Last week, we gave our resident advice columnist the week off for Independence Day, but now, we've got Nick Hook back in the mix and he's ready to dole out some knowledge. The good doctor is here every Thursday, answering our readers' questions about music, production, gear, DJing, travel, life, love, and just about anything else they need to know about. Doctor Nick has seen the world and has done a whole lot of living, so he's got wisdom to share. Tap into it by dropping him a line at email@example.com.
Hi. I'm back in Brooklyn, dripping sweat. Taking a week off was crazy. It feels like it's been a while. Apologies if I'm rusty.
I just got back from Seoul, South Korea. The trip was really amazing and it was eye opening to see how much amazing music is out there, and how people are paying attention to all the moves everyone is making across the world. To think you can just show up 7000 miles away from home and people will know you from music that you made and posted online from your bedroom is so great. I think I'm lucky to do this and I wanna shout out the cats I got to meet and build with while I was out there. I recommend everyone putting an eye to Seoul and going there if you have the chance. They are listening.
PEEP: Cakeshop Seoul, DJ YTST, Akimbo, Jinbo, Soulscape, Somdef, Mood Schula, Simo, 360 Sounds Crew, Big Body Gibbs, Som Serious, Yung Kim, Kingmck, BBQ fried chicken, and, last but not least, the most insane bar I've ever been to in my whole life—OLD TOWN.
Also, send me questions. firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it.
Hi Doctor Nick,
What's up? My name is Nick too, so that's cool. Basically, I'm about to graduate from a top-tier music school with a semi-dual condensed degree in music composition and audio engineering. Most of the students who graduate from this major end up going to LA and writing music for commercials and TV and I'm just not about that at all. My dream is to spend the next year saving money while teaching myself C++ and German, then moving to Berlin and trying to score a job at somewhere like Ableton or Native Instruments doing sound design or software development. I have some background in graphical programming environments like Pd and Max, and I'm pretty decent at sound design, but I have no coding experience whatsoever. Do you think this is realistic? Can you offer any suggestions for making this happen?
Nick 4 life breh. What's good? Thanks for writing.
YES. It's realistic. Why wouldn't it be? You just graduated college with nine degrees. It's just a question of how hard you are willing to work and navigate that maze.
To be honest, I know the Ableton guys and I've been to Berlin and most people there speak English, so you might want to spend that much more time on your coding. The German will come.
Your degree sounds nice. I mean, I am not sure, but I feel like I ALWAYS see openings for coders at companies like Ableton and Native Instruments. Look at these simple searches:
https://www.ableton.com/en/jobs/ (things available)
http://www.native-instruments.com/en/career-center/ (C++ guy available)
So yeah, go get it man.
Berlin is super cheap, so that's something else you have going for you. I also recommend that while you are developing, you should go get an internship at either place, just so you guys can bond on a personal level and they will be wanting to take you on when you are ready—they will have already invested in you and will know you guys can work well together.
Another thing. Start making some iPhone apps on your own and make ill shit so you have some things to point at and say, "Hey, I did that." People like working with people when they see that they have drive and initiative. I dunno how hard that is, but hey maybe it'll work.
Anyways, go do it man. You got this.
Hi Doctor Nick,
What are your thoughts on releasing music? I want to get rappers on my tracks and am not sure if it's best to put the stuff out there to the public, or keep the tracks private and network/sling them around individually. Know what I mean?
Well, are your tracks finished? Are they dope? It's the chicken and the egg until it's done.
To be honest, right now I think getting music in people's hands is more important than anything. In a world of Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud, you're just holding yourself back by not showing anything.
I see it even more clearly as I get to travel the world and see how kids are consuming music in places like Korea. They love Flatbush Zombies and A$AP Ferg and are consuming music almost faster than we are.
Also, if you look at songs that have become hits, it usually takes a year of the inner circle of tastemakers (us and EVERYONE related to us) to like a song, rinse a song, usually end up hating a song, and then the rest of the world gets it and loves it and we are like, "Yo, Ima throw up if I ever hear that song again."
I'd say do what feels good. It's different every time and if a quality label has ideas and plans, then go for it. If not, the beauty is that we can really take things into our own hands right now and things are gonna find their way.
Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to email@example.com. Nick Hook can help you.