Nov 1, 2017
In a 50 dollar a month rental studio, Chris Hoogewerff talks quitting his day job to pour himself into music. This guy has a calmness and a realness we can all learn from. In the bay area and need a musician? Book him.
by no gradient
The public schools do a really good job trying to make all the instruments no one actually wants to play the first ones they pick up. No offense to the flutes, clarinets, and the French horns, but otherwise, everybody would be playing saxophone, trumpet, guitar.
I decided I wanted to switch, and I picked up the sax over Christmas break, and I just brought that to my band class when we came back. I didn't ever really talk to the instructor. I just carried that one instead of the clarinet, switched seats, and that was my first memory really enjoying the music.
The only serious practice I did was to just play along with the radio, and I would do that for hours, never really working on the things that I should have been.
When I decided I wanted to make a career out of this, and make this what I do with my life, I really made the decision that it's time to actually do the work, not just do the fun things that I like to do that are in my comfort zone.
I've just started saying, “No, I play music.”.
It just jumped out at me, it hit me in the face that I wanted to play music. I didn't wanna spend time doing other things.
I got so sucked into that. We did things like businessman competitions, and we were in the news, and it felt like we were doing something super cool, but honestly, we hardly made any transactions.
I didn't really care about the outcome anymore... It was more about getting through the day to day at that point, than trying to see this app and this company through, and I think that was a big red flag for me.
I think we set expectations for a culture that we wanted...we wanted to work on projects that deserved to exist in the world. We wanted to have meaningful work. I think I'll take credit for that.
I don't wanna get too much into it, but generally it means, most of my body hurts most of the time.
It was around the same time that I started developing this really strong drive to play music, and to play music more and make that a bigger part of my life. And so I just didn't have time to do my full time job and do it well.
I wanted to continue working. I wanted to play music. I didn't actually have the expectation that music was gonna be something I'd be doing full time though.
I was a little crazy about it. I think I made a giant thing of chilli once a week, and that's all I ate.
And so it was just easy for me to, instead of putting most of my paycheck away into paying off debts, I'd just put in the bank and tuck it away. That became my safety net. I didn't have to have an income source when I quit my job.
My expectations were that I would quit, come close to running out of my money, and then look for a real job again.
Major milestones for my musical career happened this summer. And these big music festivals. We played at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Just all these things that I wouldn't have dreamed of doing so quickly.
I had just started going to as many of the jam sessions, and as much of the music scene as I could. These are like networking events that actually, are worthwhile.
One of the musicians in the Afrolicious family was at this jam session and they were looking for a horn player around the same time, and it just kind of worked out. It was just one of those putting myself in the right place at the right time kind of situations.
I got into music because, what really compelled me to do it, to invest my life into it, is seeing the way it can impact people's lives, and how you can make people feel things so much more dramatically than anything else I've seen.
We had these conversations together about what I wanted to be doing with my time, with my life, with our time, it was never really a question. It was just do what you want, and we'll figure it out. That was a huge help to have somebody else with the idea, or the delusion that it was okay to do this.
I think we're going through a pretty dark time right now.
Politically, environmentally, socially, there's a lot of darkness out there in the world right now, and it's been pretty tough for me to deal with that...And so it seems crazy not to do something like this at this point, because I feel that there's so little certainty about anything anyways right now, that why wouldn't you try to do what you love.
I was in a really fortunate, and privileged position to be able to quit my job and do something like this, but there's a lot of people who have kids that are depending on them, or are paycheck to paycheck, and it's a much more challenging thing for me to wrap my head around that. If that were the case, I think it would have probably been a lot different for me.
If you're sitting at a desk, cashing a good paycheck every month doing something you don't wanna do, and you do have flexibility, financially then it just seems crazy to keep doing that, because there's so little certainty with everything else. At least you can have certainty in the fact that you're trying something that you wanna be doing.
I really do believe that if more people did what they wanted to be doing in their lives, that we’d have a whole lot less to worry about as a society. I think it's not people who are doing what they love to do every day who are burning the world down.
If we had enough people just living life how they wanted to, spending time how they wanted to, we'd be living in a much different place.