Hi, Doctor Nick! - What to Do in a New City Without a Decent Music Scene and the Good Doctor Says Goodbye to His Weekly Column

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Nick Hook is a machine. Over the past year, the man has always found the time to answer our readers' questions, even when he's been traveling the globe, stuck in the studio, or overloaded with DJ gigs. Obviously, this reliability factored in when we brought Nick Hook aboard to be our resident advice columnist, but what's really important is that he's got so damn much knowledge rolling around inside his head. DJing. Production. Gear. Travel. Collaboration. Writer's Block. When someone has a question, Doctor Nick has an answer. Need proof? Send him a query at doctornick@xlr8r.com. He just might solve your problems.

Whoa. Do you realize that we've been doing this shit for a year now? I can't believe it. 10 years ago yesterday, I jumped on a plane to start a joke band with my homies during a week off from my shitty job. I ended up moving to New York six months later and I haven't left. Thinking about all that, it's pretty fucking wild.

Also, in the last year, things have become super crazy in my life. It seems like every week, I am up until 5 a.m. writing this column cuz I've been locked in the studio all day or something like that. I was thinking that maybe we should scale this back to once a month. We can get better questions, I can go more in depth with my answers, and we won't be beating a dead horse with the same shit all the time. Y'all cool with that???

It's been super incredible to get feedback in real life and online. Just to know that some of this column and what I have to say maybe makes you think and brings some sort of inspiration to people is inspiring to me. That's all I could ever ask for… lead by example—that's what my momma taught me.

Alright, it's time to fall back a bit. Please keep the questions coming though. doctornick@xlr8r.com. Okay?

Before I get into your questions, I do want to say: eternal respect to everyone who was in New York on 9/11, both the survivors and people that lost their lives. Salute. Life is short. Make the best of it. We are so lucky to be here doing what we do.

Some new things from me:

I did a mix for these dudes Lexdray and I put my new video out with my dudes Color Film. They are my favorite new band and we're starting a new label called Calm + Collect to drop their new record. Doc Daneeka, Michna, and Anenon also did remixes. It comes out on October 22 and I'm really excited about it. Shit, maybe I'll put some music out from some people who sent me demos here. Who knows? I just started it so I wouldn't have to ask people's permission to do anything anymore. Anyways, peep that stuff.

I think I need to go hide in a cave soon. Does anybody have one?

Hi Doctor Nick,
I recently moved out to a new city as part of my uni course (Bordeaux, if you're curious). I'm at that point in my musical life where I'm finally making music I believe in, and I really want to be playing live. But I've had a good look, and there doesn't seem to be a scene for electronic music here, apart from a couple of clubs having the same-old house nights, which isn't exactly what I'm doing. I'm here for a year, so I want to get as much out of this as possible. What would you recommend? Should I try and get in these clubs even though I have a different vibe? I don't think starting something up would be an option here.

Also, I'm having real trouble finding a label for me to send music to, because I haven't found any that I feel fit the same vibe and genre. I don't want to go around spamming everyone with demos because I know you guys hate that, but I really want to put this music out, and I can't find anywhere I think it would fit. Have you got any tips for finding the perfect label? I wanna keep up the trend of thanking you for these articles. I can't begin to tell you how much I've gained from them.

Thanks man,

Sup Jack? Damn, these are kinda tough questions. Bordeaux sounds dope. I have had some friends post up there. I'm always curious about different places and how things work.

I think you should just go for it. There has be something somewhere and every show is worth 1000 practices—even if it sucks. Maybe you could open or close those nights you mentioned? I feel you though, starting your own thing is too much. At the same time, being active is generally a good thing—you never know who you will meet that can get you up to Paris or somewhere else. To be really honest, I wish I had some sort of more static advice on how to go about things, but you are there for a year. You might as well make the best of it.

Real talk: don't let the label thing hold you back. There is a whole Earth of people out there that love music and you can get it to them one by one. Looking for a label is gonna plague you and once you get on a "real" label, you will realize the fantasy of it beforehand was just that—a fantasy. Trust me, when you are ready for those labels, they will be easy to go after. Don't get me wrong; you should keep going after labels and building relationships, but until you either make a track so banging that they need to put it out, or you are bringing something to the table for them, it's gonna keep being tough. Make a goal to get some shit on your SoundCloud, get some followers, get some gigs, and build a story. Once you do all of that, then the labels that you like will hopefully know who you are, either from you or, even better, from their friends. After that happens, when you holler, they are gonna be like, "Oh, word? This dude? Yeah, I'm down."

Really, there is no perfect label. There are quite a few doing great things, but they all have their pros and cons too. I can't stress this enough—being self-sufficient is everything. Even if you do get on an amazing label, what if they drop you? You'll need to keep going and you can't let these brands be everything to you. By the way, the same goes for management, your girlfriend, or anything. If you are self-sufficient, nothing can ever hold you back.

Good luck.

Following this week's column, Hi, Doctor Nick! will be appearing once a month on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Nick Hook can help you.