This interview has been paraphrased for consistency and clarity. Watch the full video here.
Joey: Let’s start with a brief introduction. For everyone who doesn’t know who you are, where did it all begin for you?
Benjamin: My name is Kid Massive. I’ve been a DJ for 25 years and a producer for 20 years. I’ve toured the world and released on many of the biggest independent labels, in addition to Sony, Warner, and Universal. Right now, I’m currently focused on helping new talent with my own two labels, Get Down Recordings and Get Down Black. I also run The Mindset Sessions, a podcast and teaching platform which helps young creatives understand their choices using my experiences and knowledge of cognitive-behavioral therapies, psychology, and spirituality.
Joey: Why do you think it’s important for artists to have the right mindset and work on their mental health?
Benjamin: For me, being creative is incredibly personal. It’s a journey of expression and how you feel. The more you know about yourself, the stronger your identity will become. We all start something because we love it, but then people start making decisions for us. So the more self-aware you can become, the more in line you can grow with your gigs, management, and all aspects of your career.
Joey: What I think is interesting about the whole mindset game is that it can change your life once you’ve once you are in control. When I started my career, I started trusting other people and completely neglected my opinion, which caused me to end up in some sort of burnout. For example, mental health can be really important for your music releases. Many artists struggle with releasing their music due to insecurities or fear. If you can control your mind, your life can be much easier. I also think that having this control triggers your creativity.
Benjamin: Absolutely, it’s about connecting to yourself and understanding what’s actually important. Do you get value in a booking or record deal? Be honest with yourself. You should be okay with the fact that you don’t release music for two months or three months or five months, because it’s a decision you’ve made.
I’ve worked with a lot of the big labels, and in 2020, you have just an excellent opportunity of releasing a record as they do. If you have the right connections, if you have the right distribution network, you can publish a track yourself. I can control whenever I want to release it. There’s no deadline, and there’s no stress about having to put out a new record.
Joey: It’s just crazy to see how many people in this industry don’t know these things. And it’s not like it’s that hard to know, right? Like, there’s a million books and podcasts written about it. You don’t have to go to a psychologist to understand these issues.
Balance is key. Recently, I’ve mainly been focusing on balancing my life. For example, I like food, meat, I don’t smoke or do drugs, but I occasionally drink. But I know that working out is healthy, eating vegan is healthy, and drinking moderately is healthy. What I mean is that you can still enjoy life and take care of yourself at the same time. How do you think that translates to being an artist?
Benjamin: It has to do with the balance of experience. You need to accept that you’re just like everyone else. Maybe you’re the king of the world during an hour-long DJ set, but when you’re done, you’re just like everyone else. People have this massive crash because they believe that they’re someone they’re not. The numbers, the facts, and figures have proven that they’re successful, but success can be taken away quickly. And when things get taken away, artists struggle and change their identity.
People start to think they should sound more like Hardwell or Don Diablo and change their sound just for a label. It might be a short term success. But when you take it to the long term, it can really redirect you from your own path. Your fans start to think, ‘Who is this guy?, are you a tech house, bass house, EDM producer? What are you?”
Joey: Knowing that you’ve been working on the mental side of things for the last couple of years, how would you advise someone who doesn’t know anything about what we’ve talked about?
Benjamin: Asking “why?” really helps. Like if you get that number one song, how does that make you feel? Why do you think that way? Why is it essential for me to act differently to become successful? There are lots of things that happen in our lives that we don’t pay attention to.
Once you become self-aware, then you can think about how you can do things differently. When you challenge your brain, your brain increases, it grows, it’s like a muscle. The more you use it, the bigger it gets. This also helps with your productions.
I do a lot of work with Loopmasters, and in 2018, I was the number one selling producer on the platform. I made psytrance, trap, tropical house. jazzy hip hop. I did everything else other than what I usually do. And as a producer, that means my knowledge and creativity just expanded.
Many producers have a sample base and structure to make a track super quick, but the creativity is gone because it’s just a habit. You’ve evolved as a producer where you are at the level where you just can do it with your eyes closed, but there’s no goal anymore. There’s no challenge anymore. And that’s what I was missing as well. I stopped challenging myself in the studio eventually. And that’s boring.
People need to reignite the ‘fun’ in their productions. Think about what inspires you to make music. For many, it’s not the technical aspect, but it’s the creative part. For me, now I want to make Latin house, soul house, disco remixes. It still fits my style, but it’s something different, challenging, and fun.
Joey: Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge and experience!