Headphone Activist Interview: The Pittsburgh Based Top Producer Reveals ALL ;)
Interview / Success Story: Headphone Activist – Independent Artist with 95k+ Followers.
Please introduce yourself to those who don´t know you yet.
– Hi my name is Pete. I make beats. I take influence from DJ Shadow, Clams Casino, Flying Lotus, and Flume.
Question: When did you start making music and what was the reason back then? Did your motivation to make music change over the years?
I started making music since I was a kid, piano was my first instrument, moved to the violin, then drums. then back to keys, then to DJing and then finally found my home with DAW’s The reason ? It has always just been something fun to do.
Motivation has always generally been the same, I just love music. What changes usually is what I am listening to and how that influences me. Choking Victim got me really into punk music but also dub, DJ Shadows – In Tune and on Time, inspired me to learn more about DJing…
and clams casino’s discography is an amazing tutorial on sampling and thinking outside of the box.
Question: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to your music? (Musical or non-musical)
I stated my favorite musicians above, so non musical would be.
-Louis C.K. – for his in house work ethics and creative genius.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson – He is just a fascinating person.
-Friends and Family – They have my back and are always reminding me how fortunate I am to be able do what that I love for a living.
Question: Was there ever one point where you knew you had a breakthrough in terms of your career?
[Like a hit, a feature or something else were you just knew you had it made – even if just for one small step in your career. If yes, how long did it take you for your first break through? ]
First one that comes to mind is when Mr. Suicide Sheep reached out to me for a feature on his channel.
I was 3 or 4 years into the Headphone Activist project and had been seeing some great support online, but when he hit me up I was stoked!
It was a Saturday, and I was in a rush to meet with some friends. Right before I left the house I noticed I had a new twitter message, I checked it and saw it was from him. we ended up talking for next hour or 2 about music, his channel, and my project.
I missed dinner with my friends but ended up getting a big break with my career.
Every time I go out to play a festival I meet fans who found me from his channel.
I am forever grateful for his help.
Question: What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?
Partying to much and not focusing on creating music. best advice. save your money, lock yourself in your house and just write as much music as you can.
Get burned out, go out to some shows and see your friends and then go back to working on music.
That is what worked for me.
Question: You have a really impressive fan count. Can you tell our audience a bit about how it all
started and how you got to where you are. How did you get your first 1000 fans?
How did you grow after that?
Thanks, my fans are awesome! alot of it was organic tbh. I wasn’t seeing much attention online at the time,
but the same went for alot of my other friends who were making beats. So we banded together and started helping each other push our sounds together.
This is now an industry standard but at the time we were definitely ahead of the curve and it gave us all a big break. for example.
-Luzcid is now touring full time and working with artists like BassNectar
-Phatcap is helping curate content with Trap Party and runs Addicted to Trap while also working with some major audio companies now.
-Earsly is building one of the best up and coming blogs atm “EARCVNDY”
-Were Not Friends are the newest of the group and even tho they started late on their project they used the same method of building have been seeing support from some of the biggest names in the industry.
In a nutshell. build a crew. grow together. and travel together. It is awesome.
Question: You´re kind of big deal on Soundcloud. Can you give our readers any Sound Cloud
specific tips on how to grow their fan base?
When it comes to soundcloud, make the music you want and build a crew. People will say
“ohh you cant get big unless you make _____ sound. or you have to try and collab with _____ artist.
IMO I see new people blow up on sound cloud all the time who make their own rules.
$uicideboy$ for example are just making cleaner chopped and screwed music, a style my friends and I listened to in highschool. but 10 years later this crew shares their sound online and sure enough a fan-base is growing behind them.
Personally I am a big fan of their sound, I’m just making a point.
If you make good music. regardless of the “popularity” of the genre at that given time, People will find you.
Question: You seem to have a great relationship with your fans. You have great engagement (likes,shares and comments on your channels)
on social media and your fans seem to really love you.Any advice on building a relationship with your fans as a musician?
Totally, just be yourself. law of attraction applies here.
If you’re positive, then generally positive people with follow and support you.
If your negative then generally negative people will follow and support you in their own way.
In my case, I stick with talking about art, video games, or snowboarding.
Question: How much of your success do you personally attribute to luck vs skill and following a strategy. [Did you follow a strategy or use tactics that our readership can emulate for their own career? We’ve found that many very skilled, talented musicians have trouble with success in their careers so if you chose skill please elaborate on that part and what you think makes you more successful compared to other talented musicians. ]
– Marketing my music right has made a world of difference. Meeting blog owners and taste-makers who are down to support my project has gone a long way. “email and phone calls really were the key to growing the project.”
– Again, put creating art before partying,
– also my advice. avoid making low quality remixes. most of the time they sound rushed in order to collect on the viral effect from the original. at the end of the day, take your time and write quality over quantity, but like I said it is also luck.
– I was fortunate to grow up in the suburbs, go to a suburb highschool that offered marketing classes as well as
music production courses all at the same campus. Personally I feel like starting at young age goes a long way. You are more openminded and can adapt easier to new marketing techniques to help grow your brand.
– I also have been very fortunate to have so many positive people in my life whose influences have helped me out more then they probably know
Question: If you think about one insight you had that really helped your career what would it be?
This is from my friend who helped mentor me with DJing / Producing.
“In 5 years, if your a DJ and you don’t produce and play out your own music, you are not going to get booked outside of your hometown”. – “Doverspike “2013”