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I can never be good enough. The day I think I'm the best is the day I stop improving.

Aaron @AceMantra

30, Male


Digital Media and Cinema

Edmonton, Canada

Joined on 4/8/05

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Posted by AceMantra - March 24th, 2020

New Song Out Now!

It's been some time since my last update, and a lot has been going on, so let's get to the rundown.

First of all, the song. Fallen and Forgotten was made as sort of a continuation of one of my previous works. Sort of like another episode. The two contrasting songs show inspiration, glory, heartbreak, and sorrow. I have decided that I will make more to continue the story and hopefully paint a picture in the listeners' head.

My Life In Quarantine

It hasn't been long since my boss advised me to stay home for two weeks because of a cough. As of me writing this, it has been six days. Honestly, my life hasn't changed all that much; I don't leave the house much anyway except to go to work. The only thing that has changed is that I have more time to make music now... and I have a lower source of income for a little while. But I'm in good spirits otherwise.

I wonder what other creatives are up to while stuck at home. A few of my friends and I were discussing a possible music project, where everyone who wants to participate can make a song based on the theme of "isolation" or "quarantine." I think it would be a fun thing for the community to do to pass the time. What do you think?

How is everyone? Staying safe I hope.


Posted by AceMantra - December 25th, 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! My family and I put together a song; I thought I would share it with you guys this Christmas. Here it is!


Posted by AceMantra - October 17th, 2019

I don't know if I need a change in medication, or more counseling, but this depression won't budge. I'm deeply sad, I'm not performing well at work, and I'm having difficulty finding motivation. I'm not enjoying the things I used to, and as a result I find myself doing a lot of sleeping.

I'm sorry I haven't submitted any music lately.


Posted by AceMantra - August 18th, 2019

So it's been a while since I've written an update; almost a year, actually. There's a lot to cover so let's get started.

Life Update

First of all, I've picked up a job in a production facility. I started by pushing, pulling and lifting metal around, and eventually worked my way up to welding. It's very intense and fast physical work, but I'm keeping up... barely. To stack on the good news, my benefits have finally kicked in so I don't have to pay nearly as much for my anti-depressants anymore.

Now for some bad news. While I may have coverage for my medication now, the financial damage from my prescriptions have left me in a crippling amount of debt. So much so that I can't remember the last time I didn't have a negative number in my bank account. Additionally, I've recently ran into some car trouble, and the $360.00 repair bill hit me really hard. But enough about boring financial stuff.

Music Update

Unfortunately my new job has left me with very little energy to work on music. I have made a lot of WIPs, but not very many finished songs. I am participating in the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch again this year. I joined to get back into a composing habit, instead of just collapsing into bed right after work. Here's a link to my first round submission:

Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of positive comments and feedback I received from this song. I had so many ideas that never made it into the final song due to time constraints. I thought no one was going to like it; I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

So what's coming next? Well, I have a lot of projects on the go. This includes a song for an audio drama, a fantasy themed album, and a variety of other commitments. I really want to make a track that combines Synthwave and Cinematic, but we'll have to see. What do you think? More Cinematic, more Synthwave, or something else entirely? Let me know.



Posted by AceMantra - August 25th, 2018

It's been an interesting few days, and by interesting I mean devastating and emotionally draining. It's been a long time coming, as this job has been mentally taxing on me.

It all started last Tuesday as I arrived at work. The first couple of hours went along as normal; my manager and I had our usual talk about all the nerdy things. Then the Area Manager, we'll call her Liz, showed up as my co-worker, let's call her Susie, arrived. At first I didn't think much of it, until Liz asked to talk to my manager privately. After a few minutes of confusion, Liz called Susie to the back room. It wasn't until I saw Susie leaving the back room in tears that I knew what happened. She was fired for laying hands on a thief a few weeks prior.

For those of you who don't know, the store has a incredibly high theft rate, as well as many cases of people armed with machetes and knives trying to rob us. Upper management has yet to do anything about the dangerous environment we work in despite our numerous reports.

Anyway, immediately after Susie was fired, my manager handed his keys to Liz and resigned on the spot. His reasoning was that he was sick and tired of upper management regarding it as, "just theft" and to "not take it personally." It's not just theft, it's a very dangerous work environment that upper management refuses to do anything about.

Later during my shift, the Assistant Manager stopped by to hand in his keys as well after he heard what happened. For the next few hours, I was the only one employed in the store. Just as I thought matters couldn't get any worse, 10 people entered the store and stole dozens of bottles of liquor. It was at that point where I lost it. Once they left, I locked the doors, put the money in the safe and left an hour and a half before closing time. I didnt' sleep that night.

I saw my psychologist the following morning, and I told her what happened. She advised me to stop working immediately as it was causing severe damage to my mental health. After my appointment, Liz called me asking if I was coming into work. Coldly, I told her I was coming to the store, not to work, but to hand in my keys and uniform. So I did just that.

Now what? Well, I've been finding it harder and harder to get up in the morning. Not since I quit; it's been going on since I started that job. Now I have to worry about affording medication, food, and rent. But also... I've fallen into some deep darkness, and I'm not sure if I can get out on my own. After all the mental anguish of having weapons pulled on me, and all the thefts that happened daily, I can't help but fixate on the fear, dread, and suicidal thoughts.


TL;DR, Everyone quit the store, including myself. Now I have to find a job.


Posted by AceMantra - February 20th, 2018

So a few of you have probably wondered where I've been for the past little while. So I thought I would give a quick update of what's been going on.

For those of you who don't know, I currently work at a liquor store; I've been working there for about 9 months now.

I can't reveal many details as I may need to make a court appearance, but long story short, my coworker and I were nearly injured by a man with a machete last night. We managed to get him out of the store before he could harm anyone, but the mental damage is harsh.

I'll update this later; I have to go to work.

Posted by AceMantra - October 2nd, 2017

Most of us here on Newgrounds are creative in some form. But whether it's lack of energy, motivation, inspiration, or time, it isn't always easy to finish personal projects. The biggest culprit for me was work because it would often leave me too exhausted to do anything else other than eating and sleeping.


Here I will address some of the more common problems that occur when working on a project. Most of it will apply to everyone; animators, musicians, artists, writers, and anyone else who find themselves stuck on something. Please note that these methods are what work for me. They won’t necessarily work for you.


Unfortunately I had to split up this post into multiple parts due to its length. So today I will cover two:


No Ideas:

So, your mind is as blank as the piece of paper in front of you. What do you do? Most of the time you won’t get an idea from nothing, so stop staring at nothing.

Take a moment to think about creative things you admire and seek them out for a few minutes each day. Books, movies, art, quotes, tutorials, music, etc. Once you do, put it all in one place and make it easily accessible. For example, I save or bookmark art and music I enjoy and put it into one folder. Then before I start a project, I have a look inside the folder for anything that might spark an idea. This isn’t guaranteed to work every time, but I find it helps.


I have more idea generating exercises specifically for writers, artists, and musicians that I will include in a future post if there is demand for it.


Lack of Motivation:

Here’s the ugly truth: motivation is unreliable. You can’t just wait for motivation to happen in order to start doing something. A lot of times you won’t feel motivated until after you start. That being said, there are some things you can try to help improve your chances of getting motivated if you find it to be a problem.

Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your basic needs first. Are you eating well? Are you sleeping too much or too little? Are you stressed? It may seem obvious, but physical and mental health is often overlooked when trying to address a persistent lack of motivation. It may be worth looking into if you find that nothing else works, or if you find a lack of motivation in more than one factor in your life (working, eating, sleeping, socializing, etc.)

Next is to get back into the habit. Routine is motivation’s best friend, and while motivation may not always be there, a strong routine will make up for it. Make a promise to yourself that you’ll work on a certain amount per day, per week or whatever you feel like you can do. If you find yourself unable to keep that promise you’re setting the bar too high. Don’t beat yourself up over it either. Like building muscle, you’re slowly strengthening your habit by adding a little more each time you do it. If you do more than you planned, great! If you do less, no problem. At least you kept the routine going.

Motivation is often squashed by unhealthy thought patterns, which I will discuss more in detail in the future when I talk about self-criticism. “I can’t do this,” “I suck,” “I’ll never be as good as <artist>.” If any of these sound like you, try to be aware of these thoughts when they happen and replace them with something more logical and reasoned. It isn’t always easy to notice them, but more on that later.


In my next post I will be covering Time Management, Perfectionism, and Self-Criticism. I’ll close this off with a couple of questions: How do you overcome your creative struggles? If you can’t overcome them, what are they? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by AceMantra - August 4th, 2017

Just sending another update. I have a lot to cover since my last post seemed like it was forever ago.

My ear has healed up nicely as far as I can tell, and I'm no longer coughing to the point of vomiting. Whatever it was it's gone now, so I'm sure there's nothing to worry about now (fingers crossed).

During my time of sickness however, I thought it would be a good idea to audition for NGADM. Being certain that I wouldn't get in, I thought it couldn't hurt to at least try. To my surprise I not only made it into the first round, I placed 7th out of the 236 people who auditioned. On top of that good news, I received news that I got hired to work a part-time job. Great news all around! Well, except being sick at the time.

So between vomiting, working a new job, competing in NGADM, and getting a music gig for a video game (more on that later) were nights filled with anxiety. But I was up for the challenge! My goal for NGADM was to finish something, I didn't care if I even made it to the next round. So I made this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/754519

I didn't advance to the next round, but honestly I was relieved. It gave me more time to focus on work and video game music.

Now, the music gig which is now complete is for a game set to release this month. I was asked to do Synthwave, and being a fan of the genre I agreed. I later realized my mistake, as being a fan doesn't really mean you have any experience. "But I used to do a lot of Trance," I thought, "how different could they be?" (They are WAY different). I may upload a couple of the tracks in the next day or two if anyone is curious.

That's all for now. There's a lot more to write about still but I'm running out of time yet again. Expect another update soon!

Posted by AceMantra - June 16th, 2017

So it's been some time since I posted anything or interacted much on NG. So I decided to write this update to let people know I'm not dead.

Starting with the reason why you started reading this, yes my left ear started bleeding the other day. It started getting plugged shortly after I caught some major virus that is still making me cough viciously. Then in the night it ruptured. I did see a doctor about it; he confirmed it was an ear infection. The problem that concerns me the most is the hearing. Everything I hear out of the left is now registering at a slightly higher pitch than the right. This of course makes music production a bit of a challenge because everything sounds way different now. So it may be some time before I get back in the studio chair.

The last two years have been difficult for me. Mostly due to cost of medication that isn't covered by my insurance for some reason. At some point soon I'll have to choose between medication, food, or rent, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. All this time fighting depression without a job has been hindering, but it may also be a blessing in disguise. Not having a job has given me a lot more time to work on the things I love to do like music and graphic design. Things are looking up though. I had a couple of job interviews and will hopefully hear back from them soon…well, half-hear back.