Hi, Doctor Nick! - How to Make Things Happen, Regardless of What City You're In
There's no stopping Nick Hook. This week, the good doctor is in Los Angeles, and even after spending a long night in the club, he made sure to sit down and put together some advice for the XLR8R massive. For the uninitiated, he does this every Thursday, tackling questions about music, DJing, production, travel, romance, studio gear, and more. He can help you, so send your questions to email@example.com and let the wisdom flow.
Hi. It's 3 a.m. My editor Shawn is gonna kill me, but it's hard being a doctor sometimes. Shout out to Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev, Nocando, D Styles, and Nobody for having me out to Low End Theory tonight. It's such an honor to be able to be a part of something that special. To everyone who writes in and wants to know how and why to do things, research their story. They started from scratch, played what they believed in, stuck with it, and it worked. It's amazing.
LA has been great. I went to the Innovative Leisure Boiler Room last night. Rhye was awesome. Nosaj Thing was awesome.
NAMM was nuts. Someone needs to make a documentary about the parking lot—that's where the action is. The Ableton Push is gonna be crazy. It's incredible. I saw a bunch of other cool stuff too.
Anyways, here are some questions. Don't forget to send in your questions. Let's keep this interesting.
Hi Doctor Nick,
In an earlier column, you responded to someone trying to cultivate a DJ career while living in the middle of nowhere, but I'm wondering what your advice is for someone with similar aspirations who's living in one of the most saturated EDM centers in the country—Los Angeles. I make and mix syrupy trap house and know there is an audience who appreciates it—given my limited performances at parties and underground bicycle events over the past two years—but I'm not sure where to direct my energy in 2013. I liked your suggestion of handing out thumbdrives to promoters at the club, but with Low End Theory, A Club Called Rhonda, and a million other great parties I'd love to open for, I'm just not sure where my vision of drag music fits in, or where to start.
Okay. I really think you should move to Houston. Maybe they will understand your music more.
Furthermore, there's a trap house, but there's no such thing as trap house... unless it's trap playing in the house that's the trap.
Seriously though, I think you need to worry less about genres and stuff and just get started. Look at Low End Theory. They were just like you, fed up with everything and thinking they had something new to share. They picked a weird club in a remote location downtown, assembled a crew of five, and got started. It took a minute for things to really get going, but they stuck with it. Now, the party is traveling around the world and people come to hear every record that every dude plays. It's incredible. Everyone successful I know has done the same thing, going from unbookable loser to the person everyone wants to be a down with.
Get a good crew, be organized, play dope music, and stick with it. You can do it.
Hi Doctor Nick,
I caught your afterparty set at the TNGHT show in Brooklyn a while back, much respect. I'm currently a freshman at Georgetown University with a huge passion for electronic music, yet I am trying to figure out how to get involved in the scene and really make a name for myself. I've been DJing and making beats for about four years now, and during this time I've been balancing being a musician with being a very diligent student who spends a lot of time studying. Still, I am increasingly finding that I really miss making music and kind of loathe the whole academic system. I'm originally from LA and I'm a product of the Low End Theory community there, and I am finding it increasingly hard to find a scene in Washington DC, where it seems like people don't really know what the "beat scene" or even any other electronic music besides dubstep is. So here are my questions:
1) What do you think the importance of being in a music community is? I've really struggled to find like-minded people like myself at home and at school and I have been seriously considering transferring back to LA or to NYC where there are already established electronic scenes where I already feel safe and know connections.
2) If I choose to stay, how do I get a scene going here? So much of what you talk about is the importance of collaboration and mutual development, and I'm just looking for a way to get myself in that position and be involved in a thriving artistic community where I feel at home and that's not on the Internet.
3) At school, here or elsewhere, I have been heavily considering studying some form of music (culture, business, musicology, etc.) and I was just wondering what your opinion is of the value of a college education regarding a job in the electronic scene. My goal right now is to be a person who could get behind the velvet rope at shows and stand on the stage while TNGHT is on stage very much like yourself, yet I just don't really know how to get there, whether it be through my music, a label I start, music journalism, or some other way.
Many thanks for reading my long-winded question/comment and keep being an inspiration to kids like me.
Dope. That TNGHT party was fun. I'm glad you liked it. I barely remember it.
Respect to studying. I back that. As for your questions...
1. I personally find it incredibly important. The energy you are around is what you become. In depressing cities, you become depressed because you feel that there is literally no way to make it. It's easy to start thinking, "fuck this place" or "it sucks here," just because it's hard to be the positive one in a negative environment. Furthermore, people get mad in these non-communities when you get good gigs or success, because they feel that you are taking away from them. In New York, I feel like we have such positive energy, as new energies are always coming from different cities and we all support and actively help each other to succeed because we all know if one person wins, we all do, and we are taking each other along for the ride.
2. I think if you stay, you start small, take risks, and have fun. Throw a dope party at the smallest place. Make it fucking nuts. Isn't Georgetown in DC? Look at Dave Nada and Tittsworth and all those guys. We've known them forever and they started from small and made it. There are plenty of young people—just make sure it's dope. Furthermore, you can always take the bus to Baltimore, Philly, NYC, etc. Put in the work and there's no reason it can't work. It's not like you live in a forest with five people, you live in a top-20 city.
3. I disregard college as a viable way to get yourself a job in music. Business happens after midnight. The reason I was standing onstage at a TNGHT show was because Dom from LuckyMe and HudMo came and saw Cubic Zirconia at SXSW in 2009. It was at this tiny party in a loft. We were going nuts and the whole place was going nuts and they happened to walk in. We had mutual friends. Then we hung out in NYC, London, Scotland... wherever the fuck we were together. We got wasted. We talked about life. We had fun. Somehow, it all happened for us. I still don't even really know how. Sometimes, when I read these questions, I think everyone is taking it way too seriously. I mean, look at the LuckyMe dudes—they are from fucking Scotland. Pick a harder place to start. I can't think of one. It was all just based on being dope. HudMo goes to the studio EVERY day, and it shows in his music.
Thanks for the kind words man. They mean a lot. Really, I'm just a dude from St. Louis who should really be living in my parents' basement right now. Holler at me anytime.
Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick Hook can help you.
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