The Only Way To Save Your Music Scene As A Musician

Photo by Amanda René Photography

Photo by Amanda René Photography

Here in Nashville, I try to stay as connected as I can to the music scene. I go out to see as many shows of different genres as I can. Because of that, I meet a lot of different artists and bands. I do pay special attention to the hip hop scene and also the electronic music scene, since those are the pockets that I mostly easily fit into myself as an artist. Within these two scenes, I’m often asked my thoughts on what we can all do to make the music scene better.

I try to entertain these discussions as best I can. However, I have experienced a philosophical shift in my own music scene beliefs. Let me explain. Here’s how most of these conversations go.

  • “Man, we need to have more unity!”
  • “We need to come together!”
  • “Artists need to support each other!”
  • “Venues need to book different artists!”

Maybe some of this is true. However, I think we’re missing the point. We’re especially missing it as artists, musicians, & DJs. In addition to the music scene here in town, this blog attracts a lot of DJs, rappers, musicians, bands, and producers. They all have similar questions about what software to use or how to get started & mainly how to impact their music scene immediately.

I try to answer whatever I can, but I think this is a great chance to sum up what I think is the greatest thing that you as an artist can do for your music scene.

You ready? This is the secret!

(This probably can extend beyond music scenes and just apply to life as well.)

The #1 thing I think all musicians, DJs, producers, rappers can do to change their music scene is…

Be Awesome.

That’s it. Change lives. Create an experience. Blow people away with your awesome awesomeness. Be freaking awesome.

Only after you are awesome will your music scene change. Let’s examine the artists’ cry for unity. When I hear that “artists need to support each other” I hear “they need to support ME.” When I hear that “venues need to book different artists,” these artists just mean “they need to book ME.” But all the unity, support, & promo in the world won’t help if the music, bands, or artists aren’t awesome.

Or if they suck.

And I didn’t say “Be mediocre.” Mediocre is everywhere. Don’t waste your time or other people’s time by doing the same thing everyone else is doing. I understand that this is subjective, so…

6 Ways Musicians Can Be More Awesome

I’ve been thinking about how I can apply this very simple yet complicated principle for my own life and my own music career. That’s right, this advice is for me too. No one is safe. No one is exempt. So few musicians, bands, & DJs do this; the ones who do will stand out very quickly.

I have come up with these after considering my time in the music scene here in Nashville (Music City) plus my time studying music business, and additionally my time on the road touring with Mutemath.


Make Awesome Music.

Yes, those other things absolutely matter, but only when you make the music as good as it can possibly be. If you have great music, than great branding, design, &social can give you a huge advantage and push you to the next level. It can help you stand out from the crowd and make it easier for you to become popular. But without great music, the best marketing, branding, or even meetups won’t matter at all.

quiet entertainer music

P.S. all my music is here. Click the pic 😉

I’m not saying you should start out without thinking of marketing. If you have time and resources to make videos, get merch, & get all the other stuff right, then do it all. But if you only have time to do one thing really well, there’s no question you should be focusing on your music.

The same goes for promotion. Once you’ve created something epic, you need to make sure other people find out about it. But if you really write awesome music. It won’t take much effort on your part to get the word out. Your new fans will do most of the work.

I’ve seen it happen here locally with people like Wick-It or Cherub or Mike Floss. Every time I’m tempted to get down in the dumps about how I am not getting the gigs I should get, then I have to look in the mirror and ask if I’m making awesome music.


Perform Awesomely Live.

Don’t mistake length of your set or how much time you put into it for how awesome something truly is. I’m sure you’ve seen the way-too-long-and-completely-boring sets out there. Awesome doesn’t necessarily mean long. It also doesn’t mean how many people are on stage at once. I’ve fallen into this trap before. Every time I’ve been inspired at a show, it’s because the performer showcased their skill in a way that no one else can. Blow people’s minds. Look at this KDSML video below. No one else can do this. So he stays booked. What can you do that no other performer can do?

 


Throw Awesome Shows.

I’m not even talking about your set anymore. I mean the experience you create at your shows. Are you booking your own shows to build credibility? Great. Now who is doing the show with you? What’s the vibe you’ll create? What’s the venue? Can people really hear your music there? Can they see you? Is it well lit? Is it a raised stage? Is it all ages? 21+? Can people easily park there? Do people need to BYOB?

Don’t make the mistake of trying to throw awesome shows without outside inspiration. Get out there and go see some shows. Get inspired yourself, then infect your music scene with that inspiration. Locally, This is Art does this very well. I’m going to see his show tonight.

 


Use Awesome Professionalism.

You might not have to be professional if you are strictly booking your own shows and they are all house parties and you never have to deal with people who are doing business. But chances are, you’re going to have to work with other people. I’ve found that in my own music career; it’s been much better to be courteous & on time whenever possible. Not only that but also if you’re in charge of a show, you have to make sure everyone knows what they’re expectation is. Let people know how long your set will be. If you don’t know, ask. Is it a paying gig? If you don’t know, ask. If you know it’s not paying, tell them. Do you not have a huge draw? Be realistic about the show expectations. Or be honest if you don’t plan on promoting. (Psst… why aren’t you promoting?)


Have an Awesome Web Presence.

We can’t be everywhere at once. Having a web presence is the next best thing. Do you have your own site? Your own place to let people know about shows? Your own spot to host your music? Your own place to spread your ideas? You can’t just rely on Facebook. What about other social media? Where are you? Where does your music scene hang out? You should be there. But really, it’s not the one social media site you’re using. It’s everything you’re doing.


Have an Awesome Mindset.

This is the one I struggle with the most. Yet it’s the most important and it’s the one from which all these others will spring. Your mindset will absolutely determine your actions. Your belief in yourself and your music scene will inform and inspire all the moves you make and also informs what the rest of your scene will do. It’s hard to try and get everyone on the same page about what you want to do for your music scene but then when you get together, all you do is complain. I’ve done this and I have seen this especially in hip hop and electronic music. Guilty as charged. No one wants to get behind cynicism. People only will get behind awesomeness.


The next time you start wondering why you aren’t getting tons of fans or people at your shows, the next time you wonder why no one is sharing your stuff, don’t start looking to Twitter or Facebook for the answer. Instead, start by asking yourself one simple question:

Am I being awesome?

A big thanks to Corbett Barr who inspired this post many years ago with an epic post of his own.

Follow me on Twitter @qentertainer

  1. Make Awesome Music
  2. Perform Awesomely Live
  3. Throw Awesome Shows
  4. Use Awesome Professionalism
  5. Have an Awesome Web Presence
  6. Have an Awesome Mindset

 

 

Quiet Entertainer Releases New Record: Intelligent Design

Quiet Entertainer Intelligent Design front cover

My new record is finally here! It’s called Intelligent Design. It’s the most rewarding collection of music I’ve done because you can start to hear a new production style and writing style that I’ve been working on. It perhaps isn’t new to some producers but it is definitely a part of my own personal growth. So I feel great about it! You can download Intelligent Design for free here!

Quiet Entertainer Intelligent Design Back Cover

If you can’t see that image, here’s the track listing.

Sunset
Now I Know (Hunz cover)
Self-esteem
Better Days
Companion
The Billy Goats – Hey Girl (Quiet Entertainer Remix)
Sam & Tre x Blue Sky Black Death – I’m A Stoner (Quiet Entertainer Remix)
Clams Casino x Gold Panda & Star Slinger w/ Yelawolf (Quiet Entertainer Mix)
Set from the MUTEMATH Tour

I’ve released some of the tracks before as one-offs on soundcloud but I’m glad to finally put it all together on an official release here along with my brand new original material.

Don’t forget that you can download the entire album for free here.


Additionally, I’m having an album release mini-tour starting today! I’ll be in Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Clarksville this weekend promoting the Intelligent Design release!
quiet entertainer album release mini tour intelligent design

Thursday will be in Murfreesboro, TN at The Social with Dotcom, Body of Light, Crayons & Antidotes, and Boyfriend.

Friday will be in Nashville, TN at Cafe Coco with Last of the Horsemen, Spoken Nerd, Rally & Don Cruso.

Saturday will be in Clarksville, TN at The Coup with Blak Tha Map, My Day At The Races, Spoken Nerd, Smokee B, & Kid Dead.

Clams Casino X Gold Panda & Starslinger ft. Yelawolf (Quiet Entertainer mix)

Yelawolf
photo credit: adam elmakias

This is an excerpt from the set I just did opening for Orchard Lounge. I came out of my Blue Sky Black Death remix into this Gold Panda – StarSlinger remix. I got the idea from hearing DJ Shadow’s All Basses Covered when he had Bun B. I figured it’d work with Yelawolf. Also went into it with Clams Casino for good measure. Mixed out of it with Minnesota. A highlight from an entire set.

Bed Intruder Song Wick-It dubstep remix


Around Nashville if you’re a DJ playing electronic music and you’re NOT playing dubstep, you almost don’t matter. I say almost; there are exceptions. I admit that I’ve been fighting the trend within my own music. However when you’re on the floor and someone plays a dubstep track, you can’t deny the feeling in your chest when the bass hits and crushes you. So imagine my surprise, when I was at the Mashville 3 Year Anniversary party and Wick-It played his remix of the Gregory Brothers’ Bed Intruder Song. It’s a must listen. Check it out below.

Oh and here is a dubstep bonus. I’m all about embracing technology while still respecting the original craft and artform of turntablism. So when my friend Seth of Details Details sent me this video he found, I was blown away. Respect to JFB.

Mashville Rolls 9 Deep

9 Deep Mashville at The End Quiet Entertainer

9 Deep Mashville at The End Quiet Entertainer

It’s time for me to shut up.
For all the times I complain quietly to myself about feeling left out or slept on, this is definitely not one of those times. On Saturday, I’ll be one of the DJs as part of 9 Deep, this weekend’s Mashville event. Mashville is the monthly DJ event showcasing great DJs in the area. It’s always an honor to be a part of a such a fun event. Definitely come check it out. Also, check out the Mashville blog plus their bandcamp page.