By: Nick Villers
This is why July is the raddest month of the year!
This was 21 year old me yelling into a box fan to create the DIY Darth Vader voice effect on my 2009 Macbook camera, wearing wayfarer sunglasses, making a YouTube series called "Days of Rad" on iMovie, and just making it up as I go. Who would've thought those moments would lead to 10 years of battling self-creativity, discipline, confidence, and asking yourself why am I doing this? Letting go of being a musician, only to get reeled back in.
Ok, this is my Synthwave story 🎹
My synthwave project, Days of July started as a social media marketing final portfolio project to earn my college Entertainment & Media Business degree in 2010.
I was excited to have my final college project based around social media marketing but as I got into it, and with a push from my college professor Martin Atkins (big shout out to Martin!), I realized quickly I actually needed content in order to be successful. This meant I was about to do double work 😅 hence, DOJ was born.
I wrote the music in order to drive social media marketing tactics, make a successful project, and earn my degree. Through the process I wrote six songs, created the “31 Days of Rad” YouTube series, made a music video, threw an EP release show/dance party, created DIY merch, attempted and failed at doing a Flash Mob, and so much more. Overall, the project was a success and I walked across that graduation stage in frozen Madison, WI in January 2011.
Days of July heartbeat was rooted in my college project and after college, Days of July’s identity was unclear.
I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with DOJ over the last 10 years. I’ve had spurts writing new music and ideas for a few months only to leave them unfinished and stop writing for years, for various reasons - lost motivation, self doubt, perfectionism, life priorities, too focused on the result vs the process, etc. I thrived playing drums in bands, collaborating with others, whereas this type of music creation is all on you. It takes a lot of self discipline, consistency, and belief knowing you’re the sole creator in every aspect of the project.
Earlier this year, with no expectation I started writing DOJ again after a four year hiatus at my own pace and it felt good. I’ve come to terms with the identify of my music direction and an open-mind to how it can grow. I’ve reset my expectations of what I’m looking for in the project and what will create happiness for myself. I’m more focused on the process and the journey vs the result, because that’s why we should be doing it in the first place, right?
I comically opened my Spotify Wrapped for artists knowing it wouldn’t be much (1 hour total listened in 2022) but this is what made me excited and realize the power we have in progressing ourselves and our goals:
My music was listened to in FIVE countries. Last year at this time, my music was probably never heard of outside of the midwest.
I dusted off the cobwebs of my social media marketing brain - being creative with what/how I post through social media outlets.
I started releasing my music through Distro Kid which publishes your music to Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and more. This is the first time I’ve ever published my music through main platforms like this.
I’m promoting Days of July through my Cold Coffee Creative brand.
Most importantly after writing three tracks this year, I’ve released what I feel may be my most complete version of Days of July to date. I’m putting more purpose, intent, and care into what I’m creating, without the toxic perfectionism.
It makes me excited and motivated to what I will create next, to continue writing music, and to see where I will be at a year from now.
If you read this far, thanks for reading, and to anyone that has taken the time to listen to my music, THANK YOU. It means everything. We only get so many minutes in this world and the fact that you’ve taken your time to listen to what I’ve created is the most humbling feeling.
To anyone that can relate to what I’ve written, keep filling your cup and stay creative ☕️
And THAT is why July is the raddest month of the year!