Hype, Stress and Whiners

I came across an interesting article by Alex at Sitting Ovation called I Don’t Understand The Scene : Part 1 – The Producers & Hype. Some of it I agree with 100% but other parts left me thinking. I decided to scribble down a few words of my own. This is an independent article, but I still I highly recommend you go read Alex’s excellent opener first, as well as the comments.

So hype runs this game.

It’s definitely a very saturated market due to the fact that most anyone now has a chance to become “a producer”.

As a newcomer producer you must build up hype to get noticed.

Wait a minute… Let’s stop here for a bit.

If you ask me… Yes that sounds sensible but it just ain’t that simple.

We have to look deeper.


See, there are many kinds of hype.

Hype can be based on knowing a lot of people and how to talk to them.

You can easily shell out the €€€ to create hype.

You could just be in the right place in the right time.

Or you can build hype based on music that is actually really fucking good.


Any other hype than the one based on music itself is quick to die out.

We could frame things as “artificial” vs. “sustainable” hype.

The bottom line is…

To really become long term successful in music there are no shortcuts.

Spend lots of time on the music and become good at it.

(For the record – I don’t believe in inborn talent. Granted we are all born different but it always requires a lot of work to become good at something.)


I’ve said it for years: When the music is good enough, it will get noticed.

I’ve seen it happen countless of times.

I mean, do you really think Noisia made it just because they put up some funny videos on Youtube?

Upon meeting one of the guys it became immediately clear to me why they became so popular.

They have a passion for what they do, they enjoy it, they put in the work and as a result, they know their shit.


So how do you build the right, sustainable kind of hype then?

I think there are two more ingredients besides good, consistent music.


The first one is something that seems to be forgotten in our fast-paced society.


Too many people seem to expect things should happen overnight. Or in a matter of a year or two.

The reality is they very rarely do. You got to commit for the long run.

I’ve been making electronic music for 16 years now. It took a long time to get anywhere. I’m happy with my achievements, but I still don’t consider myself especially successful (of course it depends on the definition of success itself).

If anything I feel I have just started to get a hang of things.



The second ingredient is surrounding yourself with the right people.

The kind that you connect with.

You will know when things “just happen” – effortlessly.

With “the right people” I mean everyone from labels to collaborators and other involved people. Anyone you work with.

Create a friendly ecosystem for your ideas to flourish.


Depending on your goals and situation, it could surely be worth going for artificial hype too.

Hype and connections do help, but let me repeat: if the music is not good enough (read: great), hype will fail you eventually.


I see too many producers stress and complain about things on social media.

I swear sometimes opening up Facebook or Twitter takes me straight into what seems like a conspiracy plot: A producer vs. The scene.

(Scene always wins)


For fucks sake, stop worrying so much!

Your own dwelling stops you from coming up with fresh, positive ideas.

It also makes people turn away from you.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You’re much better off just putting your mind to the music.

Focus on what you’re good at.


Granted, it’s not easy to stand out from the masses of mediocrity these days.

But the only good way to really stand out is to come up with some bloody good music.

That’s what I have to say today..

What do you reckon? Drop a comment and let us know.

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  • Pete

    This is a really good article.

    The whole ‘patience’ thing is something I’m starting to realise – things move slowly in this scene!

  • I agree with all of this – good work. I like your point about patience. I’ve said time and time again “a patient man is a happy man” and it rings true all over the place. Patience is indeed a virtue.

    Also – passion is crucial.

    I have very much fallen out of love with the notion that “good music will eventually get noticed” though – I’ve not seen it happen too many times now.

  • This was a pretty good post and I agree whole-heartedly.
    It inspired me to write a blog post of my own, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while now:
    On patience, hard work, and being an artist.

  • ollie

    yes,yes & yes, I rarely allow the flood of noise (internet) into my daily work focus but put aside time yesterday to read Alex’s words

    (based on his merit as a producer & respect for the obvious frustration that lead to giving up his time to post interesting/inciteful & necessary words).

    There’s so many analogies for the desires of an instant gratification broadband driven generation.

    You cant just skid up to the drive in at McDonalds & order two decades of learning a craft.

    Then shoot off home whilst listening to poor quality audio clips that supposedly represent a genre of electronic music.

    (uploaded by peeps who only discovered said genre last week themselves & innocently/understandably enough are unwitting regarding the history/foundations of it),

    Then fire up a cracked copy of a DAW, go to work, then burn the resulting sounds onto CD before the afternoon is up!

    All in the hopes of blasting it out the same evening whilst the world falls at your feet.

    Oh… you can do all that..apart from the first & last bit


  • Eugene

    >> The second ingredient is surrounding yourself with the right people.

    I feel ambiguous when it comes to this. None of my close friends (or even people I’m communicating with on a regular basis) is really into making music as I am. I guess you can imagine what it’s like – this kind of environment is somewhat unfriendly to be into music all the time (and I really do want to).

    I kinda realise that this would be a lame excuse for not doing what you really wanna do. And I do my best not even starting complaining and preventing all this shit from getting into my head etc. But it would be much better to have people to share all those ideas and the I-dont-really-know-what-I-wanna-say “spirit” of music and creativity with. You know.

    In short, this is really good advice you gave, and I realised this stronger than before, thank you for that.

    • I hear ya! These things are often easier said than done! I would suggest for you to link up with some likeminded producers over the internet and kick off some collaborations. That’s what I did when I first got started, and that’s what I still do. Great way to build connections and it never hurts to discover some new angles anyway.

  • akrophobia

    Really good read here! Being a newbie producer, all of this kind of stuff goes through my head on a daily basis. It’s good to hear your thoughts and quite refreshing to see someone like you want to open up and help people! So thanks for that. I will certainly be watching this site in the future, just joined the mailing list. 🙂

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Great, welcome and stay tuned 🙂

  • Motive Within

    In my mind, although the current state of the hype, broadband-driven, fast food culture that surrounds us can be highly annoying, discouraging, and distracting at times….it almost demands a new breed of artist from us all. The bar has to be raised by making music that can’t be ignored and stands on its own, and has longevity.

    To be an artist making music that good, I think you have to reach a point within your own craft/expression that is able to let go of the egotistical need to CARE and therefore give away your ENERGY to the mediocre masses that are doing just that – glorifying their ego’s. It forces us to look deeper within ourselves and have the necessary discipline and passion required to block out the ‘ego-noise’ and listen to the true inner voice that brings great music to the world.

    It’s not easy, but perhaps this is a bit of a time of metamorphosis… to evolve into a more committed artist that transcends the pattern of giving their energy/power away, and can therefore dedicate it to pushing the music forward.

    Of course, after that – when it needs to be marketed… let’s just hope that amazing music will even be recognized by the masses that have come to be complacently content with mediocrity… but I think that need has never been greater BECAUSE of this hype driven state. Trying to be optimistic over here, anyway. 🙂

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Wow, very inspiring words there brother. Yes let us counter the disposable culture and spend our energy more wisely. That is the way forward.

  • Lovely read, agree completely! Thanks for sharing!

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Cheers Mike!

  • I completely agree. One time I pulled an all nighter working on this drum and bass track, I probably worked harder on that track than I have before or since but the response to it was bigger than I have ever gotten. I mean it wasn’t a huge response but it was much more vivid than what I have experienced. I don’t know why I haven’t put that much effort in since but I have experienced what you are talking about. Also, I haven’t taken my own personal recordings seriously until a few years ago so I guess I should be looking at the long haul.

    I’ve also read a lot from producers like Chuck D and Kanye (not a huge fan of Kanye but the guy knows the business) and they seemed to both say to not post every piece of you know what on your site/soundcloud/myspace/etc. Kanye related it to preparing for going out to a party and taking a picture of every outfit you are thinking about and asking your friends for their opinion. Post what you are truly proud of and not just because you want and immediate response. What you post should be it and not a work in progress. You wouldn’t sell an album with a half baked idea on it, or would you?

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Hard work does pay off and yes, definitely, looking at the long haul is the way!

      Regarding posting unfinished/rushed work – that is a funny way of putting it but yeah I completely agree. What’s the point in doing that? No point at all. Only makes you look bad, or even desperate.

      Focus properly on making it as good as you can – THEN it is time to let go and see what people think.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • TOmek Nadolny

    Very interesting read! If your tunes arent good enough to be noticed alongisde the other 800 demos the big labels get sent in it just means they’re not good enough. It’s a hard truth to accept, but the only way to succeed is to try harder. It’s too easy to blame external factors for one’s lack of success! Sometimes it’s artist vs. artist 😉

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Well said Tomek!

  • Yo

    I agree with most stuff in this article, I agree that you need a lot of years and a lot of hard work but lets be honest…good music doesn’t always find a way, thats just some thing already established artists and labels say.
    patience you say? for how long? months? years? decade? I realize you can’t just pop out your first tune and expect release but none of the new coming producers are going with that mind set…they are aware of hard work and patience

    “Or you can build hype based on music that is actually really fucking good” – this is a circular argument on the original article, how do you do that if no one pays attention to none established name?

    sad fact is if you know someone big your shit tune will be released, if you are already a big name your shit tune will be released…if you are a new producer with 1 full album of awesomeness, labels probably won’t even respond to you (if they do it will be after minimum of 6 months) and in meantime they will release a loads of shit tunes from their friends…that is a fact, that is true and you can see that on a daily basis

    I had million situations where label replied regarding some of my tunes, they liked it, they wanted to release it…and I never heard from them again…
    Not to mention situations “Give me a gig ($$$$$) and I will give you a release” or even “…if you were from UK”
    I can name hundred producers that don’t have a release because “hype problem” , the scene is very cruel to newcomers and offers no help to them just one big IGNORE.

    And the saddest part of all this is that it is expected from new coming artist to spend more time on twitter, facebook, instagram, soundcloud instead of doing music

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      I’m sorry you’ve had such bad experiences. Of course the things you mention do happen. I can only speak for myself but from what I’ve seen and experienced, from releasing music commercially since 2000 and having worked with 40+ different labels, most labels are still just looking for good music to release. Surely it is harder for the newcomer to get through than someone established. That’s how the world works. Becoming bitter about it doesn’t help at all. Keep going!