We had the good fortune of connecting with Carson Maki and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carson, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
To be honest, I don’t feel I’ve found the “balance” yet. I’ve always found it easy to bury myself in work and responsibilities, which have always been forms of escape from uncomfortable feelings and realizations in my life. I chose to answer this question because I feel it’s the most representative of my current inner-battle.

For a long time, I created (music production and writing) from a place of respite – an escape from my unfulfilling job or unsatisfactory relationships. Over time, I feel that this form of self-therapy became obsessive to the point where my work-life balance was boiled down to just work (my day job) and my primary creative outlet (music production). It led to unhealthy tendencies and the rest of my life fell to the wayside.

I recently decided, and was fortunate enough to be able to go full-time music – turning my hobby into my career (moved to LA, started making money, etc.). I’ve found it to be one of the most fulfilling decisions of my life, but it’s brought an unexpected change in the way I approach my craft. I’ve always viewed music as the “life” of my work-life balance, but now I realize it’s become both my “work” and “life”, leaving practically no room for anything else.

I love my career and I’m thankful to be able to pursue what I’ve set out to accomplish in music. Even though I’ve worked to establish music as a very significant part of my life, and will strive to keep it that way for years to come, I now must consider and pay dues to other facets of my life – mental well-being, social relationships, and physical health among others.

Creating music is still therapeutic to me, but I also try to maintain other forms of healing. A healthy work life balance (including activities unrelated to music) strengthens my resolve to stay inspired and create from a place of peace instead of a place of obsession. In many ways, my life has become less a balance of rigidly different things, and more an equilibrium of fluid, interconnected concepts, each of which shifts in importance and form as my life progresses. I don’t know if I’ll ever find the “balance”, but I know I can always keep searching.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I produce different styles/genres of music, but my artist project (if found) is the main focus of my creative output at the moment.

I came up with “if found” after trying tons of different styles and sounds out production-wise. When I started the if found project it felt like I was finally zeroing in on what my “sound” is. Still, there’s always a lingering feeling that maybe there’s more to it than I’ve already discovered. While I feel confident in my sound and journey so far, I recognize and embrace that there’s still much for me to learn and adapt to fully develop myself as an artist, individual, etc.

The ethos for if found extends beyond music production for me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to narrow down who I am as a person and what I want out of life. I’ve tried regular 9-5 jobs, career engineering, and all sorts of stuff, but nothing ever felt fulfilling. Music was a mainstay and something I did in the background, but it still had the most profound effect on me. Starting the if found project, I set out to refocus my music into what represents me best through the lens of EDM. Through that effort, I’ve been able to combine influences like Pop-Punk music, pop-culture references from my childhood and modern inspiration into a melting pot of what Carson/if found “sounds like”. Ultimately, the music I make for my if found project is an amalgamation of the things that formed me to be who I am today.

It’s rare to truly know what you want to do, so most people are on this seemingly never-ending journey to find meaning and fulfillment in their lives. There’s no guarantee we’ll all find it, but “if found”, it’s really life-changing.

I’m excited for the future of the project and I’m dedicated to enjoying the journey it takes me on.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ll be honest – I’m still new to LA, so my knowledge and experience here is very limited. That being said, I’ve found some cool spots and have met some unique people, even in the unfortunate times recently with COVID-19.

Food:
Hot chicken – an absolute must in LA. It’s great in Nashville too. But LA represents the hot chicken scene well imo. My faves are Main Chick and Stark’s Hot Chicken.

Drink:
Honestly, I haven’t ventured out much yet, so I’m not really informed on this topic.

Activities:
Besides typical tourist activities on every “Top Things to Do in LA” list, I’d say the hiking and camping around Angeles National Forest are pretty awesome. Highway CA-2 off of the 210 interstate offers some excellent scenic driving as well.

People:
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when moving in terms of the “type” of people I’d meet in LA. I’ve already managed to meet a good array of different people from aspiring actors to software development engineers, and the common thread I’ve found among those I’ve met is the courage to tread their own path. Even in more traditional lines of work, people seem to be finding ways to innovate or branch out on their own here even more compared to some of the other cities I’ve lived in. Being in a creative field, it’s liberating to see the acceptance and comfort people in LA seem to have with breaking out of the typical 9-5 mould.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My friends and family deserve the spotlight here.

Melanie Chhuan – a dear friend of mine who’s been there to encourage and support my efforts in music since we first met. She identifies herself as one of my biggest fans, and she’s always been there to help me through difficult times and has helped me grow into a more well-rounded person over the years.

Adam Herrin – a great friend and my current roommate who has helped me break out of my shell recently. He helps me see the lighter side of things and is the ultimate hype man.

Eli Catania – a very close friend who shares my passion and drive for music. we have a recurring joke/theme of us being the same person but in alternate universes. We’re very similar in many ways, but we compliment each other well in others.

My Family (Karla, Shawn, Mekenzie, Austin) – they’ve been there since the beginning. While they may not fully understand why I’m pursuing music, they’ve always had my back and supported me when it matters most, no matter what.

There are many more people who I could name, some whom I’ve recently grown close to and some I’ve known for years, but I feel the people above are the ones who’ve had the greatest impact on my music and creative career.

Website: https://www.iffoundmusic.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iffoundmusic/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carsonmaki/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iffoundmusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iffoundmusic/

Other: https://soundcloud.com/iffoundmusic

Image Credits
Dolly Ave

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