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 Post subject: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:39 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
Hi guys. I'm going to open my heart to you now, and I would really like to hear your advice - especially where it is based on personal experience.

So, I have a very well-paid job. I have a wife and two young kids. I want to do my best for them. I am 42. I have a very fortunate life compared to many people. But I am at a crossroads with a voice getting louder in my head saying I have not been on the right path, and the stress sometimes feels like a hand closing in around my throat.

The thing is, I always wanted to be a musician, but never got lessons. At school I joined the choir and was the only one who couldn't read music or sight read. But I was allowed in (it was a fairly elite touring choir) because the choirmaster said I had a special talent. In my 20's I got into Djing and within a year I was a regular at well known club in Barcelona, also playing festivals around the area. I wasn't as cool as the guys doing it full time but when they heard my mixes they said I had something special and welcomed me into their circle and onto their decks, and I got quite a few fans. But I eventually followed my day job because it was the kind of thing I thought my parents and future family would be proud of and I thought I'd have a better chance of supporting them with it.

So now here I am. I am an office monkey just like I always said I would never be. I am working with people who are nice but don’t seem like my kind of people. I have to act like someone else to work with them and get their respect and cooperation, which I need in order to get things done. I feel as though I live a lie all day. My main job satisfaction is knowing what I am providing for my family.

Like many people of around my age, I wonder how I suddenly got to here from 25, and I really properly understand now that my time on the planet is limited. I am starting to value every second more than I did before. And I really feel, in every waking moment that I am an artist (in the general sense of the word). This is not so much down to anything I’ve created, but more to how I see the universe and what is meaningful to me. And I feel an overwhelming need to create before I get older and die. But here’s the problem: I cannot do this in the tiny opportunities I get between work and being with my family. I love creating with Ableton and feel alive and in tune with myself when doing so, but I don't get enough time - and time is slipping away.

So I’m getting to my question. With my savings I could support my family for up to 5 years, and focus on becoming a master with Ableton and finding a path to making a living which involves music. My wife thinks I should do it. (Wow, what a woman, this is why I married her, after all.)

So one voice in my brain is saying this: Everything you have put your mind to, you have been successful at (to an acceptable degree for me, that is). If you had five years to focus on Ableton alone, with your passion, desire and ability to work very hard, and your business experience, you would find a way to make a living doing what you love. In addition, and this is silly but unfortunately might be relevant, you look about 10 years younger than you are (according to everyone) so if you went into something like Djing this might help.
But the other voice in my mind is saying: hey, are you nuts? it's the music and entertainment industry. You are too old. And if you screw it up, you will be 47, broke, and you will have seriously affected your family's future. All so you could do what you like instead of sacrificing yourself for them. Just making great music is not enough, even if you get that far. There are many talented artists who don't make it. You will have to brown nose people, and compete aggressively with others (including many who are younger and don’t have families to support), neither of which you have to do anymore in your current job. You will have to do so many unpleasant things to be hot in the 'industry' that you will lose the joy of making music. And even if you make it by 47, how long will you then be able to work for, before you are/feel too old and irrelevant?

So has anyone else found themselves with a similar dilemma and especially, has anyone else taken the plunge and succeeded? I don't need to be a multi-millionaire but I would like to be able to support my family. This might mean anything from 30k (pounds/dollars/euros) to 50k per year. Yes, I have read on this forum that you should dip your toe in whilst keeping you day job and then go for it if you get good feedback, but I don't think I can work like that. I have to put all my energy and focus into one thing if I’m going to make a success of it. In the past, when I’ve done this, I’ve been OK. But is Ableton the wrong thing to choose, and is it too late for me with my age and commitments?
I know there will be many opinions on this and ultimately only I can decide. But if anyone has any anecdotes of what happened to people in similar situations, this would really help me. I feel like I have to make a decision very soon!
Thanks for reading guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:37 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:03 pm
Posts: 32
Although I'm a dozen years younger than you are, I recently made a similar transition. My solution hasn't been to dive head first into making a career out of music (as some of my kid-less friends have done), but rather getting a degree (and hopefully a career) that will position me to be on the technology side of the 'entertainment' industry (electrical engineering). The end goal is to get an excellent 'day job' that will be related to my musical/artistic interests and require technical creativity. This way I will never be in the position of having to feed myself and family through the selling of my music, and thus keeping my music 'pure' (only in the sense that what I create does not ever need to be appealing to anyone but me). With that said, it is worth noting that my interests always converge towards the technical side of things, and am a contrarian by nature, so kissing ass and catering to people just isn't in my skill set.

I tend to think that your best bet would be to either take a deep breath and keep working as hard as you can within your current career so you can hopefully retire early, or at least reduce your work week significantly. Or refocus your current career so that you can eventually make at least a partial transition into doing something with your artistic leanings.


One last thing I think should be said (and please do not be offended by this). You are a 42 year old male, and by the sounds of it are in the midst of a midlife crisis. Try your best to be aware of this when it comes to making decisions that could potentially have lasting consequences for you, your family and your descendants.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:47 am 

Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:04 pm
Posts: 218
thegoodsirjames wrote:
So I’m getting to my question. With my savings I could support my family for up to 5 years, and focus on becoming a master with Ableton and finding a path to making a living which involves music. My wife thinks I should do it. (Wow, what a woman, this is why I married her, after all.)


you are a lucky man with such a wife... go for it and don't think too much about it, once you'll be playing the ball with roll, it seems like you put a lot of love in what you do, so go for it, be happy to have a supportive wife around you.

you'll never regret it!

good luck

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:47 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Posts: 9641
Location: Seattle
If you're wife agrees then fuck it, go for it.
I think living broke with a happy dad is much better than living well off with a dad that resents the life he's made for you. Though you should in my opinion find a way to give your family something special, since it's possible they make a sacrifice for you as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:50 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:46 am
Posts: 1420
Are you trying to simplify your dream to using a software?? I don't think that's a good idea and it really depends on you, not a software company. I wish you the best.

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Last edited by pencilrocket on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:51 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am
Posts: 737
Some say you can't be succesfull on music unless you need it.

I would say do it little by little, change to a half time job, or do consulting, for some time, get music lessons, and slowly get in to full time music.

But don't at all consider throwing out the idea totally, try it at least.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:06 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
I am really enjoying reading each one of these, thanks and please keep them coming - so nice to connect with like-minded people on this forum. @*73, no I'm not offended at all, I'm pretty sure I've been in a MLC for at least the last 5 years! But knowing this still leaves the question of whether a MLC is always a silly thing (like middle aged men suddenly abandoning their families, buying sports cars and chasing impossibly young ladies) or whether sometimes it is a sign you should be doing something else. And your advice on what to do is good, thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:36 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:44 pm
Posts: 5
f**k it go for it!

I wish I had the balls to do something like that!

better to do it and regret it, rather than not doing it and regretting it!


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:38 am 

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 3:48 am
Posts: 330
thegoatboy wrote:
f**k it go for it!

I wish I had the balls to do something like that!

better to do it and regret it, rather than not doing it and regretting it!


Not a bad first post.!

I agree, try musicianship at least on some level.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:56 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:43 am
Posts: 268
Location: Berlin
thegoodsirjames wrote:
Hi guys. I'm going to open my heart to you now, and I would really like to hear your advice - especially where it is based on personal experience.

So, I have a very well-paid job. I have a wife and two young kids. I want to do my best for them. I am 42. I have a very fortunate life compared to many people. But I am at a crossroads with a voice getting louder in my head saying I have not been on the right path, and the stress sometimes feels like a hand closing in around my throat.

The thing is, I always wanted to be a musician, but never got lessons. At school I joined the choir and was the only one who couldn't read music or sight read. But I was allowed in (it was a fairly elite touring choir) because the choirmaster said I had a special talent. In my 20's I got into Djing and within a year I was a regular at well known club in Barcelona, also playing festivals around the area. I wasn't as cool as the guys doing it full time but when they heard my mixes they said I had something special and welcomed me into their circle and onto their decks, and I got quite a few fans. But I eventually followed my day job because it was the kind of thing I thought my parents and future family would be proud of and I thought I'd have a better chance of supporting them with it.

So now here I am. I am an office monkey just like I always said I would never be. I am working with people who are nice but don’t seem like my kind of people. I have to act like someone else to work with them and get their respect and cooperation, which I need in order to get things done. I feel as though I live a lie all day. My main job satisfaction is knowing what I am providing for my family.

Like many people of around my age, I wonder how I suddenly got to here from 25, and I really properly understand now that my time on the planet is limited. I am starting to value every second more than I did before. And I really feel, in every waking moment that I am an artist (in the general sense of the word). This is not so much down to anything I’ve created, but more to how I see the universe and what is meaningful to me. And I feel an overwhelming need to create before I get older and die. But here’s the problem: I cannot do this in the tiny opportunities I get between work and being with my family. I love creating with Ableton and feel alive and in tune with myself when doing so, but I don't get enough time - and time is slipping away.

So I’m getting to my question. With my savings I could support my family for up to 5 years, and focus on becoming a master with Ableton and finding a path to making a living which involves music. My wife thinks I should do it. (Wow, what a woman, this is why I married her, after all.)

So one voice in my brain is saying this: Everything you have put your mind to, you have been successful at (to an acceptable degree for me, that is). If you had five years to focus on Ableton alone, with your passion, desire and ability to work very hard, and your business experience, you would find a way to make a living doing what you love. In addition, and this is silly but unfortunately might be relevant, you look about 10 years younger than you are (according to everyone) so if you went into something like Djing this might help.
But the other voice in my mind is saying: hey, are you nuts? it's the music and entertainment industry. You are too old. And if you screw it up, you will be 47, broke, and you will have seriously affected your family's future. All so you could do what you like instead of sacrificing yourself for them. Just making great music is not enough, even if you get that far. There are many talented artists who don't make it. You will have to brown nose people, and compete aggressively with others (including many who are younger and don’t have families to support), neither of which you have to do anymore in your current job. You will have to do so many unpleasant things to be hot in the 'industry' that you will lose the joy of making music. And even if you make it by 47, how long will you then be able to work for, before you are/feel too old and irrelevant?

So has anyone else found themselves with a similar dilemma and especially, has anyone else taken the plunge and succeeded? I don't need to be a multi-millionaire but I would like to be able to support my family. This might mean anything from 30k (pounds/dollars/euros) to 50k per year. Yes, I have read on this forum that you should dip your toe in whilst keeping you day job and then go for it if you get good feedback, but I don't think I can work like that. I have to put all my energy and focus into one thing if I’m going to make a success of it. In the past, when I’ve done this, I’ve been OK. But is Ableton the wrong thing to choose, and is it too late for me with my age and commitments?
I know there will be many opinions on this and ultimately only I can decide. But if anyone has any anecdotes of what happened to people in similar situations, this would really help me. I feel like I have to make a decision very soon!
Thanks for reading guys!


Hi,

42, family, married, dropping job for beeing DJ again. That's brave, isn't it?
hm, do you know, who you are? Beeing musician and DJ means to work at night, traveling at weekends, sleeping, when your family is awake. Do you want this? Does your wife like this? If so, you are a happy man!

A friend of mine, who was trying a career as a singer, said to me, that the most happy musicians are the non pro, hobby. They really can enjoy what they do, without having trouble with money, not paid bills ...

Why not finding another job, that gives you more chane, making music, where colleagues do understand your better in doing so? A job you like, but gives you more freedom?

Best!

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:22 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:07 am
Posts: 77
I think that you are going about things the right way, but be careful!

You are someone who needs to 'make a career out of music' but this is so vague and open-ended.

It has taken me 5 years since I finished uni to work out HOW I can make a living out of music. Now I feel I have another 2-5 years to actually realise that! During that time I have had a job as engineer in a studio for 18 months (thanks to a family friend), done maybe combined 6-12 months touring or festival type gigs (basically contacts of contacts of contacts via uni and trying to stay in london), done a handful of DJ gigs and one show playing drums in a band! I know that I have always had a family home to go to if needed, I stumbled upon the best support structure for unemployed people in one of the richest countries and have slept on the couch and in the van etc along the way. I have not had to support anyone during this period, although I have paid off half of a brand new Golf and put together a small Pro Tools HD rig along the way. I also spent some on travelling and food and booze which I strictly should not need to.

After the end of this year I am on my own, and I need to start making proper money myself. BUT if I cannot I am not needing to support anyone and there is always a family home for me.

Having your 5 years is a good amount of time to get going, and you WILL be able to do it. It's just that to make it you have to make so many tough decisions along the way, compromise a lot of what you hold dear about music AND BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT (unless you are really fucking good or lucky). And if you don't make it by the end of the 5th year then you are stuck with the task of supporting your family!

In the last year or so I have been searching for solutions whereby I can support a studio with almost zero costs. For example having the studio in a hotel or restaurant whereby we don't need to pay rent but we will be bringing clients to the hotel. Also there is a backline rental company near me looking for a new guy. I hope so much that i can get this gig, it is a salary position which is apparently not 100% full time, or seasonal work, and would involve me potentially looking for a new warehouse for their stock. Super potential for finding a place where I can also build a studio and I would have access to a massive array of instruments! Hopefully I could manage my time, and then over another 5 year period work on my own productions to start making a name for myself as producer and offering a unique (as in not available anywhere else in the world) location for young bands who want to record on a low budget.

My experience is working at gigs humping gear around etc, which of course many people don't want to do. But this allows immediate income potential and is within the music industry.

You have to make a plan more exactly about what you can do and how you would be making money in 5 years time.

Also, your wife seems supportive, but what does she do? My girlfriend is an amazing painter and also craftsperson (things like knitting, woodwork, planting food and herbs etc). But she lacks the professional training I had and is shy and paranoid about her work 'not being good enough'. She has the potential, especially where we live, to have enough work to support a small company, and at the moment I am starting to push her to get work done and I'll deal with trying to sell it. Conversely if i have a gig she will help me lift speakers cos she knows it just helps both of us.

Video and photos and all of that promo crap ARE SO IMPORTANT these days. Can you get a couple nice cameras and a macbook, give them to your wife and tell her to make a documentary? If you have a more concrete goal like, I want to DJ in every club within 100km of me, or I want to write music that will get picked up by Audi for a commercial, or I want to produce a remix which hits no 1 on beatport, and if you have constant footage on a website somewhere that is also telling the story of you and your family and where you live (which is where?) then basically that will be automatically interesting for a lot of people to watch.

Also, could you keep your job for a bit more, and start sinking your MONEY into music, without really adding to your workload? We had a client at the studio who I think was basically in a band when he was younger but since then has made loads of money in the steel industry or something. Now he is fifty-something and has the cash for a nice home and a nice studio and can pay big name producers to arrange his songs but I don't understand where he's going with it. I think in fact his vocals are pretty good and the songs are good but really he is dreaming of playing in a band at wembley which is not going to happen!

He could just pick two or three of the best songs, hand them to a young pop producer (not a well known classic rock producer), give the producer the budget to basically do what he wants with the songs, find kids who want to be in a band, finance all the promo crap and they would have a serious release, that probably has legs to go somewhere, will MAKE MONEY, and then in 5 years time he could stand at wembley watching the band play his songs and feel good in telling his mates that he actually wrote the songs and he made the whole thing happen. But he won't do this because he's too proud, or not open to new ideas, too precious, short-sighted, whatever.

Would it be so difficult for you to stay at work, start going to a local gig once a week, listen to what your kids are listening to (how old are they?). Pick up some local band, or not even local, fly some people from another country. Find them a cool place to stay, pay a producer to make something cool (just 2 or 3 song), find a cool DJ to do a remix. This is all phone calls and emails and 4 hours a week to meet people and listen to stuff. You could do this for a year or two, without quitting your job. Then start your 5 year challenge already with a bunch of productions under your belt. Will your job let you go 80% or 50%? You could start by keeping your job, financing music without real direct input for a year or so. Then drop your job to 80% and you are putting 20% into your music productions (like i wrote the piano part or played the drums). Then shift to 50/50. Then by the time you quit your job you are not financing the productions, people are PAYING YOU and now this is your 100% job.

I guess you need to define what you can actually do, and define a goal. You said you did singing and DJing? This is a good combo. But what is the goal?

Do you have disposable income while you are working, or do you put it all into savings or family? Could you spend one years worth of your savings NOW and take 4 years rather than 5 to achieve the goal?


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:28 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Posts: 2697
Location: beneath mouse mountain
I have been in a similar position, with that voice wanting music getting louder and louder. A mid life crisis can be a powerful force for change!

Making time for it - and working with Live - has made it possible to respond, and I now feel music is a living and breathing part of my life; there is a nice creative flow and though I have never sold a track I am having loads of fun; a particular pleasure is giving pleasure to friends (dj ing or making tracks for particular occasions etc etc)

I would like more time to make music but I am thankful that I am not depending on music for income. Not having to worry about whether other people are going to like what I make, or having to sell it.

A slow transition would be the way to go.

And I think learning some musical skills unrelated to software (playing an instrument...) does help.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:31 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:26 pm
Posts: 164
Make some other significant changes before quitting your job. If you are on to a good thing work wise consider how feasible it would be to get back to that level if you needed to.

Start DJing again, it's great fun and supports musical development, it may even offer you enough satisfaction to be content. Thesedays you don't have to DJ to a crowd, (although that's the best) as you can receive credit and adulation online.

It you are not already I would suggest getting fit & healthy, it will help clear your mind and focus some energy. Then perhaps you could be help move audio gear around and be a roadie!

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:59 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 123
I have been in the same situation several years ago (i'm 33 now). I decided to quit my full time job (had no kid at that time and managed to get "fired") to dedicate my time to work on a personal project (a video/dance performance, i was doing the music and the programming) that, in the end, was showed in several festivals. It was the first time i really took time to compose and to perform live on my own. After that experience i decided that i won't work full time again, i wanted to spare some time for artistics projects and music. It's been about 6-7 years that i live like that, i work as freelance and i'm also a teacher part time, my first album is coming in the next week, happy i am :). Depending on the month, i have 2-3 days at home that i can use to make music, freelance job and for the moment, taking care of my newborn baby. I'm also collaborating with other artists on several project. I don't earn much money (i don't make any money or so little with my music) but it's enough to pay the mortgage and have a decent living.
The downside of this is that i never know what will happen in the near future, maybe i won't have anymore freelance work and i'll loose my work as a teacher (it is renewed each year). If so i'll guess i'll have to find a job.
I think that you shouldn't focus on a specific software but more on what you really want to do.
As others said, do it little by little and if it corresponds to what you feel you should do, it will get easier. Once you'll start to make the move you'll meet new people, create new networks and find new opportunities.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:10 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:59 am
Posts: 1606
Location: Melbourne, Australia
what sort of music do you make?

I have always made my money pretty much exclusively from music.... but very much a "many-hat" wearing musician: Main income from music/tech teaching, but also touring, live sound, albums, soundtrack, sync and TVC (when i can get it).... and this has taken years of hard work and a smattering of sporadic good luck.

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Last edited by Winterpark on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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