…the best thing you can do in life is smile. Smiling he insisted, cost nothing whatsoever and can easily make someone’s day better. As someone who was down and had nothing to lose, smiled at the next hundred people or so and the results were shocking. I had random people smile back and give me words of encouragement and by the end of it all, I forgot why I was upset and was excited about the future.
I had the pleasure to interview Eddy Samy and Daygee Kwia of Paperwater. Paperwater is the byproduct of two talented aspiring artists with a shared passion. Comprised of longtime friends and fellow producers Eddy Samy and Daygee Kwia, the outfit has a history steeped in music. The son of a known painter, Eddy was exposed to the creative process at a young age and would often play music while his mother painted. His passion for music evolved into a passion for DJing in high school, where he met Daygee. A master at reading crowds and building memorable sets, Eddy has toured internationally. Daygee’s youth followed a similar path, with emphasis on the production side. A classically trained pianist, he spent several years as a member of Afterthesmoke during which he honed his production skill set. He has received recognition from Vice Magazine, Warner Bros. and Forbes Magazine for his work. Together, their combined skills of production and performance have made the duo a force to be reckoned with in the musical community. They’ve released work through Dim Mak and Warner Bros. Records. But the journey doesn’t end there — Paperwater aspires to leave its mark on the world through what they consider to be their primary motivation and responsibility to others: creating and sharing music that pushes the envelope and challenges people’s notions of how certain genres should or shouldn’t sound. To Eddy and Daygee, music does not belong in a box, neatly labeled and filed away under the appropriate Beatport genre tab. To Paperwater, music is universal and constantly evolving. Like them, it should be allowed to test limits and change perspectives.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Eddy — We chose to pursue music and media full-time after college. I found it difficult to land the right field job and Daygee’s band disbanded, so we came together to form Paperwater. We started releasing music and soon after began playing shows around the US and Europe.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
Daygee — I feel as if when you are a child, every experience is new, therefore monumental and thus caught up in the moment which we all know can take forever. As an adult the level of excitement is few and far between so its just us passing time by and before you know it an hour has gone by before you ever typed a single sentence.
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
Daygee — Being rushed can harm your productivity, health and happiness by adding that extra stress to what you do, while for some that may be a trigger that allows them to perform, many young adults are not used to high pressured situations. This then affects your health because a body in constant stress will eventually get sick. Have you ever taken a kid to an arcade and old them they had to leave in 10 minutes? That smile will turn upside down fast.
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
Eddy — Planning ahead and sticking to a schedule while also maintaining realistic expectations is a key way to “slow down” mentally. I believe everything happens for a reason and forcing situations “in a fast manner” is not productive. An example of this is when we were trying to figure out our live performance set. Daygee and I were driving each other crazy on how to program all the sounds and synths and we decided to slow down and just bring band members to assist instead of doing it all ourselves.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
Every morning I wake up and meditate. This allows me to have all those thoughts rush in and naturally sort themselves out. I make a to-do-list by order of importance. Start with task that have high impact on your week. A quick morning workout or bike ride will get all that built up energy released and allow you to focus on task at hand. I allow for a 15–30 min buffer window between major task just to decompress. I rest my eyes or sit in the sun. Drinking water and more water is essential. Lastly, At the end of the day I review what you didn’t get to so they can be fresh in your brain come morning time.
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
Daygee — As stated above, Mindfulness is being in the moment and seeing the task at hand. Every morning I meditate using as app on my phone that allows me to relax and see what task to begin first.
One topic that I am very mindful of is Mental Health, both in the black community and music/entertainment industry. In both, it is extremely frowned upon and brushed under the rug which is not healthy in any way shape or form. I wish leaders in our fields would acknowledge and aid the ongoing problem instead of just posting about it on Instagram.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
Eddy — Allow for a 15–30 minute buffer window between major task just to decompress. This is really important because it is a automatic reset to stay in the moment. I close and rest my eyes for a few minutes or sit in the sun. Feeling the warmth of the sun is very soothing.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
Daygee — I use an app called Headspace. I use this at work when I take a break after lunch. Finding a quiet place to sit uninterrupted and relax is a key tool. I often take a few minutes throughout the day to go for a quick walk outside and get fresh air. If it is a nice day outside, be in the moment and go outside.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices
Daygee — The app Headspace, and Spiritual Insomnia by Steven Machat. These two pieces of media inspire me to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Headspace gives you word by word instructions on how to stay in the moment and find inner peace. In Spiritual Insomnia, the book exposes faults in society that need to be corrected. These faults inspire me to be a better person at what I do.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I was in a lyft after what I considered at the time “The worst week in my life” and the driver an old man from east Africa said that the best thing you can do in life is smile. Smiling he insisted, cost nothing whatsoever and can easily make someone’s day better. As someone who was down and had nothing to lose, smiled at the next hundred people or so and the results were shocking. I had random people smile back and give me words of encouragement and by the end of it all, I forgot why I was upset and was excited about the future.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would inspire a movement to smile and ask people around how they are “Really” doing. Sometimes letting a person vent or just hearing that your situation isn’t that bad changes someone’s life.