Top Instagram Posts of 2016

At the end of every year, I like to rewind and reflect on the year that is coming to an end. Since we are all accustomed to year-end lists, I figured I would populate a list of my most popular Instagram posts of 2016 (based on likes and comments). One of my goals for the year was to take more photos. I’m not sure I shot more, but I was more selective with the photos I did post. So, here we go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year.

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There you go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year. Feel free to follow me on Instagram.

Top 10 Tracks of 2015

It was a pretty intense year filled with a lot of transition and change. Undoubtably, the transition and change had a major impact on the music that I listened to and the artists that I discovered, versus years prior.

The creation of the list started with the most played tracks of 2015. From there, the evaluation criteria focused on tracks with a significant memory and emotion, tracks that I couldn’t stop listening to and tracks that helped define me and the last year of my life. It is important to note that some of these tracks were not released in 2015, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s a personal list and a list that reflects the life, emotion and events of 2015.

Here we go!
10. Funk With Me – Snails, Big Gigantic
spotify:track:7uYxd23SPp7a35kVUU7GG9

9. Play With Me (Radio Mix) – Platinum Dog
spotify:track:7lBZ4c3Rn3jaCYUmPe1ygv

8. High You Are (Branchez Remix) – What So Not
spotify:track:6zpCJDhdpHPZCcFCJZDqX5

7. Revolution (Party Favor Remix) – Diplo (feat. Faustix & Imanos and Kai)
spotify:track:3V467e5wzDCUl1Dp8U9iDd

6. Dangerous (Oliver Remix) – Big Data
spotify:track:3PVukkbEGmJGoyJG2lfBPP

5. Get Free – Major Lazer (feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors)
spotify:track:42xDAj5qNVFcxciJP3hSJd

4. Ocean Drive – Duke Dumont
spotify:track:0k93MXOj0kSXo84SvSDeUz

3. No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
spotify:track:3eu6yCblDDyuqvDTkPZksu

2. You and Me – Bassnectar (feat. W. Darling)
spotify:track:3x94KfC5QAsqFKjUGQBH4k

1. Careful You – TV on the Radio
spotify:track:7DjtLnZKMipNZDt6SE9iEq

And if you want to subscribe to the Spotify playlist, here it is:
spotify:user:ebreakdown:playlist:32GkV6MWvfkEJMrXNu1mQK

Happy 2016!

My Top 20 Tracks of 2014

This year was a great year of music exploration for me. I listened to a variety of new genres, artists and tracks that I normally wouldn’t. This isn’t to say that I stopped listening to EDM or alternative music, I just expanded my music consumption a bit.

Last year I created a list of my Top Albums of 2013, that were released in 2013. This year, I’m taking a different approach. This year, I am providing a list of Top 20 Tracks that I listened to on an ongoing basis, tracks that I love, tracks that helped define 2014 and tracks that I couldn’t “put down.” Now, I want to caveat this by saying this is a list of my personal Top Tracks of 2014; they were not necessarily created in 2014, nor were they top tracks by the amount of times I listened to them, they simply helped define the last year for me.

So, here we go, as promised, my Top 20 Tracks of 2014!

20. I Just Wanna Love U (Jean Tonique Remix) – Jay Z featuring Pharrell
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19. Do It Again – Röyksopp & Robyn
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4y8XhpQ7YqFLyz2o7c7r7X” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
18. Flipmode – Mt. Eden
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4Y9e0rBUg3ZTnA8c9tHu9u” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
17. Love Is All I Got (Feed Me’s Matilda Remix) – Feed Me featuring Crystal Fighters
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3vjO5aLXmVqTCVntVOtMY4″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
16. Made to Love – John Legend
[spotify id=”spotify:track:1G2Ya2ubnlS7xFfs1CfY3j” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
15. Prayer in C – Lilly Wood and the Prick (Robin Schulz Remix)
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3k9FFXVPn3ua8dlpkxlCvZ” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
14. A Pain That I’m Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix) – Depeche Mode
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4nkXTcOSYGnMhaHSg6LsfK” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
13. Big Talk – Conway
[spotify id=”spotify:track:25zni6gEnbrX40IWa3xKVp” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
12. Million Voices – Otto Knows
[spotify id=”spotify:track:2nIDPOUOprhe14XoCK6gxw” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
11. Fading Nights – Parra for Cuva (Original Mix)
[spotify id=”spotify:track:6euRvhoyzVtjdKohdL78QH” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
10. Fade Out Lines – The Avener
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3VjFTsWQLvOVr2oJ4PMyjC” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
9. Allein – Pryda
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3LLq1sGvqXgv26VZbicu5i” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
8. All of Me – John Legend
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3U4isOIWM3VvDubwSI3y7a” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
7. Pushing On – Oliver $ and Jimi Jules
[spotify id=”spotify:track:00lopN8UjPU58scvfgjSPK” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
6. Under Control – Calvin Harris
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4J7CKHCF3mdL4diUsmW8lq” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
5. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons featuring Kendrick Lamar
[spotify id=”spotify:track:69yfbpvmkIaB10msnKT7Q5″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
4. Til Sunrise (Pairanoid Remix) – Goldroom
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170052247″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

3. Rage the Night Away – Steve Aoki featuring Waka Flocka Flame
[spotify id=”spotify:track:0Ev2T20215s50FusZoHCBk” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
2. Ritual Union – Little Dragon
[spotify id=”spotify:track:40wDuyifkj27ahVCpfJWq5″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

And my Top Track of 2014…
1. Dare You – Hardwell
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3GNHC4hmpOpcFnVhtoHfhS” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Not only is this a killer track and Hardwell is probably the top EDM artist of the year, but this is the track I heard on approach into Sky Harbor and will forever remind me of my move to Phoenix.

My Inspiration Lately, Prose Supersedes Imagery

Lately, I’ve been increasingly inspired by writings much more so than imagery. This is peculiar to me as I’m normally a very visual person. Anyway, I wanted to share some prose that has inspired me in the last week. These works have, for some reason or another, really struck a “chord” inside.

    Me I’m just a waitress she said.
    I went and bought a new head she said.
    I look at you and I believe in you she said.
    Screaming into the eye of the lens.

*Karl Hyde, Rick Smith

    Remember when I caught your eye?
    You gave me rainbows and butterflies.
    We did enjoy a happiness.
    When our love was over, I was such a mess.

    I smiled at you and you smiled back.
    That’s when I knew, there’s no turning back.

    You said you loved me and I did too.
    Now though it’s over, I still love you.

    You’re in my mind, you’re in my heart.
    I wish I knew right from the start.
    All my friends said you’d break my heart.
    A heartbreaker right from the start.

    I tried to fight it, I tried so hard.
    And everyday, I prayed to God.
    That you and me, were meant to be
    But you had another, you had a lover.

    And now it’s dark, I don’t know why.
    I feel like crying, just want to die.
    I can’t look at you and you know why.
    Though I tried so hard, to catch your eye.

*Jesse F. Keeler, Alex Puodziukas, John Legend

I Will Be Attending @SXSW Interactive

Big news! I’m heading to SXSWi next Friday and yes, I can barely contain my excitement. I will be there from the 11th-15th learning some new practices, introduced to new start-ups, engaging with technology, and hopefully meeting some amazing people. This will be my first time going to SXSW and my first time visiting Austin, TX.

I will be traveling with some coworkers from Critical Mass and we’re going to paint the town, intellectually speaking of course. Some of the sessions that I’m going to be focusing on are “Branding/Marketing” and “Social Graph.” It fits, right? I mean, I work in social media with a secondary passion in branding. (It’s going to be awesome!)

This event requires a lot of prep work. For starters, the schedule of sessions and events is large and full of, what sounds like, amazing content and lecturers. As I complied my schedule for the 5 days that will be down there, I came to realize that there is no possible way I can attend all the sessions. I had to be selective with the sessions I wanted, weigh the pros and cons, realize I can’t be in two places at once, so I had to choose the best session of the time. And it’s because of that, I believe this will be an extraordinary experience.

Another aspect of prep work that is requiring a lot of diligence is the travel. Yes, my flight and hotel are all taken care of, but when it comes to traveling in the Austin area, that may prove to be a bit more difficult. I found a shuttle service that runs from my hotel to the convention center. I think that might be the winner there. If that falls through, there are always cabs, right?

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about how I love working with and being around smart people. Here we go again and I can’t be more psyched! Not only am I heading down with some of the most talented and intelligent coworkers I’ve had the pleasure to work with, but we’re all going down to meet and learn from some of the most engaging and intelligent people from the nation and around the world.

So, what do I hope to take away from SXSWi? Well, I hope to learn more about social media and branding so I can bring that back that knowledge back to the team here in Chicago. I also hope to make industry connections, share my experiences, learn from others’ experiences, and overload my brain with knowledge and insights. The way I look at it, the more I learn and the more people I meet at SXSWi, the more I can offer my clients and Critical Mass. Professional development is something I don’t take lightly and it’s an ongoing process.

And then, there is the “fun” part of SXSW; the parties. I think I have triple booked myself for all of the evening parties. I don’t think that’s going to be a big deal. After all, my first priority is to learn down there and my last one is to rage it up all night. I’m thinking that I’m going to take the parties as they come and call an “audible” on the ground as they are not high priority in my book. However, I really want to attend the Mashable House — I heard that’s a killer party.

I depart for Austin on Friday and as I said before, I’ll be there until the following Wednesday. You can follow my travels and learnings by reading my tweets: @ebreakdown, following this hashtag: #cmsxsw, or by reading the blog: ebreakdown. Honestly, I probably will be tweeting more than blogging down there just because of time constraints. If you have any suggestions for enhancing my SXSW experience, I’m welcome to them! Also, if you are going to be down there and want to meet up, shoot me a tweet — we’ll make it happen.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Hi-Res

Son of Erik Mixtape: Hi Res
Intense and in High Resolution. We’re not talking about “high-definition” here, we’re talking about RESOLUTION. Strap on your safety belts and get ready for a ride.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Hi-Res Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Update: I’ve Relocated to Chicago

I know I’ve been a bit remiss in the updating of this blog, but it was for good reason. The reason being, in the last two weeks, my life got turned right-side up. Allow me to update you on the happenings in my life.

Job Offer
A couple of weeks ago, as you may have read before, I accepted a job offer at a digital marketing agency in Chicago. Two things to point out here:

    1) I love digital marketing. I always have felt when working in print design that there was something else that I needed to incorporate into my professional life; that “something else” was marketing and/or strategy. Basically, I wanted to know the “why” and the “meaning” behind my work. I wanted to be apart of the strategy behind the campaigns. I wanted to develop the strategy and campaign for the assets I was designing. In the last couple of years, client demands and my own passion catapulted me into the world of social. Social media marketing was exactly what I was desiring and Critical Mass recognized that and gave me an offer.

    2) I love Chicago; I always have. Ever since I was a little boy, I had dreamt of living in Chicago. Chicago always had a connection with my family and myself. It’s not just the “tall” buildings, it’s the culture, the lifestyle, the movement of the city. It’s not that Milwaukee imprisoned me for 11 years, it’s more that I was a bit complacent for 11 years. Now, I had the means and opportunity coupled with the desire to move to the best city in the United States.

With all that said, I accepted the offer and as a result, things and events started to move really, really fast.

Moving
Moving is no easy task and most certainly, moving to another city isn’t either. Within two weeks, I needed to find a place to stay, pack my bags and head down to start work. At the time of me accepting the position, I was, for all intents and purposes, upwardly mobile. I didn’t have a lease that I was tied into, no girlfriend and no pets. Most of my things were already packed up and I was ready to go.

However, finding a place to stay was the inherent difficulty. Originally, it was planned that I would stay with a friend for a month until I located a more permanent residence from which I could launch my campaign to take on Chicago. Well, for reasons I won’t go into here, things fell through with my friend. I know you’re asking yourself why. Well, let’s just say, it was a conflict of interest.

Moving on, I had two contingency plans:

    Plan B: Locate an apartment and tap into savings to get it. Relocate the most minimal amount of personal belongings and set up shop until I can make the full-up move down.

    Plan C: Commute via Amtrak to and from Chicago everyday.

Obviously, I chose to tackle Plan B. With only 5 days left until I start my kick-ass position at CM; I took the train down to Chicago to locate my new digs. Since I was under a time constraint, my options were a bit limited. I decided to go with a pretty rad studio apartment. I signed the letters of intent and headed back to Milwaukee. The following day, I realized that I may have made a mistake. I called up the broker and informed them that I wanted a larger place. They gave me options, and I signed on a place a few hours later, without even stepping foot into it.

I had my place, I had my bags packed and I had an amazing friend ready to drive me down to Chicago with 4 days left before I start.

Saying Goodbye
Another reason why I haven’t been on top of the blog, was that I had to say goodbye to my close friends in Milwaukee. I realized that for the close friends, I wanted to say goodbye in person. This plan really took up a lot of my time; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. For some, the goodbyes were bittersweet, for others it was a celebration of moving forward. Cries and smiles seemed to be the specials of the day.

I also had a going away party at my favorite night spot, Hi Hat. Hi Hat always had a special place in my heart. For the last 11 years, so many great things and people came out of that business. With having that party, I knew that what I thought was the ideal was turning to the real. I AM moving to Chicago. I was amazed by the amount and diversity of people who came out to send me on my way; that was a bittersweet moment.

Saying Hello
With a goodbye, comes a hello. Sunday, the day before I started, I packed up my buddy’s car and we drove down to Chicago. I picked up the keys to my place and headed over to unwrap my new apartment. To my surprise, it was a pretty sweet place in a killer neighborhood. Also, my job turns out be even more amazing than what I had envisioned. I’m working with people of extreme passion and knowledge. They are all very welcoming to boot. I have a feeling I have a lot to offer and am exited for this opportunity to learn so many more things.

I have been living in Chicago for about a week now and already there are somethings that I have learned beyond what I knew already.

    1) Express busses are the way to go when commuting to the loop. Forget the train; it’s way too packed during rush and not to mention, it takes forever.

    2) The cost of living is comparable to Milwaukee minus the cost of consumables. What do I mean by consumables? I mean food, household goods, luxury items and overall anything you need to live day-to-day. It’s only about 30% more, but it’s still within reason.

    3) People in the morning are not happy. I’m not expecting people to be walking on sunshine at 7am, but come on, you don’t have to be a dick about it. (Maybe that will be one thing I can help change. Yeah right. Leif makes 3 million people happy in the morning.)

    4) Overall, once you get passed the 7am grumpy stage, people are very genuine and helpful. I am stunned by the generosity and gratuity of people here. All you have to do is ask.

    5) I thought people like the nightlife in Milwaukee, but man, I wasn’t prepared for Chicago night owls. I’m sorry Milwaukee, these people are pros down here; you have a run for your money.

    6) Despite what people say, Chicago is very clean, very clean.

    7) You never have to worry about being too far away from a CVS/Walgreens, Chase Bank, Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts.

    8) I think I’m going to like it here.

Well, there you have it, the last two weeks of my life. I’m sure, as things progress and become a bit more normal, I will be writing more on this blog. And not to worry, I will be writing more content about social media, art and music soon.

Announcement: I’m relocating to Chicago

Yes, I accepted a job and yes, it’s in Chicago.

So, you want the details? Well, I just signed the offer letter and I will be off to Chicago August 1st. I will be a Community Moderator at a pretty sweet, dare I say, rad digital/marketing agency in Chicago. What is a Community Moderator? Well, if you haven’t been reading my blog and need an explanation, in short, I will be a social media moderator for a brand represented by the agency; the wizard behind the curtain if you will.

I have lived in Milwaukee for over 10 years now. Milwaukee has been very good to me over the years and yes, I am a little sad to leave it. I have had many great experiences in Milwaukee and hope to have many more in Chicago. I went to school in Milwaukee, made some kick-ass friends, worked with some amazing people at some killer places. I have lived in different parts of town and experienced the most I could living in Milwaukee. It was, an excellent life experience, one that I’ll never forget.

However, Chicago offers a new chapter to my life. Many of you who know me know that I’m interested in trying new things. Well, with the exception of certain foods. (Those who know me, know what I’m talking about.) Chicago is a city that I have long since wanted to be in. The size, culture, family history, artist community, neighborhoods are all rolled into one massive desire to relocate and experience.

Like I said before, this is another volume I have to write. It’s something that I have to do and try out. And with this new, radical position, I’m able to do just that. I am excited to see what I can do in this new position and am excited, and I’m not going to lie, a little scared (but in a good way) to relocate to the city that I have always wanted to be in. And for those of you asking, no, I will not be living downtown. Come on, I’m not that rich.

Of course, this transformation and evolution in my life would not have been possible without all the help from my family, friends and coworkers. I would like to take this time to point out a few key players who helped me in this life changing event.

First and foremost, I must thank family. My parents have been a great help in being supportive in my decision to open up a new book. My sister has and always will be my rock. And let’s not forget Eric. Wow, this guy has been the idealistic older brother, and all the things he has done for me, I will never forget.

Also, I would like to send a special shout-out to Al and Mike. These guys helped me discover another talent and opportunity that has been most beneficial to me. My references I would also like to thank. Mike and John, you guys must have said some great things and I hope that I can continue to live up to what you said.

Oh man, this is starting to sound like an Oscar speech–terribly sorry about that. I’ll wrap things up.

My friends have been supremely excellent over the years, and I thank all of you for that. I would also like to thank my friends in Chicago for putting up with my non-stop visits and overnighters. You guys have really went above-and-beyond.

So, that is it. I’m moving to Chicago next month. If you’d like to meet up before I take off, you know how to get a hold of me. Also, if you want to help me move, I’m not going to say no. Ha Ha.

Thank you all! Now, I gotta pack!

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Don’t Stop

UPDATE: Due to a random “marked as abusive” click, the mix is down at the moment. I am working diligently to find another hosting site to offer it back up to the fans. Stay tuned.

Don’t stop the beats, don’t stop dancing, don’t stop rockin’, don’t stop the night, don’t stop lovin’.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

The track-listing is as follows:

New In Town – Little Boots
VIP – Ke$ha
Tik Tok (DJ Double A Remix) (Blend) – Ke$ha Ft. Pitbull, Kanye West, And Lil Wayne
I Know You Want Me On Blue Monday (Dj Mixy Mash-Up) – Kurd Maverick & Vandlasim vs Pitbull
What World – Damien J Carter
Bot – Deadmau5
Fight For You – Morgan Page
Say It – Booty Luv
Take Me Away (Dave Darell Remix) – 4 Strings
Watch The Sun Come Up (Fred Falke Remix) – Example
Spaced Invader – Hatiras
Power – Kanye West

Download Don’t Stop Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Music: Cities in Dust – Junkie XL

At the moment, this is my favorite track. A cover of the original 1986 version by Siouxsie & The Banshees, this track has established a level of energy that is perfect for the 21st Century. Perfectly produced with highs and lows, heavy synth and kickin bass, Junkie XL’s version gets your heart racing for any upcoming event. (It’s also perfect for a Monday morning!)

(If the player doesn’t open, try this link: Junkie XL – Cities in Dust)

[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/ceesa/cities-in-dust-junkie-xl” params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff04b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]