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11 posts tagged

Career

Backstory series. Part 4

First gigs as a producer

If you’ve been following this backstory series, you know that I had some gigs as a DJ in the mid 00’s, then I took a break, and then in 2011 I came back with ambitions to become a professional music producer and my education in the Audio School was the first step toward that goal.

Today, I would like to tell you about my first gigs but this time as a music producer.

Thanks to the new skills I got while studied in the Audio School, I’ve managed to get my first track released on Ovnimoon Records and that’s what I count as a starting point of my producer’s career.

As soon as my debut EP was released, I’ve got a proposal to make an EP for another label. Then I remixed a track from Magnus who already had a full-length album released on JOOF Recordings by that time. Then I got invited to make guest mixes for a few radio shows, plus my own Rave Podcast has started to have amazing guests too.

Here are some of my first tracks released at that time:

Soon enough, local party promoters noticed it. And we’re talking about gigs, remember?

Despite the fact I consider myself a DJ first, I have no doubts that it is my original productions helped me to get my first serious bookings.

Forest Quest Festival. Russia, 2012 Underground Avant-Garde. Russia, 2012

Advice: In today’s world, it is almost mandatory to be a DJ and a music producer at the same time if you want to make a career of a touring artist, despite these two are very distinguished professions. Your name probably won’t be interesting enough for a booking if you’re “just” a DJ, and you probably won’t be able to perform if you are “just” a producer that has no DJ skills whatsoever.

If you are a local DJ who is struggling with getting more gigs with better time slots, start making your own music. Having music released on a credible record label opens new possibilities, you naturally get more followers and your name gets more value from the party promoter’s perspective.

To be continued.

Sep 28   Backstory series   Behind the scenes   Career   Gigs

Pros and cons of my career decisions

Vlog 003

I’ve got great comments to my previous vlog, in particularly, Elimelec Domínguez asked the following:

“If you had to start again in your career, what would you focus on? What skills and areas are vital to the success that you already have? What things would you completely rule out?”

Wow, I love it. I recorded a new vlog episode to answer these questions, I hope other upcoming producers will find it useful too. So there you go, pros and cons of my career decisions:

Thanks to Digital Om Productions for the nice t-shirt :-)

Sep 22   Advice   Behind the scenes   Career   Vlog

Futurephonic live with Chris Williams and Regan Tacon

Video summary and highlights

A few weeks ago, Futurephonic hosted a live Facebook video featuring two awesome guests: Chris Williams (Iboga Records, Noisily Festival) and Regan Tacon (Nano Records, Origin Festival).

That was a very insightful talk on career strategies for emerging artists. You probably know my commitment to education and learning, so I wish more people “behind the scenes” could give a talk like that.

The audio quality of the video wasn’t that great though, sometimes made it really difficult to watch. I’ve decided to write down some key points so I could get back to them at any time, perhaps some of you will find it useful too.

There we go.

On changes in the industry

  1. The Internet is the biggest game changer for the music industry, for the better. The distribution is much easier now, you can get music anywhere in a matter of minutes and anyone can access to it.
  2. Psytrance scene has also changed in the last decade, it spread out to more places across the globe. New sub genres come in and out, it’s ever-changing process. Psytrance is a culture, so it will stay here for quite a while.
  3. In the pre-Internet days, the music industry was labels-driven, they have a control over everything. Despite such limitation, it was a higher threshold for quality of music that has been released. Social media now liberated records labels ability to put music out, but the question is whether the quality of music across the board has risen? From the artist’s perspective, entrepreneurs and marketers now have amazing platforms to be creative.
  4. We see now many artists experimenting with marketing, ads, formats of communication. We’re still learning, and there is no right or wrong way. This experimentation itself is what special about this time, it’s fantastic time to live from the artist’s perspective, basically.

It’s fantastic time to be an artist now.


On getting music out

  1. Perfectionists find it really difficult to let it go. They keep polishing, and polishing, and sometimes they polish it so much so they polish away the bits of what was good in the first place. Don’t sit on it for too long.
  2. Finishing tracks is a part of the producer’s talent.
  3. So many people doing the same thing, so much noise is out there. You have to come up with quality. Quality takes a lot longer, much longer than most people realise.
  4. Most tracks out there is nowhere good enough quality as it should be. Artists need to be realistic about what they send to labels. Patience comes along the way.

On getting noticed

  1. Spotify and YouTube channels are new platforms for discovering new artists.
  2. From the new artist’s perspective who’s trying to get noticed, it’s all about presentation. If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have a high-quality design, branding of your product. Even if you put a Facebook video with your branding behind it, it’s very important that this branding is good—if not better—as the music itself. It’s vital.
  3. The first impression matters even before anyone heard your music. It was the same even when the demos were on CDs — it’s like receiving a demo with a marker handwriting vs. CD with an artwork, well-written letter, logo. Same applies to SoundCloud now.
  4. Oldschool way of approaching by shaking people hand at the the backstage still works the best.

Branding is vital. First Impressions last.


On being signed on a label vs. go independent

  1. Labels work as a filter, taking care of the releases, artwork, promotion etc, allowing artists to focus more on music.
  2. Ultimately, all successful artists need a support, and labels are a massive help in that.

On albums and singles

  1. Releasing singles is a great things—it gives a stable flow of music from artists to fans, no need to wait a year or two.
  2. Each single is typically supposed to be a yet another dancefloor-killer which creates a lack of experiments, the cool B-sides. Back in the days, sometimes those B-sides become hits.
  3. Albums give more freedom on that matter, you can have dancefloor-killers whilst also including a couple of out-of-the-box tracks.
  4. Albums certainly add some extra weights, an extra level of value for the artists who are capable of creating those albums.

On commitment

  1. Artists need to be committed to working hard. I don’t think people realise how hard some of those artists work. The guys who work the hardest are the one who gets the gigs, gets the money etc. because they push it all the time.
  2. It’s a lifestyle, you have to be ready for this. And music is just one part of it, with social medias it’s 50–50 these days.

I don’t think people realise how hard it is.


On festivals bookings

  1. There are always some acts promoters keep in mind for the next-year festival lineup.
  2. Once headliners are booked, promoters go over recommendations first and only then to submissions. Don’t send a festival submission in three days prior to the festival, it’s won’t work that way.
  3. There are definitely some promoters who check and evaluate how many “likes” an artist has in order to make a booking decision.

On marketing

  1. If you want to pay to promote your page, do it the right way using legit Facebook mechanisms, not via external “likes’ farms.
  2. Always keep in mind country demographics when starting an ad campaign. For example, for sales-driven campaign always include countries like USA, Australia, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark. However, for a streaming campaign, it’s worth also including Brazil, Mexico, and other countries that don’t usually purchase music, but stream a lot.
  3. Men typically buy more than women, so don’t split demographic targeting 50–50, push it more towards men.
  4. Upload Facebook videos.

We spend a fortune on Facebook marketing, to be honest.


On streaming and sales

  1. Streaming isn’t brining any money, let’s be real about it. It’s interaction with people, this is how people connect with the music.
  2. Anyone who really buying music is DJs. You not gonna get money selling music as a Psytrance artist, although it’s true for other genres as well. There is just not enough people buying music across the world.
  3. Beatport gives 60–70% of sales, another major amount is iTunes, and all the rest stores altogether are basically nothing. That’s how it is.
  4. Linkfire.com is a good way of putting all the streaming and stores links at once and then get statistics of clicks.

On investment

  1. A well-thought advertisement campaign could be a solid investment, eventually giving more gigs in return.
  2. Rather than relying on a photographer that can or cannot shoot while you are playing, you can hire one to be sure you’ll get high-quality photos.
  3. Some artists spend their entire fee hiring photo- and video artists to make a proper aftervideo from the event. Do it at least once in six months.

Invest in your branding.


Jul 31   Career   Marketing   Music industry   Psy scene

Backstory series. Part 3

Getting to a new level

Previously I told about my first local gigs in 2006 and shutting down the community website in 2008.

During the next three years after these events, I lived a normal trying to make a career in a totally different field of work. No music production whatsoever, I’m not sure I even listened to music — I guess that is how strongly burned-out I was because of the study, the job, and the toxic relationship I had back then (tough times of being a teenager).

So, 2011, I was 24. That was the time when I realised that not only I want to come back to music production, but also make it a big part of my life and eventually make a living on music.

It was sound like a nice plan, right, but where to start? After a 3-year long break, most of my connections in the industry had gone, basically, I had to start from the very beginning.

That’s how eventually I found Audio School — a Moscow-based school of electronic dance music that offer courses on production, DJing, VJing, music theory, and other related disciplines. In total, I spent six months learning the basics and nuances of the profession and studying there was one the best decisions I’ve made.

The final exam on DJing discipline at Audio School. Performing on 4×Pioneer CDJ-1000, DJM-800, and an external SFX-processor by Korg. Moscow, 2011

Also at the same year I started my radio show, Rave Podcast, actually a several months before my education. Now it’s funny how clearly you can hear the difference in my mixing skills before and after the study. I know those first episodes sound terribly bad, but that’s exactly why I keep them — it’s a reminder to myself of where I started.

All in all, education at Audio School gave me a great head start and saved a tremendous amount of time because learning all of this by myself would take me a way much more time. Eventually, the track I’ve made for the production discipline final exam is the track you know as “Contact”, my debut release signed on Ovnimoon Records.

Advice: music career has many pitfalls and nuances, so if you have a serious intention to make music as your profession — learn from someone who already mastered these things. It can be a school, online courses, master classes, blogs, vlogs, whatever. Always raise the bar and never stop learning, that’s the only way of getting to a new level. The time and money you invest in self-education will always eventually pay off.

Always raise the bar and never stop learning

To be continued.

Jul 30   Backstory series   Behind the scenes   Career

The benefits of “no”

Success story: Tim Bourne’s behind the scenes on reaching out goal through rejections

“Per aspera ad astra”, 1894

One of my daily duties as an A&R at JOOF Recordings is listening to incoming demos we receive on a regular basis. And whether I like it or not, I have to say a “no” as an answer very often. Artists react to rejection differently: some of them never reply back, some others get angry. Well, no surprise: getting a “no” answer is tough, I know it myself perfectly.

But one guy stood out: every time I told him “no”, he came back with the updated track asking for new feedback. Four months later, he managed to make an amazing track that I was happy to sign on the label.

The guy I’m talking about is Tim Bourne, a 22-year-old aspiring music producer from Indonesia. I invited Tim to share his progression in this blog and I hope other up-and-coming producers will find his experience useful and motivating.

From there, Tim tells:

“To me, this drive of wanting to get accepted into JOOF started two and a half years ago when my friend introduced me to the label, ever since then my perception towards electronic music completely changed (in the best way possible). Since that it was something that I had to do, it was more than just a goal for me to make a track that lives up to the standards of the label.

I wanted to know where I sit when it comes to producing, am I really making something that is up to par — quality wise — or am i just making tracks that only sound good to my own ears, even then, my ears wasn’t really catching the small details of music production, I was missing out on so many essential parts of production.

I knew that it was going to be very tough because in my country there is very limited access to production courses or even Psytrance producers, so I had no one to really guide me on what to do technically or musically.

I would have never evolved with my music production if it wasn’t for no’s and rejections.

I started sending out demos to the label since 2015 — 20 years old by that time — and it was just no’s after no’s after no’s. In total, I’ve probably sent over ten tracks and one of the tracks I had to re-do and re-edit over five times due to song length, sound design, not enough variations, you name it... and it was still a big ‘no’. It actually got to a point where I was so pessimistic about myself and my music that after a couple of days after sending ‘The Wounded Healer’ I emailed to Daniel again and assumed that the track got rejected.

But alongside the no’s, Daniel was kind enough to actually give me very useful feedbacks, he gave me constructive criticism that was essential for my learning. And to be completely honest, I would have never evolved with my music production if it wasn’t for no’s and rejections. It was through this that I was able to learn and not just force any kind of sound into a track.

Here are some of the conversation we had on the track:

Of course, it was really hard to accept the fact that my music wasn’t quite cutting it, but either I stop and give up or just push through and make a track that I would have never imagined I’d be able to make a couple of years ago.

It started with this very flat sounding bassline loop with no melodies at all, just a pitched down FX:

Then I played around with the sound, added a little bit of processing, added hats and a clap and i played around with the notes because my ears were so exhausted of hearing the same note playing over and over again. Came up with this kind of groovy bassline:

As I was trying to fiddle around with the bass, I found a vocal sample that was perfect for creating anticipation for the groovy bassline. So I decided to add the vocal alongside a drum fill. I also added more processing to the kick and bass to make it sound more thick:

After creating what I thought was a strong body to the track, I know I have to accompany it with also a strong melody:

But i was not pleased because it felt like it was forced and it didn’t go smoothly with the track, so I changed the sound and came up with these two melodies:

Then comes the breakdown which I really enjoyed creating. I always have a thing for breakdowns, to me it creates the emotion of a track. This was the very first version of the breakdown, very empty and the arp melody just didn’t feel right:

So I decided to completely change the arp melody because turns out that it was the melody that made it sound a bit weird. I changed the arp melody, brought back the FX’s and i added some ethnic percussion which drew the breakdown more into the theme of the song:

I created this melody as a draft but It just didn’t sound right to my ears, I was okay with it but i wasn’t happy with it:

I tweaked the notes of the melody a little bit, got rid of the acid and added more saw’ish sounding synths to layer. And this is what i came up with:

And alas, ‘The Wounded Healer’ was born:

I want to say thank you to Daniel who has given me the opportunity to tell a little bit about my upcoming EP, The Wounded Healer and also the story of how I managed to pull through after so many ‘rejections’ and ‘no’s’. ”

2017   A&R   Behind the scenes   Career

Backstory series. Part 2

First local gigs as a DJ

Previously in the backstory series I wrote about the Psychedelic community I created, and today I’ll tell how it affected my career.

Let’s get back in 2006. Psyplanet became a quite large website and our team grew up to twelve members. As a community founder, I had to do a lot of coordination, negotiation, and all in all it gave me a huge experience.

Psyplanet helped me to know the scene inside-out: I knew pretty much every professional and enthusiast involved, such DJs, artists, promoters, agents, deco designers, flyer designers, photographers, street teams. And to be fair, the Psytrance scene in Moscow was quite big at the time.

But it wasn’t just that. It also helped to build a trust. I didn’t have ambitions of being a professional DJ back then, but due to relationship with the party promoters, I played as a DJ too.

Flyers of the Psytrance party series in Rotonda Club, organized by Syntex Lab. The big flyer on the right is one of the first parties where I played as a DJ. It was July 6, 2006. See also Psytrance flyers 2005—2007

Here some are of the tunes I played at that time just for you to feel the mood:

For various reasons — mostly, financial — I had to shut the website down. Psyplanet didn’t make me rich, but it doesn’t matter because it gave much more than that — a priceless experience, networking, and industry insights from which I learnt a lot from.

Advice: playing local gigs is a good way to start a career, but don’t just come to promoters saying “Hey, I’m a DJ, do you want me to play at your party?” because the answer is most certainly will be no. Go to their parties a few times first, find out who is the main person in charge for artists, have a little chat. Ask if they need some help, perhaps volunteers or a street team to promote an upcoming event. Slowly but surely, you build a trust. And now compare it to that random guy who came up and said “Hey, I’m a DJ”, — who do you think have more chances to be a warm-up DJ at the next event? The answer is clear.

“Should I quit job?”

Hi Daniel, I inspired a lot by many music producers and thinking to start a music career too, but my day-job is holding me back. Should I quit? I have some savings which would allow me to sustain life for a bit, not much but I guess half a year or so. Do you think it’ll be enough to make an album and make some progression?

Adam K.

“I’ll quit the job and will be free! I could make an album and quickly become a successful artist!”... No.

Adam, the short answer would be “no”, you shouldn’t quit your day-job just for sake of starting a music career unless you have some other source of income to pay your bills. And here is why.

I don’t know whether you already have some experience in music production or not, but I’ll assume you don’t. In this case, you’ll have to spend at least two-three years just learning the basics and getting your skills to a decent quality level. I spoke to dozens of producers and for none of them the learning process was fast. Even if you see some new name with great music appearing out of the blue, it always turns out he or she had years of music background prior to that release.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is that income in the music industry may be very indirect and not always match your expectations. Music sales give pennies, and it might take years before you’ll start touring on a regular basis. Just like in any business or entrepreneurship, you have to invest both time and money first and there is always a risk to never return it back. 

The truth about music sales

At last but not least, what are going to do with the free time? You see, there is a catch: the more of something we have, the less we appreciate it. There are some wisdom phrase for that, I don’t remember exactly but it’s something like this: “If you want something to get done, give to the busiest person”. The truth is you probably don’t need 12 hours a day to make it, because if you do have all days long available for doing something, at some point you’ll find yourself sitting on the couch watching the fifth season of “Lost”.

Re-energizing for music production after 9-6 work

What you need, however, is to be consistent. Be sure to learn stuff, to make small but frequent steps. And while you still have a day-job to back you up financially, keep music production as a hobby. 

John 00 Fleming recent Q&A where, in particular, he also advised to treat music as a hobby

2017   Advice   Career

Backstory series. Part 1

Psyplanet, the Russian Psychedelic community

I remember back in the days when I was a teenager deeply passioned about music, I was always wondering how did artists reach out their milestones, such as the first local gig, the first international gig, the first studio album etc. That curious and passionate music lover guy still lives inside me, but now being also a music producer, I have experienced all these milestones myself.

So, I decided to write a kind of “backstory series” with behind the scenes of my past career goals and how I managed to achieve them, with some career advice along the way.

***

To really understand where I am coming from, I have to begin my story with the Psychedelic community I created almost 13 years ago, which probably not many of my nowadays’ followers know about.

The year of 2004. At the time I just graduated the high school and, as most teenagers, I was thinking what should I do next. After some time, I came up to learning HTML and CSS and building a website. I was one of the few lucky ones who got the very first PC earlier around 1999, so learning the web and these languages in particular came naturally to me.

So, armed with the “HTML for noobs” book I started making my own website. I never hesitated what the website should be all about, because the answer was clear — about Psychedelic culture, of course! At the raves I was one those guys with white gloves and fluorescent clothes, so making a website about Psytrance was also naturally to me.

Slowly but surely, in 2005 I launched “Psyplanet”, the Russian Psychedelic trance community. We had a forum board, events announcements, party photos, artist profiles, free download music (oops!) and more goodies. Quickly it became one of the leading Psytrance websites in Russia.

Keep in mind the Internet was very different from today’s, it was a time before Facebook opened registrations and before Steve Jobs introduced the very first iPhone.

Here are some of the screenshots I found on my disk:

Psyplanet.ru final look before it was shut down in 2008

Advice: when thinking of what you suppose to do in your life, always trust your gut instinct, no matter what is currently trending or what your parents say. Doing what love to do is always pays off.

2017   Backstory series   Behind the scenes   Career

To non-native speakers: learn English

cover black

If you are a non-native English speaker and you want to make a career as an international artist touring around the world, my ultimate advice is this: learn English.

Some people think “I’m a producer, let my music speak for itself”, but it’s not always true. Being understand by other people is crucial, it’s even much more important that having a nice kick in your track.

I’m Russian and I’m not hiding that English is not my native language. Heck, I know that my English is bad, I’m surely doing a lot of mistakes. Not mentioning the accent which sucks. But once I’ve reached a certain level allowing to understand English more or less, it boosted my learning curve in music career tremendously.

Why you need it

When you can read and speak English, a whole new world of possibilities opens to you.

You can learn music production much more efficiently. According to researchers, roughly 53% of the internet websites are in English. This mean whether you’re searching for some tutorials, insights, blogs, discussions etc, most likely you’ll find it in English.

Languages used on the Internet. Wikipedia 

You can read and understand contracts you signing up: with labels, publishers, agencies and so on. Most contracts are written a “lawyers language” that only themselves can understand, but still knowing the basics will potentially save you from some bad deals.  

Label re-released a track without my consent

You can tour and travel easily. I know a guy who had a gig in the UK while he couldn’t say a simple even a few words in English. It was a pain to both sides, organizers included. Do you think they invited him again? No.

You can have a reliable public and business communication. Whether you negotiate with a label, or sending a remix request, or just announcing your next release on social media, it has to be a clear message. And I’m not saying about some misspelling, but about the right meaning.

How to learn

First things first, rule number one: don’t rely on Google Translate. It’s fine to translate some particular word, but don’t trust it translating the entire sentences — it can mess up the meaning and led to some misunderstanding or even hurt someone. 

Google Translate error sees Spanish town advertise clitoris festival. The Guardian

The obvious way of learning is... well, study in a college, or find some courses, or hire a teacher. But let’s assume you’re too busy or can’t afford it. Here is what you still can do:

  1. Watch films and TV series, perhaps with the subtitles. It’s not only great to hear the actual actors voices, but also important to listen how English words sound like in dialogues. I’d suggest to start off with the American films, shows, or even cartoons — usually, for non-native speakers, it’s easier to understand American English rather than British.
  2. Read blogs and magazines. Unlike of classic literature written in an old-fashioned way, blogs and websites typically have simpler text that easier to understand. Also start following persons you like on social media, see what and how they write. I’d suggest reading John 00 Fleming notes on Facebook, it’s always a win-win combination of great profession insights with a nice Brit slang, I learn some new words from his blogs all the time.
  3. Run a blog. Don’t worry about being imperfect and making mistakes, all of us do. It could a personal blog, a travel blog, a professional blog — whatever you’re up to. The point is to write something. Sooner or later you’ll get used to it and start seeing your own mistakes, which is always an indicator of growth. Read also: 9 reasons why should run a blog.

Speaking of writings, I recommend checking out Grammarly, a web-service that checks grammar and spelling. Don’t rely on this too much as its algorithms aren’t perfect, but it’s a good way to finding some common mistakes that many non-native speakers do. It also explains why something is wrong, which is very helpful for studying.

Grammarly helps to eliminate typical mistakes

You’re welcome.

On cover image: a scene from “The Pink Panther” movie where Inspector Clouseau has tried to learn how to speak with an American accent. Some funny and awkward things happen if you aren’t able to speak clearly.

2016   Advice   Career

Music producers mental fatigue is real

And what to do about it

As a music producer, I feel like I have too many things to do, production, promotion etc. I work 16 hours a day and still feel behind and running out of time, the world is just moving too fast! How to not being mentally exhausted in the pursuit of happiness?

Michael J

This is a great question with no simple answer. Such overall mental exhaustion is definitely an issue, especially for bedroom producers who trying to break through. Let’s try to find out the reasons of this fatigue and what we can do about it.

Why it happens

Back in the days, a music band would need a drummer, vocalist, and a guitar player just to write a song. Then they’d need a recording studio and engineer to record and mix the song, and a mastering engineer to prepare it for release.

Now you can program drums, chop vocals, synthesize leads, record, arrange, mix, and master all by yourself within a DAW. And even share it to the audience right away just in few clicks. Music producers are now one-man’s orchestra; it certainly has some benefits yet giving a double-edged effect.

As a modern music producer, you expected to have all of these skills and knowledge by default:

  • Digital audio fundamentals, music theory basic, synthesis, sound design, drums programming, DAW, MIDI, processing devices, routing, arrangement, structure, plugins, mixing and psycho-acoustic model , mastering basics, Djing, performance

We’re all know that having just great music alone won’t make you a career. To get an audience and do the business side of things, most likely you do the following:

  • Post at least on four major social networks, manage your website, run a podcast and record guest mixes, write blogs and guest articles, send newsletters, negotiate with labels, negotiate with booking agents, deal with press, bloggers, reviewers; plan ahead your promo campaigns

Besides, we’re living in a fast-paced world, gear and technologies are changing very rapidly. To keep yourself up-to-date, you probably:

  • Read magazines, articles, blogs and newsletters; attend seminars, tech fairs, shows; follow tastemakers on social media; study online courses; learn about management, marketing, and even laws
Sometimes I feel like a Swiss army knife, doing everything

The lists goes on. And that’s taking into account that most bedroom producers have full-time jobs to pay the bills, so realistically there are only a few hours a day available for all of these activities! Well, no surprise most producers who live like that not only feel fatigued, but also look like Earthworm Jim... without his suit (myself included).

But before you start to pity yourself, thinking to quit tough, unfair, and overcomplicated music industry for the sake of some ‘easier’ profession, think of the following.

You don’t have to be great

Yes, the music business is tough, confusing, and complicated, that’s for sure. But in reality, the reason of your mental exhaustion is not the profession you chose, it’s because you are trying to achieve something great.

Being great at something is extremely tough not only in music: ask any successful designer, lawyer, developer, scientist, surgeon, entrepreneur. It requires full commitment to what you doing regardless of what it is, whether you make music, write code, or run a business.

But the point is — you don’t have to. You don’t have to be great, being ‘normal’ is just as fine. Look around, there are plenty of mediocre workers (95% I’d say) in every shop, in every service profession, and many of those are happy people!

Even in music, ask yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Perhaps, just making music is what you need, without trying to climb to the top of the hill? Remember: you don’t have to. It’s your call, your life.

However, if you have serious ambitions in music as a career, then prepare to some sacrifices. There is no easy way. Here is what John 00 Fleming writes about it:

“This career comes at a heavy price, the sacrifice being the social aspect of my personal life. My life clashes with the regular World. [...] I spend most weekends in airports, hotels and clubs. The last thing I want to do if I manage to grab a sneaky week off is fly abroad and spend my time in yet another hotel. I associate airports and hotels with going to work. There’s no way I can relax in either of those places, my heads goes into work/DJ mode. So family holidays are out the question, as they wait all year for that annual vacation abroad.”

Cut the unnecessary

I don’t know a magic trick that would suddenly make your music producer’s life easier, and I doubt there any shortcuts. But I use a technique I call ‘cut the unnecessary’ which helps me to keep focused on what’s really important.

Every time you dig into new fancy plugins or read a review of a new DJ controller, ask yourself — “does it help me to progress toward my goals?”. Is it something you really need at the moment or it is your tired brain just needs some procrastination?

Re-energizing for music production after 9-6 work

We all are content consumers, we absorb new information through social networks and news media all the time. But sometimes (or most of the time?) this information gives nothing but a feeling of doing or learning something new whilst in reality it’s a junk ‘food’. It’s like if you would eat potato chips thinking you’re getting a protein.

Sometimes it’s good to have an informational ‘diet’ for your mind. If you cut the unnecessary, it might turn out that things are a little bit easier than you thought.

Recap

I know this blog might be confusing, so let me highlight three main points I was trying to say:

  1. Music business is tough and complicated. But there is no shortcut to success in any profession.
  2. You don’t have to be great, being ‘normal’ is just fine as long as you are happy with it.
  3. Focus on what really helps your progression.

On cover image: an illustration of Renton, a character of Irvine Welsh’s novel “Trainspotting” played by Ewan McGregor. His famous “Choose life” narration sums it up nicely.

2016   Advice   Career   Music industry
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