Our first FloVerse Artist Scientist Podcast is an interview with DJ Dain, a.k.a. Andrew Bowers, a composer, producer, DJ and musicologist from Vancouver, British Columbia.
We talk about finding your creative voice, tips for entering the ‘flow state’ (the creative zone) and his cautious optimism about the emergence of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
DJ Dain also offers up these three tips on finding your creative voice:
- Address your imposter syndrome
The imposter syndrome is a feeling similar to anxiety where you feel like a fraud because you doubt your personal capabilities to achieve success (Cox, 2018). DJ Dain’s starting point was saying yes to opportunities outside his comfort zone and taking reassurance from multiple friends that these were things that he could do. This initial support and validation that he was competent at something, was the beginning of his confidence in a skill, “if nothing else, believe in your friends who believe in you”.
- Be silly or use a stage persona
After creating a silly stage persona, DJ Dain freed himself to have more fun. He fashioned a costume by putting on a motorcycle jacket and sunglasses and then practiced his best Michael Buffer impersonation (Michael Buffer is a famous ringside MC/announcer who coined the phrase, “Let’s get ready to Rumble!”). Together with his costume and MC impersonation, he gave himself creative permission which helped him to overcome his inner judgement.
- Trust that you have great taste
A turning point for DJ Dain came after hearing the inspirational interview “The Gap“, with Ira Glass (see quote below). Ira spoke about the distance between your taste and your skill ‘the gap’, and how you need to recognize how much you have before you can achieve the same level of skill that you admire. So many people give up before they come to this understanding and it’s the first big hill that you have to climb as a creative. Once you understand this creative process and are able to cross over, this is when you are liberated and start making your best work.
Quote by Ira Glass, “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” (Glass, 2014)
So what will you do to close the creative gap and find your creative voice?
01:21 – Andrew’s personal story about finding his creative voice
02:56 – Addressing your imposter syndrome
03:38 – Making things silly and using a stage persona to overcome inner judgement
04:50 – Trust that you have great taste
06:56 – Getting and staying in the zone (flow state)
13:07 – The future of music tech and Andrew’s thoughts on NFTs
15:30 – The need for accessible technology