#51: Why Are You Making This Record?

#51: Why Are You Making This Record?


Alright, let's tackle the question of all questions, when it comes to making a record:

Why are you making this record? What's the point of all that?

Have you ever really thought about your goals, what you're actually trying to achieve, when you're going to achieve it and what it will take to achieve it?

If the answer is "no", then this episode is definitely for you. And to be honest, most of us have not put enough thought, planning, strategy and effort into coming up with good goals and actually going after them.

Let's face it: We, as musicians and creatives in general, are notorious for being dreamers, or being delusional, or being lazy, or wanting everything but not doing nearly enough to actually achieve it.

And I'm not just talking fame, money, hit records, or becoming a superstar. Whether you want a #1 single, play your first show, release your first record, change the world through the message you put out, express your feelings to people who care, or impress your friends - You'll only achieve whatever you set out to achieve, if you know exactly what you're actually going for and then act on it.

Listen now, as we share a proven goal setting framework along with real-life examples and then ask yourself these questions:

What's the point of making that record? Will you achieve, what you're trying to achieve? When? How? What will it take? Why are you putting so much effort, time and money into this? Or maybe, if you feel like you're not putting enough into it: Should you? Do you have to?

Here's to you and your music goals! You got this!

This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Download Malcom's 5 Step Guide To A Successful Music Release:

Related "Your Band Sucks At Business" Episodes:




The SMART Goals Framework And Criteria:


Tools & Gear Mentioned In This Episode:

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

People & Bands Mentioned In This Episode:

Jay Maas, Colin Brittain, Eric Ratz, Defeater, Bring Me The Horizon, Rage Against the Machine, Band Of Rascals, System Of A Down

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Your Band Sucks At Business Podcast, URM Academy

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 051 - Why Are You Making This Record

[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] To me there's requirements. That goal has to fit for it, to actually be a goal and not a dream. And there's nothing wrong with dreams, but where we want to talk about making sure that the things you're planning are actually what you're going to be painting. 

Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY stuff.

Let's go.

Hello and welcome. Come to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Nick time, and I'm here with my friend and cohost. Come on flat. How are you buddy? Hello? 

Malcom: [00:00:38] I'm great, man. I've been having a heck of a good year so far. How about you? 

Benedikt: [00:00:42] Um, it had its ups and downs, but, um, the good part is that I can finally say that the course has coming.

I am, um, like. Yeah, I can say it on the podcast. Now I was hesitant to do that because I didn't really know when I was going to finish it, [00:01:00] but now I'm so close to it. So if you're on that waiting list, which some people have been for a while now, it's not going to be long. And, um, I'm just wrapping everything up.

I've been uploading a bunch of videos the last couple of days. And, uh, yep. It will be there very, very soon. And I can not wait for this to finally, we launched senior 

Malcom: [00:01:21] man, so excited. Where do people go if they want to get on that waiting list while they still can? Um, is 

Benedikt: [00:01:28] it still possible if you still want to join that waiting list, you go to the self recording, pant.com/academy waiting list.

And I will, I would highly recommend you join that list because, uh, there's going to be a special offer for you if you do. That's all I can say right now, but it's worth being on that list. So the self recording, pant.com/academy waiting list, just you can still get in. It's probably going to be a week or two.

I don't know exactly, but there's still a chance to join that waiting list. Then after that, Uh, you can officially just sign up for the [00:02:00] course, but again, uh, joining that list is recommended. So yeah. Yep. Don't 

Malcom: [00:02:05] dilly dally because depending on when this episode comes out, it could be very close to the watch.

Benedikt: [00:02:10] Absolutely. Yeah. So that's, that's the, the most fun part. Other than that, I've made the. Most exciting studio purchase ever. And yep. And it's not a piece of gear or anything, but I finally got myself an errand. This one, no way. Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:02:27] man. I got 

Benedikt: [00:02:28] it. So jealous. I got the, like the remaster, the new one, like the, the new version, like with all the features, like the full top level, top model that they have.

I was wanting to do that for so long, but. These last couple of weeks were so hard because I was sitting in my chair for like 14, 15 hours a day for two weeks straight. And like, it hurt so much. And I was starting, I started to feel so unhealthy and I just thought, I mean, settings the bad and you need to exercise and everything.

But if I'm going through periods like this, [00:03:00] where I sit that much and work that much, at least I want to have a decent chair. 

Malcom: [00:03:03] Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah. It's so, so instantly worth it. I, uh, the studio I interned that has one and I thought that was just like, I think, I didn't think back pain applied to me cause I was, I was in this good chair and then I got my own place and I've been, I mean, this chair is like, it's not ergonomic.

And I've got like a cushion to like, keep me sitting straight as like, it's just, uh, I gotta, I gotta pull the trigger, but they're expensive band. They are expensive. They 

Benedikt: [00:03:30] are crazy expensive. But I thought of it that way. Like they give a 12 year warranty and they are like built like a tank and just so good that.

I mean, if I really, if I'm really not gonna buy another chair for the next, like 12 years, you know, then it's like a hundred bucks a year or so for sitting in a really good chair, that's worth it to me. First 

Malcom: [00:03:50] things that are like, yeah. Cause the back damage is serious stuff. It's insanely worth it. Yeah.

Like I'm 

Benedikt: [00:03:55] sitting between all this expensive gear and I'm buying much stupid [00:04:00] things regularly. So I thought like, yeah, there's no excuse 

Malcom: [00:04:03] anymore. That is so true. I like spent as much as that chair on a guitar that I don't even play. It's just for my class 

Benedikt: [00:04:13] as well, but like, yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's what an exciting, yeah.

And I go. I a couple of things are on the line as well. Here. I'm going to upgrade my, my converters soon, I guess. I just want to take certain things more seriously that, that kind of, um, yeah, th that I didn't, I don't know. I was afraid to pull the trigger on, but it's, it's time for those really important things to change now.

So, yeah. Awesome. So how has, how, how has it been for you man? You said you had a great year so far. Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:04:46] it's a good segue into our topic for today. Cause I've been just like attacking my goals with a lot of ferocity, if that's a word. Yeah. Um, uh, and, and it's been [00:05:00] going really well and I've got like systems for how I'm doing it and that I'm trying out that are working really well as well.

And it's all going great. Um, things are just. I I'm, I'm gonna have to make new goals if I keep up this space because there'll be done soon. So it's awesome. Yeah. Um, and that's yeah, if you didn't pick that up, that's kind of what we want to be talking about today is being intentional and having goals and how to set good goals that you can achieve that, that have.

I like to me, there's requirements that a goal has to fit for it, to actually be a goal and not a dream. Um, and there's nothing wrong with dreams, but we're, we want to talk about making sure that the things you're planning are actually what you're going to be getting done. Um, so, so yeah, I'm, I'm excited to talk about this cause I've been talking about it all year.

Benedikt: [00:05:50] Yeah. I mean your other podcast, um, if you haven't checked it out, Malcolm has another podcast which is called your band sucks at business. And this is probably it, or this is definitely a topic [00:06:00] that you talk about a lot on that show. Absolutely. Uh, because like goals are business-related and if you view your band as a business, which in most cases you should, even if it's just a hobby, like it's still.

An organization like a small business basically. And, um, yeah. Uh, then goal setting and like coming up with good goals that challenge you, but that you can actually achieve, uh, and that will like move your band forward. It's just, yeah. Is what Malcolm, it's just part of what not come to us over there. And, uh, so if you wanna check that out, um, It's your business, your band sucks@business.com, right?

Exactly. You got it. So, yeah, this is an episode that Maxim is really primed for and I wanted to do it because of a very specific reason. And that is, first of all, I thought about it a lot lately about the whole, like. What do bands actually want? When they record a record, why do bands actually record a record?

What's the point in recording something in the first [00:07:00] place? Why do we do that as musicians, as artists? Why do the bands do that? That come to me when they want, when you want me to mix the record or produce the record. So these goals are different. And the main thing is that I always ask people this and the majority of people that I work with at least like the, the unsigned newer bands.

They don't really have an answer to that. Like I make them come up with an answer, but initially when I first asked this question, they are like, well, I mean, we just want to make a record. That sounds as good as possible. And then when I try to dig deeper and ask why and what are you trying to achieve with that record?

And why are you wanting. Two, why do you want to spend all that money and put all the time and effort in to that? The goal behind all this, they kind of struggled to come up with a good answer. And I wondered why that is. And then there was a specific moment where, uh, where I thought, man, we need to do an episode on this.

And that was when, on my other podcast, I interviewed Jay Mohs, the producer, and like, um, founding member of the [00:08:00] defeater. If you know the band. I did an episode with him. And, um, we kind of, I don't know how we got there, but we, at some point we talked about that as well. And he said a couple of things that I then took and posted, like posted quotes of him on my Instagram.

Um, one thing that he said was, if you're thinking about you, when you're making a record, it probably has much less of a chance of being successful than if you're thinking about who it's for. And that really stuck with me and I shared it and then I got a lot of. Messages from people that were pretty like polarizing or a pretty like different opinions.

Some said they love it. And like, they need to think about that more. But others said they couldn't disagree more because they don't make music for other people. They make music for themselves and they don't want to think about what people might want to hear. They want just want to make their own art and express themselves as artists.

And there's a truth. In both of those statements, I think, [00:09:00] and I personally don't think it's either, or it's like, you can have the self-actualization, you can do what you want, whatever you want, you can invent things. You can be creative, you can do whatever you feel like, but at the same time, You can think about goals and an audience.

And in fact, I think you should, and one doesn't exclude the other. So these were the thoughts and the things that came up lately that made me want to do this episode, because I think it's a little confusing. And whenever you say you should have goals, or you should think about an audience, or you should think what you want to achieve with the music.

You get a lot of pushback often because people think that's not what music is supposed to be. They don't think it should be a business or, um, yeah, like, and I don't see that. I want to, um, tell people that it, it hasn't, it doesn't have to be either or basically. 

Malcom: [00:09:56] I totally agree. Um, I think what he said, [00:10:00] isn't entirely accurate.

He said that it's probably going to be more successful if you think about who it's for. And I think in that context successful means it's going to get listened to by people, right. By an audience that wants to hear that. And that's absolutely correct. Of course, it's correct. You're you're making what they want to hear.

Um, the argument of, no, I, I don't make it for other people. I make it for myself. Is not wrong in itself. That's totally awesome. And I think that's how a lot of the musicians I work with operate and, and I love that. And that can be awesome, but it just means that they're hoping that people happen to like it.

Yeah. Right. Um, which is totally fine. And that's obviously worked really well for some, some very successful artists in the past. Right? Like you've got the magic in a bottle that just. People want it. Um, but I think his point is so valid and, and should be considered more often. 

Benedikt: [00:10:56] Um, I totally agree. And I also think [00:11:00] that if you make it for yourself, That's a goal as well.

And there's an audience as well, because then the audience is all the people that are like you. So if you, like, if you write and like, if you write lyrics or songs, if you write about your truth, your perspective, the way you see the world, the way you feel about certain things, or if you try to put certain emotions that you have into a song and, or on a record, then.

Chances are there's somebody out there who feels the same way. So there you have your audience again, but then again, like, even if you do that and you don't think about an audience, you still want to make that as impactful as possible. You still want people when they listen to that to feel the same way you did, you still want to create this emotional thing or whatever it is that you want to create.

But even if it's just for yourself, it's not meaningless. It's like there is a goal behind it. There is something you want to achieve. And, um, the audience thing could [00:12:00] be the entire world or the mainstream music listener. It could be a small niche. It could be your grandma, or it could be you like, yeah. But every, like, I think almost everybody thinks about some or should think about some audience when they write or record songs or make records, even if it's just themselves.

That to me, that doesn't exclude the having goals and an audience. 

Malcom: [00:12:23] Absolutely. There's one polarizing thought I have that might trigger people. But in my experience, the people who maybe lean towards writing for an audience. So they're like, I think people like our audience would like to hear this, that might sound less creative at first glance.

Right. It's like, You know, you're trying to pump out up a three minute radio hit kind of thing or something. It sounds like you're not being creative, but yeah, in my experience, the people that can do that are by. By a long shot, the most creative people I've worked with. Yes. And I think that's because they've trained [00:13:00] themselves.

Like they, they treat creativity like a muscle that they got to work out. So they sit down for a writing session and they're like, I'm going to sit here until the song comes out and I'm going to write it in the style of the Eagles. Or, you know what? I want to write my own sweet home Alabama, and they have just the worst song, examples here, but let's just use a bunch of songs, examples that aren't relevant for 20 years, actually, that's not true.

Kid rock had that like sweet from Alabama rip off in it. And he went huge. So, but, uh, I'm definitely not saying kid rock is the most creative guy on the front, but like, like those people that like when they get into the studio with you, they're like, you know what, I want to channel my fricken Paul McCartney on this tune.

And here's some ideas that will do that. And it's like, they've, they've got different parts of creativity that they can tap into at will. It's amazing. So I don't, I just want to like say that I don't think. Not trying to do just what you personally want to do is any less creative. I think it can be more creative because you're actually having to force yourself out of your [00:14:00] safety zone.

Benedikt: [00:14:01] I absolutely agree. And also having these limitations within the genre or within something that you'll pick where you say, like, I want to write something in this bucket, having these limits limitations forces you also to be even more creative in a way, because you don't want to sound like. Everyone else.

And you have this, these limitations, but you want to make something great. Nonetheless, like I watched, um, like, um, if you, I don't know if you know the, uh, for you guys listening, if you know, you are AML against operable recording machine, it's a great online Academy for, um, rock and metal mixers and producers.

It's awesome. And, uh, one of their videos then they'll mix as they are called, um, is I watched one of them with Colin Brittain. I don't know if you've watched that I'll come with the pepperoni. I 

Malcom: [00:14:49] haven't, but I've, I've watched a lot of Colin's stuff. He's he's a fantastic 

Benedikt: [00:14:53] man. Yes. And Collins, one of the most, probably one of the most creative producers that I know of, like, he is more artists [00:15:00] than producer, more artists than, than mixer producer engineer.

And he's in this nail that makes him this video that I watched, he was talking about that exact, exact thing. He said that like, if you go in with a band and the goal is to make a radio. Single or radio song, you know, that it's going to be like three minutes, 30 seconds. It's going to be, it's going to have a chorus at this point.

It's going to have a certain structure that just works on the radio and that is expected to work there. But then the challenge becomes to still make a fucking great song and like something that just stands out among all the other radio songs and. That forces you to be very, very creative, actually, because you now cannot do whatever you want anymore.

You have these limitations and have to work within them. And then the challenge becomes to still make an awesome song and that, and whatever it is that you're trying to do. And if, even if it's just like, whatever you or niches or your, your genre or the [00:16:00] thing you set out, you set out to do, if there are limitations, or if you think about an audience.

That this could be for, then the challenge is how can you make something that you are stoked on? And that is just awesome, but still connects with those people. And if you can hit that, if you can nail that, that's like where, where it's really, um, yeah. Awesome and magical in a way. It's because I think the artists that are successful and who think about an audience or who have goals and create a records, a record with those goals in mind, They still like their music, most of them, like, it's not that every successful artists make shitty music just because people like it.

Like that's not the case. They still like their music hopefully. And I know for a fact that most do. And, um, so again, not either, or it both, like you should be stoked on what you're making. It should be authentic and true to you as an artist. But you can still reach a certain audience. And that's [00:17:00] a beautiful thing.

That's also not a bad thing at all. It doesn't have to do anything with sellout or anything with me to me because I mean, what's wrong about a lot of people enjoying your music and feeling certain emotions, or like thinking about things that happened in their lives or whatever. Like you can really have an impact on people.

You can change lives if you do it correctly. Right. So that's, there's nothing wrong about that. I 

Malcom: [00:17:25] got to have a conversation with Jesse Cannon, um, who is somebody we both respect, I know, uh, recently on, on your pants, socks and business. And he kind of said something that blew my mind. He said that like, most people listen to music because it brings up like it's a mind altering an emotion altering drug, essentially.

So like they go because they want to feel something and you can, you get a feeling for what that band makes you feel? Um, so like take rage against the machine, for example. That's like political, angry, as angry as fuck [00:18:00] back in bed. Like you just have to say angry as fuck when you talk about rage against the machine, because that's what it is.

Right. It's furious. And, uh, I love it. And like, if I want to feel like that and. Axed out like that, band's going to do it a hundred percent of the time. What if they put out a new album that wasn't that? And it was like happy songs about dating girls at rock shows or like, you know, like, like it's, I would be pretty devastated when I bought that album.

I checked it out. I'd be like, this is not giving me my fix anymore. I'm addicted to this other thing. And it's not providing that doesn't mean that it's wrong for them to do that. But it means that they made a decision that they didn't want it. They like, they actually made a goal to do something different and they did it and that's going to impact my relationship with the band if they were there to do that.

Right. I would probably be listening to less rage against the machine than I currently do. And, uh, they would have to find new fans with that pretty much. Right. Like, so that [00:19:00] it's, it might seem like a small decision. Cause maybe like we've been talking about maybe they just follow their heart and that's what they're writing right now.

But that decision to just not do what their audience wants. Has huge implications on their career. Yes, absolutely. Obviously rich gets the machine did not do this now, just so we're clear, 

Benedikt: [00:19:20] there have been a couple of examples of bands who did it well or not. So well, so there are bands who made a change or decided to do something risky, do something new, and some of them changed completely.

And like put out that album that you just were talking about, like a complete switch, like 180 degrees, the whole record. And that is a pretty risky thing to do. And oftentimes it's, um, like sometimes it works, but often it alienates a lot of people and it's not always guaranteed that you find a new audience that is just as big, but some bands.

Do it in a wise way, they just say, okay, let's try like one, two or three new songs on the next record that are different and see [00:20:00] how they work and how our fans like them. And then based on the feedback and based on how well those songs do, they might go further in that direction or not. So there is a wise way to do that.

And yeah. Some people manage to do that very well. And for other bands, it means the end of the career sometimes. 

Malcom: [00:20:19] So yeah. Well, I think those bands that do it really well are planning and setting these goals in advance. Right. Um, band that comes to mind is bring me the horizon. Yeah. They, they went from like very screamo to very melodic over many years, but like, just so successfully, have they made that chance for they?

They, for the most part kept. The original fans and gained millions of others, right? Like hugely successful swap in John was there. Um, I mean, it's still in like the heavy world there, John Ruh, you know, but it's pretty dramatically different. Um, I think if they had released their latest album, [00:21:00] And then their first album back to back, it probably wouldn't have been a very successful transition for them.

Yes, I guess that's speculation. But, uh, 

Benedikt: [00:21:08] absolutely. I totally agree. I mean, if you listen to their latest stuff, they have a lot of like electronic more than they had before. A lot of electronic elements in there. They have features with all sorts of pop artists and. Um, it's a wild, like Chaunra mix at this point basically, but there are still heavy songs on there, but it's like, yeah, it's all sorts of things mixed together.

And, but the transition has been smooth, as you said, and yeah, they did it very well. No matter like, if you like that band or not, but you just got to say they did it very well. And, um, so. Well, when we come back to the whole goals thing, what would you say if I like you have this conversation? Probably a lot of times as well with artists or every single time?

Probably. What, what's the point? Why do you make, why do people make records in the first place? What's why do we record things and put them out in the world? [00:22:00] And what do people want to achieve most of the time? 

Malcom: [00:22:03] I remember when my band got asked this by our producer for our, our last album, Eric rats. And he was like one of the most embarrassing moments of our lives.

Like, you know, just flew across the country and Canada's a big country. So he made a big trip, fucking rent, a car and drives up to our jams face to like come and do some pre-pro with us and ask us flat out why we do this. And all of us had a different answer and they were all stupid. I can't even remember what they were.

And he was just like, no, it's to connect with people. That's why you make music. I was like, yeah, that's right.

Um, but like, like we just didn't. We wanted to like, we, we, we definitely. I don't think it was like, Oh, we don't want to do this. It was like, we all knew we definitely wanted to be doing that more than anything in the world, but we didn't, we hadn't had the conversation as to why amongst ourselves. And we, you know, at that time we were hanging up days a week.

[00:23:00] So, uh, realize that to this, you got to chat with your band about this because you're not all on the same page. Um, and maybe you are, but you just like haven't figured out what that page is even is. Uh, yeah. Um, and it's a huge conversation to have, right? Like, do you guys want to be like, if somebody's doing it because they just love performing?

That's kind of what I was in a big way was like, I love being on stage and connecting with people that way. Um, but I think our, our singer I'm going to speak for him, but, uh, I think it was more about the. Creating music behind the scenes kind of thing. I don't think that the touring was, was for him. Um, you know, so like different, we both want to be doing that, but.

At different levels is where our priority is. Um, which is a really important thing to figure out before you're touring too much kind of thing. Right. So there could be a, a long rabbit hole of a conversation that comes out of that simple question. Why are you doing this? 

Benedikt: [00:23:59] Yeah, it [00:24:00] could, it could very well turn out that, um, you're not on the same page and that could cause problems.

And it's very good to talk that out before you go into a project, because if you find out halfway through that, Some people in the band want to tour or wanna, um, put in a lot of effort in promoting the record while another person's like, just doesn't have more time or like, doesn't want to be as active or it's just a side thing for them and you want to do it full-time or whatever it is.

If you find that out halfway through the project, that is not good. You want to do that before? And, um, also I, I think, and I believe that so much. That's why producers asked that question is I think that your goal and why you're doing this in the first place and who it's for and all that has such a big impact on how the record is going to turn out and what you actually going to do.

You're not just going somewhere and capturing some songs that you have written, you are making. [00:25:00] A record, something that will last, hopefully for hundreds of years, that will, a lot of people will listen to and, or should probably, or hopefully listen to. And that's just important. That's just, uh, I dunno, I dunno what to say.

Like it's not just capturing something because you can, but there is some motivation behind it and you might not have talked about this or you might not know it for yourself right now, but. Deep in your heart. I believe that there's some reason why you are doing this. It could be that you want to impress your friends.

It could be that you actually hate your job and you wish you could be a musician. It could be that, um, I don't know, whatever it is, it could be different. Goals behind it. It, it, yeah, it could be that you're already somewhat successful, but you want to get signed to big a label because then you see this or that opportunity, or you want to be the support of your favorite [00:26:00] band one day.

Or like, there could be very specific goals like that, but it could just be like self actualization or it could be like impressing your friends. As I said, and that's a totally valid goal. And some people just want other people to like them and to like their art and what they put out. That's enough for some people, but that is a goal.

Like if you want to make something where other people come to you and say, wow, that record sounds sick. Or that is like, those are great songs. If that's your goal, then you better make something that makes people say that. 

Malcom: [00:26:28] Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, even the song could have a goal, right? Like maybe you want the song to be an Anthem for some, some group of people or, or for some event going on in the world, like system of a down, just releasing those singles.

Um, About Armenian genocide and stuff like that was those singles have goals or like big, bigger than most people's dreams on, on their own. Right? Like it's very, purpose-driven music that they've recorded and released, um, which is pretty, pretty amazing. [00:27:00] And yeah, like, so I think you have to think about.

Like why you're all invested into being abandoned the first place, and then what your goal is for the, the album you're recording as a whole and then, and then break it down even further to, what is the goal for this song? What is the point of this song? Um, does it have something bigger that we need to keep in mind?

Well, we make it because like you said, that's going to probably end up altering how you write it, record it and even mix it. Um, and release it is gonna change everything. 

Benedikt: [00:27:35] Yes, totally. Like, and beyond those, like rather selfish goals or like goals about you and your band that could be, as you said, bigger goals about other people or other things, or like yeah.

Things that are important to you and it, or it could be that you want to make people feel a certain way or think about something a certain way. And it can be something political of course, but it can also be. [00:28:00] If you want to make a sad song, if you want to really make a song that makes people cry or makes people like get nostalgic or whatever, like if it's some emotional song it's worth knowing that goal and being aware of what songs like that sound like, because if you're going to record that and you are like, you're having a blast and everything's cool and you're joking around and you are you having the best day of your life?

I don't know if you can record a sad song in a convincing way. Maybe you need to get yourself into that mental state where you remember you think of something that makes you not stylistic or sad or whatever it may be. You, um, Maybe, if you want to record a very angry song, maybe if you're working with your singer, you record vocals and you want to make a really angry, pissed off song.

Maybe you need to make that singer pissed off for the moment, just so that it really sounds like that, you know, or you, I don't know that are. If you want to make authentic art, that makes people feel a certain way, or that gets a certain [00:29:00] message across. And it's not just your own goal goals, what you want achieve with that.

But if it's about what the song does for other people and how it makes people feel, if you think about those types of types of goals, it absolutely matters. Um, and it changes the way you record and produce records and songs. 

Malcom: [00:29:17] Absolutely. There's yeah, I mean, this is getting pretty fringe, but there's a lot of acting in music where if you watch somebody act and it's an emotional scene, you're meant to feel that way.

Right. Um, it goes back to like, you're meant to be getting your, your emotions altered by this stuff. And it's absolutely true with music as well. If you're not selling what you're meant to be selling, when you record that, it's not going to get through. Um, people just won't won't connect with it. I don't think so.

It's, it's harder than people give credit for and more important as well. I gotta think about that. More Thao to get back to goals. I think there's some like, really fundamental and important to [00:30:00] processes to, to setting a goal that we should totally cover. Um, yeah, go ahead. Cause it's really easy to have like a fluffy conversation about it without actually.

Doing it or acknowledging that something's truly important and it's going to be a priority for accomplishing. Um, so number one, when you have this meeting and I would encourage it to be a meeting and if you're a bad, um, like have everybody there, you know, open conversation, it's good. Um, but also feel free to do it on your own.

Write it down, write every. Thing that's labeled important down on a piece of paper. And if you're a band, you should put it up on like a whiteboard where everybody can see it every time you come in. Um, that's proven to be like the single most important thing I've done this year is just constantly reviewing the things that I told myself are the most important things in the world to me.

Um, and yeah, so write it down, but beyond writing it down, you have to write it down as. And action. Um, you know, I'm [00:31:00] going to pull up a little cheat sheet, easy outline for you. It's called smart goals. Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based so pretty much if you're following that.

All of those criteria kind of need to be met or mandatory, have to be met in the way that you write it down. Um, so, so specific means, uh, like you can't say, I want to make a good sounding album. That's like, Too vague. Right? I want to make the heaviest most brutal sounding album ever that terrifies people when they hear it, that's pretty specific, right.

Measurable. So you have to have something to compare it to. That can be tricky, but it's really valuable as well. Don't, don't get that attainable. That's tricky with music. Um, but less tricky about with maybe what you want the music to do. Maybe that is you want it to be heard by a million people. That's an attainable goal.

That's [00:32:00] lofty but possible, right? And you can track how attainable it is and how the progress you're making relevant. Obviously. Don't make goals for your band to play Machu Picchu. That's okay to do anything for you. Um, and then time-based. Yeah, and I think that time-based is huge. You have to set a timeframe for when you're going to be completing this by.

Um, and then, like I said, put it somewhere. You can see it every day and you're going to keep working towards it. If you keep that in front of you, if you literally force yourself to look at it, Every day, you're going to have to acknowledge that you did or did not work towards that goal each day. Um, that's really valuable.

I like, I can't recommend doing that enough. I do it every single night now, before I go to sleep, sometimes it's like, Oh, I really don't want to have to like, look at myself in the mirror like this, you know? Cause it's like, I didn't make progress over this weekend. I was a lazy turd. All right. Let's see. 

Benedikt: [00:32:59] I [00:33:00] totally agree.

I do that. I do that as well. I write down like, um, yeah, the smart goals thing. Of course, but even if I, if I just write down like my top priority or like top three things that are most important to me and I compare my actions every day to those priorities that I wrote down often, there is a disconnect often.

There is, um, I write down something and, um, I really think those are the three most important things. And then I observe myself, I watch what I'm doing the whole day, and I find that. Most of the things I'm doing are not helping me get to those. Like I'm not happy me improve in those areas or, um, serve those people or whatever it is that are most important to me.

So that I think what you just said with like put it somewhere where you can see it and where the whole band can see, it does two things. First of all, it's this top of mind and you're constantly checking, like if you're making progress, but also it. [00:34:00] You need to compare, and that makes it much easier than you need to compare constantly.

If what you're doing as a band aligns with those, with those goals, and if what you telling other people or what you putting into a project, if that, like, if that makes sense, when you look at your goals, like if that. Um, gets you closer to achieving that. So for example, if you, if you talk to a mixer or a producer or, um, a label, like if you record yourself, obviously listening to this podcast, but let's say you talk to a label and you have an external person that makes the record and you tell them you want to sound.

Like, or you really like these bands, um, because like you list them a number of bands that you really look up to and you like their records, you like what they're doing and you basically want to be in that spot. Um, you have some specific goals that are specific to you, what you want to achieve. And then.

They listened to your [00:35:00] demos and it's clear that you like whatever it is like the drummer is absolutely not on that level is not tight enough or the vocalist cannot sing in tune or the lyrics suck, or you don't have a budget that is remotely close to what you would need to make a level of a record at that level or whatever it is.

Then there might be something. That you totally miss that these bands that you look up to all did in order to get to where they are and you have these goals that you want to be there as well, but you absolutely don't do the things necessary to get there. And that's, you can call it delusional or whatever, but that's what many people are.

And sometimes they are not even aware of it. They just think. We make a killer sounding record, and then hopefully it's going to be successful, but all the steps necessary and every single thing you do with your band in the process of making a record and then promoting it and talking to labels or other people or whatever it is, all these things matter.

And if [00:36:00] you have those goals written down and you look at them and then you compare your actions to them, You might find that something's not, um, like not working out here and you will clearly see why. 

Malcom: [00:36:11] Absolutely. I really love the comparing your actions to, to your goals that you wrote down. Like, do they reflect what I did today and what I'm like, the decisions I'm making through the day?

Like, okay. So I said, I wanted to do this, but I ended up working on this other thing that like, you have to kind of. Like I said, look, look at yourself in the mirror and be like, okay, smart enough. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:36:37] And there are people who are very aware of that as well. It's not, I'm not saying I don't want to like. Uh, uh, act as if, as if bands were always delusional or whatever.

Like, there are a lot of bands out there who, who really, who are very aware of where they at and where they want to be. And, um, it's not the case for every band, of course. And there are bands that I just had a conversation with a band this week where they said they want [00:37:00] it to sound like. Or they really liked the sound of certain records, but they knew they could never play drums at that level.

And so they were totally fine with like programming drums. They hoped it could be organic in the end and sound like real drums. And we talked about that and there were obviously like they were afraid that it would sound that it wouldn't wouldn't sound organic or cool. But on the other hand, they knew if they were going to track real drums, they would never get the result that they were going for.

And I, I thought that was pretty cool because a lot of bands don't do that and, but they did. And so there's that? Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:37:35] That's like a huge amount of self-awareness and, and being able to reign in an ego, does it make that decision? Like that's rare than it should be. It's pretty rare. Um, that's cool. I adopted a workflow hack.

I'm calling it that, uh, I broke my day into hour-long blocks, which I guess we all have, but I, on the back of my [00:38:00] phone is a breakdown of that day. And like, it's got like, you know, like the first two hours are for. Like just personal development stuff. The next hour is for this podcast, the next hours for, I mean, for podcasts in general, I've got like an hour block every day.

So, uh, and then there's, you know, like my studio time, there's my exercise time and it's just all in blocks. And every time I open my phone, I get reminded of it, which is great. But if I made all of those blocks with all of my goals in mind for the year, so that I know if I do one thing in each of those blocks, it's actually am I am making progress towards all the goals I had for the year.

Like, it's just, if I stick to this, I will get to my destination eventually. There's, there's no question because I am putting the time into the right things. If I stick to this schedule. Um, and that that's been really helpful for me. I made a whole podcast on that. If you guys want to check it out 

Benedikt: [00:38:49] as well.

Well, yeah, it's time to pluck the podcast anyways, again, I think, uh, what's the episode. Uh, 

Malcom: [00:38:56] so that episode is episode 42 hacking your phone to boost [00:39:00] productivity instead of killing it. Um, and then you gotta check out the one before as well, which is all vocals as well. But, uh, yeah, w we've been it's started the year.

So, you know, like as a business mindset podcast, we got to talk about that stuff. It makes sure people get started. On the right foot. Um, but, uh, yeah, totally, totally check that out if you're digging this kind of content. Um, and then also I do have what is called the five step release guide, but it's a lot of, a lot of that content is also about this stuff as well.

So if you want that PDF little mini e-book thing, just shoot me a DM on Facebook or Instagram. Um, that's probably the easiest way. And then I'll, I'll just shoot it over to you. I like meeting you guys too. So this forces you to message me, 

Benedikt: [00:39:41] and I've got to put that into the show notes, but you can, I'll give you the link to there too.

Exactly. But you can message Malcolm. Um, of course, yeah. I had just had a look at it and it's really good. So download that. I highly recommended. So again, back to, to the, the pushback that people give me when, when I, [00:40:00] when these topics come up and it's, it's kind of a difficult thing to talk about, but, um, What would you say Malcolm, when you were in a conversation?

And I had that conversation, my own band at some point where we were, we locked ourselves in a, in a studio, a different studio. We locked ourselves up there to write songs for a week and we did nothing. Like it was away from like a major city. It was just, we were there all day, 24 hours writing songs and.

At some point, I was like, maybe we, this would go faster or smoother or we could come up with more great ideas. If we would think about what we're actually trying to do here, like that, that whole topic that we're talking about right now, I was just bringing it up and saying, Hey, we've been jamming for a while.

We came here with a bunch of risks that we had already, and we were trying to piece these together and create songs, but what are we actually doing here? What's the record going to be like in the end? Does anyone of you [00:41:00] see. Like the record already. Like, can you imagine what it's going to be like, how it's going to feel?

What's the vibe going to be? What's the song's going to be? I don't see the vision yet. And I don't know what we're creating here and I'm having a hard time just jamming or putting risks together. Like I would, it would be much easier for me. That's what I said when, when I had that goal in mind that that's maybe just the way my brain works.

I'm not much of a, of a jam person who just. Like it takes an instrument and then goes for two hours and then something magical happens. That's not how I, how it works for me. I'm a planner. That's when I actually am. So, uh, and that, that again might seem very uncreative to a lot of people. And then we kind of got into this, um, discussion where someone else in the band agreed and someone.

Completely disagreed and said, like, I don't want to plan this out. This is art. This is music. This is creativity. I don't want to have a plan. I just want to play. I just want to make like magic happen. I just want to wait for that moment. And I, I just want to see what [00:42:00] comes out of this and we'll see what the record will be like in the end.

And we were kind of stuck. So. Uh, we didn't like that discussion didn't really go anywhere because I have my opinion here had his opinion. And what was, what would be your opinion on this? Like how would you see that? Is it still 

Malcom: [00:42:20] like, how do you solve that? Because now you've got, uh, A different sort of opinions inside of a band.

Right. So, I mean, I would say, and this is obviously not the easiest answer, but like you kind of got to go and meet in the middle and do both. Um, I think that would be the conversation to have, like, could you agree that okay, well, Let's stick with that plan, the, the jam session for this writing session, but then this afterwards do it my way as well.

And we'll have a, like a targeted writing session as well with a plan in mind. And then, you know, like they're going to end up with different results, obviously out of both those things, hopefully they land we're on the same page. Um, and you know, there's. There's always some [00:43:00] kind of compromise, like maybe by going the jam route.

Maybe it's a little harder for you at the beginning, but maybe a vision starts to come as you get more and more song ideas together. And then you can be like, all right, I'm starting to pick up some trends here. Can we stick with this? Like where, where this song is going? I think this is where we need to be versus this first idea we had.

Um, you know, maybe you have to bide your time in that situation. 

Benedikt: [00:43:23] Yeah, I think I agree. And I say I'm not a jam person, but I can do that if. I have some, again, some bucket or some limitations. If I know we're going to make a very angry song. I can, like, it's much easier for me. That's basically all I need to know for now, then in that situation, because then when someone plays a riff or when there's a groove or some part, I can compare that to what we just said and can say, does that sound angry or not?

And then it makes it much easier than just going without anything, you know? So there's a middle ground definitely there. And I don't know [00:44:00] why that. I haven't found the solution for myself as well. Like what really, what art or creating art should really be how much it should be planned and how much is just happening.


Malcom: [00:44:13] I think it changes like I've, I've done one eighties on that before where I've been like, okay, no limitations, like nothing, like any ideas valid. And then pull her flips to like, okay, like we're only allowed to use three courts, what's going to come out, you know, like, and, and that can be cool too. Um, you know, or like, I love a lot of like pop music where they're like, okay, we're just going to start with a group and we have to riff off this.

And, and like, the groove is always going to be there. It's going to be as simple as can be. And that can be awesome too. No, or starting with a melody, you know, like starting with limitations like that. Okay. Like nobody read a guitar riff. We're starting with a vocal melody. We're going backwards here for a rock band.

Right. That can be awesome. Yeah, totally. 

Benedikt: [00:44:56] And what would you say to the other major pushback when people say [00:45:00] like, I don't care about that? My band is not a business. I don't care about all these, like. Achievements or like, I don't care about labels, about touring, about whatever. I just want to make a great piece of art and I don't care if people hear it or not, but they still want to make a great piece of art.

So there's obviously going to be the problem of if it's going to cost. Money time or effort or all of those to make a great piece of art, but then it's not an investment. That's just an expense because no, one's going to listen to it. Uh, and, or like if that's what, yeah. Eventually, if that's what people say, like if they say I don't care, if anybody listens to it and so you gotta be okay with like, it costing a lot of money and time and effort.

And there were no, no, no return on investment there. But, um, when. Is there, is there still a goal then for you in that case, if someone says I'm, I'm really just making this because I want to make the best record that I can make. And I want to put all my ideas and my creativity into this, and I'm willing to pay, and it doesn't have to be an investment.

[00:46:00] And if people like it, cool, if not, then not. Is there still a goal or a strategy there, or 

Malcom: [00:46:06] should there be really reduced analogy? That's not that that doesn't really do it justice, but last year I had a really great year in business and I bought myself a watch as a present for myself. And I was like, I love watches.

And then I was like, I'm by myself, a nice watch. And I did it. That's kind of what that is. It's like, I want to make myself happy. And it's better, you know, like, cause I didn't make the watch. This is much more creative and personal than buying a watch, but it's kind of, I think like for the folks that aren't in it for, uh, you know, to win, they're just in it to make art, like that's so valid.

That is such a, and that's a beautiful thing. Um, and I'm sure some amazing music does come out of that as well. Uh, like they just truly don't care if anybody hears it, they just need it to exist and they're making it. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Um, but it's just, yeah, you just gotta be then okay.

With it being for you and [00:47:00] not expect everybody to go and support it and, and care about it. 

Benedikt: [00:47:05] Yes. Right. Close people you work with because, um, yes, you might still need help with some parts of it, but you can't expect other people to be as invested in it as you, as you are for those same reasons. So great point.

Um, That, and that can often be difficult because those types of people sometimes don't understand that other people, that their time is valuable or that things cost money or that whatever. Um, so you've gotta be okay with. With the fact that you might be that it's your project and then it might not be a return on investment and not everybody will be as stoked on it as you are.

And again, I think I can hardly think. And that's why I asked this question in the first place. I can hardly think of a situation where someone, even in those, in that situation, wouldn't still have some sort of goal or [00:48:00] wouldn't. Still want someone to listen to that because what's, again, th th that gets us back to the initial question.

What's the point then? I mean, it's only music. If it comes out of speakers, right? Others, if it doesn't, it's just a file on a hard drive. And if you make a record, even just for yourself, because you want to make the greatest record ever, if no one ever listens to that, not even like your, your friends or whatever, whoever it is.

What's what's the point. I don't believe that many people really, I have a file and a hard drive. 

Malcom: [00:48:32] It's pretty weird. Cause it's like, why didn't, why did you need to record it then? 

Benedikt: [00:48:36] Yeah, you can just play, you can turn and play for yourself in that moment. Like the whole point of recording something in the first place is for someone to be able to listen to it.

I think, yeah, 

Malcom: [00:48:46] I, uh, I really struggle with even like, trying to imagine that mindset, because that's just the opposite of how I'm wired. Like, um, I'm just obsessed with trying to take some small idea and turn it into it. Yeah. [00:49:00] Um, so like, I really, I have a hard time, like putting myself in their, in their Headspace for somebody that would.

Be like, thinking like that. And, uh, I'm not sure if I accurately can. 

Benedikt: [00:49:11] I think I do. There's so much about that. And, and think about that so much because I am, I was brought up in like the punk hardcore scene where. People are like, if you say business, that's, that's a red flag, right. Then they're, you know, um, and I've been, I've been that way for a very long time until I realized that not all businesses are bad and that it's not a bad thing to start something, build something that's actually helpful and valuable to others.

And that before I realized that the bands I admired or the labels or the promoters or shows or whatever, I went to that those were all like small businesses. Even if it didn't call it that, but that's what they are. Um, and that a business can also be like a nonprofit thing or whatever. But for the longest time, I didn't realize that in business was bad by default.

And a lot of people still think that way. And a [00:50:00] lot of the bands that I'm working with, or like not working with a lot of the bands that I talk to or meet have still have that sort of mindset that. And that's why it's so important to me because I can understand where they are coming from. I can understand that that sort of mindset and the whole topic of like still having a goal for a record or making a plan is just foreign for them.

And they can not. Put themselves in the mindset that, that we have right now. And I just try to understand that. And just to just try to still have a conversation with bands like that and help bands still get the record out that they want to make, because I know for a fact that some listeners of this podcast and some of my email subscribers are in.

In punk bands and their goals will never be like, this should be a business or that so many people should listen to our records or whatever. They just have a message that they want to get out. Or they are just enjoying playing music in front of a couple of people with their friends. And that's the [00:51:00] best thing and the energy in the room and all that.

And they just need something to give to people after the show. And that might be the whole goal, you know, but even in those cases then. I always dig deeper and say, well, then your goal is to get that message across, even if it's just for a hundred people or then your goal is that someone leaves that show takes the record with them, goes home, listens to the record and, and has that same feeling again, or at least as close as possible to what they experienced on at the show.

Like there are so many goals still in that even if you don't view it as a business, That I think it's just so important. And in that case, if I want to capture a record like that, or if you want to capture a record like that, and you, you still don't want to have acid. You want to capture something that creates that emotion, or that gets that message across.

And it might not be a commercial goal, but there is still a very strong goal there and you can hit it or you can fail terribly and you can have a record that does nothing for you and for nobody else. 

Malcom: [00:51:58] Right. Totally [00:52:00] agree. I think I also just now realized why I haven't done very much punk music. They don't want me, 

Benedikt: [00:52:08] um, I mean, it's, it's tough.

It's tough. And it has been for me a lot because I need, I needed to unlearn a lot of these things, but still stay true to those values that I still have. And like, It's it's really, it's really tough. And that's why this whole topic is so, so relevant for me. And I think about that so much, and I, it's a very fine line that I'm constantly also walking here because I know that when I go on a podcast, for example, I've been interviewed by another business podcast here in Germany at some point where I was supposed to talk about my recording business and the business side of making music.

And I knew for a fact that if I was going to talk about those things, It will be very weird for a lot of people who know me as like the punk and hardcore producer or musician or whatever. And I don't for me, again, it's not either, or, but this whole, this whole goal setting culture [00:53:00] around. Yeah. Yeah.

That's so, yeah, there's so much around it that it really is something that I constantly think about. And I, I, so I believe so much in. That having goals, trying to achieve something, trying to build something, going, being strategically about something is not a weird thing, not a bad thing. And can absolutely be done by a punk band just as it can be done by a major artist.

Malcom: [00:53:26] Oh, hell yeah. For sure. I mean, there's been some really big successful punk bands and you can bet that they're, they've got some organization skills going on. Yes, yes. Anybody that's done like a big tour. They're organized as hell. There is so much going on. 

Benedikt: [00:53:43] Oh yeah. Oh yeah, totally. And those bands w when they have a strong message or when they are.

Um, when there are punk bands and there's no commercial goal or whatever behind it, which oftentimes still is, [00:54:00] then it's beautiful to reach a lot of people with that message, right? Like why would you want to not like, what do people buy? Why should people not listen to your message? If you put in the effort to create that message the first, yeah, 

Malcom: [00:54:15] it's kind of, I mean, this is like we're down the rabbit hole, but punk is very messaged, fueled, like.

There's like, there's a point for what we're saying a lot of the times. Um, so 

Benedikt: [00:54:26] interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Back to back to the original thing now to wrap it up, um, The smart goals thing. I, again, I think needs to be, you need to, you need to say that one more time. Um, or we need to give people some actionable things in the end of this, of this, uh, conversation today, because this one was not a, like a list episode or like actual things, but I just wanted to do that, um, because it's just important to me.

And it's really the whole point of making a record. And I want you to think about those things before you go in and make a record. I want you to do all [00:55:00] that and that framework that you have for them welcome the smart goals thing, and you're downloading everything that is going to help you do that. If you've never done that before.

Malcom: [00:55:09] For sure for the record, I did not make smart goals. I'm sure you do that, but I just wanted to make sure that was clear. I, yeah, you can Google it. You'll find tons. Um, but we'll run through that list again, it's specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based um, if you can add more criteria. Great.

But uh, like honestly, the biggest takeaways that I really hope everybody that's listening does is you just write down. Your goals. Um, and if they don't happen to fit the smart goals thing very well that's okay. You still took a really big step. Um, next thing is put it somewhere that you're going to review it constantly.

Um, that could be above your bed on the background of your phone or, or on the whiteboard of your jam space. Um, And, you know, like we said, we, this was all in the context of your band that you should really do this with yourself as well. Just like personally, there should be a couple of lists going [00:56:00] on here.

Um, and then if there were some more actionable things that I would just, I can't recommend enough is just like doing a little analysis. At the end of every day, I write down the three things that I want to do the next day. Like my, my primary tasks that I like to think I need, or most important things for me to get done.

Oh, he's got written down the day before. Um, so that, that decision was already made for me. And it's all clear because I've been thinking about that stuff all day. Uh, so that that's, that's huge for me. Um, yeah, I mean, write it down. We'll do so much. There's, it's kind of one of those booboo things, but it really is just like, it becomes real once you're reading it off a page and you put it there.

So it can't recommend that enough. Um, if you want to learn more about that kind of stuff, like I said, there's been like a couple podcasts recently on the year. Ben sucks at business podcast. I think it's episode 41 of 42. And then, uh, there is that five steps to a successful music release guide that I made up as well.

And like I said, just go do the show notes for this episode. There'll be a link there, or [00:57:00] you can just shoot me a DM on Instagram and I'll send it over to you 

Benedikt: [00:57:03] there as well. Awesome. Thank you so much. I'll 

Malcom: [00:57:06] post it in the Facebook community as well. I guess that'd be an easy spot. Oh yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:57:10] totally. Yeah. The self-regarding band.com/community, or just search it on Facebook.

Absolutely. Cool. Thank you. Well, I don't know if we, or I did a good job today with that, with that topic, because it was not as organized as we typically are, but I, I just wanted to have a conversation about this and I hope it was helpful. And. Got you thinking about these things, if you haven't already before.

And, um, I just want more bands reaching out to people like us or doing it on their own completely with, with, with something in mind that they want to build and create, and that you can be stoked on once you have it, whatever that may be. But. That's another thing you're going to be so much more happy about the final thing.

If you've actually achieved what you set out to do, if it's just not some random outcome [00:58:00] that might be cool, but you don't know what the full potential might've been, but if you really set out to do something and then it happens and you make it happen, that's the best feeling ever. And, um, so yeah, I really hope that inspires some of you to do that.

And I'd love to get more clear answers to that question. Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:58:23] absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Like as. Like when I get something to mix in there, isn't like a clearly outlined goal. I kind of take it upon me to try and figure it out based on what I'm hearing, you know, it's like, okay, what am I picking up on these tracks?

That's the direction that I think is meant to be, but it'd be great to have more info going into those decisions. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:58:43] Yeah, this could be pretty hit or miss. In some cases, if like I had the situations where I did exactly that and turns out by version was not what the band wanted with this record, but this could totally happen.


Malcom: [00:58:56] this bit avoid that. 

Benedikt: [00:58:58] Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. [00:59:00] Thank you for listening. 

Malcom: [00:59:02] Thank you to your next week. Next week. .

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