Abstrakt.Digital Nomadship: Living In NYC, Rome & Kauai
December 28, 2019
The post below is a combination of different posts related to each other. I have combined them in sequence so you don’t have to hop around the website 🙂
You may have read in another entry on this blog that one of my biggest creative challenges for the longest time was finishing music, and matching the vision I had for my music journey with reality. At one point, I (foolishly) stopped making music for almost 10 years to “Work on a business that some day would allow me the freedom to make music or do whatever I want”. I say foolishly, because I now know there is ALWAYS time to pursue both your passions and work goals. The real reason I stopped making music in actuality is because it was the easiest way out of self doubt for me, as all doubts such as “do I have what it takes, or do I just SUCK?” would automatically go away if I just STOPPED.
Also, this dilemma in my my head was going on in the late ’90s, when at age 22 I started my own freelance graphic design business. So I was young, wingin’ it with no direction, and definitely had no concept of what it meant to consciously set goals and drawing a path towards achieving those goals.
The irony of this “excuse” that I told myself in order to stop making music is… It became a subconscious goal that directed all my future decisions, and in time I found myself doing exactly what I set out to do: I built a business that gives me the freedom to be anywhere, and the ability to adjust my schedule to prioritize both work and passion. Years after it was written, I read Tim Ferris’ “The Four Hour Work Week”, which resonated with me in every which way because, again, wingin’ it, I had done pretty much everything he talked about in that book in the 10 years prior. I never tied myself down to a location with employees, and always hired remotely, and built an online business that required no in person interaction.
The point I’m trying to make though is not that i’m particularly intelligent and predicted a future of lifestyle entrepreneurship, actually a bit of the opposite might be true: I’m kind of a big procrastinator, and some of my big Ah-HA! moments came from “I’m too lazy to do all this work, there has to be a better way”. However, I’m convinced that all the decision that led to my current life started from that lie I told myself: “I have to stop making music, because I have to work on creating a business that some day will give me the freedom to work on music”. That statement makes no sense to me now, since I have always had an online business, and I have always had the time to make music. In fact, back then i was probably putting a good 2-3 hours a day playing videogames like Quake and Fifa, if I replaced my video game time with music time I’d probably be some kind of virtuoso right now 🙂 🙁
In the past ten years I have had quite a few things in my personal life fall apart, and also had to make peace with some events that happened earlier in my life, and I embarked on a journey of self improvement and self development. I found myself really reading lots about spirituality, purpose, and “goal setting” which is my preferred way of describing “Manifestation”. One of my adult-lifelong struggles is that life events out of my control forced me to have to move to the US when I was 14, and have always lived away from my Italian family, relatives and friends. Also, some of my dearest friends from Florida moved to Hawaii in the early 2000’s.
When I moved to New York City, I fell in love with living there. However, my friends were in Kauai (an island which i fell in love with instantly after visiting), and my family and friends were in Italy. I started to really explore the likelihood and practicality of living in different places and at least experiencing them long enough to then decide in what capacity I wanted to be where.
This lead me to move from New York City in December 2018 to Rome, Italy, with the intention to live in Rome most of the year. However out of nowhere, while visiting friends in Kauai, I had an opportunity I could not say no to take a house there. So this led to my current situation, which is splitting time between Kauai and Italy, and for now putting aside New York as it turns out living in too many places brings other sets of challenges I am finding out.
The entries below are from the time all the above developed in the past year, combined in one entry. There is no real lesson here, it is me sharing my experience but maybe you can get something out of it 🙂
Original Post Date: July 8, 2018
Decided to live in Italy half the year & sold mad gear for the first time
Today I dropped a bit of a bomb to my friends and some co-workers by announcing that I intend to transition out of full time NYC living, into part time US, part time Italy.
There are a couple of factors at play, the main one being that I have been fortunate enough to build a business that allows me the freedom to work anywhere, and I always did that for two reasons:
1) I wanted to design a life and career that at some point would allow me to live close to the people I care the most about in this world, my family in Italy ;
2) A business that would allow me to have the freedom to work on my creative projects. Don’t get me wrong, I still work. A LOT. I bet I work a lot more than you beeeatch! The thing is , I love my digital marketing business in a parallel way to how i love my music.
So I want to be close to my family. Also my landlord is selling the building I live in New York, so it seems like i gotta get the “fuck out” anyway!
It’s just ironic how life works. I returned from Europe after telling my family in Italy that I would be working to live part time of the year there starting in 2019, and the day I returned I am told by my landlord that MY DAYS ARE COUNTED anyway! Lol
This is all in line with my manifest plan of some day living part time of the year in Italy, part time New York, and part time Kauai, so it’s all good.
What has NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IS… Half of my studio is on eBay! I am basically selling everything except for (at this time) my Virus TI2, my NordLead 2, Moog Sub 37, Roland TR8-S, Roland TB-03. Planning on keeping some gear in NYC for when I return, and some in Italy for when I’m there. This is major for me, i have never sold any music gear before really. Seems like a huge step, but the truth is that it feels very liberating. My goal is to work on a Live Abstrakt.Digital performance anyway, so I’m actually looking into a more “portable” setup, and probably going to pull the trigger on a Push 2 once I get overseas. Stay tuned!
Original Post Date: December 10, 2018
Left New York City! Living in Rome
The past year has been a roller coaster, a lot of exciting things have happened, however I have been planning to spend more time closer to my family in Italy, and I really made this decision final while traveling thru Europe this summer. I moved to the States in the early 90s, so this is a big decision, facilitated by the fact that at some point in the next year I would have had to move out of my place in Brooklyn. I sold a bunch of gear, sold all my furniture, have some stuff in storage in a 6×6 unit in NYC and…. I’m in Rome now!
My life is really really back to basics at the moment, I have gotten a small place in the heart of Rome, but it has felt like a huge accomplishment making this happen. I love New York City and for work reasons I have to spend at least some time of the year in the States, so for now my ideal plan would be 6 months in Europe and 6 months in the US. Not sure where, but my motorcycle is still there, a bunch of music gear and personal items are still there lol, I’ll be back there in the spring and figure it out.
I brought with me the following pieces of kit:
Access Virus TI 2 Polar
Akai APC40 Mk2
In storage in NYC I have my Nordlead 2, Moog Sub37 and a Juno 106 plus my guitars.
So this is my life now 😉 Happy Holidays from Italy, ciao
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On my way to Rome in the VIP lounge at Airport (don’t be too impressed im flying Norwegian!)… packing some serious gear heat in that #AccessVirus gigbag, not to mention my backpack… security is going to suck!!! My “on the road” studio setup for next 2 months: #VirusTi2 #RolandTr8s #rolandtb03 #ermmulticlock #macbookpro #ipadpro2018 #3iPhones ? … and enough cables to open up a pop up RadioShack ?
Original Post Date: December 28, 2018
Working on my Miami Music Week live set from Italy
As if my move from Brooklyn to Rome was not stressful enough, my good friend and Dissident Music label boss Noel Sanger invited me (ordered me!?) to play a live show in Miami at the Dissident Music showcase in March.
Playing a live show is on my bucket list for a really really long time, and only one thing has prevented me from doing a live performance so far: I have not had music to play live! 😛 Or not music I thought anybody should hear may be another way to phrase that.
Regardless, as exciting as this proposition is, I really don’t have enough music finished on my Abstrakt.Digital project to play a 45 minute set, I’m short a track I think, plus 2 of the tracks I would play are not really finished completely, so this is going to be a lot of work. Once it’s done though… then it’s done!
I currently feel like I have been asked to give a speech naked in a room full of people, so will need to take some steps to build some confidence about this music and get my shit together!
I bought a Push 2 and plan on using that a controller for my set, maybe use a synth as well. Need to figure out the details but I’ll probably write a post about how i ended up setting the performance…
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I have been quiet, but BUSY! Will be spending half my time in Italy this year, getting ready to make this US > Italy leap was no easy task but it’s done!Was fortunate to find an amazing little space in the heart of Rome, and have been getting it setup past couple of weeks and it’s pretty much there. Tonight I have started building my studio up and I’m pretty stoked on my current setup! Left a few synths behind in NYC but im in a pretty minimal stage of my life at the moment, “less is more” is for sure my vibe right now. I really only brought my Virus TI2, my Roland TR8-S, and the TB-03. I bought myself a Ableton Push 2 (where has this thing been all my life? I love it!) and a AKAI APC 40 Mk2 cause my APC in NYC died. I have a place in Rome and a place outside in the country side im going to be spending half the week in, and there I have two newly purchased Focal Shape 50 monitors, so I’ll be turning it up there and will start preparing my live set which I plan on launching in 2019. Will likely break up this setup into two and bring my synths there. Stay tuned as I’ll document all this, and happy new year everyone!
Original Post Date: March 3, 2019
Never a dull moment: Unexpectedly moving to Kauai in 3 weeks
2019 is really turning into a NEVER A DULL MOMENT year… Or maybe simply the biggest manifestation year of my life so far!
I returned to the States in mid February for work commitments as well as my show in Miami at the end of March, and almost immediately I started feeling like in order to sustain this back and forth lifestyle from Italy I would need to have a US based place as well.
This is not really that big of a change of plans, part of my leaving for Europe was because I would have had to move out of my NYC place soon anyway so I took the opportunity to setup my Italian base there, however upon returning the thought of dropping $3k+ on an apartment in NYC where I do not plan on living full time was not very appealing or practical.
Since I was on the West Coast in San Diego at a digital marketing conference, I took the opportunity to go visit my Ohana in Kauai (Hawaii), which is a really special place for me where I have always planned to live at… SOME DAY. I just never thought it would be now!
To make a long story short… I’m moving here right after my Miami live show! This was a unique opportunity I could not pass up, it alters my plans for how long i’d spend in Italy however it also matches my overall plan.
I have a little journal I have been doing various goal setting exercises in over the years, and the constant “ideal setup” in all these notes has always been “Living in Rome, Kauai, and New York City”. It is so ironic that the only reason i’m able to take this place in Kauai, is because I already made the difficult step of getting rid of all my furniture and most of my possessions in order to get to Rome! And I had made the intentional decision to get a small place in Rome that was not too expensive in order to not overextend myself, and it was a little humbling but now that decision has put me in the position of being able to actually have the two places. All this manifesting is exhausting, but also real exciting
I also had a vision quest with my two bros during an overnight adventure and played them my music, and it was a pretty magical experience to be staring at the ocean by a fire listening to my tracks fill the air with my friends’ approval. I posted about this on my IG, I’ll embed the post below…
I feel like Kauai will also be a really inspiring place to make music in, and the property i’m taking over is just an amazing remote setup, i can’t wait.
So YEAH. I will be living in Kauai in a few weeks… After this Live show, I have another BIG bucket list item in my “to do in this lifetime” list: SURFING!!!! I’m already feeling the stoke of a new challenge coming up 🙂 Aloha!
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Had a surreal experience two nights ago camped out by a fire staring at the ocean under one of the most beautiful stellar skies seen anywhere on earth… I premiered for my two bros one of my new tracks I’ll be playing @abstrakt.digital in Miami end of this month called “Dream Sequence” I recently finished. Aside from the magic of the moment to hear my music in that incredible surrounding with my two brothers, it really struck me as one of the ultimate manifestations that I had designed the sleeve art months ago with that same exact visual as what I was seeing when I heard this song for the first time in open air. I love this island so much, I plan on calling it home some day. I actually already do ? . . If you feel like checking it out the track: https://soundcloud.com/abstrakt-digital/dream-sequence #hawaii #kauai #music #musicproduction
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Do any of my #musician friends have a morning meditation routine? I always try to meditate before a music production / writing session (HeadSpace is my go to app), but I will admit a few months of heavy traveling have gotten in the way of my morning routine… Had a pretty heavy spiritual experience staring at the ocean and the skies a few nights ago on the South Shore of #Kauai, and made an intention to meditate daily leading to my March 26 Miami live show ?? . Any app suggestions? #meditation #meditate #headspace #hawaii #app #kauailife