How I see a musician's career: philosophy and mindset (p.1)

16-10-2020
Every producer has to develop his workflow. However, people have very different personalities, music and life backgrounds so there is no 100% working recipe to become a successful producer. Everyone should find their own way. This article is going to be about my experience and ideas on how to work efficiently. Starting from the mindset, ending with the technical tips. Most of this works for me but some advice I haven't implemented yet, I will though. Changes take time, mind has inertia.



Philosophy and mindset

Study yourself
We are the ones who we lie to the most. Learn your character, find out your habits, realize that you don't have good habits. Only neutral or bad. Take notice how you react to stress, how you treat people, how you keep your word, and overcome difficulties. Write down on paper your positive and negative traits, then ask your parents and close friends if you are right.

One thing that really helped me to know myself better was by frequently asking myself what I feel when some uncomfortable situations comes up. Don't be deaf to your feelings, don't ignore them. If you start a battle with yourself, you will always lose. It is better to find a solution that will work for both your consciousness and subconscious.

Realize that you don't rule over your life
To understand this just pay attention to how many times you made promises to do something during the week and then broke them. 85% of our decisions we make subconsciously. We think that we know what we do and where we go, but it's just an illusion. Actually everything we think, believe, do, and/or avoid comes down to protecting and triggering dopamine flow (including not wanting to believe that everything involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow). Dreams about getting rich or famous also trigger dopamine flow as our brain is sensitive to postponed pleasure. It is "complex dopamine" that our brain needs too. That's why sugar or games can not substitute it entirely.

We can't change the way human's body works. But realizing it can help us achieve something. But what?

Set clear goals
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. To actually arrive in the right place, you need to have clean goals, that your brain can understand and check their progress. Blowing up, getting rich - are not clear goals. Releasing two albums and 3 music videos, signing up on a label X - are.

Also don't let your expectations influence your decisions.

I don't believe in laziness. I think people are just too tired if they feel lazy. Our mental will has limited capacity and if you waste it for procrastination, you won't have energy for complex tasks at the end of the day. Do the most important things in the morning. Realize it when you are tired and go to bed.

Do not sit up late
I wasted hundreds of hours thinking I am doing something useful. Actually my brain was tired and I did random useless shit. I've got chronic fatigue, neurasthenia and haven't the will to do something or move somewhere. Living at night kills productivity and steals life. It is even more obvious as you get older and it takes more time to restore.

Don't dream *
I mean it. Dreams fool you that everything is going to be great, amazing. That's not true and you are going to fail hard. Be realistic and soberly evaluate your achievements, make a notch on your nose that window of opportunity is getting narrower as you get older. Albums won't write themselves and nobody will write music for you (unless you are rich).

Know your starting point
Understand the financial position of your family and yours, their position in the social hierarchy. The lower it is - the lower chances to succeed you have, the higher the price of a mistake. High risks and hard times to find the right financial balance make you fear. Fears can drive your decisions and that is not gonna work well for you. Mind that.


Having clear goals is just the first part. The second part is to make yourself pursue those goals. Fuck motivation, fuck will, fuck pictures on the wall and instagram of other superstars.

Develop a habit.
Develop a habit to write music everyday. At least open a DAW. Only habits can take us somewhere, nothing else. That's it. No need for other words.

Realize habits that stand on the way to your goal and get rid of them. We already have a lot of habits that bring dopamine into our brain, so most likely you won't be able to develop a new habit without ditching the old one. If some habits bring too much dopamine into your brain that music production can not compete with it - do a dopamine detox.

How do you think, why did KSHMR recommend staying poor as long as possible in his really great masterclass? The same reason: no joy => low dopamine tolerance => more motivation to do something. By the way that is why I'd recommend to stay away from drugs like MDMA, they can totally destroy your motivations system.

Music is all or nothing.
If you are going "all-in" - keep that in mind. 6% percent of musicians gets 94% of fees. Zipf rule works in this case too. There is no low, mid, and high salary like in other professions. In the music business you are either famous or broke.

Music is not about creativity.
Yet another myth that music production is a creative job. I'd say it's only 15% creative and 85% is pure perseverance.

Stick to the deadlines
Music production for yourself doesn't have deadlines. But they are very important to our brain. This is the most steep place in this field. You can't step away from a patient if you are a doctor, you can't leave a class if you are a teacher. But you can do whatever you want if you are a bedroom producer. And many people can't self organize. Different "stars" invent their own methods to finish albums.

Until you are not one of them, listen to the KSHMR's advice: make music for others.

Also a tip from Elon Musk: tasks in a calendar work better than plain to do lists. Set a goal for the day and allocate time for that goal. This way you will know how bad you failed your day. Later you will realize how bad you failed your past life.
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