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)

I was a DJ at 89.1 WBSD FM

A long time ago (over 10 years ago) I used to work at a radio station. Yes, I was a Disc Jockey. I spun records over the airways for the listening pleasure of everyone (in Burlington). You may ask yourself, “Over 10 years ago? That would make him 17/18ish.” And you are correct, I was a rockstar at an early age.

WBSD call sign stands for (W) Burlington School District. The station was a High-School, non-commercial radio station. Run mainly by high-school students with a small amount of adult supervision. The format is Triple-A, which stands for “Adult Album Alternative.” This was the format that was pretty much run from the hours of 8am-5pm on weekdays. It featured artists from Bob Dylan to Garbage and Stereophonics to Led Zeppelin. During the hours the station didn’t run the format, students were allowed to host their own shows.

At the time, in order to have a person sit behind the mic and run the station, they needed to obtain their FCC license for broadcast. It was no easy task. We had to take classes in school and take the federally mandated test. Once you obtained your license to broadcast, you were allowed on the radio.

You never really started out with your own show, you first had to go through the ranks. It starts out with reviewing the endless stream of albums coming trough the mail from every sort of recording company. See which ones were the good tracks, catching the profanity and omitting the 80% of garbage bands.

From there, after you do your due time in the trenches, you’re allowed to host a block of time of the formatted bit during class. Yes, students were allowed to work up in the station during their Study Hall or Broadcasting class. It was a great break from the norm and the station was a heaven away from the mundane life of being in high-school.

Then you get your own show! You could choose from an existing show such as Heavy Metal, Country, Blues, Hippy Music or whatever. When I was 16, I was allowed to take over the “New Release Wednesday” show. It was one of the most popular and highest in ratings show the station had to offer. I was dumbfounded. Here I was, 16 years old, just got my driver’s license and now I have one of the more popular radio shows in the area. Simply rad. After about a half year doing that show, I took a hiatus. (Focus on Boy Scouts, work and my artwork.)

When I was 17, I returned to the radio station. I asked my broadcasting mentor, Terry Havel, if I could have my own show, if there was a timeslot available. He said yes, there was the Friday night, 5-8 slot. I took it! I mean, I wasn’t one of those boozers in high-school, what else am I going to do on a Friday night after school? Watch movies? This was an excellent opportunity for me to develop my own show. A show to kick off the weekend.

I created a techno show called Ignition Sequence Start. I created my own playlist based upon my (at the time, limited) knowledge of the dance/techno scene. Since I was getting big into design, I decided to create my own flyers (such as the one you see in this post) to promote my show. (Keep in mind, I was only 17 without any formal education in design.) And what was even better about the show, there was a dance/trance show right after mine. So the dance culture took over the airways on Friday nights, just as it should.

I had the most enjoyable time at the station. I had my friends come up to help DJ and provide witty banter over the air. I received free albums, tickets and almost interviewed the band Garbage.

I learned a great deal from working at the radio station. And since this post is long enough as it is, I’ll bullet point them out for you.

    • How the record industry works.
    • How to speak to the FCC.
    • What not to say on the radio and to the FCC.
    • Transmitter maintenance.
    • How to manage and operate a mixing board.
    • Creating promos.
    • How to be cool over the air.
    • Free CD’s can get a bit overwhelming.
    • Radio is cut-throat business.
    • Coat racks make the best door stops.
    • It gets addicting. (I still want to be on the radio.)
    • It can be extremely political.
    • You really have to be prepared for your show.
    • Top and bottoms of hours are for station identification.
    • If you want to be a jerk, you can bleed your signal onto other stations.
    • Ignition Sequence Start was one of my first successful branding attempts.
    • Promotion and advertising is the way to get noticed.
    • Working at a radio station in high school will not get you the ladies.
    • It doesn’t matter if you get the ladies, you work at a freaking radio station.

So there you have it, my 89.1 WBSD FM radio experience. It was truly an amazing, fun and learning experience. I would go back on the radio in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity.

And I would like to personally thank Terry Havel for turning me on to it and nurturing my passion for music along the way.

My Personal 2010 World Cup Bracket

It’s World Cup time everyone! (Well, it starts on Friday) Yes, I am becoming a little obsessed with the whole thing. The truth of the matter is, I love watching soccer, it’s exciting. Plus, during the World Cup, you have the whole wide world watching along with you. (How’s that for alliteration?)

This last weekend, I created my own bracket. Yup, I designed it. I have two versions here. One version includes my own selections of who will win and I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that will disagree with my choices, but, it’s all in the name of fun. And the second version is a blank bracket for you to download to choose your own winners. And, if you like, you can fill it out and share it with me.

Blank 2010 World Cup Bracket::

PS> I know that I do not have the USA going all the way, and that is sad. But, I will be cheering them on against England this Saturday in Chicago.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Slash

Slashing for dancing. This mix has a sense of being a dance track that you would hear in a club or where ever you just want to dance. Some great dance tracks slashed with some remixes of your favorite songs. This mix is full of energy and life, so make sure you finished your redeye or redbul before you listen to it.

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:

Fire Up The Shoesaw (LP Version) – Lionrock
Galvanise the Eye of the Tiger – Survivor vs The Chemical Brothers
Magic Carpet Ride (Steir’s 1999 Ride Club Mix) – Steppenwolf
Don’t Let Go – LMC & New Radicals
Up & Down (Superclub Mix) – Scent
Something On Your Mind (Switch Remix) – MYNC Project
What You Waiting For (Jacques Lu Cont Vocal) – Gwen Stefani
Sweet Dreams (Frank Valency & Alan Garcia mix) – Eurythmics
Shot Away (Club Mix) – Pawn Shop
Hear My Name (Feat. Spalding Rockwell) – Armand Van Helden
You Spin Me Around – Dead Or Alive
Round and Round – Bodyrockers
Jump – Girls Aloud

Download Slash 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.

Personal Social Networking Rules

400+ million users on Facebook and 100+ million users on Twitter, social networking is becoming more prominent and more invasive. This medium has grown so quickly and we’re all eager and willing to pick up the technology and use it.

Some of us, whether it be inherently or actually spelled out, set up rules for ourselves, our brands, that we adhere to when it comes to posting. I have always had a set of posting rules in place for my social presence. The rules were always just in my head. So, I decided to spell them out for you to see if you agree with them or not, or just to inform you what you will not see from me.

    I am a fairly political person. I enjoy having critical discussions on the nature of government and social change with my friends and family. I make an effort to respect the opinions of others and enjoy learning new points of view. However, I will not speak/post about any sort of political subject on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s not beneficial to me. Plus, that’s not what I’m all about. I’m a designer, social media guru, music and art lover. Those subjects are what I post about.

    Talking politics has become such an intense practice, especially as of late. It polarizes people, it alienates opinions and encourages confrontation. That’s not what I am about. I encourage opinions, knowledge and engagement. I see no real benefit to post about politics unless you want to get into an argument; and I don’t want to do that.

    Oh boy, this topic is just as polarizing and intense as politics. I am a spiritual person, and that is probably the last you’ll hear of it. I respect other people’s beliefs by not speaking about beliefs.

    Social networking tends to be a “happy” place. From what I’ve noticed in the 5+ years I’ve been on social networking sites, is that the environment promotes positivity. No one likes an angry person, so no one likes an angry extension of person. I’m not saying I won’t be critical, I’m saying that you can be critical without being negative. No fights, no swearing and no alienating other users.

    Personal Adventures:
    Yes, I check in on Foursquare at the venues I go to (not all of them though). I inform my followers of the networking events I attend. However, I believe a disconnect from social networking sometimes is needed (at least for myself). I don’t think that everyone needs to know about all of my adventures when I’m out and about, nor do they probably want to read it. So, with that said, certain times I don’t bring up what I’m doing, where I am or who I am with. It’s nice to unplug a bit and it’s certainly great to keep some adventures for yourself.

    Please RT me. Do you need design services? Do you need social media services? I don’t like to receive these via Direct Message or via spam bots. I’m sure that if people want those services from anyone, they’ll do their due diligence and find out the companies with the right fit. I do like to promote my blog content and stuff, that’s just because I think it’s a good read. But you won’t find me trying to pitch you my services. I know, that may sound like I’m not a good marketer, but that’s not what my accounts are set up to do.

    Automated Feeds:
    Why do you want to go to Facebook and read something that is on Twitter, or vice versa? The content that I choose to push through my tied in accounts are pushed through for a reason. Not just to post something, but to post something of substance. The use of linked and feed accounts are only for ease of use and workflow, not to just push content. When I post something, and a user replies, you’ll be sure that I’ll reply to it. There is always a reason behind my madness.

    Job Seeking:
    Yes, I’m looking for a job. I have been looking for a job for quite a while now. I have integrity and I’m a little proud I guess. I won’t outright ask users for a job. I won’t randomly post “Leif Fescenmeyer #design #socialmedia #chicago #milwaukee #lookingforwork” or something like that. It just feels to me that it’s a little desperate and a little too vague. Plus, if I were to look for a job in social media, using social media like that; it obviously shows I don’t know what social media is. (PS> But, if you do want to talk about an interview, I’m not against that. Ha Ha…)

    This is a big one! We all have concerns over our privacy. If you want users to respect your privacy, respect theirs. Posting of photos that I wouldn’t want posted of me, retweeting protected users, and handing out contact information are all against my rules. Granted, I may break this rule from time to time, but rest assured it was not on purpose and I try to make sure if/what I post about others is vetted by that user first.

Keep in mind that we all are fallible. Yes, these are my rules and rules are sometimes broken by mistake. So, let’s just say I try my best to adhere to these guidelines.

What guidelines to you adhere to? Do you disagree with any of mine? (Remember, to disagree doesn’t always mean you have to be negative.)

Professional History: Where I Came From

After creating the last video post, I realized there needs to be a bit more clarification as to where I actually came from, professionally. A bit of professional history, if you will.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. I worked all through college both in the design industry, as well as, the hospitality industry as a Bellman/Valet (You need to pay the bills somehow).

As my college career was wrapping up, I interned at Cramer Krasselt as a Brand Design Intern. I had the opportunity to work with some talented designers and marketers. I helped in the rebranding of massively large corporations and assisted in business development. Along with working at CK, I also had a Design Internship with Mindspike Design. A design firm with enormous potential and experience guiding my talent and nurturing my passion. Needless to say, internships sometimes come to an end. So, where did I go?

It’s always difficult to transition from college to the “real-world.” It was a tough market. Just when I thought it was getting too tough, a firm called NovoPrint, plucked me out from the void. I started as an entry level designer working on B2B publications for Chambers of Commerce throughout the nation. As time moved forward, I moved up the ladder. I started out as a “Designer,” then “Sr. Graphic Designer,” and ultimately “Art Director.” All this happened within a span of 4 years

As I moved up the ladder, so did my responsibilities. Not only was I in charge of the designs coming out of the design department, but I became responsible for the rebrand of the company; no easy task for one person to be sure. However, my experience as a Brand Design Intern a few years before; assisted me a great deal in this internal venture. Once I successfully rebranded the company, I became responsible for the marketing of the company along with the sales department.

Continue reading “Professional History: Where I Came From”

VIDEO: A Personal Introduction

You may have been wondering who this “ebreakdown” guy is and what this is all about. Well, here is my introduction.

This video is an attempt to define, a bit more clearly, who I am, what I do, where I come from, and what this blog and twitter account is about.

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. I just may respond to them in the next video post.

Also, a personal favor: this is my first vlog, diary, journal, or whatever via video; please don’t be too critical. Believe me, I’ll get better.

PS> It is a terrible thumbnail; I know. Can’t be helped.

Infographic: Resume

(Click image to zoom in. Right click; save target as to save)

About a week ago I created my first infographic. That first infographic chronicled my life, interests, professional path and education from the age of 15 to 29. The “Life Infographic” was met with critical acclaim. A lot of people enjoyed reading and viewing it. Of course they did, we’re all visual people in nature.

Within that last post, I mentioned that I was attempting to create another infographic chronicling only my professional career, more of a visual resume. Well, I’m happy to announce that the “Resume Infographic” is completed.

The “Resume Infographic” is composed of three main sections:

• Section One:
At the top, you will see the title of the graphic, my name, title and contact information.

• Section Two:
Probably the most visually appealing graphic of the document, the work wheel. This graphic represents the work timeline from 1999-2010 and wrapped around the wheel is the visual chronicle of my work history separated by colors. Lines coming from segments of the wheel define where I worked and the job duties I had.

• Section Three:
At the bottom of the infographic is more of a linear timeline of my career path. Color of the timeline corresponds to the place of employment just like in the work wheel above. This timeline is simple, linear and gives you a different representation of work history.

The “Resume Infographic” is created in a tabloid format for ease of printing. I heard a few responses from the previous infographic that it was a bit large and hard to read, even after zooming in. I took that criticism and changed things up a bit in this infographic, making it more printer friendly.

As far as the next infographic to come out; well I have no idea what it’s going to be just yet. I’m working on finding a subject matter. And of course, if you have a suggestions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Website Redesign Completed

A little bit ago, I posted that I was working on a redesign of my website. Well, I’m happy to say, it’s completed. What has changed from the older site? Well, quite a bit actually.

For starters, the entire message of the site is different from the previous. The new message is about branding and social media; make your message the moment. This change in message is part-in-partial to the change in career path that I have undergone in the last two years. I’m no longer simply a designer, I have evolved to strategy, marketing and branding. The site’s purpose is to help explain just that; what I am all about, what I am capable of, and what qualifications I have. The site also helps explain how I might be able to help you or your business out. The redesign was to help make information about me and what I do more accessible to the public and potential clients.

Secondly, I needed to incorporate linking, personal and professional linking into my site. This is so you don’t always have to rely on what I give you on one site, but so you can research me, find out what I’m about, other places around the Internet. The linking also helps out with SEO, but I’ll get into that later.

Thirdly, the design needed to change. The mark of elegantbreakdown changed over the course of 2 years and needed to be incorporated into the new site as well as the color palette. The color is a bit intense and in your face, but you have to admit, it certainly does pop and you’ll remember it.

Coming soon, is the redesigned portfolio site to be used in conjunction with this site. The portfolio site will have the same design and aesthetic as this site and include design works that help illustrate how I can assist others visually, not just in strategy. The portfolio site will be up soon.

I had a lot of help with copy and critique on this site from friends and family. I have to give a special shout out to someone I will only refer to as “C” for the spectacular copy.

Hope you enjoy the new site. I hope you gain some sort of meaning of what I’m all about. I hope you don’t beat me up about the pink.

Infographic: A Visual Chronicle of My Life

For a while now, I’ve been looking at a lot of “infographics” on the Internet. Mainly, they’re graphics about science, politics, financials and whatever. But recently, I stumbled across someone’s infographic that has detailed his life from a certain age; chronicling his education and interests. What a great idea! I have been wanting to create one for myself for years. Well, I finally have.

Simply titled, “Life Infographic,” this particular graphic chronicles many facets of my life from the age of 15. Why start with that age? Well, it’s the start of my high school career; the start of the passions and interests I have today. Plus, I don’t think anyone would be interested in all the little bits of life before that.

There is a lot in this graphic, so let me give you a bullet point of what you can find. (From the top-down.)

• Location: Simply, where I have lived during the course of the timeline.

• Education: Shown in the background, this layer represents where and when I went to school and for what.

• Professional Skills: The warm colored bars depict the skill sets and knowledge I gained during this time. It also shows how long I used these skills.

• Career: Basically where I worked and what job I had.

• Age: This is the important bit. The age timeline is what everything in the infographic is based upon.

• Interests: The cool colored bars depict the interests I had outside of the career path and professional skills. Things that I was/am interested in as hobbies or general interest.

• Events: Significant events that have happened to me at certain times in the last 15 years. The interest bars rise up to interact with the professional skills and interests to give you a better representation of where certain skills and interests come from.

Well, that’s the ride around the block for the infographic. I have to say, the most difficult part of this process was determining what goes into the graphic, how to represent the flow, and oddly enough, what colors to choose. I really loved creating this infographic, so now I am in the process of creating another for only my professional timeline; kind of like a visual resume.

I hope gain more insight into who I am, where I came from and what interests me. But most of all, I just hope you enjoy it.

(Also, I need to give an inspiration shout out to the person who created LifeMap. Viewing this finally got me to create my own.)