Photo by Calvin Carter

Photo by Calvin Carter

The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?

PHNK: PHNK, 29, Singer, Rapper, Music Producer, Designer

TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?

PHNK: My hobbies, and field of work are one and the same. As a creative, I find myself being inspired by so many things. To name a few, my love for culture, anime, video games, and design inspire every aspect of my work. Not exactly hobbies in the traditional sense, but rather, it is these interests that spur new ways of thinking when I approach any project.  Culture - this can be broken down into so many facets of inspiration. I am fascinated by sub-cultures, to be more specific. The way a culture dresses (from personal style to fashion), their mannerisms, trends, all of these elements come into play. Anime - I am heavily influenced by the artwork, specifically productions from the 70s, 80s and early-to-mid 90s. Once again, this falls into fascination of sub-culture. Everything, from the stories to the process that goes into making just one scene is impressive to me. Video games - I grew up playing a lot of games across many genres, from role-playing games to action, to platformers. I love the interactivity of games, especially if there’s a strong narrative.  I love the ability to be transported to another world - experiencing something new helps me to craft those types of experiences in my own work. Games like Final Fantasy’s art design, music, and storytelling have been very important to my development as a creative, and as an individual. Design—everything we interact with has been designed by someone, or a team of people at one point.  Design is a fundamental part of everything we do, without it, there’s no roadmap, no goal. Everything from UX, to motion graphics, to designing clothes is an art by itself and helps me to think about my music process. For instance, I like to approach music as organically as possible, however, sounds must be researched, arrangements must be put together in the way that would best serve the narrative. It’s all design at the end of the day, and the fidelity of that process can be better understood once you look at other examples of that process. 

TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?

PHNK: A friend of mine put it best, “there is no work-life-balance, only life”. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. Too many times I feel we try and separate the two, and end up randomizing ourselves.  Why not just create everything on a scale that you can be proud of? Whether you own the work or not, we as creatives have the privilege of being able to create - to be able to make something out of nothing. To answer the question more clearly, no I do not. I do not have a hard time balancing the two, mainly because everything I have chosen to involve myself with creatively is everything I want to be doing, so the quality will always be professional because that reflects upon me and the legacy I leave behind.

TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?

PHNK: From the time I wake up, I’m always thinking, trying to find a better way to attack a challenge. However, I often don’t have time in the morning to sit down and execute these ideas until later on in the evening once everything has quieted down. I’m always feeling creative, but definitely much more productive in the evening.

TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?

PHNK: Everything I do, I do it to inspire, so I’d like to take my work to a level where people can be inspired and feel empowered by it. 

TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?

PHNK: Currently, I am working on a new album; still haven’t thought of a title. There’s going to be 12 songs in total, the first single “Dreamcast” was released in February with a video. The inspiration for this album really has been a reflection on my life thus far. I feel like there's a certain level of confidence you grow into as you get older… wiser. It helps you to focus, see clearer, value the people and surroundings that are dear to you. I don’t want to say that this is what the entire album is about, but it definitely has been the core of a lot of writing sessions. Basically, I’m taking those life lessons, and looking at them through an incredibly optimistic lens. The process in doing this always varies for me. When writing a song, especially if those songs have a core meaning that tethers all of them together, I like to draw a picture to help me visualize the emotion I’m putting into it. I also produce all of my own music, so it helps to have the perspective of the producer when writing these songs; as I know every in and out of the track, and can really utilize those strengths to pull off something magical.

TCU: What scares you?

PHNK: Being complacent—it’s so easy to do in the era we live in. Everything is designed for comfort. It’s weird to think about, but you can easily coast off of doing nothing, and that frightens me! We live in an age where everything is so accessible, so now you have to go above and beyond to be recognized since everyone is doing everything. It’s so very easy to not try, in fact it’s way too easy. I view complacency on the same level as death.

TCU: What does success mean to you?

PHNK: Being successful to me means being happy. I’d like to be able to provide for my loved ones, and to be in a place where I can inspire and create without having to worry about money, health, or pressures of any kind. I want to be the guy that would inspire any person to take up a pen and paper and start writing. I want to be the person that would inspire any child to feel confident in the face of any insecurities that they may have. That’s the kind of impact I want to have on the world. Nothing but full on positivity! All in all, I’ll feel like a success once I am happy, and all the people that I love are happy.

TCU: Anything else you want to add?

PHNK: I’d say this to anyone reading - trust in yourself. We as creatives, and as humans, can be our own biggest critics. Continue to push past whatever doubts hold you back and get the prize you know you deserve. No matter what, above else, spread love and trust yourself. 


If you want to learn more about PHNK, listen to more of his music and get updates on shows, follow along at,, @YoPHNK (Twitter), @PHNK (Instagram).