JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE WITH EYAL LEVI: THINGS I’VE LEARNED, PARTS 7 & 8
Eyal Levi from Dååth, Levi/Werstler, and Audiohammer Studios has obviously been in this business for some time now, and he’s learned a thing or two about a thing or two. This week, he imparts ten lessons about the music biz — and life in general — to you, our beloved readers, once a day, two installments at a time. You can read the week’s first two lessons here, and the week’s next two lessons here, and the week’s most recent two lessons here; check out lesson numbers seven and eight below!
#7: WEEKENDS? THERE’S NO SUCH THING
If you’re fortunate enough to get to a point in your life where you can actually support yourself from a creative endeavor, then be prepared to throw away all notions of having a normal life. Now ,I know that there’s no such thing as “normal,” and that everyone is an individual, but hear me out on what I mean by that.
Weekends are for resting and partying; weekdays are for working. That’s a normal concept, which fits in with the archetypical 9-5 jobs. It’s perfectly setup for ensuring that you can hold down a social/family life while working at the same time. And, for the majority of the world, it works. There’s a good structure to it. I can see how it would get repetitive and old, but at least you know what to look forward to. And at least you can get things done without too much hassle, because the rest of the world is set up to cater to your schedule.
In the land of creative jobs, good luck with that idea. More often than not, you will find yourself working all hours of the night, for weeks, or even months, on end. If you take breaks like the rest of the world, then you will be left behind.
A famous example is when Tracii Guns got kicked out of Guns N’ Roses. Apparently he needed a week to himself to settle some family shit. Axl Rose wasn’t cool with that, and replaced him immediately. I don’t know how true or not that story is, but it represents my point well. You can’t stop, you can’t letup, and you can only refuel, breathe, and keep going. If weekends and down time are your thing, and you really want to work in music, try working on the non-creative side of the fence. There are plenty of awesome jobs in the industry where you do get weekends and paid vacations.
Otherwise, you will have to sacrifice living at the pace of the rest of the world. You will have to live at the pace of the demands of the job. Like I said, that means ridiculous hours. After you’ve proven yourself for long enough you can scale it back a little. But you better be sure that you’re established enough to pull that number. Giving up a normal schedule has deeper repercussions than it seems on the surface. If you don’t live on the world’s schedule, simple things like going to the bank at open hours, to complex things like keeping relationships, become that much more burdened.
To me none of this is an issue. I love it. But to some it might be.
Just a heads up.
#8: THERE’S ALWAYS AN ANGLE
Ever been swept off your feet by someone’s ability to wine and dine you? Ever been made to feel like a king for no apparent reason? Ever been showered with gifts you just don’t deserve by a stranger? Feels good, right? Of course it does. But have you ever wondered what’s behind that?
Everybody knows the theories on how the female groupies are just trying to fill a void in their lives by getting the attention of a “great person.” By becoming the center of your world, it gives them validation. But what about the male heterosexual groupies who are there just to provide services? Services like taking you to a bar and getting you drunk as fuck for no reason… Or making “deliveries…” Or taking you to expensive dinners on the regular… Doesn’t that also seem a strange?
In my opinion, the male groupies are suffering from the same mental disease as the female ones. They both have that big black hole in their hearts, the only difference is that the male ones are typically straight and are not interested in fucking you. So they do everything else. It may be nice at first, but it’s coming from a fucked-up place. If you’re on the receiving end of this attention, just know that you’re not more than just a notch on the belt. I know some may say that you should just take it, because why the fuck not take it? It’s okay to have fun; just don’t think you’re actually making friends. The moment you’re not in the spotlight, you’re “buddy” won’t be showering you with anything anymore.
And what about dinners and favors on the company card? Lots of people think that the company dinner is about the company being cool. Not too many people think about the fact that there is always a budget for you in mind, and that the dinner is coming out of that budget. You are paying for your own dinners. If it makes you feel like a rock star to have things bought for you by the higher-ups, then great, enjoy. But just realize that unless you’re one of the big money makers, that money is coming out of your budget. If someone in the biz is spending money on you, there is always a business reason. Don’t ever think it’s because you’re cool.
Very few people out there are going to just hook you up with something out of the charity in their hearts. There are a few great ones who I’ve met and become legitimate friends with. It’s not all bad. But it’s also not all good. In fact, in this line of work there’s a lot more bad than good.
The way I go about dealing with this is completely non-scientific, but it seems to work. I go with my gut. If someone is being overly generous towards me, I ask myself if the situation feels right or not. Some people love to give. Some people give out of ulterior motive. Those ulterior motives could be as harmless as just wanting someone cool to hang out with all the way to trying to butter you up into trusting them before trapping you in a terrible deal. Just listen to your gut and stay on your toes. DO NOT get lost in the moment. You might regret it.
You can sign up for the new Jumping Darkness Parade mailing list here! You can also keep up with Eyal by visiting the Audiohammer Studios official website, Dååth on Facebook, or the official Levi/Werstler website.