We had the good fortune of connecting with Tovi Schenk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tovi, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
In both my personal projects, and projects I do for other people, I’m stubborn when it comes to giving up, so I really try to eliminate it as an option. That being said, I think it’s important to give myself room to give up, as long as it’s not permanent. When I’m working on a project, I often feel like I’ve hit a point of no return. I used to feel that the only solution was to delete the whole thing and do it over, but I’ve found a more successful practice, which is this: notice when you’ve hit that chaotic point in your project (that point with too many elements, and specifically for me aa horrible production mix), walk away, sleep on it, and come back to it. What’s important to know is that the coming back point can be anywhere from half a day, to weeks later. As a musician/producer I’ve found that cleansing the palette of my ears, so to speak, greatly helps me in seeing the specifics of the flaws I had before. Working on something for hours on end has a way of wearing down your senses, numbing you from being able to differentiate between what’s working and what isn’t. So I’d say I know when to give up when I’ve exhausted all my options, but that rarely happens because I know to give myself the space to freshen myself so that I am ready to find and pick out what caused me to give up in the first place. This is how I keep myself going.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’d like to start by saying in full disclosure, I am not a professional success by any means. I have maybe made $200 from working on music, and that work barely meets my professional goals. So, in a sense I am still overcoming challenges. I release my music on Soundcloud, and there people slightly outside of my circle have a chance of discovering me. My main source of income is through my work on Fiverr, where I produce and ghostwrite music for other people. My point is that music is my life, and this is what gives me a sense of purpose, but I recognize that I have a long way to go before I can make a living. Many artists wish for a lucky break, or a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I’d say I wish for consistency. As for personal goals with my work, I want to connect people. Art is practically a bottomless box of tools to express yourself with, but as much as I enjoy expressing myself through music, my main goal is to give people enjoyment, no matter how short the moment—I think art is best when it serves others more than it serves yourself. My hope is that I can give someone a chance to bop their head a little, or connect with what I’m saying in my lyrics, or light up a little at one of my bass lines. It’s challenging to connect with people with something so abstract, let alone be heard at all, but I always work hard to give back in the little ways I can. If anything sets me apart it’s that I see musical technique and pushing boundaries as an addition to the core of my practice. I consider myself a “pure” entertainer. I feel purpose when I’ve given to others, connecting with people I may have never even met.
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?
Growing up in Altadena, my go-to place is in and around Old Pasadena. What I like to do with friends is eat out (which has been greatly impacted by the pandemic). Coming from a vegetarian family, my mom prefers to cook elaborate meals at home, but there are a few places we like to eat that I like to take friends to: Veggie Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, The Stand, and Sage Plantbased Bistrot. Coffee shops/cafes that I frequent with friends are: Intelligentsia for their great coffee and ambiance, 85 degree for boba, and a little neighborhood coffee shop in Altadena called the Coffee Gallery for coffee and their incredible Veggie Quiche. I love the feeling of sitting down at a restaurant for a meal, but there are other options in Old Pasadena, especially fitting during the pandemic. The Hughes Alley plaza is a great open space with plenty of seating and chairs to enjoy meals and coffee, and little known fact — the balcony has seats and is accessible by a staircase left of Sage Bistrot. Food is really the only activity to warrant going out with my friends, and luckily for me, LA is the perfect place for that. 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?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to Ted Masur. He is a composer for film and a music teacher with tremendous sensitivity for his work and his students, who endlessly nitpicks and inspires my work. He helped me in finding my love for music, in both the contemporary music field and in composition and arranging. He’s given endless support with my endeavors by giving time to go over my personal work, and giving me opportunities to arrange and compose for our high school orchestra and chorus. I would not be as musically motivated as I am without him.
Youtube: Tovi Schenk — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCjKjZFPEGcW7pn8mHm_dmg
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