Since those first plucks and strums of my mum’s nylon string acoustic at 17, I heard music calling to me.
Before music it was sports and video games, and before that it was study – yep, I was (and probably always will be) a huge geek.
But then music came along, and boy did it change everything.
As a self-taught musician and producer, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade slumped in front of souped-up iMacs, red-eyed and grooving deep into the wee hours; strapped in to a pair of clunky, over-ear Sennheiser studio headphones.
You know – the kind that inject thick, juicy bass tones directly into the soul.
I never went to uni after finishing school, instead finding myself unfulfilled and drifting from job to job – working in retail stores, cafes, construction sites, call centres, a hospital, and most notably an ‘environmentally friendly’ energy company located on the gustiest street in Sydney’s CBD for close to 5 years, where I learned everything I know about how not to run a business.
Working day-in day-out in shitty jobs to make a few bucks off the man was certainly a life far from glamorous. But that never mattered to me.
I had music.
I just needed to figure out a way to create more time for it.
After my last thread of patience unraveled in early 2009, I packed up and walked away from the safety of the corporate world and conventionality as I knew it forever.
Enthused, and bubbling over at the prospect of becoming a full-time musician, I made a break for freedom.
Over the 3 years that followed, I plunged headlong into a life that I had only ever imagined existed – waking up at midday every day, jamming with my muso friends all afternoon, recording & producing songs late into the night, and hustling my way into 2 or 3 paid gigs a week just to put stir-fry in the wok.
The life of a musician is a life of uncertainty – one where financial security is permanently out to lunch.
But at the same time, it is indescribably incredible – a life rich in time, freedom and music. And it comes drenched in an endless supply of free beer.
It was the life I’d been dreaming of. And it more importantly it was proof of one thing… happiness really does exist. But there was still one problem.
I was living the dream alone.
Since high school, a favourite preoccupation of mine and my best friend Daniel was to scheme. Sometimes it was about music, other times it was business, and then there were times where it was just straight out mischief.
It was in the crisp spring months of late 2011 that we put our heads together and began to toy with our latest and greatest idea.
Indelibly obsessed with the notion of freeing ourselves from ‘the system’, I was edging my way gradually closer, while Daniel was still very much running the rat race.
After school Daniel became keenly interested in all things tech, social media and marketing. At this time he was the well-paid Digital Marketing Manager at a successful and dynamic Sydney marketing agency, and already had over 8 years experience in the digital space.
As individuals, Daniel and I were always gifted in our own ways. But together, we’ve always harboured something much greater – a volatile yet intensely focused creative chemistry.
And the ability to get shit done.
Now, just as I had realised several years before, we knew the first hurdle to jump before unlocking this potential was to buy out Daniel’s time. But getting there on our own and with little to no backing would not be easy.
Channelling our perpetual impatience, we painted childhood friends Joel and Igor into the picture – both of whom possess their own unique abilities and forms of life acumen.
And so it was on New Year’s Eve of 2011, in the salty surfer’s haven known as Manly Beach, four cocky 20-something dreamers each put their lives on ice, made a commitment to each other and the unknown, and set out to change the music industry, and maybe even the world.
It would be called Jaden Social…