Hi, Doctor Nick! - Holding Down a Job, Promoting Your Music the Right Way, and Weird Hip-Hop

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Simply put, Nick Hook is the man. Every Thursday, he drops all sorts of knowledge on the XLR8R massive, answering questions about music, production, gear, travel, fashion, romance, and living life. (Those looking for assistance are welcome to send a query his way at doctornick@xlr8r.com.) This time around, he's tackling the precarious balance between music and work, how artists can most effectively promote their music, and explaining why people with eccentric tastes (usually) have nothing to worry about.

Hi Doctor Nick,
Are many independent musicians you come across able to sustain themselves exclusively through their musical exploits, or is it common for them to work another job to support themselves?

I'm all for having a job. It lets you do what you want and you don't have to do really wack shit just to tell people you make music for a living. And let's be honest here, I've seen a lot of people invest 100% of their everything into just saying they do music, and one day it all ends, and they are fucked. Even if you are bartending or stocking a shelf somewhere, you are probably making new contacts that are completely separate from your music.

On the other hand, I think the real move is to just work enough so that you're supporting yourself, but still have enough time to focus on creating. That takes time and energy and you have to adhere to it at all times. I've done so much weird shit in my life to make money. I probably shouldn't talk about it here—my mom reads this—but yeah, go in.

Shit. I have a job. I'm an advice columnist.

Hi Doctor Nick,
I am facing the phase where I make tons of great music, but need help in trying to get it out there without looking like a spammer or a hard sell. I give my stuff away for free, but I don't seem to ever grab blogs' or artists' attention.

Keep making it. Keep sending it. People are gonna hear about it if they need to. I don't know where you live, but go out every night. Give it to motherfuckers, especially while you are both high and drunk (a.k.a. where real relationships start. Sorry straight-edge fools, but it's true). Then drink mad water before you go to bed, get up at 9:30 a.m., and make more music. No one wants a hard sell. That's creepy, terrifying, and makes me never wanna leave my house ever again. To be honest though, fuck a blog. Build a community. Start your own party. If the shit is that different, people will come. That's where it all started: everyone rejecting us, and us forcing you to believe in it. No one really ever took me seriously, but I kept doing my thing. Then Drop the Lime asked me to play live with him, L-Vis 1990 asked me to help him make some shit, and all of a sudden, everyone fucked with me. Then it happened with El-P and Azealia, and now people think I know what I'm doing or something. Funny joke. I guess part of our job is playing the game. Just keep growing and learning. It'll all happen the way it should if you are going for a long career. We can let all the other cats switch from genre to genre.

Hi Doctor Nick,
As an avid listener and creator of experimental electronic and explorer of the strangest sides of hip-hop, I feel like my listening material has been getting progressively stranger. Now it has hit the point where the only things I currently listen to that have a chance of being liked by a normal person are rare Timbaland grooves from the '90s. How do I stop this spiral of eccentricity, or should I just accept it?

I'm kinda with it. If you end up bringing girls back to the crib, at least you got some good shit to put on while you cook them dinner. Just don't be that dude who thinks we suck when are standing on top of a table with our shirt off listening to Tupac. I feel you though. I dunno, I'm all for the weirdest of weird, but in the right environment. It can't hurt to try new things though. Brian Eno made these cards, Oblique Strategies, that I think everyone should know about. Fuck with those. It's fun.

By the way, I'm hungover at the airport. I can't believe this is my eighth week and I'm not fired yet. I hope everyone is enjoying this as much as me. I'm heading to Europe. Come fuck with me. Vienna/Berlin/Paris/London—you can find me if you try. And cop my record: www.scionav.com/nickhook. (Perks of the job. Hahaha!)

K. I'm out. xo

Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Nick Hook can help you.