Telling Stories Through Your Music—A Conversation with Amidy

Nolan Atkins started DJing house parties when he was 12.

“It’s a little intimidating being 12 years old when everyone else is like 20…or 18…so they’re kinda looking down on you.”

Which makes sense, because his parents were DJs.

He dreamed of being a pro soccer player, but music quickly took the lead.

Having gone to the reputable Icon Collective, Nolan, who producers under the alias Amidy, strives to put out music that tells a story. Music that has a lasting impact. That improves people’s lives. He talks about why:

  • He wrote his song Calling Out—the meaning behind it
  • The #1 mistake new producers make is trying to be someone else
  • Knowing music theory speeds up the process of writing music

If you’re wanting to do something different with your music, it’s a good listen. We do talk some technical stuff also, so make sure to listen to the end if you’re interested in learning some cool techniques.

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The Producer Cycle—Why comparing yourself to others SUCKS

Nolan talked about his biggest struggle as an artist—comparing himself to others. It’s something almost all of us do. It’s natural.

He calls it The Producer Cycle:

  1. You start a new project and you’re super excited. You think this is gonna be IT. This is going to be the song that will launch your career.
  2. You take a break, you listen to some other music throughout the week… all your favorite artists and tunes…
  3. And now you’re discouraged. Your music isn’t as good. You’re comparing yourself.

The problem with this cycle is that the music we listen to has typically been made by artists with far more experience than us. But we forget this.

One way to combat this is to listen to older music you’ve made, so you can compare your current self to your past self. This helps immensely. In fact, if you’re reading this, go right now and listen to a song you made 6 months ago.

Do it.

Have you done it?

Now listen to a song you just finished.

Is there a difference?

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”—Ernest Hemingway

What we talk about:

  • Storytelling through music (and being authentic)
  • Producing/mixing with vocals
  • Benefits to Icon Collective
  • Why people produce what’s popular
  • Comparing yourself to others—The Producer Cycle—how to deal with it
  • The importance of learning theory
  • Using silence and breath
  • Approach to layering
  • Slow Shiver’s send trick
  • Touring being over-glamourized
  • Dealing with creative block

Things mentioned:


Want to listen to my whole conversation with Amidy? Check out the recording below:

Direct Download Link

Right-click and select “Save Link As…”

Listen on Soundcloud

Subscribe in iTunesSubscribe on Android – Subscribe on Stitcher