Creative Strategies for Music Production w/ Shadetek: Facing The Void (The Icarus Deception)

In his latest article on creative strategies and motivation, Dubspot Logic instructor and course designer Matt Shadetek discusses Seth Godin’s latest book, The Icarus Deception, and the idea of facing the void of possible failure as a necessary process for finding new creative territory.

Facing The Void

Some people aren’t prepared to be artists. Skilled entertainers or crafts people, sure. But artists? No. But why?

What’s the difference?

The difference lies in the ability to think of an idea and simultaneously think ‘”this may not work” while trying it anyway.  This is to face the void and not back down, to seek new territory even though the path is unclear ahead. These are a few of the ideas that come from Seth Godin’s excellent new book The Icarus Deception. I recommend it highly if you’re someone who aspires to make art.

The Icarus Deception

In The Icarus Deception Godin stretches the definition of art to include anything which breaks new ground, takes risks, or touches people. His definition includes doctors, business people, and service providers–people we don’t usually think of as artists.  Perhaps we could use a more precise word than art to discuss this broader definition but I think that Godin’s choice is a useful one for discussing the area of creative risk-taking.  In our own discipline of making music this can also become an interesting and important conflict.

Once we get to a certain level of technical mastery with our music creation, we are able to understand what is going on in any number of commercially successful songs and we can see a way to construct something similar. But some of us want something more than commercial success. We want to create something which broadens the discussion, shines light on new territory and inspires others to go further. Creating a banging remix of the pop hit of the month in the latest dance style might get you a lot of DJ gigs but it doesn’t necessarily expand the musical discussion. It doesn’t lead us off into uncharted territory and inspire us to challenge ourselves and do more interesting work. This is fine if your goal is to have a good time and make some money.  But these people are entertainers, not artists.

Having a Conversation About Intentions

This is an important conversation to have with yourself or with your musical collaborators: what are we trying to do? Are we making art to receive approval from others? Applause? Money? Panties thrown on stage? Or are you trying to create something original?

Although it may seem that I have a clear answer to this question, I do not.  I want ALL of the above things, not just one or two, and I think many of us feel the same way.

This is why the conversation is important–because your own answers may surprise you. Or you may realize that you are trying to move towards two conflicting goals and therefore making little progress. And if you find that you really want one of those things more than the others, then your answers may help you to move more consciously towards that idea.

The answer to the question is personal. There are rewards and risks that go along with each choice. No path is the easy path; each will be difficult in its own way. I suggest that you attempt to have this conversation regularly with yourself and your music partners to become conscious about the goals you want to reach.  Good luck.

- Matt Shadetek



Matt Shadetek is a DJ, producer and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. He runs the Dutty Artz label with DJ/Rupture and has just released his second solo album, The Empire Never Ended. Hear his music at mattshadetek.com

For further exploration of Logic check out Dubspot’s six-level Logic Pro Producer program, designed by Matt Shadetek:

Master Logic with our complete program of courses culminating in a four-track EP ready for release. In addition to achieving a complete overview of the composition process in Logic you’ll also earn the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Logic Pro. After completing this program, you will leave with a new EP, a remix entered in an active remix contest, and a scored commercial to widen your scope.

What’s Included

  • Logic Pro Level 1: Shake Hands with Logic
  • Logic Pro Level 2: Completing Your First Track
  • Logic Pro Level 3: Mixing Essentials
  • Logic Pro Level 4: Sound Design & Instrumentation
  • Logic Pro Level 5: Advanced Composition & Production
  • Logic Pro Level 6: Taking Your EP Global

Music Production with Logic Pro classes are starting April 21st at Dubspot Online – Sign up today!

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