It’s easy to become exhausted as an artist.
Not only do you have to work on your creative side, you also have to run a business.
Splitting your time between what is essentially two different jobs on opposite sides of your brain can be draining.
All that really means, though, is that artists need to take time off.
There’s no shame in having weekends off (or any two day of your choosing during the week).
There’s no shame in taking a much-needed vacation and setting up an email autoresponder.
Listen now to find out why it’s vital to your career that you avoid burnout and separate yourself from your music. You are more than just your art. Act like it!
What you’ll learn:
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Welcome to Episode 32 of the Bandhive podcast.
It is time for another episode of the band. I've podcast. My name is James Cross, and I'm here with Aaron Gingras of Suburban Samurai. How's it going today, Aaron? I'm doing pretty well.
I am excited for my I think it's my second even know it's not drive in more than two even numbered episodes, but the second even number episode recently, so we'll see if the grass is greener. Maybe we'll just have Thio do more of these and, uh, you know, even things out. E tried. No, and that was me too. Totally. I dropped. You threw me the ball. Then I dropped it. Now that I've made probably the worst pon of all times and everyone's opinion is just at odds with me, I'm gonna hand it over to you, Aaron and let you take away this episode.
Tell the people what they're about to hear. Well, so we're gonna check a little bit about separating yourself from your art, which at first might sound a little goofy because what we do on the podcast is we talk about the art and the business of the art. But as with all things, it's good to take a little break every little bit. And so what do you mean by that is again? It's important to separate yourself from your art to jump right into it. There are a few issues you might run into or might need to sort of address.
If you don't do that, and they could include the idea that nobody can operate at 100 and 10% 100% of the time, you will see burnout. Ask anybody who is experienced that it's difficult, and it's really and you'll know it when you when you feel it, obviously, from that you're going to see a drop in your efficiency. Then you could see a lot of other things in your day to day be affected by that. If you just try to give 110% 100% of the time. The math just doesn't add up, and you need to take a break every little bit.
And the next topic. It's a thought that I'm a fan of, basically just realizing that musicians are people, too. And by that I mean, I guess that's just another way of saying you're more than your art. By acknowledging and recognizing that musicians including yourself, are people, too, you sort of open the door for a better understanding in support of recognizing your own or your partners. Other interests. Um, you might be able to understand them and how they function in the role where they interact with you. You might be able to understand how they're coming into that role a little bit better if you just try to understand that they're more than that role.
You know, you maybe be able to understand and work with them a little bit better, and it's really just it's all about meeting them where they are, and so I'm starting to kind of get into how I think it be best for any musician to treat other people. But the point I'm trying toe drill in here is if you're treating other people a certain way. I sure hope that you'd be able and willing to treat yourself that way, too. So again, you're not able to operate 100 and 10% 100% of the time, and you've got to recognize that other people end yourself.
You're more than what you do. And if anything, I would think that the way that I personally have benefited most from working on understanding that people are more than what they do is in my art. I'm actually able the better outline and understand the things that go into my art because quite often for me, and as I imagine for many other people when you're creating, are sure there's art that's created based on other art. That's kind of what a cover song is, but I'd argue that it's also important to bring in outside elements and incorporate those and into your heart.
And again, that's not just literally what you're writing your lyrics about. You know what you're feeling when you're, you know, writing your guitar riff. But it has a lot to do with what drives you your motivation. What inspires you and that shouldn't always and it probably won't always be art. So it's important Thio export the other parts of yourself and other people. Yeah, absolutely agreed. As someone who is more on the industry side of things, I'm not a songwriter or in a band at this time or anything like that.
But I've absolutely had times either when I was touring or when I was doing audio work, that I was just so invested in my work and kind of lost sight of myself. So I can totally understand that. And I feel like it's something that until somebody experiences it, they don't fully understand and comprehend that they have to sit down and take a break. But then, that's what this warning is for is to say, Hey, you might not realize it, but you're running at 110 MPH towards the cliff, and that cliff is 0% effort.
So taking a break from putting in 110% which you know if you want to succeed in the music industry, you do have to put in 100 10% all the time. But that doesn't mean that you don't get to take weekends off or take a vacation once in a while or go camping, do something fun and go off the grid and ignore everything because that's really important for mental health, and it will help you make better art. And that's not to say that you know, don't write music if you feel inspired.
That's to say, Don't force yourself to run your business and do music 24 7. Let it be natural. The business stuff has to happen. But if you have writer's block, take a break. Say, you know what? I'm going to not write anything for a week. I'm not going to try. And then chances are, either. During that week, something will come to you and you'll have to pull out your phone and recorded demo real quick. Or at the end of the week. At least when you sit down and write again, you're gonna have a much better time of doing that.
It's sort of just giving your mojo the opportunity to kind of rejuvenate itself. I've heard of people who have specifically set a goal to not do something for a specific amount of time that might not necessarily have been, you know, them locking their studio door or, you know, throwing their iPad or their computer and a dresser drawer, not looking at it for a week. But, as you said of creativity strikes it. It does, and you have to kind of capture the the lightning in a bottle when you can.
But there's totally something to setting a goal and having that goal. Beato not have a goal or two, not, you know, 100%. I need to get this thing done, you know, because there is such a thing is, you know, the easiest way to do something is just to kind of like do it, and that could be applied to most things. But creativity may or may not always be one of those things, because again, for song writing for an example, I think there's a lot to the whole. I'm going to write one song every day for two weeks just to sort of get yourself going.
But at the end of the day, if you're starting to feel the burnout thing, or if you know you're sort of thinking ahead and you know you realize, Wow, I have been busting my butt for a really long time I want to avoid dealing with the burnout thing, the goal of not setting hard goals for a couple of days or a week. Er, however much time you're able to put into it might be just is worth it. In the long run, that might lead to your mind and your body just sort of relaxing on def.
That's what you needed to dio. When you come back at everything you're working on, you might be coming back at a stronger yeah, and on that note of setting tasks to not do something that could come in handy. There is a do not do list. Everyone's familiar with a to do list, but not many people are familiar with a do not do list. And there's something there psychologically about If you have written down the things that you are not supposed to dio, you are more likely to not do them.
I'm not a psychologist, I don't understand them, but what has been useful is you make a list of the things that you don't want to dio and just go over it. The 345 items when you start your day so that could be something like, You know, for me, it would be no late night snacks like after dinner. That's it. I'm not going to eat anymore. Or it could be something like, Hey, you know, when you're trying to be creative, don't pull up YouTube or anything that will zap your energy these days.
Social media, even before Cove it before all the protests and all that stuff has just been draining because there's so much negativity going around from people whining about stupid stuff that doesn't matter. Like, you know, I use an example with Matt. Uh, two weeks ago, I unfriended some dude who was always whining, and one time he was complaining about his mom taking away his Xbox and the dude's like in his mid twenties. And I was like, I don't need to see that. That puts me in a bad mental state.
And let me be clear. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about when I say people whining about stuff that doesn't matter. For people who are talking about justice and all that, I absolutely support that that should be talked about that needs to be talked about. I'm talking about like the pointless stuff like somebody wanting about their Xbox getting taken away, that doesn't need to be on Facebook. And so if you log into Facebook and Instagram and all you see is negativity like that, that's just selfish and doesn't really need to be broadcast.
There's no point to it. You're gonna exact your creativity. So maybe that means if you need to be in a good mental state to write a song, then you do not do list. The first thing on there is Don't look at your phone until after you've done your song writing session for the day. Or you could say, you know, ah, at least two hours before song running. If you write songs when you get home from work or something like that, say, you know, from the time I leave work through dinner through the end of the song writing session, I do not check my phone.
Something like that. Whatever works for your individual schedule, find the things that we're really having a negative impact on your life and put those on your do not do list and then review that list every single morning. I think there is definitely something to I'm going to take a bit of what you said in sort of roll. With that further, I've found luck. I found success in kind of doing the put your phone in your dresser drawer and kind of just spend 30 minutes now looking at it.
That thing, of course, was something like that. You know, make sure your your work's done or make sure the bases were covered. They need to be covered. But you know, I think phones are important for communication, but they also serve as the great distraction these days, especially for people who think for their art. And what I mean by that is, you know, sometimes they kind of need to sit there and let something come to them, and it's super easy. Thio Scroll on Social media or YouTube, You know, add 50 million things to your watch later list or something I don't know, but yeah, I think there's totally something to the whole, like putting your phone face down on mute or whatever and just sort of like realizing that wow, the days short.
But it's way longer than I thought. It waas. I think you'll discover a lot more time that way, so totally valid point absolutely agree. Thanks. And you know, I have a friend who well, once in a while, say I'm gonna have a day without any electron ICS. Typically Saturday or Sunday in the morning, he will leave his phone at home, and he'll just go out for a drive and whatever catches his interest when he's out on the drive. That's what he's going to do that day. You know, no research and finding stuff.
So if he's driving along and he's like, Oh, that's a cool mountain like there's a park there, he'll go hike the mountain. Or, if he's driving along and sees something else exciting like an arcade or something, he might go to the arcade, whatever it catches his interest. And I haven't done that yet. I haven't really felt the need to personally, although I probably should. But he said it's been really helpful to just give him a creative boost. So that's another alternative to is just set a new entire day.
However, often you need it once a month, once every quarter or whatever works for you, and just cut out electron ICS completely, or at least electron ICS that are connected to the Internet. You know, if you wanna turn on your guitar amp and play guitar, that's fine. That's like not a Internet connected device. At least most guitar amps aren't. Uh huh. I always play through STL Tone Hub, so I have to have my computer on, unfortunately. But if you have an AMP then feel free to turn that on.
To be honest, I've absolutely experienced to burn out. And I know other musicians and and also the sort of business oriented folks who have a swell James. Can you speak Thio, the audio engineer community? Specifically, we've been using the word like art and, you know, music. And to be honest, you know, for the layperson. They probably think of musician or band member when they hear those words. But, um, like, obviously, audio technicians, whether live sound, studio setting or both, are obviously right there and just is involved with any content that anybody ever consumes anywhere.
I got to imagine that that's on top of probably being depending on who and where and what you're doing. Probably a thankless job, Hopefully not, but in some instances, I imagine it would be I imagine there's quite a bit Thio. You're quite a bit of truth toe people sitting in that seat sort of experiencing exactly the same thing. Definitely. And there's an analogy. I like Thio kind of think of here. It's that the artist, the songwriter and the performer, they are the chef and the audio engineer is the server.
But at the end of the meal, when it comes time for the customer to leave, they don't think and tip the server, they think and tip the artist. So the audio engineer just does all the serving. And then the artist gets all the credit, which is totally fair because it's the artist's work that the audio engineer is there to showcase. But that's kind of the analogy that I like to give, and thankfully, I haven't really hit too much burnout as an audio engineer. I've definitely experienced it with other things, but I do know a lot of engineers who have hit burnout and ultimately it just results in a subpar product for their clients, which is never acceptable.
And that's why it's so important for audio engineers to recognize burnout because people are paying for work. I've always had a policy. If I'm not feeling up to finishing a song at that moment, I would much rather let the artist know that and say, Hey, like this is going on. I'm really sorry. I'm gonna need an extra week to finish. This has actually happened to me. One time I was recording with the band and then I was gonna be gone for a week on vacation. And I said, Hey, you know what?
I'm not going to get to mixing on this until after vacation, and they totally understood. Then when he had flights canceled three or four days in a row, so I couldn't get home, the band totally understood because I communicated with them. What I see far too many engineers do is just not meet the deadline that they had promised and then ghost on the band. No communication of Hey, this is what's going on. Nothing, just the engineer drops off the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, that is burnout, and people just don't know how to cope with it.
And it's frustrating for the client, and I'm sure it's frustrating for the engineer to because then all of a sudden, all their clients were hitting them up. Being like, Hey, where's my mix? Where's my mix? It comes down to communication, and it's the same thing for a band. If you is an artist, can't do something. Communicate that even if it's just sending out an email to the people you work with closely saying, Hey, I'm gonna be offline. I'm going to set up an email forward. Er, if something comes through that you can't answer, then please let him know I'll get to it when I'm back.
Or if it's something you can answer, please just answer it and leave me on C. C. So I can see it's been answered. I would say that's the bare minimum because then there's a backup in place. Actually, I take that back. The bare minimum is setting up in auto, responded to your email saying, Hey, I'm on vacation. I'm taking a break. I'll be back on X y Z date. That's totally fair. People will understand that. Never once have I sent someone an email and gotten an auto responders that said they're on vacation and thought, Oh, how selfish of them.
I'm like, Oh, cool, they're taking vacation. I hope they're having fun. No one's going to judge you for taking time off. I think that's probably not that this is the healthy way to look at this, but it's sort of funny. It just occurred to me that I think the way you just phrased it, the fact that if you are experiencing burnout or if you're, you know, doing the 110% 100% of the time thing or again, if you're having trouble separating yourself from what you're doing and you're hitting all of these, you know brick walls because of that, I like the way you put it.
You said at the end of the day, chances are you're going to deliver a sub par products something that's not of the quality that you're accustomed to being able to deliver and that it's probably not the most healthy way to come at it. But thinking about it in that way is probably the thing that won't necessarily stop or start something in somebody that if it should need to start and stop. But I think that's probably the way that somebody who's totally Taipei like Go, go, go, go, go I think they probably get that more than you know, take time for yourself because that person's probably like, What does that no eso like?
I think that person would be much more apt. Thio Go wait a second. What if they heard like, Well, you're gonna be delivering something that's not great. I think that's the kind of thing that would totally, like stop them in their tracks. And at least for a second. Yeah, absolutely top artists around the world when they released an album. They've written probably five songs Orm or for every single song that's on the album when it comes out, and I don't mean five songs and there on previous albums, I mean, they wrote, If it's a 10 song album, 50 songs for that album and whittled it Down, this doesn't mean 50 full songs, but 50 songs that have at least somewhat of a start.
They've got, you know, a chorus and lyrics or reverse and lyrics or something there, and it's been whittled down to the 10 best songs fully flushed out, and that's the album. So if you don't feel good about a song, don't release it Now I know this is off topic for the episode. But just you said that, Aaron. I got to say this. If somebody doesn't feel good about a song, they should not release it right. Five more songs and then pick the best one out of those and release that.
That's my rant for this episode, and that's not even necessarily too terribly off topic. That's I am circling back around to the whole idea. It's important. Thio at some point separate yourself from your art because if you do just right the one song and then you know either if if you're the kind of person who says good enough, which again, I've said it like nine times on the podcast. But I don't trust the people who say that, but you know whether it's ah, it's a good nothing or whether it's a you're too tired because you are working yourself too hard thing.
Or if it's a you're just like filling your calendar, be it out to the point. You just can't do everything that you are setting out to do so by default, you kind of have to go with the first thing that you wrote. I don't know if that's the direction that you were headed with that, but sort of what I heard when you said it was that's delivering a subpar product in that case of song, and then circle back around to the whole, separate yourself from your art thing.
You're gonna get judged on what you put out there, what you released out into the world, and then you're definitely gonna want to try to practice separating yourself from the art, especially if it's something that you're not totally 100% able to back. Yeah, definitely. I think it's so important because touching on what you were saying, Erin, saying It's good enough is a clear sign of burnout. If you're saying that about something that you're so excited about, like if you're an artist, that's because you love making music. That's all it ISS.
So if you're saying good enough, that tells me you don't really care about it, and you're experiencing burnout or you're not in it for the right reasons, and I don't want to exclude anyone. So maybe your reasons are different. Maybe you just want to be a musician to build a social group or something like that, and that's totally fine, But if you want to make a career out of it and you're saying good enough, good luck with your career because it's not going to go anywhere. I've vented about this before on past episodes.
If you expect a label to pick you up and you're like, Oh, well, you know what, It's okay. If this isn't great, you know, label will hear it and pick us up. That's not how it works. Not in 2020 labels will pick up the artists that they see hustling and grinding and releasing amazing music that they can market. They want a band that already knows the drill. So if you're saying good enough because you have burned out, even if you have dreams of becoming a major label act, that's not gonna happen.
If you're saying good enough, they don't say that. Take a break instead and come back to it fresh. That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so much to everyone who listens to this show every single week or even just tunes in once in a while or if this is your first time, Welcome to the community. We appreciate you listening, however, whenever and however often you choose, all we hope is that it helps benefit your career as an artist. The main take away that we really want you to get from this episode is that it is okay to take a break.
Everyone needs a break sometimes, but also make sure that you value yourself as more than just an artist who makes music because there's so much more to you then just the music you make. And obviously music is a very, very personal thing, and your music will never be separated from you. But you can be a person separate from your music. Let us know how you get some time away from your music and separate yourself from what you dio as your career so you can get some time for yourself.
Just head on over to our Facebook group, which you confined by going to Bandhive dot rocks slash group or by searching for banned hive on Facebook. Thank you again for listening. We'll be back next Tuesday at 6 a.m. And of course, as always, keep rockin
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