTRIC track “There Goes The Floor” is featured in this summer mixtape by Ian Urrutia of Vandals On The Wall, a music blog featuring quality indie music from the Philippines. Download for free via this link.

SUNSET DAYDREAM: A Summer Mixtape.