What would this look like if it were easy?

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What would this look like if it were easy? - Electronic music duo The Love Tectonic are travelling the roads of Europe while they make their dreams come true. But what happens when self doubt takes hold, mozzies make your life a misery or you forget your passport when trying to leave the country?! Click through to find out and be inspired to follow your dreams too! - www.thelovetectonic.com

Hello, hello and how are you today? I hope you are amazingly well 🙂 Things have been a bit quiet on the blog recently, mainly because I made myself believe that it was a difficult task.

What would this look like if it were easy? That’s the question that I keep coming back to at the moment. I think, historically, we (Bryn and I) have a habit of making things as complicated as we possibly can for ourselves. Let’s bite off more than we can chew, shall we? Nope. Not anymore.

What would this look like if it were easy? That’s become my new mantra. It’s not my own [are anyone’s ideas really their own?? I’m sure most people’s ‘original’ ideas have been inspired by, and often just nicked from, another’s] - I got this particular nugget from the book ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss. It’s essentially a way to re-frame any task. Anytime something seems too difficult, or is getting really complicated, or you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount to do… just stop and ask yourself: “What would this look like if it were easy?”.

Recently I’ve had to apply this maxim to the blog. It was started to become a chore. It was starting to become something that I felt a bit apprehensive about doing. Until I sat down and examined why I was starting to feel that way. And the reason? Because I was starting to think of the blog as another thing that must ‘succeed’; that must tick certain boxes to be an ‘engaging’ blog, with ‘inspiring’ blog posts. Well, those things are great. And I obviously hope that the blog does succeed, is engaging and is inspiring. But those lofty ambitions don’t make it ‘easy’. They make it a bit of a headache to be honest.

What makes it easy, is if I just write a little each day about how that day has gone. And do the same the next day. And again the next day. And then the cherry on top of making it super easy is that Bryn then does the uploading side of it. Boom!

So if you see a little change of style on here, that’s why 🙂

So, because I’ve not been on here for a while, there’s a lot to catch up on, and while you read, you can sound track it with our new Spotify playlist, if you like! The Love Tectonic - You're Hearing A Chillout - Without further ado…

Weds 8th Aug to Sat 18th Aug, Ninska Laguna, Croatia

This place was beautiful. We properly chilled out here. Well, we still did a lot of work but we felt like we got chilled! We got up, exercised, meditated, did a few hours of work, went for a swim at 6pm, ate dinner, listened to ‘No Such Thing As A Fish’, then sleep and repeat… bliss. Here’s a few updates from the days I remembered to write stuff!

Tues 14th Aug

Woke at 4am. Lightning!!! Up at 8:30ish to a much cooler morning… lots of white clouds and very dark grey ones on the horizon… Then thunder, lightning, and lots of rain!! About time, people have been saying for days that it’s due. So we had a music day in the van! It was ace 🙂

Started making a tune… Bryn played these lush chords on a pad using Sylenth1… sounded so cool. And really quickly I came up with lyrics, floaty and pretty words which will work really well for a trancey tune. Worked on it all day! We had a break for exercise at about 6:30pm, then dinner at 8ish then back on it about 9 I guess. I wrote a really techno sounding wood-block rhythm!! Ha! That’s not like me! By the time we’d finished it was sounding pretty tough!

Felt so good to have a whole day on music. I think we need to be immersed!

Weds 15th Aug

Today we worked on the new tune more. It was a bit hard going to begin with. We’ve decided with this one to work to a more standard trance-style arrangement. I find it quite hard to work to someone else’s arrangement - especially when that arrangement is designed as a DJ tune, ie, with a long intro which is basically just percussion! It’s not how I work at all. I have a pop structure much more in mind so I’m used to bringing instrumental parts in quickly and varying them to keep it interesting. Working to a trance arrangement is very different.

We seem to have created a situation again where we have lots of parts and they all sound good on their own, but put them together and they don’t all work (the same situation that ‘Wake Up’ came from). So either it’s quite a linear tune in terms of arrangement, ie, parts play once and then are not in again, or we don’t use everything. Which is probably more likely what will happen. Or we have two separate tunes again!

Anyway towards the end of the session it really picked up. I was voicing to Bryn that I find it difficult to work that way, and in actual fact would probably come up with better ideas if I started in the middle of the tune, where the ‘body’ of the track is, then build it backwards to get the intro, etc. Then we both had the same thought - why don’t I just start arranging a new version of the tune at the very end of the project so it won’t affect what we’ve done so far, starting with the middle ‘body’ of the track? So that’s what I did! And it ended up sounding really cool! Got the lush chords going, then changed the bassline to follow the rhythm of an arpeggiator that we liked and added in some off-beat chords from yesterday but changed the melody a little. It was sounding really nice! We then tried layering up some of the grittier sounds we had on the project with the same off-beat chord rhythm and it started sounding really juicy. Ooh it’s gonna be a good one!

Fri 17th Aug

Just been out for dinner in Nin. I know right, dinner!! We’ve been super thrifty since being in Croatia as we’ve had to pay so much for campsites. So this is the only night out we’ve had here! It was really fun 🙂 We went to a pizza place where I had black dough pizza (made black with cuttlefish ink!) with sour cream, mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms, walnuts and balsamic vinegar… really unusual! And very tasty! I still have 3 slices in the fridge! Which is awesome cos cold pizza is the bomb.

Today has been an interesting one. Bryn had a full-on night as he was up all hours catching mozzies (somehow there were 6 in the bedroom last night, no idea how with all our mozzie defenses!), so he had a bit of a lie-in. When he got up he was happy enough but was in a doubting frame of mind… are we doing the right thing, is this going to work, is this the right path, did we make the right decisions?? Obviously I don’t have answers. I know that it feels right to be pursuing this right now. And that I don’t think I’ll be content with my life - however it may turn out - without having at least tried to make a living doing something I love. But they are my convictions and beliefs, not Bryn’s. I sometimes worry that I’ve influenced Bryn into wanting this and into following this crazy dream… When I ask him he says he wants it too and is very convincing so I have to believe him! But it is hard sometimes…

Bryn has actually written a little bit on self doubt, here seems to a fitting place for it...

“Today the fear arrived, it wasn’t the first time and I’m pretty sure it wont be the last. One thing I’ve noticed about being a creative and following your dream is that self doubt is never far around the corner, and this is how the fear manifests itself in your mind, as a continual negative voice.

It generally starts off quite quiet and not too damaging to your psyche, something like “that sound your making isn’t very good” or “your bass line is crap”, now I know that doesn’t sound that bad, but the voice doesn’t stop there, it repeats these initial comments over & over and then starts adding more layers of detrimental thoughts, harsher this time “Why does everything you try to create suck”, “you’ve wasted 10 years of your life on this and you’re still awful”, “you’ve made a huge mistake trying to pursue your dreams, where’s your security? How are you going to cope in the future without any money? All your friends and family are doing so much better than you, you’ve really messed things up!”

As you can see this fear can be a real dick, and it is. But thankfully i’ve discovered that meditation is an extremely valuable tool in controlling this ever spiralling loop of fear. 20 minutes every morning and I now have the ability to control these thought processes, I’m not saying it’s easy to gain control, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but it really does help me be aware of the thoughts as they begin and to able to recognise the signs before it gets out of hand. If any of this resonates with you I’d urge you to try it.

Anyway, as you can imagine these thoughts are in no way helpful with making music, it’s best in these scenarios to focus energies into other areas until it clears…

Actually, hold on a minute….

Up until writing this i’ve always seen the fear as a bad thing, however upon reflection, fear usually rears it’s ugly face when you’re stepping into unknown territory, like the first day of school, your first gig out as a DJ, your first date. So to me now, I see fear as an indicator that I’m stepping into areas where the outcome is unknown but such as the scenarios given above, I now realise that if you keep revisiting the activities which cause the fear then you’ll become better equipped and experienced with how to deal with it, so hopefully in the future when self doubt (fear) comes a knocking I will be able to deal with it quickly and not be drawn in too deep!!”

We have stepped into the complete unknown. We’ve changed literally everything. And we’re also trying to navigate a brand new industry at the same time as making awesome new music at the same time as living and travelling in a van. We don’t seem to make things easy for ourselves do we?? We do both want a different kind of life - the thought of going to work for anyone else ever again gives us both the heebie jeebies - but at what cost? Do we want to cut ourselves off from close friends and family indefinitely? We don’t quite know where this path is going to lead us but we both know we’re not ready to turn off it just yet.

We worked some more on the new tune today and it’s sounding great. The arrangement is pretty much there now - we followed our guide track for most of it with a couple of changes. There’s 2 more instruments that I can hear in it as well as some floaty ‘oohs’ and maybe a vocal pad too. It sounds so trancey! I love it!

Sat 18th Aug - drove from Ninska to Hungarian border… then back to Ninska 🙁

Today we left Ninska! It was difficult to leave… it is such a beautiful place. But we need to get somewhere cheaper. It’s just not sustainable spending €20 a night to stay somewhere (and that’s one of the cheapest!). So we headed to Hungary. Or so we thought.

The traffic was a nightmare on the motorway. Literally bumper to bumper for ages… It took us 2 hours to get to a point which would usually have taken 45minutes. Then I remembered something…

Ninska is one of those really old school camping places where they still keep hold of your passport while you are there. And the old man in the office had placed my passport on the desk in front of me… but I had not picked it up… I thought he still needed it for something… and I was distracted by having a conversation in German, which I was feeling really proud about… and I totally forgot to pick it up when I left the office! My passport was still at the campsite!! AAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!

We discussed turning back but it wasn’t an option straightaway as we were on the motorway, and the next junction wasn’t for about another hour. Then it would be another 2 hours back to the campsite. I also thought that if we go back now then it’ll be ridiculously late that we get to the campsite in Hungary. Couldn’t we just organise for a courier to pick it up and deliver it to us in Hungary? Surely that would work wouldn’t it? So, after speaking to the campsite owner we headed onwards on our merry way - I would sort the courier later once we had arrived at the campsite in Hungary.

As we got nearer to the Hungarian border we started to realise… oh, we’re going to cross a country border aren’t we? Do they have border controls, we wondered? We didn’t think they would - after all, there are open borders across the EU, aren’t there? There had been so far, surely it would be fine…?

Sadly not. We got to the border at about 10pm. And there were border police. And they were checking passports. Bugger. We told them what had happened but they weren’t sympathetic. Far from it! We were held there for about 30 minutes while they checked the details on my driving licence, checked in the van (in case we were carrying people I guess??), checked I was who I said I was basically. We thought they might be checking everything in order to let us through… but no. They said I had two options; either drive back to Nin to get my passport, or go to the embassy in Zagreb and report it as lost. I would not be allowed out of the country without it. Balls!!!

So we drove back to Nin. Aaarrggh!!! It had just taken about 9 hours to get to the border! It would take 5-6 hours to get back if we took the toll roads all the way. So we did that - wiggly roads didn’t really seem appropriate for this journey! We took the tolls - it cost us 209kuna for the privilege of driving on the fast road, plus about another 600kuna in fuel… very expensive mistake. We got back to Ninska Laguna at about 3am. Then up at 7am, got the passport and back on the road to Hungary… take 2.

Fortunately this time we got through the border no problem. Don’t think I’ll be forgetting my passport anywhere else again in a hurry!

What would this look like if it were easy? - Electronic music duo The Love Tectonic are travelling the roads of Europe while they make their dreams come true. But what happens when self doubt takes hold, mozzies make your life a misery or you forget your passport when trying to leave the country?! Click through to find out and be inspired to follow your dreams too! - www.thelovetectonic.com

Sun 19th Aug to Sat 1 Sept - Camping Hintohaz, Somogygeszti

This was a really lovely campsite in rural south-west Hungary. While here we finished our new website - which took an inordinate amount of time! But we’re really pleased with the finished result. And we released two new remixes of ‘Wake Up’! If you haven’t heard them yet, you can listen here The Love Tectonic - Wake Up (The Remixes).

Wed 29th Aug - 3pm

Been working just now on a piano piece that I started a loooong time ago. It’s totally different from TLT stuff. I started it ages ago and forgot about it, then found it again recently. And I really like it! It sounds quite dark and a bit jazzy… I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I asked for some feedback from a composer friend. And she’s given me some really great suggestions for how to progress it. But I don’t know… it’s just not coming together at the moment. Maybe it’s not the right time, who knows? I will come back to it again at some point cos I’m sure it’s going to sound ace when it’s finished!

Thurs 30th Aug - 11am

Just had a lesson with Mellinda (Hungarian partner of campsite owner André) making langos!!! So good! Langos (pronounced langosh) are little round fried breads which are traditional Hungarian street food. They are commonly served with grated garlic, sour cream and cheese. They are so frikkin tasty!! Mellinda made them for us last Friday and I was so impressed I looked up a recipe to try and make them myself. I mentioned this to André and he suggested that Mellinda show me how to make them. So kind!

What would this look like if it were easy? - Electronic music duo The Love Tectonic are travelling the roads of Europe while they make their dreams come true. But what happens when self doubt takes hold, mozzies make your life a misery or you forget your passport when trying to leave the country?! Click through to find out and be inspired to follow your dreams too! - www.thelovetectonic.com

The good news is they are super easy to make - just put together the mix, let it rise, then fry each one. They are so bloomin delicious… I have the tray of them in the van, André suggested I take them around to the others on the campsite but no-one’s in! So we have a whole tray of them and it’s taking all my willpower not to eat them all…

Thurs 30th Aug - 2pm

Just sent our new track to some labels to see if anyone wants to sign it… fingers crossed!!

Thurs 30th Aug - 20:30pm

Yay!!! Finally smashed the vocal for the new tune we’re working on! I’ve been working on it for a few weeks on and off and kind of struggling with it. I’ve been happy with the lyrics for a while - I got them sorted when we were at Ninska Laguna - but the right melody for it has been eluding me. What finally worked was taking it back to basics. I recorded in a few different melodies and they sounded ok… then went for a run. Then when I came back to it I wondered how it would sound if the different melodies were layered up… hey presto, it sounds ace!! Woooooh!!!! I can go to bed happy now 🙂

Sat 1 Sept - Camping Hintohaz to Budapest

Went to Budapest for the day! What a cool city! Amazing architecture, nice vibe… We found a really cool area - bit like a hipsters playground! - with little bars and street food stalls, etc. We liked it a lot. And the veggie hotdogs we had there were awesome 🙂

What would this look like if it were easy? - Electronic music duo The Love Tectonic are travelling the roads of Europe while they make their dreams come true. But what happens when self doubt takes hold, mozzies make your life a misery or you forget your passport when trying to leave the country?! Click through to find out and be inspired to follow your dreams too! - www.thelovetectonic.com

Then… the heavens opened. And the thunder and lightning started. We huddled under the marquee in the hipsters playground til it eased off a bit… at least we had a bar there! Crazy rain, crazy thunder. Crazy!

We managed to get to the metro station during a relatively dry period. But by the time we got to our stop it had started hammering down again. And it was still a 15 minute walk to the campsite! Aaaargh!!

So we ran. In short bursts between areas of shelter. Sheltered in a shopping centre car park, then a quick dash, then shelter in a garage forecourt, then another quick dash. Each time we waited in a shelter we thought it might actually get a bit lighter but no such luck. Man the thunder! And lightning! It was insane! At one point we were sheltering in this little awning outside a block of flats and I swear the lightning struck in the car park next to us. It sounded like the sky and the earth had ripped apart! It was so loud!

Fortunately at that moment a man started opening the door to come out of the flats. But he obviously hadn’t realised what the weather was doing cos once he clocked it he looked really surprised! Then he noticed us and ushered us inside. He started talking to us in what we presumed was Hungarian and we tried to tell him that we were English (easier than saying Scottish and Welsh) and that we couldn’t understand. I don’t know if he understood or not! We had a really funny few minutes with him! He had obviously had a few and was pretty merry. He was trying to tell us so much! We found out that he was Ukrainian. And we found out that my name, Heather (or something that sounds like it!), means ‘clouds’ in Ukrainian - or something that seems like clouds in a game of charades anyway! When he found out we were married he led us in a Hungarian wedding dance!! It was hilarious! I think we can pretty safely say that doing a Hungarian wedding dance with a slightly drunk man in a vestibule in Budapest while sheltering from a thunderstorm is probably a once in a lifetime experience 🙂 Priceless 🙂

Sun 2 Sept - Budapest to Nagysap

The name of the game today was drive somewhere cheaper for the night that was not too far. All of the campsites we have found at this end of Hungary are about €17-23 a night. It’s just too expensive. So we’ve found a free camper stop just across the border in Austria and we will head there. But not all in one day. Today we drove to the little village of Nagysap where there was a slightly cheaper stop - €15 a night - and then we’ll head to Austria tomorrow.

What would this look like if it were easy? - Electronic music duo The Love Tectonic are travelling the roads of Europe while they make their dreams come true. But what happens when self doubt takes hold, mozzies make your life a misery or you forget your passport when trying to leave the country?! Click through to find out and be inspired to follow your dreams too! - www.thelovetectonic.com

We thought we’d outrun the thunder and lightning. Apparently not. We were woken up by it again a few times in the night. Mad!

Mon 3 Sept - Nagysap to Deutsch Jahrndorf, Austria

Drove out of Hungary to the village of Deutsch Jahrndorf in Austria. And had our final shop at Tesco! There are Tescos all over Hungary which is pretty cool! Kind of nice to see such a familiar sight from the UK 🙂

And more thunder in the night! And the next day too! This weather is mental!!

Mon 3 Sept to Wed 5 Sept - Deutsch Jahrndorf, Austria

We are having a quiet time here so far. I spent the day yesterday working on lyrics to some new tunes. I’m really happy with how they are sounding, which is great! Bryn is working on a tune of his at the moment. And I am writing this while listening to a ‘Time Capsule’ playlist on Spotify. Oh and it’s Happy Birthday to us today! Today is our third wedding anniversary! Woohoo! Happy Birthday to Us!

Lots of love

Heather & Bryn xxx

What do your moments of self-doubt look like? How have you learned do deal with it? Or do you feel like it still bothers you? We'd love to hear from you in the comments 🙂

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