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Old 26-01-2017, 12:54 AM   #1
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feeling conflicted about your music progress

so, today was a landmark, small at that, but a landmark in my thoughts about where i am musically. i guess- anyway- i won't bore you with the details but if you wish to read more in detail, please read the last paragraph.

i was reviewing my tracks as i always do- during which i review my life as it stands, past present & future while driving to work, and it occurred to me- "time"...... time is the only thing holding me back, or should i say the only thing that is a burden of sorts on my musical timeline. the irony is astounding. however- regardless- let me ask this- do you ever feel conflicted about your current stance on your musical journey? have you ever gone back and forth about "am i good enough, am i prepared enough, am i purposefully, (consciously or subconsciously) preventing myself from progressing my skill level? have you ever wondered if you are self sabotaging your own future? musically, and for those that understand what i'm going through- do you have advice to help remind myself why this time shall pass, or why i need not worry about my conflicting opinions about being -ready to advance to the next level-vs-not being prepared enough. and also- at what point do you decide you are self sabotaging? at what point do you decide your skill level is fine and it is not a matter of resources, but a matter of inner justification? idk if that makes sense. but i'm having a hard time convincing myself i am ready for the next level. at what point do you become a hobbyist self sabotaging or avoiding the "work" it takes to become an employee of the music industry? when can you understand that you either are doing what you are doing on purpose, or doing it to be absolutely certain that you are on track?

as i listened to some edm track about "losing time"- ironic how i am typing this- it occurred to me- "am i losing time?"- as ironic and contradictory that seems to be literally rehashing that track into my personal life on all fronts- .... i asked myself, "am i losing time?- am i self sabotaging myself on purpose so i will not complete my goals of engaging the music industry? am i literally preventing myself, consciously or subconsciously from progressing for some unknown or unaccepted fear i may have? did i do this on purpose? or is this a precaution in case i jump in too soon and become a sand grain in the ocean?- god i truly hate posting this because of the level of pretentiousness it hints at. but if you can set that aside, can you relate, or identify with what it is i am experiencing? although i really hate being 2 things- a know it all, and a douche, and also i hate being ignorant- but- is this something i need to just ride the waves on, or am i really in need of a reflection? this is one of the things i'd trip acid to- but that's not a part of my life anymore for now- so i guess honestly i'm just asking for an external advice from the ppl who are closest in line with me. tell me what you think. hope yall are doing well- and excited to see what not only idmf brings, but what each of our individual collective offers in this year. take care everyone & i'll catch yall soon!!!!

........:badger:

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Old 26-01-2017, 01:20 AM   #2
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

Not everyone can be extraordinary, guy. Honestly? If probability has anything to say, you and I aren't going to be even remembered in 80 years.

Do what you want to do in life. If you make it to the top, send me a postcard.

Also, everyone is special. And by that logic, nobody is really special. There are two sides to the coin, so take what you will from my vague response to your vague post.

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Old 26-01-2017, 01:52 AM   #3
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

No, I don't feel conflicted. My professional aspirations lie elsewhere. Should it, by coincidence or otherwise, become apparent that I might find myself producing something that connects to a broader audience, fine. But until then, I am on this trip for fun. In the way that I read history books or brush up on my quantum mechanics. I have no aspirations of being a historian or physicist either, but those are topics that fascinate me.

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Old 26-01-2017, 02:14 AM   #4
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

I don't know you, so I don't know if you're wasting your time or preventing yourself from betterment.
"Being good enough" is a sort of trap as a thought, though.

It's rather normal when folks start out to end up haunted by that thought, but then you have to stop and ask..."Good enough for what?"..."Good for whom?"

Our brains are wired in such a way as to work on problems regardless if there's an icon available in our thought for reaching an approval in our mental problem solving.
That is, we are capable of working on a problem without a definition of solution being present.
Computers can't really do that. They require either a solution to the trial or they require a definition of iteration instances for the trial in absence of a solution being defined. If you tell it to run for infinity, then it simply will without a reserved notion that at some point it will reach an as of yet undefined solution which will then be redefined as the defined solution.

We, however, can do exactly that.
We can chase a problem without knowing what the solution even remotely looks like and only define something as the solution after we work it out or stumble into it.

Because of this, however, we also have the ability to endlessly work on a problem without a defined solution in mind (an icon) and unlike a computer, retain the abstract thought that somewhere in thought there exists the concept of a "complete solution".
That means we can end up toiling on a project, like music, endlessly if we don't know what solution to aim for when the measure we are gauging is something subjective like "quality" or "aesthetics".

Considering this, it's often helpful to create an icon to aim for.
Some folks pick a specific song or artist and aim to achieve that sound.
Others have personal reference points and standards; though these folks tend to be at least a step past the initiate level of music composition and have had some experience with quality and aesthetics multiple times to a familiar level.

My advice, since you're just getting going, is to firstly stop approaching music with as high of a pressure valve as you appear to be doing.
Firstly, turn music into a hobby; not a future career.
A hobby is something that you can fail at, or be incomplete at, without consequence.
You do it simply because it is enjoyable.

The quality that you should aim for is one that is "Not going to break speakers", and is, "Something that YOU enjoy listening to A LOT".
That's it.

If you're looking for a technical engineering quality standard, I'd suggest first getting composition and arrangement under control firmly first and then circle back to that as Composition and Arrangement, and Sound Engineering each are two fields that can occupy a WEALTH of study time. Attempting to tackle both at once can easily be an overloaded burden and burn you out.

Since you NEED Arrangement to even get something to Engineer, I'd say aim for Arrangement first and then start working on Engineering second.

For Arrangement, study other music. Break it down, learn how it's put together and emulate it.
Listen to a song and then model your own song off of that song's arrangement, but with your spin.
Don't just do a remix; remake from scratch and only reference the WAY it was arranged (i.e. how long the intro was, how long the ride was before the main build, the main refrain, the break down, etc...).

Once you have something modeled after something else, then start ripping it apart.
What don't you like? What do you like?
Make notes in your head or on something.
Do this A LOT.

READ ... BOOKS, not just internet sites. Read a lot about arrangement; read history. Read how folks HAVE arranged in MANY forms of music.
How do Australian Aboriginal musical arrangements differ from Korean traditional folk music?
How is German Schlager music different from American 32 Bar Pop music? Is it different?
What's the arranged difference between American Disco and Italo-Disco, and how do they differ from Chicago House music arrangement?
What's the arrangement difference between Baroque and Classical music? What similarities are there between Classical and Jazz in arrangement - are there any?
etc...
Can you borrow any of these arrangement concepts and use them in electronic music?
etc...

As some examples...

That's my 2 nuyen,
Cheers!

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Old 26-01-2017, 02:43 AM   #5
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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Originally Posted by liquid_air View Post
No, I don't feel conflicted. My professional aspirations lie elsewhere. Should it, by coincidence or otherwise, become apparent that I might find myself producing something that connects to a broader audience, fine. But until then, I am on this trip for fun. In the way that I read history books or brush up on my quantum mechanics. I have no aspirations of being a historian or physicist either, but those are topics that fascinate me.
This is strikingly similar to myself. Except I did want to be a physicist at one point, then decided better of it. Everything else pretty well sums me up.
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Old 26-01-2017, 03:27 AM   #6
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

I'll speak from my experience...which is not entirely dissimilar. As someone who studied music for 8 years, and then spent a good 10 years AWAY from music trying to pay down the !&*#&%@^ student loans, when I did finally get back to making music, a lot had changed and I had to mentally climb back into the routine, the technology and, most importantly, the discipline. But I was glad to be back, even if it meant only releasing one track every couple of months.

You're not going to write great, innovative, well-produced music spending only 2 hours on Sunday mornings...I like Jerry Seinfeld's advice: you have to write every day; it doesn't have to be much but it keeps your head "in it". Otherwise you lose ideas, you lose momentum, and you lose direction. I used to wake up super early every day before work and write for 2 hours. It kills your nightlife, but if you're serious about getting good at it...

I don't think anyone on the planet is 100% confident in themselves; but in my view that's a good thing, it keeps you working and innovating (hopefully). I always say, if you're not wracked with self-doubt, you're doing it wrong.

Presumably you have some talent, but you won't really know until you put in serious time and produce an EP--even an LP. Then you might know whether you have the chops and can compete; you might surprise yourself. Some of it does come down to having a little cash to spend on instruments, but as Deadmaus was just saying, some kid can produce a hit track on a laptop these days (hopefully it's a good one and not just more noise in the air).

I speak from recent experience here as I just spent a year (on and off at first, then intensely toward the end) putting together my first full-length album. I'm far from 100% happy with it because I'm a picky bastard, but I know where I can improve and that's huge. And the response from the electronica community (including here--tx guys) has really energized me; that counts for more than you might think.

A track from the album:


Push yourself; see what happens. What do you have to lose. Cut out TV and video games.
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Old 26-01-2017, 06:00 AM   #7
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

for what it's worth, 4 years of sound engineering college during the late 90s convinced me that i for sure didn't want to work in the music industry despite my degree. To this day, I think it's best to have some other type of main job that's not mind-numbing and then do all the cool music stuff on the side as much as is sanely possible. That prevents some burn out. Otherwise there's always the ominousness of trying to cope with all the hassles that otherwise wouldn't be that bad.

As for for the craft... do as much work as sanely possible and don't dwell on tracks that don't work out after several weeks unless they have serious promise. Recycle the failures into successes and be strategic about your tool use and maintainnance. The main idea is to constantly get better incrementally. If people don't like a tune, just learn from the feedback and try to make it a little bit better and then when you give up, use the knowledge to make future tracks better instead of feeling bad.

Always remember that most famous people work in teams. So if you work alone, you are probably going against the grain. That's alright though, many of the greats started out alone.

Just keep in mind that it usually takes about 12 years just to start to get good with your tools. So you might as well chuck the drugs and crime and self-confusion and just know the facts about the craft, good and bad, fun and not-fun. This make it all tolerable in ways that aren't too stressful.

And carefully make sure to guard your hearing. And take tons of breaks so you don't confuse your own hearing about your mix or whatnot.

That's all I got for now, man. Don't give up. You obviously care and feel passionate about this stuff. It comes through all the time. That will help rescue you from the distractions. Remember your strengths at all times and try to be systematic and pragmatic with everything. Try not to have holes in logic. That's why it's essential to be sober. Life is just too complex and unexpected for coping with the self-sabotage of substance abuse, recreational or not.

And the only thing worse than self-sabotage is mean people, so stay away from toxic people, especially people who make you feel like crap and make you come back for more.

I recently disowned my abusive family members and I've been feeling great ever since. I won't look back because they gave up on me and my rights and strengths years ago. They are addicted to hurting me so I have to just cut them off and be done with it---which is what i did.

I know this stuff sounds blunt, but it's meant to all be encouraging because i'm talking from experience.

Cherish the good times and good results and safeguard the good recordings as gems in time.
Peace be with ya. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Last edited by Nystagmus; 02-02-2017 at 07:58 PM..

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Old 26-01-2017, 06:57 AM   #8
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

don't worry about being "prepared".. I know it sounds crazy, but from my experience as a musician, that's the one of the most dangerous things you can do.

Nobody's prepared.. everybody's prepared. fuck i don't know.

Like people are getting at, the important thing is working your ass off at it. You'll keep improving if you do this. Eventually, you might get to the point where you're like "fuck.. this whole 'being an artist' thing is a real struggle like they said. It's not as romantic as I thought. All my other friends are making 5-10 times as much money as me, and they aren't stressed out all the time, and they have fun and just chill and are cool with just being a regular old nobody, and I'm out here scrambling to make ends meet wondering if I'm going to be homeless one day." After that, you might say "fuck it".. and be cool with an office job or something.


I guess my point is, music is fucking hard, but it can be done. the vast majority of people who truly excel and inspire, are those who make music their number one priority, and they work hard at it. If you really want to reach your potential, that's what you're going to have to do. And, in my opinion, you're going to have to have some period of time where you do music at least like 4 hours a day, every day, for a few years.. to really get to a high level. If you do that, you will get somewhere. It will take more or less time depending on your talent, your life situation, and the people you have around you.

so the question to me is not, "am I wasting time, or sabotaging myself?" but "is it worth it to me?"

If you find yourself making excuses "i can't possibly do music for 5 hours a day because ______" then what that really means is that either A. it's not worth it to you. or B. you don't have enough self confidence to do something risky/crazy.

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Old 26-01-2017, 07:14 AM   #9
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post
If you find yourself making excuses "i can't possibly do music for 5 hours a day because ______" then what that really means is that either A. it's not worth it to you. or B. you don't have enough self confidence to do something risky/crazy.
A.2. You don't actually want to; you just like the idea of it, and you've confused romanticism for passion.

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Old 26-01-2017, 07:29 AM   #10
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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A.2. You don't actually want to; you just like the idea of it, and you've confused romanticism for passion.
basically the same reasons a relationship might not work out lol

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Old 26-01-2017, 09:34 AM   #11
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

THe music industry is a sucky industry to get into man - its boring, samey, repetitive - just like any other job - but is filled with massive egos, and people thinking you have to give hem something for nothing - i know this from cold hard experience...

as a producer of over 12 years, do i doubt myself? ALL THE TIME... im always fretting about if that snare is loud enough, if that melody line sticks out enough, is there too much mid-low bass....every tune i do goes through like 50 tiny revisions, a bunch of tunes im about to push out soon - some of them where started 4 or 5 years ago!

Self doubt is normal. Self doubt is human. Self doubt protects us from having to put ourselves out there, it says to us, "if you dont show that tune to anyone, no one can diss it," it protects your ego from being hurt or criticised. It can save your life, by saying to you, "you know, maybe you can jump from this roof to that one..." But in order to succeed at anything in life, you have to go for it... you have to risk hurt to your ego, you have to put yourself out there, becasue you know what, if you dont, you wont get anywhere in life, youll be on your deathbed regretting not trying because, in effect you were afraid.... so i say man up, put some tunes out and learn from the experience...
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Old 26-01-2017, 09:56 AM   #12
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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basically the same reasons a relationship might not work out lol
HA! So true.

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Old 26-01-2017, 01:29 PM   #13
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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Just keep in mind that it usually takes about 12 years just to start to get good with your tools.
true that
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Old 26-01-2017, 09:26 PM   #14
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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Originally Posted by FairyLand INC. View Post
THe music industry is a sucky industry to get into man - its boring, samey, repetitive - just like any other job - but is filled with massive egos, and people thinking you have to give hem something for nothing - i know this from cold hard experience...
The music industry does really suck.


I think the most realistic thing you can shoot for is being good enough to do commercial stuff, but also make your own shit on your own time. doing commercial stuff will keep your skills sharp enough to do your own shit in your spare time.

playing church gigs keeps me sharper for jazz than working at an office would

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Old 26-01-2017, 09:44 PM   #15
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

Measuring your self worth on your passion/hobby/career will leave you sadly disappointed. We all know no track is really finished. It just gets to a point where you can accept it. All forms of creative work navigate this pitfall.

"I don't wanna be a movie star. I don't wanna drive a fancy car. I just wanna be free to live my life, to live my own life." - Dead Prez

If your aspirations are to become famous, the sad thing is that talent really doesn't mean anything anymore. Millions of producers out there want that same thing. It is all about getting that "big break" that elevates you to the next level. I bet everyone who "made it" will point to some kind of opportunity provided for them.

Or - you could wear a huge shiny rodent head...

Back when edm was underground - real underground, the DJ was just in the corner in a dark booth. No one but other DJs, producers and a handful of speakerheadz knew about the source of music and didn't care. It was all about the dance floor and taking them through a journey for the night.

Now everyone wants to make the hottest banger out there. But this inevitably leads to imitation. Not only the highest form of praise, it is also described by Emerson in 'Self Reliance' that "imitation is suicde".

It just seems to be all the same these days DJs are treated like gods for simply playing records. Play a banger and jump around with hands up like they just discovered the cure for cancer. Next track - banger and repeat. Producers get no where without the DJ. Just like the DJ would be nothing without producers. (Generally speaking)

What most famous producers and DJs have at least one thing in common - great marketing. It doesn't matter how incredible your tracks are, you need some marketing to really get anywhere. I don't know about anyone else, but my creative talents greatly overshadow my marketing prowess.

I guess my message is this - take away all the other people, the girls/guys, the drugs, the alcohol, the record pools... Take ALL of that and answer the following "Would you still be creating?"
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Old 26-01-2017, 10:02 PM   #16
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

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Originally Posted by NotApplicable View Post
Measuring your self worth on your passion/hobby/career will leave you sadly disappointed. We all know no track is really finished. It just gets to a point where you can accept it. All forms of creative work navigate this pitfall.

"I don't wanna be a movie star. I don't wanna drive a fancy car. I just wanna be free to live my life, to live my own life." - Dead Prez

If your aspirations are to become famous, the sad thing is that talent really doesn't mean anything anymore. Millions of producers out there want that same thing. It is all about getting that "big break" that elevates you to the next level. I bet everyone who "made it" will point to some kind of opportunity provided for them.

Or - you could wear a huge shiny rodent head...

Back when edm was underground - real underground, the DJ was just in the corner in a dark booth. No one but other DJs, producers and a handful of speakerheadz knew about the source of music and didn't care. It was all about the dance floor and taking them through a journey for the night.

Now everyone wants to make the hottest banger out there. But this inevitably leads to imitation. Not only the highest form of praise, it is also described by Emerson in 'Self Reliance' that "imitation is suicde".

It just seems to be all the same these days DJs are treated like gods for simply playing records. Play a banger and jump around with hands up like they just discovered the cure for cancer. Next track - banger and repeat. Producers get no where without the DJ. Just like the DJ would be nothing without producers. (Generally speaking)

What most famous producers and DJs have at least one thing in common - great marketing. It doesn't matter how incredible your tracks are, you need some marketing to really get anywhere. I don't know about anyone else, but my creative talents greatly overshadow my marketing prowess.

I guess my message is this - take away all the other people, the girls/guys, the drugs, the alcohol, the record pools... Take ALL of that and answer the following "Would you still be creating?"

Well said sir

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Old 27-01-2017, 12:49 AM   #17
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

It's always very discouraging when you work really hard to create something and no one cares or takes it for granted. In this day and age of pirating music it's just become less of a valuable product/skill/artform, which is unfortunate. 20 years ago, not everyone was even able to record themselves and now anyone with a computer and a little time can do it...which has both positive and negative effects on how music is perceived.

I don't make music for anyone but myself and for artistic reasons. I like having something to create, a skill to learn, a thing I made to keep so that I may look back upon it and remember when I created it fondly or even not so fondly, depending on the circumstances in which it was created.

That said, would be nice to make a few extra bucks on the side for sharing my tunes. And maybe a bit of respect in the general circle of peers who do the same thing.
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Old 27-01-2017, 01:01 AM   #18
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by Numerical View Post
I don't make music for anyone but myself and for artistic reasons. I like having something to create, a skill to learn, a thing I made to keep so that I may look back upon it and remember when I created it fondly or even not so fondly, depending on the circumstances in which it was created.

That said, would be nice to make a few extra bucks on the side for sharing my tunes. And maybe a bit of respect in the general circle of peers who do the same thing.
For many years I muddled along like this, trying to satisfy myself with the fact that anything I write will end up on BC/SC and I might get a few favs. For many artists this actually suits them fine. Certainly I never intended to make a single dime off it.

But then when I got creatively [and unexpectedly] kicked in the pants, I just went with it and pushed myself to Actually Produce An Album. All the musical ideas and desires and intentions I'd had suddenly found an outlet and I found myself really thinking about things quite deeply...melody, harmony, rhythmic mangling, instrumentation, track order, sensibility, philosophical strains in the music...it really felt great seeing this body of work taking shape as "a thing" instead of three years of odds and ends. It felt like "something" instead of "a bit more of that".

And the other thing I really didn't expect was how the community would make me feel. Man, there are a LOT of really devoted music lovers out there who will ADORE your stuff. Maybe you thought your work manages a reasonable B grade, but then people come out of the woodwork telling you that everything is an A+. I mean, take it with a great of salt (they're lunatics, okay ) but it feels good and makes you want to push yourself even more. Would you ever have expected that?

Who cares if you don't make a dime. Fine, then make the music for yourself; there are listeners out there who will fucking love it.
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Old 28-01-2017, 04:48 AM   #19
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

thanks for the replies yalll- imma read through them and respond later on. big upz!!! yall newbies keep your heads in the game and work hard!! <3

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Old 28-01-2017, 04:56 AM   #20
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Re: feeling conflicted about your music progress

I'm not sure if this is a proper response, but I've just had an amazing day making music and thought I'd share...

I started DJing sometime in 2005, started fucking about with music shortly there after. Its been a long ass road and almost ten years. I've tried all kinds of setups. Gone through ups and downs of creativity and motivation.

I think no matter what two things hold true:

1. You have to make music a practice. Like literally in the Buddhist sense of the word. "When you sweep the floor, sweep the floor." Make it a part of yourself. Something you do every day.

2. While certainly there are probably people who have made a career making/playing music they don't care about. Be true to yourself. Fall in love with the process. I don't know another way to make art. In three years of my MFA, I wrote tons of absolute drivel to make deadlines. But the only stuff that made it to my 60 page thesis was stuff I loved. Some of those poems I'd been working on since I was an undergraduate. And they weren't done for years and years.

I'm not there in either regard with my music, but I know that this is what it takes. This is the path. ;p

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