What’s the end of the road and how do you avoid it? When you’re in the techno scene for a long time you will undoubtedly see people who can’t keep it straight anymore and they run into a wall, either they are demoralized, feel victimized, run into shitty scene politics or just come up on health issues. It’s helpful to know what the end of the road is, and know to avoid it. Here’s some telltale signs you’ve lost the fucking plot…
1. Feeling uninspired, feeling unchallenged, making music and feeling like you have no connection to your audience. Your audience changes their tastes and you seem irrelevant. Your direction changes as an artist and your audience loses touch with the person they thought they knew.
The best way to stay up is to keep dropping fresh styles in familiar and interesting evolutions of your ideas. Be known for a style but also tweak the style so it evolves slowly or evolve different styles simultaneously under different identities or under one name in vastly, completely different styles.
2. You are not excited at the prospect of doing something you used to love or maybe you love it but just nothing is challenging. it’s not getting you the same dopamine hits it used to and you don’t know why.
Get in touch with those ideas that make you excited and know why you like something encouraging that you like.
Get an idea of things you like and list them. Make sure you’re hitting those marks.
You need to live for that moment when a track is finally finished and you can do as much as you possibly can and you’re drooling or getting frisson. You must love the process in total. Show others that feeling. There’s not much more you can ask for. But you need to find out the thing that keeps it real and keeps people interested in you to stay successful. What is that push pull of what you like and they like? Or maybe you need to be concerned with what you like the most and how you can keep improving so it makes you dance. If your music can torch the leaders in your view then maybe you’re winning. But also you have to stay in touch with what is really killer music. If you can communicate a feeling, especially a love for the music, and know how to connect to others, people should respond to it.
3. You cease to be fresh and all your tunes sound generic. Your tracks are just not the way they used to and they don’t push the envelope. You come off flat and unexciting. You’re just not excited about your work.
Find out what has driven you to achieve in the past and push the envelope further. Way beyond what you think is capable. Try new things within the constraints of your medium. You know the genre very well, maybe too well and it’s boring. But that boredom translates into the music. Remind yourself there’s always something new to inspire yourself, some bit of your gear that could be more deeply explored. Some new idea that somebody hasn’t yet tried, try to frame it in a techno context. Or take an older musical idea and see if that will work in a techno setting. The musical world is always changing, so should you. Keep evolving.
You also might be forgetting some critical element that you cannot hear, so wrapped up in whatever else you’re doing you just don’t have the perspective to hear it. Did you really release the last EP with no swing at all? This bassline is entirely too much and is totally distracting. Give your tracks some room to breathe after you make them. Reconnect with them after some time and if they still move you, it’s time for others to hear them.
4. You sit down to create something you have always loved, music, but you just don’t fucking care. Cause you don’t feel the need to care anymore.
Remember there’s always something more you can be doing to feel like you’re pursuing something deeper. If you think there’s a finite idea to techno then you’re wrong. There’s always something more to learn. Some deeper rabbit hole to go down. Just don’t lose touch with the concept of the music to satisfy an urge. Explore deeper. Challenge yourself further.Seek deeper inspiration. There’s no reward because there’s no obstacles you want to overcome. Give yourself a conquest of greater understanding and examine the minutiae of your subject way further than anyone could ever think possible. It could be that there’s a barrier that persists that makes it too comfortable to stay where you’re at, yet you don’t want to push because it’s too difficult to get to that next level to unlock greater satisfaction from your craft. The only way to get past it is to do the work necessary and promise yourself that once you unlock this next stage you should surpass your expectations and find new promise to keep practicing further
5. You start to dwindle on your practice time and you can easily see yourself just sitting around doing nothing.
Stop wasting time! Tomorrow is always coming too fast, and your competition will not slow down. You have to remember YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST. And that means pushing hard when times are hard. Remember to eat well, exercise and sleep well as well. This will drive your focus and motivation to work hard. You owe it to yourself to to continually push to be the best version of you
6. You take on too many side projects and lose techno as the main focus. The goal to be a techno musician seems less fun than what you’re doing now.
Make the side projects you do, efficient, do them faster, or learn to say no to them entirely. Remember that without devotion no one thing can come to fruition. Side projects are fun. In some ways they can help create roads around roadblocks for creativity. But don’t stay on those roads.They are often a bunch of tools for self sabotage.
Always find your way back to techno and use what you have learned to benefit the whole. You can do jazz vamps.. Cool, how can we make that techno? You started an Etsy shop to sell drawings, paintings or clothing.. Nice to be recognized and get a bit of pocket money. But know that if you keep losing ground and reprioritizing, you will lose the creative edge you’ve built up and it will take a lot of effort to get back to your peak efficiency. Don’t dive into distractions for fear of not succeeding in a task.
7. You done plateaued. Nothing seems interesting.. you lose interest quickly and nothing you seem to do gets you amped to work. You clearly know what to do and you just don’t care. It’s even worse when you never made anything from it and can see the real benefit of putting in the effort but even still, you can’t be bothered to turn on your kit to make a track.
When you’re plateaued.. just know that this is the stage before real things happen. You must believe you can work through it. Live in your studio; be there and create opportunities for wonder. Try your hardest to remain curious and ask, “what if?” Also look at your sleep schedule, diet, exercise and your drug consumption. Apathy could be due to excessive alcohol, pot or prescriptions or just that you’re merely vitamin b deficient. Find out what makes you amped and psyched and have that attitude when you work. Above all else, WORK. it doesn’t matter how much you work at first, just so that you start pushing forward. Time in the studio is never ever wasted.
8. You get bogged down by the idea that you’re a tool. A cog in the machine you have no freedom as an artist. You’re told what to make, how to make it, when to make it, where to go and for how much. You start to break feeling like you’re not much more than a highly trained monkey that can do tricks.
Being a professional means you’re kind of a whore. Sorry. You do art for money. Whether this means you suck up your pride and roll over on your back or you’re a high class trick, is entirely up to you. You set the level of your involvement. You could just do remixes all day and get told to make music in the style of this label or that.. but who and what you do that for, is all you. Finding a label or clientele that treats you with dignity and gives you artistic freedom is everything. It will still mean that you’re selling out but you will be doing it creatively and as a dialog with a label that doesn’t play games. Your willingness to compromise and have a give and take will make you learn new things and take you further as an artist. It’s helpful to be flexible and consider it a creative challenge to give them what they want and get what you want and also give the dancers what they want.
9. You had high expectations, got where you thought you wanted to be, had ok success but found increasing mediocrity and where you got was incredibly run of the mill, very unglamorous. The success you wanted is an incredibly hollow feeling. You have no desire to push forward because the next plateau is way more work and might end up with the same feeling.
Success is a relative term.. Some people are happy with being able to just have a day job and release tracks. But surprise, that’s pretty much everybody in techno. Please note though.. The more you do this, the more you find yourself getting more easily settled on minor success and staying there, sitting on your laurels. Who you have to prove your worth to is not some imaginary audience. You only have to prove your worth to yourself, your love for exploration, understanding all there is to the music, and getting bigger kicks out of being the most severely ill artist of all time. Above all you gotta prove it to that starry eyed kid you once were who would have been so very proud of you. To that kid, you have come so far, keep going. Push yourself to see how far you really can go.
Blind to Success
1.You feel like you are unfairly treated by the scene and drop out for personal reasons. In the meantime you started a family, or a partnership, you got a good job and you’re not struggling anymore. They take up all your time and you fall out of familiarity with your audience. But that seems ok since you’re happy.
Sure you’re happy but what about the dust on your drum machine? Isn’t there some guilt in your heart? If you don’t feel like there’s any guilt at all maybe you should quit, you’re never true to this artform afterall. Maybe it was just for kicks and that’s who you were then. We’ll just end this right here for you. ‘Go on then with your 401k player, we see you.’
But if there is some guilt and you know deep down this complacency isn’t really you. Lace up your boots. Get back to practicing. Don’t ever stop, the end goal is survival. You know why you got into the scene in the first place, it was the music. If you stay true you can outlive the haters that may have dulled your shine and put you on the track to be an insurance broker.. But this isn’t how it has to be. Phuture said- “survival is our mission” make music that is artistic and is a representation of who you are that has a purpose, to make people dance. Know what works but also know how to keep it fresh.
2. Your releases become too far and few between. The memory of your work is lost on your audience and you get associated with the old guard.
As they say in graffiti, getting up is easy, staying up is hard. Even if you have had a number one the chances of keeping it on top is zero. You are probably going to need to do a ton of work and consistent work. When you’re sick of everything in the scene, things generally start to gel. Some people have had hundreds of releases and it was only when they changed the formula up slightly they started to take off.
What you need to live for is not the fame, but for an improved mark upon the music, an everlasting impression on the direction of the music on your terms. The only way to do that is to keep going at it and look to improve at every step of the game. Look to innovate yourself as much as possible. This leads you to be known as a person with a track record of being a person who can spark change within the music, eventually being a resource for ideas in the scene. You need to work tirelessly to get there and stay there. After doing it for a very long time, you’ll realize it’s easy to stay at a high level of output.
3. You’re doing track after track and only doing what you’re supposed to be doing because it’s work and feels like it and you’re merely going through the motions.
Don’t do things just because or do something because you’re going through the motions. That’s bad art, that’s a bad principle and will reflect badly on you.
-So you’re going through the motions and dragging your feet anyway? Get into the idea that this is play, you’re doing something you love, and millions of people would kill to be doing what you’re doing. This is supposed to be fun. Remember that. Take time to play around, have a laugh, joke around. Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. Make what speaks to your heart, and have that conversation through music to others.
4. You think you’ve done your best and you think that nobody cares about it, or it seems like nobody will like it.
You’re going to not instantly hit fame. You’re not going to suddenly wake up and have the world at your door. Sometimes people are also going to be like not interested for some reason. Maybe then you need to do something different or remember what you’re doing that keeps you sincere. What keeps people interested in you is you being interested in them. People are fragile flowers. Their egos bruise easily but like to be watered just enough. You must be sincerely interested in what people are reacting to. Giving them satisfaction but also being a knowledgeable source of their satisfaction.
You should seek some accolades to keep you feeling good but don’t rely on them. There will be some people who just won’t dig. You have to keep always making music and seek to get your work recognized as well as looking to improve your style so you make no mistakes. Know your faults and work on them. Consciously look to improve them always. Or maybe take on something of an impostor syndrome and always strive to prove yourself and your assumed haters wrong.
In some respect people might not ever like it or see it from your perspective. Or there may be people who have a certain prejudice against you. Maybe your first impression wasn’t that good? Or people got the wrong idea. Whatever the reason. People aren’t in your corner. Strategizing on how to get them in your corner might be in your best interests. But how? Maybe not giving a fuck about them and saying ‘fuck ‘em’ is probably the best course of action. but only if they’re vain vapid and ignorant people you can’t get behind… I don’t think they’ll last if they aren’t genuine or friendly people. Just be true. Be yourself. What else can you do?
5. You tour too much and nobody hears any new stuff. Some new artist steals your fire while you’re not guarding the castle.
Don’t forget that while you’re on tour, you’re a musician. Unless you started out being a musician to be a DJ, then congratulations, you’re a professional DJ now. But if you’re an artist and need to express your music and Djing and Live PA pays the bills, find ways to bring your music with you. Sampling your gear, creating tracks to a somewhat finished state so you can mix them on the road, etc. Don’t get so bogged down with traveling you aren’t still in the creation phase of making music.Make a live album, make remixes and edits for your DJ sets. Release them to the original artists. Make your DJ sets truly unique.
6. You do what works too much and that’s all you do or you go off the deep end and be too forward thinking and weird and lose the plot completely. Your audience cannot relate to what you’re doing and your work ceases to be dance music and more about musical masturbation.
Some of the issues may lie in the fact that you don’t have that ‘right click’ with your audience or you’re missing the boat somehow. Or it’s possible you’re not opening it up to the right ears. Try a-bing the material with others and see why your work is not being accepted. It could mean you’re communicating in a language they don’t understand. Or or you’re not hearing it like they do and you don’t have a similar context. Try to empathize as best you can, without alienating them.
Techno is futuristic, but it’s also not entirely experimental either. Keep things forward thinking, but not so obtuse it becomes brain food. Techno needs to function as dance music ultimately. You’re welcome to put experimental ideas into your techno, but always frame it in a way that people can relate to or understand. Music is about having a conversation, a give and take. You see what they like, give them context and familiarity of what they were expecting, but also give them something they weren’t ready for. This builds excitement within the musical conversation.
7. You’ve done all you can and you’ve made your mark and can’t think you can do any better. You look to younger people as your influence.
Nothing looks worse than an old guy trying to stay hip. The real danger is to say that you’re doing “what the kids want” Ideally you should be on the same level with them and have never left their side or creating any sort of division with yourself and your audience..What you should be doing is not ignoring the changes in the scene and understand why they came about and try to find your voice as to how it relates to the changes. Keep your original influences strong, yes, but don’t hold onto them too dearly. Challenge yourself but don’t repeat yourself. Take your interests to the next level. If you are looking around at the new scene and wondering how you don’t fit in, look at what has changed in the scene and what you refuse to do to evolve on your own timeline. Maybe you’re opposed to using a soft synth, but you never found out how cool they could be. When people are doing the new thing, maybe give it a try and see if it works for you, don’t be too judgmental. Possibly look at the approach and what the musical climate was to make that new thing come about, see how you relate to it, then think ahead to the next possible iteration and aim for that. Express your own influence on the next evolution of ideas.
If you are completely out of touch and doing the things you think you should be doing instead of knowing what you should be doing, make sure to find where you stand with your audience. Know what your music sounds like from an outside perspective. It’s not about what the kids like, it’s about how you see yourself from an outside perspective. Make up an image of what you’re supposed to be aiming for and ask, ’Is this the me I want to represent?’
8. Your formula for making music no longer works, you’ve painted yourself into a corner and cannot advance creatively. Your modus operandi is no longer relevant.
The idea that there is a process or a formula involved in any creative process is somewhat of a necessity, but it’s just a road map. It’s like cooking a recipe. The recipe can be altered to suit taste or an ingredient added or taken away. The most important idea is that you remain flexible. But only take on new processes with a grain of salt, since changing processes too drastically can mean that the recipe is destroyed. Furthermore, always listen to new music in your genre and try to keep things new or push ideas you identify with. Don’t ever become so distant from the sound that you sound like an outsider trying to ape an experience based on what you believe to be relevant instead of continuing to stay relevant. Always ask why people like something.. know why it’s important to them and understand what is going on culturally to shape people’s perspective. What may have been significantly important to your paradigm may have changed significantly over time.
9. You are trying too hard to do what you’re supposed to be doing. You feel like you are being stretched to do things outside of what you actually can do well, effectively or who you really are.
Keep it real. Do what you do best and don’t try too hard to fit into a mold cause it will look or sound forced. Pick up influences, sure.. pick up professional pointers, granted, but don’t be a johnny come lately to any bandwagon. Furthermore, get friends to keep your head in check. If things are sounding forced make sure to ask if the new experimental thing you’re trying sounds cringy to them. Make your own special sauce, your way. Take the parameters and innovate them. If you’re actually not able to make the music that is beyond you, ask yourself why you’re unable to meet or exceed the ability of others and add your own voice or style to the music. It could mean you’re out of touch with how to create a stylistic approach that follows your own body of work.
10. You feel like you cannot reach that next level.
You can reach that next level; you just need to polish it more. There’s always something just a little off. What that is, is what separates you from greatness. Knowing what these little mistakes are and how to avoid making them happen in the first place saves you effort and gives you a sense of mastery. Putting in the work to sweep up the dust or the imperfections lets you get that extra percent. You can spend your whole life being a 8 or a 9 but it’s going to take that little extra effort or maybe that spitshine and elbow-grease to make it work and get over to level 10. This is the razor’s edge. Oftentimes when you feel like you can’t go any further, you just have to ask yourself.. what will send this over the top? think about what that is.
Also not reaching the next level and leveling up has a lot to do with learning. When you stop learning you stop evolving. There’s always something else you can do to make things better. Keep taking on techniques and trying new things. maybe you’re just not seeing things that can help you. Failure to see these things will cause a failure to advance and advancement keeps you interested and motivated. Without motivation, you’re dead in the water. You just stop. Avoid this at all costs.
11. You suffer setback after setback. Lose your gear, get shafted from a label, nobody is picking up your new tracks..
Know that success isn’t the greatest reward. It is the pursuit that creates the joy. Getting over, surmounting odds is what makes it worthwhile. Progressing. That’s the best you can hope for. Of course the goal is influence. The struggle to create influence, and get over in the scene is how you survive.. even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. If a label burns you and you’re not able to make rent and sell off all your kit to live, seek support elsewhere. There are many more reputable labels, and if you have a decent enough track record of releases you should be able to be picked up. Even if you lost all your gear, do not be dismayed.. You still can make music in a myriad of ways. Make a plan to get back to where you were and keep hitting. Keep your eye on making the dopest techno you can make.
12. You can’t see that you suck. You aren’t aware of how you’re perceived. You change direction and it isn’t a good one and you can’t understand any different.
Only take criticism from people who actually know what they are talking about. just make the music you know how to make and do it the very best you can. Take yourself outside your perspective, as much as you can. Ask people for feedback on your demos, get good criticism, try to implement it.
13. You’ve been in the scene for years, pounding out techno track after techno track, you can’t seem to advance to the level of success you desire. You say the scene is against you, it’s full of gatekeeping and nepotism. It’s the industry’s fault.
This one is hard, because your level of success depends entirely on how much you want to succeed and what your standards are. Do you want to sell out.. Then yes, by all means run the game, get your soul marketed. Do you just want to sell 10 copies of your track on bandcamp.. Then go for it. In some sense too, you also have to make sure your music is worthwhile that you have something to sell.. If you say you’ve been at it for 30 years and no opportunities are coming to you, are you sure your music is actually that good? Have you gotten any favorable reviews? Are you actually as sick as you think you are? Maybe you should try something different and see if you get recognized in a different way. Maybe what you want to do is not what people actually want and your music is unmarketable (-sorry).
But if your music is dope af and you have a really original sound and you’ve only had very limited success/ you feel like there are no more opportunities left for you, get out there and DIY. Go throw a renegade, promote a rave. Make a new scene. The music scene is full of histories where people rose up against unjust odds to make a new scene and change history. Whether it’s Mac Dre, 70s punk, or Underground Resistance. Get busy and keep working. Alternatively, you can fight the system or work to change it from the inside, and get some contacts. As long as you’re pure of heart and are actually dope as a musician (if money is the only thing that got you famous, people will smell a rat and your lack of talent will bury you eventually you have been warned, we know who you are), you can be creative within the parameters of “The Industry” and mess with people’s heads like Aphex Twin, 2000’s era Richie Hawtin or mock it professionally like the KLF. The point is that the only real boundary is you and if you choose to accept your limitations, you roll over and die. But you must work hard to overcome the challenges presented to you.
14. You can’t seem to get out of your dead end job and the odds are that you’ll never be the musician you want to be since there’s so much ahead of you in the way.
You gotta find a plan. As much as you plan a DJ set or a set of transitions in your tracks, you have to make a plan to save, and seriously get into the scene and build your skills to the point where you’re the best you can possibly be. If you need to take on a work from home job or remote gig so you can make tunes while sitting at a customer service line, then do that, or if you need to take an extra day off to make music, find that time. Have some sacrifices of other parts of your life planned out. You have to give up some things for the music.
1. What you do is confused. People don’t know who you are, you’re a producer, label AR head, blogger, club owner, DJ, producer.. who are you?
Do you service the scene or are you a member of the scene? Are you a user of the scene facility or are you a facilitator? Facilitators are seen as steps, you should know your role in the scene and be comfortable with that or if you do not want to be a step. Keep your extra curricular role anonymous and offer the service without credit, because you love the scene and should be doing something more. But please don’t let your anonymous hobby consume your time more than music because that is your main focus.
2. You suddenly find yourself being rude or crass to the people that like your music. You don’t value that they hold you in high esteem. You are a dick to the people that like you, think your music is awesome. You become negative and bitter. The things you do make you look like a jerk.
You got into this because you wanted to make music for people to really enjoy, now you made music to the point that someone likes you so much it irks you.. like wtf? Let’s take the compliment and try to understand things from the perspective of your audience and be very cool with them. if you’re very cool with them, chances are it will get out that you’re a really nice guy. It helps to be approachable and be very very nice.
You should always be down with the people who dig you. Always compliment them and show grace and gratitude towards them. In return they will sing your praises forever.
3. You boast about things you haven’t done, you get in over your head about things that are not true. Or write checks with your mouth that you cannot honor.
Only show and prove. Don’t talk about doing something. Show something and illustrate the example with words. It’s so easy to lie these days with zero proof. People can just create this illusion that they are superstars if they have a lens and are able to get a good slot occasionally in front of a lot of people. But that wears very thin if you don’t have any substance, good music, and a lot of music available to listen to.
4. You fucked up. You got a bunch of money from gigs as advance but didn’t deliver.
If you get any money up front for a gig or a project. Don’t spend it until you deliver on the project. Make a good note of who gave you what and how much. Then deposit that money into savings once the project is complete. Don’t spend what you didn’t earn. If you have to cancel a gig or project the money will be easily refunded. Try to keep a spreadsheet and a set of PDFs of all your receipts for anything tax related, assuming the people booking you have registered as an LLC and pay taxes.
5. You’re way over your head and now you’re overwhelmed but cannot seem to care. You’re in real danger of losing all your promises to deliver.
Never over promise. You need to do something because you’re super stoked on it and have that hyper focus. You’re going to want to list everything you made promises for, including yourself and the party, and fulfill them. It will be challenging but it can be done. The fallout from not fulfilling your promises will be much greater than the hardship endured after you’ve filled them. This is ALWAYS true. Shit will sort itself out if you just work to make things real. Make some time. You have the ability, you’re just not using your full potential. But, in the future you must be honest about your limits. Too many people are turning your head away from making music, or you’re doing 5 releases on big labels in under 3 months or and it’s doing your head in. Think of what is the line for productivity and comfort and how far you can push yourself to tow the line effectively.
6. You’re trying to impress people and get social. You try too hard to make things happen and it is painful to watch you socialize.
So you find yourself trying to push yourself into an area that you don’t really belong. don’t go into it like a bull in a china shop. You need to create that void where you’re just mysterious enough to have people curious about you, but remain effective at making a clear and concise message. Keep your head low and do your thing. You can be a very nice person but too pushy. Talked yourself up too much and can’t back it up. All you need to do is show and prove. Go out there solo, get your ups. And make your mark in good places. If you’re finding you’re having a difficult time promoting, ask a friend what they think you might be doing wrong. If they give you solid advice, and don’t take it personally if it turns out to be harsh criticism.
7. You promoted too fucking hard. You spent years doing everything right, ticking off the boxes. But still, something is not right. Nothing is happening, you don’t know why. You burn out/ feel like you beat your head against the wall.
Having something to say, and knowing how to say it are great, but sometimes people don’t always want to hear that message over and over and over. Getting your ups is good to a point but people will ignore it if it is too much. also if you work yourself too hard you will give up. You will burn out. Remember, those who burn twice as bright burn twice as fast. Keep lots of fuel and keep it a long slow burn; hitting where it is most effective.
Get your ups in the right places. Create memories. Don’t destroy a memory by cheapening it with a new one right away. Promote effectively and consistently, if you cannot provide a valuable piece of content, WAIT. Take your time to make valuable things. And value means scarcity, quality, originality. But never wait so long that your efforts have no meaning, unless you want to start over. often the worst part about promoting something very hard, is that you can’t seem to understand if what you are promoting is of any value at times. There are times when you’re so focused on the marketing that the output itself sucks.
The message is hollow.. or if you can’t seem to understand why people hate your message you need to look at how you present the message. You may need help looking at yourself from an outside perspective but take some time to look at what you’ve done objectively. Also strong promotions have to be brilliant and razor sharp. You cannot seem like you’re flailing. You have to be present and clear.
8. You fucked up and said something you shouldn’t have. Created a faux pas, inadvertently insulted a bunch of people.
Shut up shut up shut up.. if you said something and it reflected badly upon you, why were you talking without putting your music out there to speak for you? That’s all you really have to do. Show and prove. and if you want to avoid a fight, never talk about religion or politics, especially, personal politics, such as someone’s wife, mother, or family. If you have anything to say, make sure it’s positive, nice or encouraging.
So you disagree with something or someone. So what? you don’t have to say anything or waste your time thinking about it. Nothing sucks more than to hear someone bitch about things. If shit is bullshit then keeping it real can often result in you putting a foot in your mouth. People often hold grudges. And they will remember what you said even though you rectified it years after the fact. Techno people are catty and love to talk.
And remember it costs absolutely nothing to apologize, other than to take down your pride a few notches.
9. You got heartbroken. Your best friends have betrayed you.”This scene isn’t for me!” You say as you throw your hands up and consider stopping making music and going to parties altogether.
So your best friends stabbed you in the back.. assuming that it wasn’t your fault.. (and it never is your fault isn’t it? ;)) they weren’t your fucking friends. The key is to never take any of this personally. There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in this art form, but it’s far better to not let your emotions get the better of you when it comes to interpersonal relationships in the scene or the business aspect of the music. Try to be a diplomat and remain friends with everyone unless they actually have malice or hate in their hearts.
But, sometimes it is YOU that has the problem, and you are blowing things way out of proportion, “they didn’t sign me and said they would” “They used my tracks at a gig but i wasn’t on the compilation.” “They gave me feedback that was not polite and made me feel bad” Well that’s not an excuse for burning a bridge and getting yourself 86’d out of someone’s life cause you experienced a minor inconvenience or got butthurt by a momentary sleight. So what to do if it is your fault..? Be a big person and own up to your faults. Express your feelings and fuckin apologize. If they cannot forgive you, you should find better friends and make sure you learn from this.
10. You fell victim to scene politics, you’re an outcast. Regarded as “That guy” People talk about you as not being a valid member of the scene.
Scene politics is a dirty world. The best thing you can do is stay as neutral as possible. If you couldn’t and had to pick a side, or whatever you did, you need to get closer to the people that may have misunderstood you. Instead of railing on about life is so unfair and you’ve been railroaded out of your scene. Build a bridge back to the world and talk to people. Hang out with them. Give them support and be a friend. This scene is supposed to be about unity. Try to see the word from their point of view. If you are in the wrong, apologize if you fucked up, work to correct your error and make up for it FAST. Continue to build community. If you feel they are in the wrong, ask them about why they feel the way they do. If they refuse to answer and are building up an evil scene around you. Show that you can be a better example by not being bothered by it and doing your own thing. Inviting them out to your events that are filled with love, unity and a superior vibe. There’s nothing that makes a person look more like an ass than hating a loved up scene or community that has ethics and principles. Build up a new core audience and faction that will live long to outlast them.
11. You somehow got a lot of haters and don’t know why.
If you’ve had a lot of success to even have haters, congratulations, you live rent free in their head. But this isn’t exactly an awesome thing. Maybe you sold out. You changed too much for people to identify with them. Your music isn’t what you promised it always would be. You de-evolved into fluff when you were once a pinnacle of tough techno beats and you held sway with the world as your court, and now you’re just a timid little guy trying to say hey, remember me? Well first of all, you never should have gone down that road. Ibiza and the festival circuit might have money but it waters down the working class image of the techno hero. But you can still turn it around. Look at your name online, and see how people are talking about you. Set up a google alert with your name and see how people talk smack and see how they wished you could be something they wanted. “So and so used to be really great until _______.” Go and reconcile with those haters and give them what they want, but also what you want. If you have a PR team or anyone in your corner, try to look to evolve the conversion into something positive, like “It looks like -artist- took a wrong turn but this new music is really great!”
12. You burned a bridge too many and cannot reconcile.
Short answer, Don’t burn bridges. Long answer, apologize and do it sincerely. Don’t hold a grudge. Don’t ghost, or ignore people. The way to get ahead in the scene is to build good working relationships. Don’t kiss ass but, building strong professional relationships is the core of any working partnership in any industry. Someone says something you don’t agree with. Assess your relationship to that statement and how it affects others. If it’s hurtful to others then you should not stick around and support a professional that agrees with hurtful sentiments.
Bottom line: shut up and SHOW AND PROVE! true talent may in a romantic sense outshine everything. If all else fails, come up with an alias and start over or remake yourself if remaking yourself is even possible to do in techno with no superficiality.
This truly is the end of the road.. There’s really no apologies for it, unless it’s slander and it should be taken to the courts as such. In which case you should be quiet about it as a personal matter.
But people will still talk even if you win your court case. Which is why you should never ever be about this as a musician. Remember this is about changing people’s lives through music, not trying to get laid or be so completely out of it on drugs you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do meet someone who you really connect with, and you’re hitting it off, keep it innocent and sweet, get their contact information and hopefully you can start a relationship. If a person is passed out, unable to speak, unable to give consent, put them to bed and sleep in the chair, or go make some tunes on your laptop. But hopefully you have someone you care for and love at home, someone you can talk to if you’re lonely. Have good friends. Most importantly, stay in the zone and prep for your set. You’re there to do the job. Not to try and be David Lee Roth in the back of a tour bus.
1. You let the partying get to be too much and you become addicted to whatever and that becomes more important than your music or your brain associates your music with that drug and one day it can’t handle it anymore and you quit then your music is not the same. It lacks something, or you need to feel that substance in order to feel like you’re a part of the music.
Don’t make music high. Make music because you think it is dope. Its difficult to say how much you can do sober. Since caffeine is a drug and it’s sustainable. If you’re microdosing, or using drugs to work, it might need to be something that is sustainable, and will not get you in any danger criminally, financially, physiologically, or psychologically. It’s arguable that THC can help your music greatly but it can also lead to psychological side effects or a psychological dependency on the drug in order to continue to make or maintain interest in the music.
2. You practice too much and you lose your hearing. Or you can’t practice without your ears tiring rapidly.
Your hearing is important. take a break after music practice to do something quietly. Consider getting a SPL level meter and keeping your audio below a safe listenable and conversation level or extremely low levels and only bump up occasionally to check how the levels rock after standing away from the monitors. Wear hearing protection if you can at all times when practicing but take them out for track mixing and EQ purposes. Wear the highest SPL possible earplugs when going out. Or do things that are techno related but not loud. Like making kits or channel strips in your gear. Sample your old tracks or organizing sample libraries. Find effective use of studio time that doesn’t involve long prolonged exposure to high SPL.
If you have had significant hearing loss, know how much and what frequencies you’ve lost in order to compensate and consider partnering with a mixing engineer.
3. You’re too depressed, distraught, or so emotionally imbalanced that you just cannot get the energy to make music and be happy about it.
It’s a rough time, and you’re going to get through this. As they say, the only way is through. One of the things that can help you keep yourself grounded and progressing is to find a place to put your emotions. Music is this place. Little by little you will be able to see improvements in yourself and the world around you. Make sure that you’re not a total vampire and get outside to take a break in the fresh air. Eat well according to what works best for your nutritional needs. Make sure you get some exercise to boost your mood. See a cognitive behavioral therapist if you need to. Or get a person you can talk to if you cannot afford it. Don’t whine on social media. Speak with music instead. Even if you can’t seem to work on music. Just sit there and turn the machines on. Good work! You showed up, and that’s the majority of it. Keep showing up for yourself and keep proving to yourself that life hasn’t beaten you. You got this. Make dark hard beats, make epic synth lines that speak to your dark heart. Find your voice to lift other dark hearts in solidarity. This is your purpose, this is your life.
-You have to be in it to win it, love the music above all, and be persistent. -You must be present to every moment of the process and knowing your audience and how they perceive your music. -Show and prove what you know to the best of your ability. -Above all, stay quiet, humble, show grace, gratitude, humility and kindness. -You must at all times be very very nice. -Take care of your physical and mental health since all of it is tied to the ability to create music.