In May this year, I found myself becoming disillusioned with music, something I never thought would happen. No matter how many hours I’d put into creating pieces, they always felt hollow and meaningless – maybe a technique here or there was exciting, but for months, it all felt like nothing.
With roots firmly in ambient and noise music, this was an unsustainable position to be in, and I felt like giving up.
Subtle Amnesia is a one-person band prioritizing new sounds. With these sounds, I introduce philosophical ideas and the more grim aspects of reality to my music. I am a spiritual person who has had my fair share of mental health issues, and that ingrains itself into my music quite heavily.
Since I can remember, I’ve been performing. My earliest memories are dancing around my childhood home, singing along to my mom’s records, or doing what I can only describe as a cobra pose inside the giant planter boxes at our local shopping mall, pretending I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I used to feel like I could fly when I sang, like I had tiny wings sprouting from my back.
As I got older, my grandma taught me how to play piano, back when my hands were so tiny I couldn’t hit an octave. In school, I added choir, theater, and dance team to my repertoire, and I was sure I would be a big theater star one day. But of course, pragmatism won, and I went to college for something far less fun and ended up in a career even less fun, leaving a part of myself behind.
For years, my creative self was suffocated. I was dying to tap back into the freedom that came with being on stage, that rare out-of-body experience when you get to leave yourself behind and become something else entirely.
When I was proposed to write this article, I was thrilled, but also asked myself if my story as a musician was interesting enough to write an article about. But like music, you don’t know how it will be received until it’s out in the world.
I’m Amox, an independent music artist. I’m located in Bucharest, Romania, for now. My project is called Amok Sun. I like to think about Amok Sun as a band. It needs collaboration as a foundation to work as I envision it. I currently do everything by myself. And I mean everything. Promotion, videos, artwork, social media, and others. All of this is on top of a full-time job as a UX Designer.
Thinking about Amok Sun’s sound, it is difficult for me to define the main genre. Maybe call it electro-rock. I hope that it will determine its own style. This is something for the community to decide. I would describe the music I create as a mix of genres and themes like alternative rock, electronica, IDM, medieval or renaissance, and world genres. Well, that’s the goal anyway, right now I’m pretty much isolated from the artist community because of my late bloom.
I have an incredibly vivid memory of the first time I heard Bad Brains. It was the first punk rock I had ever heard. I was fourteen years old, and I’m twenty-one now, but I can still conjure the feeling of that moment. The music tore through me. I felt the sound more than I heard it. It was summer, and I was staying in on a beautiful day to listen to music that a youtube algorithm was recommending me – but I’m so grateful I did. It made something click in my brain, like a light in a dingy basement being flicked on for the first time. I felt completely at home in the break-neck speed and sheer volume of the music. If you know that record, the first Bad Brains record, it is insane sounding even by today’s standards. I left the first playthrough of hundreds a completely changed kid. The world looked and felt different. I was in on some kind of secret.
I would later learn, of course, that I was far from being the only person that had this exact revelation. Very far. But it felt so special to me. I’ve played in bands and written at least a couple hundred songs since that day. I started a band with my best friends (Bad Nostalgia, check us out) that’s still kicking to this day, and we’ve played countless shows. We made an album by ourselves. I have grown as a person and lived through trial and tribulation as we all have. But that first experience hearing punk rock music was my watershed moment.
It encapsulated everything I love about music, art, and life. It’s all lead to me starting Pet Traits. I wanted to capture that feeling of excitement and wonder and use it as a creative power-tool. I threw out a lot of what I knew about music: the conventions, the chase of perfection, the safe bet, for total creative liberation. This is how I did it.