I had a chance to talk with german DJ/producer Eddie Thoneick along with his Instagram live audience. Here’s a paraphrased version of our conversation where we discuss success, mental health, and the best resources for your artist career. Watch the full video here!
Eddie: So glad we’re able to chat given these circumstances! For everybody who doesn’t know you, can you give us a quick introduction?
Joey: I’ve been a DJ and music producer for over ten years. I started at the bottom DJing at weddings and later built a career in music by working with artists like Hardwell and releasing on labels such as Revealed, Spinnin, Toolroom, and more. Eventually, at the height of my career in 2014, I ended up burning out. I just felt unhappy with my current lifestyle as a DJ and artist. After that, I started educating myself, and now I run a business called Artist Coaching, which helps other artists maintain stability both mentally and in their careers.
Eddie: We need to have these conversations and educate our audience on how not to make the same mistakes.
Joey: I think what also makes it difficult is that people often don’t understand how an international DJ can face these challenges. To them, you’re living your best life on social media. Why would you be unhappy?
Joey: It’s personal; every artist has their manual, and they need to figure out how their manual works. When you can understand yourself, you’ll be more prepared to make decisions like signing a label deal or touring. I say this because, for most of my career, I was just listening to other people. I was distracted by the money and never really took the time to reflect on my decisions. You can’t expect other people to know when you’re unhappy; in the end, you’re the one responsible, in my opinion.
Eddie: If you had one tip for new artists, what would that be?
Joey: Learn to say no. This sounds really easy, but when you’re an aspiring artist, and you’ve been working for like five years to get at a certain level, and suddenly your dreams come true, it’s hard to say no to specific deals or opportunities.
Trust your gut; your gut never lies. For example, if a record label deal is financially nice, but something feels off, you have to trust what’s best for you. Sometimes, it’s too late, and those deals backfire.
Patience is really important, and one of the biggest challenges I see with up and coming artists. They don’t want to wait for five years without any payment or any results. But in the end, that’s the thing that’s necessary to come at that level of success. It can sometimes be even ten years until you can be professional and find success.
Eddie: I think it depends on your niche. Sometimes an artist you’ve never heard of goes viral, and three months later, they’re touring the globe.
Joey: There are so many elements to success that it’s difficult for you to know how long it takes. I mean, most of the people don’t have the opportunity to work as musicians full time and earn money with it. They have nine to five jobs and make music as a passion in the evenings and on the weekends. I think this is the right thing to do – the last thing you want is to have financial stress. Keep a side job to at least cover your monthly costs until you’re confident that your work is paying off. Financial stress is going to kill your creativity in the end, so you don’t want to get in a position where the money is going to put you in a bad situation.
I can imagine that the music industry sounds like hell if you listen to stories like this. And it’s not. If you’re a talented person who loves to be an artist performing on stage, it’s the best job on the planet. But just be aware that there is so much more to the job and 60 minutes on stage.
Eddie: If there was one book you would recommend, what would it be?
The War of Art. It’s about creativity and all the blocks that you create for yourself.
Eddie: What about podcasts?
Joey: When I first started this new project, I listened to a lot of Gary Vee, which is really like a marketing podcast. I also listen to Artificial intelligence by Lex Friedman and the Joe Rogan podcast.
Eddie: How do you structure your day? Do you have any routines?
No. And that’s the way I like it. My schedule is more weekly than daily. I work from Mondays to Thursdays, and Friday to Sunday is with my family.
Eddie: I really need structure in my life, so I use the high-performance planner and plan everything daily.
Someone in the comment section said: I’m 33 years now and have been working for almost ten years to reach success in the industry. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Eddie: My initial thoughts are that they probably have to restructure. It seems like they’re very passionate, but perhaps they should try approaching their career from a different perspective.
Joey: I wonder if they’ve reached nothing. You always reach something; it’s a matter of perspective. If you compare yourself to people who are making millions, that will only make you unhappy. Stop comparing yourself to other people. I would also say to get out of your comfort zone and start looking at things differently.
Eddie: Another question from the comments asks: How do I get a mentor when I don’t have money?
Podcasts and audiobooks are a great resource. The great thing is you can listen to people discuss topics like mental health and the music industry for long periods, and I’m sure some parts will resonate with your life.