Creative Strategies for Producers w/ Matt Shadetek: Fear of Trying

In this creative strategies article, Logic expert and Dutty Artz label owner Matt Shadetek explores the idea that fear may be getting in the way of accomplishing your goals. 

Creative Strategies Matt Shadetek Not Trying

Failure is scary. We’re all familiar with the fear of failure. We’re so familiar with it that most of us wrap ourselves up in a cozy, safe blanket of not doing anything. If we don’t do anything, we can’t fail! Ahhhh, safe. For those of us who manage to stick our feet out of the blanket and try, we often try a little. Not trying too much is also pretty safe: “It’s no big deal–I didn’t really want to do it anyway.”

Trying is a risk. We risk our self image of being clever and talented. Of having really good taste, being different, special. Do you know anyone like this? The smart guy? The cynical and sarcastic girl? The one who’s always ready with a clever remark about why something is not really that amazing, or kinda obvious, or been done better by so and so? It feels good to put things and people down, because it means we’re smart enough to see their inadequacies. We’re smart! We’re part of a club.

In this club, there’s a big glass window we can look through to see the other people. On this side, there’s a buffet, and some nice drinks. The other people are out there, on their hands and knees, digging in the mud. It’s dark, and it looks cold out there. And a bit wet.

Except–wait a minute–why are those people out in the mud getting all the attention? They’re making art that’s dumb, obvious, and cliché! Why are they the ones showing films, publishing books, staging plays, releasing songs and albums? We’re smart and clever and witty!

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

Being Scared

We’re scared because actually trying means we might run into something really scary: our limitations. We don’t want to have limitations! We don’t believe in them. We’re part of the smart club! Listen to our clever comments! Dick wrote a very funny parody of a popular song! And Jane just wrote a scathing review of that guy’s new novel. We’re creative too. We don’t want to get down into the mud and scramble around and try to bring back up something good. The mud is dirty. And what if we don’t find anything?

Or Worse: What If We Do Find Something?

If we find something in the mud, suddenly there’s risk.  We have to lift this thing up and say “Look, here’s my thing!”  But what if people think our thing is also dumb, obvious and cliché? As long as we don’t find anything, we can continue to pretend that our thing is down there hidden somewhere in the mud, and it’s awesome, and it’s better than everyone else’s. No, it’s much more comfortable over here on this side of the glass. There’s no mud, and nobody ever gets dirty. It’s very comfortable over here, and we’re all very clever and warm and safe, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, we stay on this side of the not-trying glass and talk amongst ourselves. We tell each other that one day, we’ll actually try really hard. We’ll try once it gets a little less dark, a few degrees warmer, and the mud isn’t so thick, and wet and cold. What we do is going to be amazing. We’re so much smarter than those guys out there in the mud.

But then, as we sit in our comfortable chairs on the cozy side of the glass, something uncomfortable happens. On the other side of the glass, out on the edge of the dark, one girl digs deep down into the mud and pulls up something awesome. We see it, and we know it’s awesome. We say to each other: “It’s kind of obvious.” And it is. It’s obviously awesome, to everyone who sees it.

This is definitely not fair. We were full of ideas. We were clever. Those people over there in the mud make stuff that’s dumb and obvious and we know better. In fact, we are better. All that digging around in the mud, it’s embarrassing. We’ve seen them fail! We’ve seen them hold up things that are not just dumb, or obvious, but both dumb AND obvious. It’s pathetic! We would never do stuff like that. We would never make anything that wasn’t perfect. We’re too scared to.

About Matt Shadetek

Matt Shadetek is one of New York City’s most exciting producers. His live sets encompass contemporary Dancehall, UK Funky, and Dubstep, all delivered with Shadetek’s unique production voice which bridges the underground-mainstream divide. He’s one of the rare DJs who can rock a crowd with sets composed solely of his own dancefloor bangers and remixes.

Matt’s early love for Hip Hop and Dancehall along with edgy electronic sounds led to his Warp Records debut album Burnerism as part of the duo Team Shadetek. While Matt was living in Berlin and touring Europe, the followup LP Pale Fire was released, featuring the underground hit “Brooklyn Anthem”. The hit song kick-started a dance craze in the Brooklyn reggae scene (leading to over 100 fan videos of kids dancing to it).

Returning to NYC, Matt founded the Dutty Artz label/production crew with DJ /Rupture. Shadetek produced Jahdan Blakkamoore’s debut album, Buzzrock Warrior (!K7), pioneering its signature Reggae-Dubstep-Rap sound. In 2009 he also teamed up with Rupture to release the mix album Solar Life Raft (The Agriculture). His latest release, on Dutty Artz, is Flowers, an effervescent solo instrumental effort that references dubstep, UK Funky and Garage. He has toured internationally both solo and accompanied by Jahdan as vocalist.

Connect with Matt on Twitter | SoundCloud | Website


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