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 Post subject: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:32 am 
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Im assuming we all get this but i feel like i have too much of a perfectionist attitude with my music. I always tend to over listen/analyse my music and start to hear problems that might not necessarily be there.

It can really be a killer on my music and productivity sometimes. Even if i do a mix, there could be one transition that is a tiny bit off and i cant get my mind off it and then start referencing my mix to ones by other DJs, thinking if mine is really good enough. The same happens with my production.


Any of you lot found any ways to combat this annoying, analytic way of thinking that usually spawns into self-doubt?

I know its good to be critical but i cant seem to find that balance...


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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:22 am 
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Can't say I've found a balance yet either.

I'd say it's quite common for anyone with reasonable standards and taste in music to let self-doubt take over when listening critically to their own work.

With regards to dj mixes, I actually enjoy the mixes which aren't technically faultless, but where you can hear a transition going out, but then is brought back in to line. It's like you can really hear the dj doing his/her work properly (at least it might indicate that they aren't using the sync button or that it was an arranged mix in a DAW). Of course some might argue that if they were really that great then none of the mixes would be off to begin with, but I don't think that's a reality for a lot of dj's (I'm probably wrong, but I like telling myself that whenever I stuff up a mix). As long as every mix is not a complete train wreck, then I don't mind hearing a few errors here and there - ultimately if the tracks in the mix are good, and the progression of the mix itself is good, a few transitions that aren't perfect is fine in my opinion. Obviously a commissioned mix is unlikely to have any errors (as you would expect if it was something people were paying money for).

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:55 am 
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Take breaks from analyzing, the more time you spent fixated on a single thing the more you lose sense of the bigger picture.


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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:30 am 
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Very few DJ's can play for an hour (or more) and mix perfectly every time, especially with vinyl. As Kromasome said, I think it's sometimes nice to hear that 2 records start to go out of sync (a bit), the DJ corrects it and then it's perfect again. Makes it sound like there's a human involved and not just the sync button or a mix made with a DAW.

The same goes to production as well. Being a perfectionist isn't a bad thing, but you gotta realize that the perfect take isn't always the one with least mistakes (if you wanna call them that). Having the skills to perfect a track for release is essential of course, but you also gotta think production as an exercise. You can't break the world record every time you run, sometimes you gotta understand that a track has come to a dead end and working any further on it is just a waste of time. It'll be much more fruitful to start new tracks than spend months on polishing some boring loop that's not going anywhere anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:56 am 
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Take breaks from a single project, take the export with you on the USB and play it in places other than your studio, ask a friend who's over to listen to it. All of these approaches take you out of the pidgeonhole which pushes you towards sterilizing and fucking up your creative product.
I've had problems with perfectionism and absolutism all my life. These things help. And also - listening to Jeff Mills' Liquid Room mix.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:45 pm 
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I spend a lot of time over my tracks and usually have to force myself to finish them by the end. I have to have a few months of not hearing it after that before I can come back and be objective about it again. It's not ideal, but I prefer it to never finishing anything at all.

I also prefer a mix with a slight human element, I don't stress too much about the odd small mistake here and there. But full on train-wrecks and hearing the record changing pitch as the DJ touches a platter are a big no-no for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:22 pm 
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This is why you need a circle of friends (preferably producers) to give you honest feedback. You're your own worst critic and that "perfect" is something you'll never achieve, which is if you ask me one of the best parts of this business. But you gotta give yourself a break from time to time.


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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:02 pm 
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Monreal wrote:
This is why you need a circle of friends (preferably producers) to give you honest feedback. You're your own worst critic and that "perfect" is something you'll never achieve, which is if you ask me one of the best parts of this business. But you gotta give yourself a break from time to time.


DJ's are a valuable source too. I mean non-producing DJ's. They usually don't go technical, they just say whether they would play it out or not and why. And of course if they really like the track they ask if they can get a copy...

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:55 pm 
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Barfunkel wrote:
Monreal wrote:
This is why you need a circle of friends (preferably producers) to give you honest feedback. You're your own worst critic and that "perfect" is something you'll never achieve, which is if you ask me one of the best parts of this business. But you gotta give yourself a break from time to time.


DJ's are a valuable source too. I mean non-producing DJ's. They usually don't go technical, they just say whether they would play it out or not and why. And of course if they really like the track they ask if they can get a copy...


Honestly I think that line of thinking has led to the glut of safe, soundalike, DJ friendly bullshit filling up the scene like a sewer.

With all due respect to DJ`s, fuck their opinions on the music, they just want safe easy mixing that sounds like whatever they play a lot of so they can dance about behind the decks pretending to be musicians. DJ`s dictating where the music is going has led to terribly tedious music.
I think people need to have a bit of courage to step outside of all the norms that keep everything on narrow rails. Good DJ`s take risks.

Perfectionism is a great thing, once you lose that you have become a hack.

I guess with time and experience you just learn when to pick your battles, make small wins, it all contributes to the winning the war.

Or in other terms, when climbing that endless mountain to the infinitely distant peak of perfection, sometimes it`s ok to take satisfaction from just reaching that next outcrop or overhang, and taking some time to admire the view, see where you came from, how you got there. Then reach up for that next handhold and keep climbing.

There is a time to walk away too. "Today is not a day to make music", rather than fighting with no muse backing you up, just walk away.

If I`ve learned anything then it is knowing when to walk away, and knowing when to stop chipping away at a mix and claim a small victory.
I`ve always found that having no expectations helps a lot. I just make music, if I am trying to make something hard and dark and it comes out melodic and deep, that`s ok, let the music happen.
You have to enjoy the doing of it, otherwise you are lost.

It`s like a Zen art. The art of seriously giving a fuck whilst not giving a fuck.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:06 pm 
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There are good and there are bad DJ's ya'know... Obviously you don't give a rat's ass about what some generic techhouse DJ thinks.

And anyways, who buys techno releases besides techno DJ's? I think the last time I heard a non-DJ friend of mine buying a techno record or a file was in the 90's...

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:08 pm 
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Some great knowledge being said in here fellas, cheers.


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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Barfunkel wrote:
There are good and there are bad DJ's ya'know... Obviously you don't give a rat's ass about what some generic techhouse DJ thinks.

And anyways, who buys techno releases besides techno DJ's? I think the last time I heard a non-DJ friend of mine buying a techno record or a file was in the 90's...



Some of my mates have purchased techno records to listen to that don't DJ. It's most likely people that mix that will invest in techno records but there are of course people out there who want to just listen to techno...


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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:36 pm 
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Lag wrote:
listening to Jeff Mills' Liquid Room mix.


haha! yeah it puts a lot into perspective!

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:19 pm 
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Loosen up a bit, flow comes easier when you relax.

Give yourself permission to fuck up. If you have trouble letting go of control, you can put yourself in a situation where you intentionally fuck up with no consequences (in front of friends; not saving a session; just messing around; exploring sound).

It's good to be critical, but recognize when that is happening and whether it's serving you. Just commit to improvement and not perfection.

Have fun :)

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:44 pm 
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Barfunkel wrote:
Very few DJ's can play for an hour (or more) and mix perfectly every time, especially with vinyl.

I still play viny and only vinyl. It always carries the risk of inadvertent or completely out of your control things happening, but for me, that's an integral part of the deal. I prefer to do long running mixes, overlapping tracks for minutes if possible; it requires a metric fuckton of concentration. For me, the optimum set length is two hours, enough time to build drama and tension. Out of hundreds, I've played a couple of handfuls of sets where I haven't messed up at all and out of those, two or three are the best I've ever played.

I'm extremely particular about my technical performance, even the slightest off-sync transition makes me cringe and a big thing like a needle skipping or floating makes me want to slap myself silly with a Norwegian salmon - but I persevere. Playing vinyl is a skill, a craft even - it requires practice, no matter how long you've been doing it. As I've grown older, I've become a bit more lenient towards myself, I no longer brood over minor SNAFUs for a week.

I would prefer to hear that the DJ is a human being, warts and all, imperfect and fallible. Safety makes things less interesting. I'd rather hear a spectacular trainwreck save than hours of machine-synced tedium.

Perfectionism leading to crippling self-doubt is a symptom of the Imposter Syndrome.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:08 pm 
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"warts and all"
Perfect.

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:39 pm 
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for me, imperfection is just part of the process.

if you listen to a lot of early works of (today) big producers, they were technically imperfect, especially the stuff from the 90ies. but also quite some of today's works have mixdown's that could be argued with.

maybe not the more mainstream things like drumcode etc (which always sound very clean and tight technically), but a lot of more underground music, which still becomes very popular with its niche audience even if maybe the tops are muffled or the bass is boomy.

i'd also say that a vinyl mix is defined by little imperfections. am thinking to get 2 turntables again and a pioneer dvj mixer for my studio to do vinyl mixes with my digital files, and would turn off the sync, to get that charming human feel of sometimes struggling to keep the mix tight.

finally, feedback is essential. post your stuff here, send it to your friends, play it out. if everybody loves your music and only you are very critical about it, chances are they are right and you are overly critical.

i had a recent release on sleaze records with tracks that i did like, but i still felt they were not 100 % on par with the artists i admire in certain ways... while i still kinda feel that way, i got tons of good feedback and plays for that ep which made me more confident to accept my current skillset and go on to release the music which i'm able to do now (instead of waiting for a possibly never coming point in the future where i feel to be just as good as superstar producer xyz).

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:47 am 
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To me it's not as much the perfectionist angle, since I've long since accepted I'm not going to get there, somehow it's the projects that are cooking for a longer period that are never 'done'. When I bang out a tune in one night and maybe adjust some bits a couple of days later, I can just finalise the mixdown and put it on the 'finished' pile no problem.

Then there's a pile of pet projects, which I keep messing with, deleting sections, rewriting this and that, endlessly tweaking and replacing sounds, that will never reach the finish line unless I leave them for a couple of years (literally) before going back. Sometimes the first version is even the best one out of the bunch..... I seriously think it's like a subconscious thing, not wanting to let go as if somehow I'm connected to it and when I leave it as is, I'm letting it down by not making it into all it could be or some lame shit ;like that :lol:
Yeah, so I've got some issues apparently.......

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:28 am 
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vo0doo wrote:
I seriously think it's like a subconscious thing, not wanting to let go as if somehow I'm connected to it and when I leave it as is, I'm letting it down by not making it into all it could be or some lame shit ;like that :lol:
Yeah, so I've got some issues apparently.......


This

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 Post subject: Re: Perfectionism turns into self-doubt
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:42 am 
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I can't call myself a perfectionist because none of my music is anywhere close to perfect.

That said, I used to have a debilitating fear of not being good enough. So I never finished anything, because if it wasn't finished, then it was okay to not be good enough.

I've gotten over it. I've still never done anything even remotely close to perfect, but I've released music I'm proud of, and which other people seem to like.


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