How to become a working musician - marine eyes (Cynthia Bernard)

Hello again.

Small, but mighty how we work family.

I appreciate you listening to
another episode of the podcast.

This is ESL.

I'm currently down in Mexico for
a couple of weeks down in Baja.

I actually went swimming
with whale sharks yesterday.

Which is a pretty epic experience.

Um, yeah, just kind of
getting away for a little bit.

Super beautiful down here.

Very windy today.

If you hear any wind in the background.

I guess there was a hurricane
that passed not too far from here.

So that might be where it's coming from.

So we have a really good
episode for you today.

I interview Cynthia field, AKA Marine
eyes, . Who's the woman that I've known

for a really long time and who is a
really amazing ambient music musician.

Uh, I worked with Cynthia years ago.

She used to help me with
my underground dinners.

Just really.

Super organized, really sweet, amazing
with people, just a really nice person.

It was really a good
experience working with her.

And we recently got back in touch and
I found out that she is now a working

musician, which is really amazing.

I think that.

For a lot of us, we believe that music
is something you either start doing when

you're in high school or you never do it.

You know, you got to kind of make it big.

And I think what's amazing
about this moment in history.

Is that there are so many
outlets for your music that you

can kind of make it whenever.

,
It's something that's really special
about this episode too, is it's actually

a collaboration with me and Marine eyes.

Uh, she actually did the background music.

So any music you hear in this
episode is actually hers.

So I recorded and edited the episode,
sent it to her, and then she put in

music where she thought it would.

Would kind of augment
and help out the piece.

So I really, I really love what she did.

So I'll leave it to her
to tell you her story.

But I think what really struck me
about what she's done is she's really

intentionally built this community
of other musicians around her.

That's allowed her to get her
music out even more and more.

And I think that.

For anyone who wants to start anything,
you know, be at a music career or

a business or any kind of project.

I think a lot of the
things she talks about.

Are really useful, you know, like
she's really intentional about building

this community really intentional
about getting her stuff out.

Really intentional about the way
she thinks about what she does.

And we also share at one point
a kind of embarrassing way.

That we both stay mentally
stable in hard times.

Um, there was something I
mentioned and she does the same

thing, which was really amazing.

So I'll leave it at that.

And I hope you enjoyed the
episode and thank you so much.

Iso: So we've known each other
for a very long time and we're

just catching up a bit before.

Um, but I haven't seen each
other in a really long time.

So can you tell me and
everyone what you've been up

to in the last several years?

Yeah.

Cynthia: Um, well, especially in the
last three years, I've definitely gotten

really involved with, with sharing my
music and with being involved within the

ambient music community and working with.

Uh, and the record label called
Past Inside the Present, which

is out of Indiana, uh, with some
close friends and also musicians.

When I knew you back in those, you
know, late 2000s, I was definitely

writing music and very involved with
it, but I wasn't really sharing it.

And so it wasn't until I met my
husband in 2014 that I started to

flesh out these ideas and record them.

Um, because within six weeks of the
two of us meeting, we had like a little

EP, um, of our own that we had written.

And he's been in the music
industry his whole adult life.

And so he's also been releasing
music since the early 90s.

And many different genres, you
know, he started with ambient,

but did a lot of electronics.

So once, you know, once 2020 hit,
we released a record of ours.

Um, we go by Awaken Souls, our
project name, and that album is

called How We Heal, which is kind
of funny since you're how we work.

Um, and that record really just
inspired both of us to keep

sharing and then really became the
birthplace of me wanting to start.

Recording my own music, and then in
2021, I released my first record,

um, under the name Marineyes.

And, yeah, it's just been, it's been a
beautiful unfolding and something that

has been incredible these last few years.

So, yeah, I'm just keep,
I'm keeping with it.

That's a, I mean, that's
just a little bit.

Iso: Totally.

No, we can, we can go from there.

I mean, cause I think.

I'm really fascinated by that.

I think that there are a lot of people,
and myself included actually, I would

really like to make music, and kind
of like make it a little bit on my

own and don't share it with anybody.

Um, but just that, that jump from
being interested in it, kind of

doing it a little bit on your own,
to really like sharing it, getting

it out there, starting a group, and
kind of supporting yourself with it.

Like, what are the steps, like,
really, like, what are the

steps you take to get there?

Wow, um...

Yeah, no, it's hard, but I think
really like, you know, kind of

like, step by step, in a way, um...

I mean, I...

Like, how do you make it happen?

Cynthia: Um, I've definitely been
lucky enough to have had some

placements as an independent artist.

You know, a lot of this is done
through, through record labels.

with, with wider reach, you know, um,
that has been a big source of how it's

been able to become part time work for me.

It's also about just being,
being consistent and sharing.

And, um, I just finished my third
record, which will be out next year.

Um, so, you know, once you do that,
there's just all these different,

there's all these different parts.

of the process and I know you know this
with all of the many things that you've

started that there's that process of the
creation and that feeling of it and then

the, um, the feeling that comes after.

So, um, you know, there's all
these different things I have

my hands in right now and I just
feel really lucky to be able to.

Exploring those and sharing them,

Iso: you know?

Yeah, it sounds, um, yeah, it sounds
really, yeah, it sounds really satisfying.

It feels like to spend, yeah, your full
time kind of creating your own art.

is a dream that a lot
of people have, right?

Um, but there are all these
things that go along with it.

You know, like, all these
things you're talking about.

And I kind of want to
dig into some of them.

Um, but the, the kind of creation,
the, like, the spark of creation

is, is one small part of it.

And then there are all these
other kind of steps to get there.

Right?

Mm hmm.

Definitely.

Um, could you talk a little bit
about, like, I'm really interested

in just like, you talking shop a
little bit about this stuff, too?

Yeah, yeah, of course.

Like, um, could you talk a little bit
about the importance of the Spotify

playlists you were talking about before?

Or just like the streaming playlists?

Well,

Cynthia: yeah, because it's definitely
not just through Spotify, um,

that's a part of music right now.

And I'm not sure if you see
this, but you know, there are.

People who are vocally disappointed
about the state of it and of course, you

know, I mean I do use streaming a lot
To find new artists to listen to music.

But I mean, are you
even aware of Bandcamp?

Have you heard of Bandcamp?

Iso: Yeah a little bit.

I think I met the guy who started it But
yeah, you want to talk about what it is?

So

Cynthia: I mean as an independent
artist is super important to me.

So before even talking about streaming,
you know, I definitely want to bring,

bring that up because, and through the
record label that I work with, we, that's

how we get our music out to the world.

That's a place where
you can buy merchandise.

It's just a wonderful
hub for the community to.

You know, you get, you get to have your
own little collection of albums that

you've purchased and supported, and
you can write comments about how the

record made you feel and, you know,
to receive those as an artist, I would

say that's such an incredible gift.

Um, when somebody takes the time
to write like a little review

and then you get to see it.

Um, so there's just this whole.

Beautiful aspect to what Bandcamp is,
um, but um, you know, that is a place

where you can have a lot of, uh, true
fans in a certain way, you know, that

are your supporters, that, you know,
can go, if you're gonna, Randomly drop a

song that you can count on that will be
there and that are your, you know, that

are your fans It's much different when
you turn that into Streaming, you know,

you don't have direct direct knowledge
of who your fans are you're not really

sending them physical product and you
know every time I'm releasing a record.

I definitely have been doing physical
products with it, vinyl, um, OCD.

So, that being said, I've had some
lovely people reach out to me through

streaming, you know, and have shared
with me, you know, I found your song.

Um, Through, you know, this streaming app.

I had someone reach out to me to
say they've been using my music

in their tea ceremonies in Bali.

And that just blew me away.

Like I, I definitely am working
with, with what it means, you

know, and it's unpredictable.

Like I was saying, you know, because
you can be put on a playlist and maybe

make a few hundred dollars a month off
of one song being on a certain thing.

And then it could get
taken away at any point.

You know, so it's unpredictable,
you don't, you don't know, so you

just have to be really aware of the
ebbs and flows that come with it.

But as one song gets taken off, another
could get put on and you can be sharing

music and so is the flow of life, you
know, so yeah, but if you're relying on

it, it's, it's not something that you can
always rely on, you know, exclusively.

Iso: Yeah, no, I think that's a really,
it's a smart way to approach it.

It feels like a situation a lot
of creative people are in right

now, in, in every different venue.

It's like so much of people's creativity
is consumed on these platforms

that they get no, they don't own
any, any of the interaction, right?

Like the platform owns the interaction
and kind of like owns your community.

So it's like own, like.

Like I've, I've said this a lot
actually, like my email list is like

by far the most valuable thing I own.

And that's because it's like
made up of people like, my

kind of like true fans, right?

Um, and so like Bandcamp

Cynthia: is similar, right?

Yes, it is.

And I know firsthand about your email
list because I would actually, you

know, help gather your emails early
on and it was just like the most

valuable, you know, that list just

Iso: grew.

It has supported me for the last 15 years.

It's wild.

Yeah.

And it's so cool.

And what's cool about it is like, like
I use my email list in a way that I've

actually never seen another business
doing, which makes me feel kind of

unprofessional sometimes, but basically
like, Anything that I'm interested in,

any new project, or new like, business
idea, or new kind of, you know, I'm gonna

start this petition soon, I think, on it,
um, I just send out to that list, right?

And so basically it's just like,
people who know about my stuff.

And I'm sure that's true with Bandcamp
too, those are like your, you ever hear

the idea of uh, Like a thousand true fans.

Oh yes, I think about that often.

Yeah, all you need is like a thousand
people who are really behind you.

And you can make your whole
life, like, being creative.

So, I mean, I think it's really
smart to like tap into Bandcamp

and kind of cultivate that.

Cynthia: Definitely.

And then if there are people, you know,
that reach out to me that have, um, found

me through streaming or something like
that, then I want to make the personal

connection and like pass on my bandcamp.

Iso: Mm hmm.

Yeah.

So something you said I'm really
interested in before, uh, like the way

you cultivate people to reach out to
you, like that personal connection.

I mean, even, so something I wanted to
say is that, But you were incredibly

responsive through this process,
like I reached out and said, Oh,

do you want to be on the podcast?

You responded immediately.

You sent me this email with like
projects you're working on and like

things that you'd like to talk about.

And I think that that is actually like
a really, a much larger part of success

in like any creative field than people
give it credit for is the like, and like

what you were talking about before, like
reaching out personally to people who.

are, um, who show interest in your music.

Can you talk more about kind
of like how you do that?

Cause I think it's a
really, really valuable

Cynthia: skill.

Well, I definitely think that that comes
from my past of what, you know, which

before I was really in music, I was in
the food industry and was an assistant

for chefs and you know, that was, you
know, that's just ingrained in me, um, to.

Be good at following up on things that are
important to me, you know, I always say

that one of my bedrock, you know, bedrock
Cynthia sings is, you know, friendly

persistence is one of the keys to life.

I also just, I think, comes from
how I was raised, you know, I saw my

mom and dad have had their own comic
book business in the Bay Area for 35

years now and, you know, growing up
and seeing how they communicated with

others and being prompt and everything.

Like, I definitely think that has a
part in why I am the way that I am.

Um, and also just that I, I value others
period, you know, I, and if somebody

is making the effort to reach out.

You know, I want to say thank you.

I had someone reach out to me saying
they listened to my album a lot with

their newborn baby in their arms.

Like, of course I want to
respond to that immediately.

Like that's the most beautiful thing.

I mean, it's just like, it.

Really just moves me so much.

I don't take it for granted at all
like it and it also just inspires me

to To keep sharing and you know also
professionalism, you know, I I love being

on top of what I'm passionate about So
I'm gonna respond If you break it down

Iso: to you know, yeah, no,
it's just the right thing.

That's the thing like I think it's
undervalued I mean, there's a lot in there

when I talk about but I think even the
They're just kind of professionalism side

of it is undervalued like just getting
back like I feel like half the articles

That I've ever been in are just because
I responded first to the reporter, you

know Responded quickly and and like and
I was easy to deal with so they're like,

okay, like let's just go with this guy
Like right, but also like I really like

what you said about gratitude though,
because I think that that is, like, it's

so important to keep it front of mind, um,
you know, because it's like, especially

with, so say you're trying to promote
yourself on Instagram, there's all these

people that are kind of reaching out, um,
but you don't know any of them, so it's

like really impersonal, so they start to
just kind of feel like numbers, um, yeah,

I just think like keeping front of mind,
just being super grateful that anybody's

interested in what, I'm doing it all is
something that is really important, right?

I mean, it's funny actually like the way
we got back in touch is from an email that

I sent out I know to my list about how
cuz I really just had this moment I was

clearing my inbox of just like all this
crap that I didn't look at And I just at

this moment where I was like amazed that
anyone opens my emails at all, right?

Like yeah, and I think that's it's a it's
kind of a nice way to think about it.

Like Just be grateful that anyone
is paying attention at all, because

there's so many things for them to be
paying attention to, like, and it's so

overwhelming, and there's so many huge
brands, and for you, like, huge musicians

who are kind of drawing their attention,
and so like, How nice is it that they,

like, someone listened to your song and
it was touched so much that they, like,

wanted to send this email to you about
the experience they had, it's like, it's

really, yeah, it's, it's really beautiful,
you know, and I love that you, you think,

you think about that, you focus on that.

Yeah,

Cynthia: and it sounds like you do too,
which is so cool, you know, it's, and

that's, I think that that also just
kind of goes back to your, your doing.

Like, well, both of us are doing what
we love, um, because like, if, if it

wasn't something that was so close to our
hearts, it might hit different, you know?

So, um, and I'll talk to my kids
about this too, of just like, you

know, we can, as humans have like
our little fuel tanks and we can

be drained and we can be filled up.

And when those little things happen,
it's definitely like, you know,

like these little, like keep going.

Iso: Yeah, I literally have a folder
on my computer, it's called the Good

Folder, this is a little embarrassing
but I'll share it, it's called the Good

Folder, and when I get an email or like
a message from somebody that's just like

so sweet, you know, because every once
in a while I get these messages that are

just like so amazing and make me feel
so good about what I'm doing, I actually

like put it in the Good Folder, and
the idea is, and I don't check it often

actually, kind of the idea is that Okay,
if I'm feeling really bad about what

I'm doing, or like just really drained
and just feel like, what's the point?

I go to the good folder and I
can remind myself, you know,

Cynthia: I have the, I
have the good envelope.

Oh, okay.

So I have the exact same thing,
which is analog on an envelope that

I have in my closet by my clothes
that I have like kind of pinned up.

And if there's something, like, really
sweet, it's, you know, also, like,

little, little notes from the kids or,
like, from friends or, you know, even

if something really special, like,
was sent my way, um, you know, like,

what I've been talking about, then I
can put that in there, and then it's,

like, it's my little reminder, like,
if I'm just, like, kind of, like, oh.

All right, you know then I
can go to my good envelope.

So that's so funny.

I

Iso: have the same thing.

Yeah Yeah, I mean I I might mention
it on other podcasts and see how

many people actually have it because
I think it's something if You're

doing like because there's a lot.

I mean, there's a lot of moments.

It's like I'll talk about even this
podcast specifically like it's something

I'm really excited about I really want
to do it and then there are moments

that I'm just like What am I doing?

Like, what business do I have doing this?

Like, who's gonna listen?

What's the point, right?

Like, you have these moments
where, like, your energy...

Like, it takes, like, a lot of, like,
it takes a lot of will to keep pushing

forward, even though, like, maybe
it's not gonna work, and, like, maybe

it's not a good idea, and maybe people
are gonna think it's stupid, right?

Like, I think it's important to...

Set in place the things to help
you keep moving forward, you know

I think for me like in for you,
that's this folder and like hey,

Cynthia: I know it's so funny And I mean
with what you're saying, like I I have

that happen that kind of imposter syndrome
Like I talked about it with you know My

my friends through the label a lot that we
all have these moments that that come up

like before a release Especially or before
something where we're like is you know?

Is this worth sharing, you know, or like,
you can kind of have those, those mean

voices creep in and so much of, I think,
long term creativity is, is learning how

to just like have them hang out in the
room, but not be the ones to take over,

you know, um, and I had, uh, my first live
performances this last fall with, um, the

project with my husband, Awaken Souls.

And I was, I was struggling before
I was really like, oh, I don't am I

basically am I worthy is this even
worth sharing, you know, and, and

had some, some really serious hurdles
to climb of, you know, anxiety, like

stage fright, that kind of thing.

But I really worked with those voices and
And had them hang out, but I was like,

you cannot take over, you know, you just
can't be the ones that are in charge.

Like, I know, like, deeply that
I don't want you to be in charge,

and so it was like, kind of this,
you know, inner conversation.

And I think things like that can
really help in moments like that.

Um, and I did it, and I felt
wonderful about it, and it was

also this process of just...

It's learning how to live with all
of those sides because day to day our

different voices will come up in us.

You know, some days it will be lovely
and then other days will be really hard.

And I think that's a huge part
of being a creative in general.

You know?

Iso: Mm hmm.

Yeah.

No.

Yeah.

I think that's really well put.

And I actually love like the, I don't
know what I want to call it, a technique

of actually imagining them in the room.

Mm hmm.

Like there's something.

Because.

I think it's really easy to
try to banish them, right?

Like, think, think, oh, if I can just,
like, get rid of the, these feelings of

doubt, then I'll be confident enough to
do this project I've always wanted to do.

But the reality is, you know,
even the day before you're

going on stage, they're there.

Like, they're not gonna go away.

Um, so to, like, almost, yeah,
physically think about them.

Like, okay, they're, like,
On the side of the stage.

Yeah, they're in the audience right now.

Yeah, they're in the audience.

And they are, right?

There's a couple people in the audience.

And that's another thing too.

Kind of like don't like speak to the the
voices like speak to all the people who

are actually there to see you like they
Paid money to come see you right like

like there's something they're there
for So paying attention to that instead.

I think is yeah, it's hard
sometimes but so important.

Yeah, you just you can paralyze yourself
Completely, you know, and I think if

you're ever gonna do anything that's
actually unique You're never gonna

be sure that you're doing it, right?

You know, by, like, by definition,
it hasn't been done before.

Um, and so you have to, like,
trust and keep trying and, like,

maybe you're gonna mess up and

Cynthia: make it happen.

Oh, definitely.

And my husband has helped me a lot
with this because he is straight up

New York, like, He is a rebel, like,
whatever anybody says, it doesn't, it

just doesn't seem to faze him, you know?

Um, and so, he's just like,
do your thing, you know?

And now it's helped me, it's helped
me know, like, I know not everyone

will connect with what I do, you know?

And, and that's, that's okay.

I'm totally, like, I've come
to a peace with that, you know?

It's not like I expect everyone to...

To be as interested in the music that
I'm making, um, as others or, or what

I'm doing, staying true and being
authentic to what you're doing is going

to present some community and then
other people might not be interested.

And that's okay.

Yeah, no,

Iso: I think that's, I
think that's so smart too.

Right.

Yeah.

Like, speak to the people who will love
it, and ignore the people who won't,

um, because no matter what you do,
you know, there's a lot of people who

don't like Coca Cola, and they're like,
but they're a billion dollar brand,

and most people do like them, right?

It's like, some people don't like sugary
sweet water, most people do, but, you

know, like, like even them, even something

Cynthia: like that.

Some people don't like,
you know, foraging.

Iso: Some people don't
know who those people are.

I don't think they actually exist.

Come on.

I mean, how can you not like?

Cynthia: Like, some people don't
even like going on a hiking trail.

What?

That's just crazy.

Yeah.

I don't know.

That's a tough one to process,

Iso: but.

But yeah, just kind of keep like,
yeah, just like keep doing your thing.

I think that's really good advice.

Can I keep your head down?

Like, don't pay attention, but it's hard.

And I think for me and seems like
for you too, think you need like

Something to go back to, or even a
thing that you know is there, right?

Like, okay, you have a lot of confidence,
but like, there will be these moments.

And you know you can kind of go back
to your folder or to your husband.

Um, you know, and I have
people in my life too.

It's like, like you need that support.

Like that support is so important, right?

Mm hmm.

Definitely.

Yeah, I mean, how, it seems like
a big part of kind of the life

that you've created for yourself.

now has to do with the community that's
around you and how Like the support you

get from the community and you're working
on projects with different people in the

community and reaching out a lot Like can
you talk a little bit about that like how?

Like, how intentional that's been,
kind of like doing the compilation,

you, you now have all these people
who are, who are kind of part of your

community that I'm sure you'll work
with in different ways in the future.

And I think that's such an important
part of like any creative project

is, is building that community.

Oh, completely.

Cynthia: Um, and especially with,
with ambient music, the community is

You know, there's like one degree of
separation, I think, between most people.

There's a lot of small labels that
are all supportive of other labels.

And it's a really unique
community in that sense.

If you're releasing on this label, you
could easily release on this label.

And so that kind of just like breathes
the community into a new, a new kind

of, I guess, just a new space of, you
know, everyone's kind of Supporting

one another at least it to me.

It does feel like that in a lot of ways um
that there's just like this one degree of

Of that also a lot of people are releasing
a ton of music I will say that and then

a lot of people will joke around Um that
you know the five dollars you spend on

It's like, it's like a circulating 5.

Cause it's like you spend
it on somebody's album.

Then they spend it on your album and then
they spend it on somebody else's album.

And

Iso: it's like a rent
party in the sixties,

Cynthia: right?

Yeah.

So it's so funny.

And, and doing this monthly mix series
that I do, this woman of ambient series,

I've been able to, um, get to know a lot
of women within the community, which.

And it's I think it's really great
because a lot of times it can be a

little daunting to meet new people.

Um, but There's this supportive
nature to the whole thing.

Iso: Yeah, can you talk a little
bit more about that project?

Cynthia: Yeah, so, um, when I started
writing Ambient, you know, I would often

be hearing people say, Oh, there's not
really any women, you know, creating.

ambient music.

It's just not really common.

And I disagreed with that.

You know, I felt like, wait a
second, there are a lot of people,

you know, there's a lot of women
that are making ambient music.

And maybe they're not like, you
know, usually the ones that you

might see at the top of a playlist
or something, or that are the first

person that's mentioned if you bring
up, you know, this genre of music.

But I, I wanted to highlight a lot
of the women that are creating music.

And so, and for women's day back in
2021, I created this playlist, not

necessarily with the intention to do
it all the time, but, um, it really

was, it seemed at that moment, like
people were really excited about it.

Like, wow, this is great.

There's like this, you know, this whole.

List of women.

And then I just was inspired
to continue working on that.

And so now every month I'm, you
know, I'm keeping, I'm keeping

in touch with what's going on and
I'm always finding new people.

To add, um, to, um, what is now, you
know, I will add to, um, a Spotify

playlist, but I also, where I'll put
together a mix, um, and then share

that on SoundCloud or, um, you know,
and those are, those are really fun.

So.

Iso: I am actually really interested
in getting your take as a musician on

the kind of like current state of the
amount of music, you know, cause like.

I just feel like I've become a super
passive listener on Spotify because

there's just an endless amount of
amazing music being made right now.

And on the one hand, it's just incredible
to see how many new bands there are making

music that like, is my favorite music,
um, but as a musician, it almost, I think

what's happened though a little bit is
I've become a very passive listener.

You know, like when I was growing
up, like you were saying, you

had to buy the CD and it was, it
was a much more intentional act.

Like these are bands that I listen to.

I am the kind of person who listens
to like Skank and Pickle and Op Ivy.

And like, those are the bands that I have.

Um.

Yeah.

But now, if I'm being really honest, like
some of the bands I listen to I don't

even know the name of, you know, like,
and so, although it's really beautiful,

there's a lot of it from the kind of
like artist standpoint, does that feel

frustrating that there's just like, It's
just, it's just kind of this machine.

Cynthia: Yeah, I, it can, um,
it definitely can't, like I

said, it can be overwhelming.

Um, where it's like, I don't have
enough time in the day to, to listen

to everything I want to listen to.

You know, so that makes it even more
incredible like when I hear somebody

has listened to my full album because
I'm like, Oh my gosh, somebody actually

listened to the whole thing because
I'm so well aware of the many, many,

many, many things that are coming out.

And the other thing that goes with that,
which is kind of interesting is I feel

like sometimes it's this weird race and
I'm really trying to not be part of that.

And it's like, yeah, because
it's so often right now, right?

Like for people to stay relevant,
it's about releasing new things, you

know, and, um, but it's going back
to going back to what you're saying.

It's like, it really goes
down to like, what is.

What is breaking through, you know,
like what artists are you going to

listen to the full album of you know?

And how many of those how many
of those would you say that like

artists do you have right now?

But if they came out with something new
you would just listen to it right away,

Iso: you know I mean if I'm being
honest, I'm trying to be as honest

about that I can even though it makes
me seem a bit like a dilettante.

Um, like I just I'll just, I just
listen to Spotify, so like maybe I'll be

listening to an artist on Spotify and a
song comes on I really love, I'll make

a play, I'll say oh, like go to radio of
that artist, listen to that for a while,

hear something else I really love, go
in that direction, and then if someone I

find I really love, I'll listen to their
albums for a while, their full albums,

um, but then I get pulled away in another
direction again, you know, it just, it

feels like, I very rarely, I mean I do
sometimes, but like I very rarely will

like turn off and dig into a musician's
kind of catalog, like um, anything

off of, off of the streaming app, you

Cynthia: know?

Yeah, I mean that's, that's extremely
common, I mean that's not something to,

Iso: I feel bad because I, I wanna, I
wanna support creative people, right?

Yeah, true.

Like, and I do, but like, maybe not as
much in music as in other venues, but.

Oh,

Cynthia: and so I have a unique.

on that because so many of my friends
are creatives, you know, um, and

are writing albums and it's like
this gift that we give one another

to listen to each other's albums.

And so a lot of the times the full
albums that I'm listening to are

my friends, you know, and then I
get to like tell them how, how it

made me feel and give feedback.

And so like, that's.

That's a lot of times, like, I'll like,
you know, lay down and listen to it

at night, like with my headphones on.

Um, and that's, that's like this
gift that we give one another, like

speaking of community, you know,
and with friends and everything.

Um, But of course, there's other musicians
that are coming out with records that,

you know, I'm gonna listen to the whole
thing, you know, but, um, but it's

also time is precious, you know, so
all these things, it is a busy world.

I know it's a very busy world out there,
which is why I make ambient music.

There you

Iso: go.

I know it's a way to slow it

Cynthia: down.

It forces me to slow
down while I'm making it.

A lot of the sounds, I get field
recordings and I'm out in nature seeking

out the Quietest places, uh, possible,
you know, of just where all I can hear

are birds and the wind and, you know,
and like, so every nature sound you hear

within my music is something I captured.

Um, so that's a huge
part of the slowing down.

And then when I hear that it helped
other people slow down and that they

actually listened to the full thing.

I mean, like I said, that's pretty,
pretty amazing, you know, that

it's like, gosh, with all of these
things in the world, you know, um.

Being able to listen, um, having
other people listen, it's,

Iso: it's really cool.

Yeah, yeah, like what a gift,
like they took the time, you

know, or you take the time.

Yeah, I mean, I love like, I mean,
I love that like, I love that

intentionality of spending time
sitting down listening to a record.

I think I do it more with reading,
like I was thinking about like, what's

my kind of focus time like that?

It's like a physical book and reading.

Oh, yeah, but we all need those.

Yeah, we all need those kind of like
retreats from the world Yes, the intense

world So, can you I got a question for
you So say someone was listening to this

and they were really interested in doing
Something similar to what you're doing

and they listen to you and they think
oh well She has this great community

already of people to help her out and
she can depend on Like say you were

starting From zero today, like how would
you, what would be your like first step

or like first couple steps to move in
the direction of doing what you do now?

Cynthia: Well, finish some songs.

That's a good first one.

There we go, that's step one.

Um, and I would say listen to
different labels and look at, you

know, what labels you connect with.

Um, especially if you're making
ambient music, I mean there

are a lot of smaller labels.

Um, that are releasing incredible albums,
uh, you know, monthly and, you know,

just finding, finding a place that you
connect with and then at least a place

and then start reaching out to people.

Um, and then find a home for your albums.

I mean, I think that that's one way to
start building a community, is to then,

you know, be part of a small label.

A lot of people are doing things,
releasing things on their own, too.

And if you're doing that, you know,
I think it's just about, you know,

reaching out to others who you enjoy
what they're doing, and saying hello.

So many people are going to be...

ready to say hello right back, you
know, and don't, don't be afraid

to, to get out there and, and
reach out to, to, um, to others.

I mean, the way that we really, really
started feeling like we had a community

was through releasing, um, our record,
How We Heal through Stereo Scenic.

And we didn't know, I, I had no idea that
that's what I was missing, was community.

I was just, for a few years, James
and I, we were completing songs.

We had been, you know, we have
hundreds of songs on this music

library, um, that we had written.

And, you know, so we had been working
on that a lot, but there was no other

people for feedback, nobody to talk
to with doing that, aside from the

people through the music library.

And then so when we released this
record in 2020, and we had feedback

and we had, uh, you know, others and
built started building a community.

I just was like.

Wow, I had no idea that this was
something that I was even missing,

you know, to be able to have other
people to bounce ideas off of.

And then from there, it
just started growing.

So I would say, you know, it's
beautiful to be alone, but it's also

really important to find others who

Iso: light you up.

That's very well said.

Yeah, I think that's really great advice.

And it's almost seems...

Too simple right like just start reaching
out to people that you like I feel

that people think that they won't get
responded to and that's just not true

Like people really do want to hear from
you and they're really excited to help

you especially people kind of further
along in their career Who like have been

helped out by well, I'll just speak to
kind of my experience but who have been

helped out in their past Will offer
more support than you could imagine, you

know, and then you start to build all
this all this structure around you Oh

Cynthia: completely and you know,
I've had if I've had people reaching

out to me for advice, you know, like
what you know What do you suggest?

What do you think?

And I've had a few releases that
I've kind of helped facilitate this

year through others reaching out to
me and saying will you take a listen

to this and You know, where do you
think would be a good home for this?

You know if any and I've helped
connect people with others.

That's really important to me too.

I'm like, Oh, this album sounds
like it would be a perfect

fit on blank label, you know?

And And a few times it's actually panned
out and like to see that, like that

I helped in any way give somebody the
confidence to reach out to another label,

like in one instance, it was like, Oh,
I don't think I could reach out to them.

They might not respond.

And I was like, I think
you'll be surprised.

And then, you know, two months
later, the album's out on that label.

So if anything that I could do to help
others, just like, just try, you know,

I'm not saying it's a guarantee, but
at least reaching out and at least.

Just being who you are and
saying, saying hello and here's

what I've been working on.

And, um, yeah, just reaching out.

I mean, you can do it in a way
that's not, you know, creepy.

Iso: Totally.

Yeah.

Just say hi.

I mean, and it doesn't have to be,
and you don't have to like oversell

yourself or present some kind
of like professional, you know,

character to people just say, Hey.

I'm, I'm making this stuff,
and I really like what you're

making, I'm really excited about
it, like, can we talk some time?

And like, it works all the time.

Yeah.

It's just like, it's
crazy how much it works.

Yeah.

Cynthia: It's like the,
you know, It's like a

Iso: superpower.

It is.

Yeah.

Yeah, no,

Cynthia: totally.

Um, so that would be my main, that
would be my main advice is to,

um, but also do your research.

If your album sounds like nothing at all,
then, uh, that, uh, um, labels releasing,

then maybe that's not the right fit.

So definitely do your research, you know,
but in doing so, then go from there.

There's people out there that
want to hear what you're making.

They're always, you know,
there's always going to be

Iso: people out there.

It's very true.

What's your favorite
thing about your work?

Cynthia: I would definitely
say my favorite thing about.

My work is that it helps me slow down.

It really does.

Um, in, in the creation part of it anyway.

And that's something that even if I have
a lot of other tasks that aren't creation

related, um, throughout the week for
different projects, like I always will go

back to continuing creating new things.

You know, because that, that, that's the
part that keeps me going, you know, and

that's the part that really centers me.

Um, that's really what I love most is
that I'm able to like, forget about all

those little other things that I have to
do, you know, um, for a second moment.

It's wild.

Like it's, it's like, I just, I feel
like everybody can find that thing

that they get lost and found them.

And it might not be music,
you know, it might be cooking.

It might be, you know.

It might be, I mean, basketball, like,
for my son right now, like, it's, but

getting lost and found in something
is, if, does that make sense to you?

You know, like where you're, it's just,

Iso: yeah, like lost in the kind of,
people talk about it like flow state.

You're kind of lost,
like lost in the moment.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah, it really

Cynthia: is.

But like, you know, a lot of people
will say lost, but like, I'm like,

I am so being found right now too,
because it is, you know, it's where I.

Um, I'm really able to strip it all back.

So that's my ultimate favorite part of it.

I love that so much.

Like I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Iso: No, I think that's something
that a lot of people are looking for.

Something you can be lost and found.

I like that.

That's, yeah, that's new because
people do talk a lot about being

lost in something, but it really is
about being lost, but you're lost and

finding the thing that you want to be
focused on at the same time, right?

Yeah, it

Cynthia: really is.

It's, it's this like, you know,
present moment times, you know, a

trillion, a feeling that can come up.

Iso: It's really cool.

Yeah, it is very cool.

Um, do you feel successful?

Cynthia: Do I feel successful?

I feel, I would say I feel,
yeah, I feel successful.

I feel like in the last few years
that, you know, I'm always, I'm,

I'm eternally of growth mindset,
so I definitely feel like there's

a lot of exciting things up ahead.

But with what's, with the effort that
I've put into what I've been doing,

which has been a lot, I feel really
grateful for where I am right now.

Iso: Mm hmm.

So satisfied and looking
forward to the future.

Yeah.

That's a good way to look at it.

Um, here, let me, so there's a
couple different things I'm, so

I'm just starting this podcast,
you know, so there's a couple

different things I'm like trying out.

So I'm like, try them out
on you and see how they go.

And I'd love your feedback
on how you feel about it.

Okay, so finish these
sentences right here.

Can you finish these sentences?

I love.

Cynthia: Oh my gosh,
that's really hard for me.

I love so much.

Um, I mean, the first thing.

That came to mind is, I love nature.

Iso: I wish I had...

Cynthia: The ability to make my
daughters see how beautiful they

Iso: are.

That's so sweet.

I wish I could...

Let everyone

Cynthia: know that they
have creativity within them.

Iso: I wish I'd never...

Been scared to be myself.

And now for the most uncomfortable
question in the English language, which

you can choose to answer or not, is...

How much money do you
make doing what you do?

Cynthia: Uh, that really
depends on what month it is.

So I can't really answer that.

Iso: Okay, yeah.

I mean, I think the reason I want
to include this question in these

podcasts is money is such a central
focus of what so many of us do.

And like, hopefully, you know, in
a perfect world we don't have to

think about it that much, right?

But it's a driving force,
obviously, that keeps us alive.

Um, but we never talk about it.

Like, no one ever talks about
how much money they make.

No one knows how much money
they make, other people make.

Um, and I think it'd just be really
interesting because I'm gonna be

interviewing a lot of different
people who are kind of like in a

lot of different fields, all kind of
like cobbling their lives together

from all kinds of different things.

Mm hmm.

Um, I think it'd just
be really interesting.

For people to have some understanding
of like, okay, like how much money

are people making in these different
venues and like, how are they getting

by in different ways, but Oh, yeah.

Cynthia: I mean, for me, you know, it
really does vary so much right now.

And especially because, you know, with,
with, I guess, with everything combined,

I would really have to break that down
because I am also, you know, helping my

husband with his, his new business, but
he does mixing and mastering for others.

And I've been.

Helping with that a bit.

So I mean, do I include that?

You know, do I include what he makes?

You know, those are interesting questions,
but you know, when it comes to like

exclusively myself, you know, that
could vary like by thousands, you know?

Mm-hmm.

. Yeah, it really could.

Iso: So, yeah, totally.

No, no.

That's one of the Me too.

It's like some ups and downs when
you're running your own thing.

Yeah.

Mm-hmm.

. Don't you

Cynthia: have a physical location?

Iso: Yeah, so I have Forage SF, um, and we
do foraging classes all around California.

But then we also have Forage
Kitchen, which is a shared

kitchen in uptown Oakland.

And we have a bar and restaurant and
rent it for event space and stuff, so.

Oh my gosh.

Yeah, I got a couple
different things going on.

Um, but, yeah, the kitchen, the kitchen
income, yeah, is, is more stable.

It's kind of people in
the kitchen who use it.

Um, but Forage SF, which mostly
supports me, actually, is more kind

of, kind of like, no, you never know.

You know, there's no paycheck.

Yeah.

I've, I've heard the payments for
streaming are really surprisingly low.

Like, can someone who's not incredibly
successful support themselves,

like, on just streaming payments?

Is that possible?

Cynthia: Is somebody who is

Iso: successful, or?

Oh, sorry, no.

Is someone who is not insanely successful?

No,

Cynthia: you definitely,
you definitely can't.

I mean, if the, the Spotify pay rate
is like, 100, 000 streams is, is under

Iso: 400.

That's crazy.

No, that's why it's so smart.

Yeah, it seems like Bandcamp
seems like a really good resource.

It

Cynthia: is, you know.

But then that, you know, you have
to, you have to, you know, be.

Slowly building your community on there.

And, um, it's, you know, it can be
absolutely incredible for the release.

We usually wait a month until.

The release has been out to
then put it fully on streaming.

I mean, now that's not really common.

I think that that's something,
you know, a few labels are doing.

Um, but that's just something
that within Past Inside the

Present that we connect with.

Iso: It seems really
smart to me, actually.

Mm hmm.

Cynthia: And there are,

Iso: yeah, there's some people
You're getting those thousand

true fans to buy Oh, yeah.

Vinyl and listen to, and
they are so excited about it.

And there's something, and
they're also like VIPs, right?

They're buying something that they
can't get anywhere else at that moment.

So they're part of your community.

Yeah.

Yeah, for sure.

It's a smart, smart marketing strategy.

It's interesting, it's like, we're at this
moment where everyone's like, there's all

these platforms and you need to get many
more followers or maybe you're trying to

get millions of um, streams on Spotify.

But the reality is that the way most
people actually still make their living

is by these like, small groups of local
people who care about them who are

buying their actual physical stuff.

You know?

Isn't it kind of ironic?

Like, you're not actually
making money from Spotify.

Like, it feels, I mean, you're not
making money from Instagram, right?

Or you're not making money
from your Facebook group.

I

Cynthia: mean, you're making money
through Instagram by sharing the thing

that you hope people might go to.

Iso: Some amount of money, totally.

Yeah, but I just think it's like, in
the end, it's, in the, because I think

that if you focus too much on those
larger platforms, it's really easy to

forget about the, like, small, local
community that is actually supporting you.

Um, it's It's like, it's this mirage
that it feels like you're successful

because you have a lot of Instagram
followers, but realistically most people

don't make much money off that at all.

And

Cynthia: there's no rhyme or reason.

There are some people who have
large Instagram followings,

zero Bandcamp sales, and decent.

Streaming sales.

There's people who have no followers
on Instagram who have large

streaming and no Bandcamp sales.

There's like every
different version of it.

There's absolutely no rhyme or
reason to how it translates.

Iso: Yeah.

Well, maybe it's focus.

You know, maybe it's focus like
you were talking about before.

Like you really focus on the
individuals and kind of like getting

your community to grow that way.

Um, Whereas maybe someone who focuses a
lot on Instagram, they're not focusing

so much on the people emailing them.

Because it doesn't feel as
important to them, you know?

They're like, oh, well, I'm not gonna
waste my time answering emails from

like some random person in Idaho.

Like, I gotta like focus on like posting
more stuff on my Instagram, right?

Because they think that that's the
way they're gonna get successful,

when in reality, it's like the
person in Idaho is actually the

person who's gonna buy your record.

Like, that's, like, that's your people.

Um...

So that might have
something to do with it too.

Yeah,

Cynthia: it could.

Very interesting.

But, um, you know, one of
those things that sometimes I'm

just like, I can't comprehend

Iso: this all the way.

Totally.

It's, it's so hard to know why
one person, like, it's so hard to

know why one person's project is
successful and one person's isn't.

Right?

It feels like just some
kind of luck of the draw.

It really is.

You know?

Like, yeah.

Um, so Cynthia, thank you so
much for being on the podcast.

This was a really great conversation.

Thank you so much.

And if people want to find your
stuff, where could they look?

Cynthia: You can find me on
any kind of streaming platform.

So Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon.

And there's also going to be a link
to my band camp and my Instagram,

which is just Marine Eyes.

Um, so you can find me on
both of those places as that.

Iso: Yeah, go to her band camp.

I want to go to your band camp.

Yeah, check it out.

I'm excited to check
out band camp generally.

It seems like a really nice way.

Yes, I highly recommend it.

Cynthia: Yeah, it.

Cool.

Well, thank you so much, Iso.

Iso: Yeah, thank you.

It was good

Cynthia: talking to you.

Good talking to you too.

Bye.

And there it is another
episode of how we work.

I hope you enjoy that.

I hope you learned a lot
from what Cynthia had to say.

She's.

Very very smart lady.

, Thanks again.

And if you liked this episode and
you want to share it with a couple of

friends, you know, that would always
be nice to get it out into the world.

And I got a lot of really good feedback
from the reminder episode I did last week.

, so I think I'm going to do
another one of those next time.

, thanks again.

And I hope you're having a good day.

How to become a working musician - marine eyes (Cynthia Bernard)
Broadcast by