Ego, Berklee, and Working With BT: Lessons from Matt Lange

BT.

Berklee.

Mau5trap.

Matt Lange went from playing piano at age 5, to working with the renowned BT for a year.

He also graduated from Berklee College of Music. Rare.

Here are three things you’ll learn in this episode: 

  1. Why it’s normal to have an ego as a successful artist (but what you need to do to keep it in check)
  2. The #1 takeaway from working with BT for a year
  3. Two ways to break through creative block and enjoy making music again

And a bunch more.

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Why you have an ego (and how to deal with it)

“I’ve seen [ego] do really awful things to a lot of people. So I try to stay pretty far away from it, you know? I mean, we all have an ego. We’re all looking for some kind of validation. But keeping it in check is something I really try to focus on.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re successful or not. Your ego can get the better of you.

If you’re successful, you have thousands of people telling you how amazing you are. As Matt says in the podcast, “If you have someone tell you something enough times, you’ll eventually start to believe it.”

If you’re new to making music, it can still get the better of you. You’ll think your music is better than it really is. You won’t work as hard. You won’t be able to make friends as easily because you come across distastefully.

So how do you keep your ego in check?

Matt first recommends stoicism, “Stoicism in a way is almost a set of rules for living life, understanding that the world is going to revolve and exist and it has nothing to do with you.”

Here are three books to help you learn more about stoicism (and apply it to your life):

Matt also recommends another book from Holiday, Ego Is The Enemy.

Working in the industry with BT

BT (Brian Transeau) is idolized in the production community.

He’s credited as the pioneer of trance music, and also helped bring IDM music to the forefront.

He’s been nominated for a grammy, scored films, and won a Guinness World Record.

Matt had the chance to work with him. Here’s what he said…

“It was a lot of responsibility. I was 21 years old, fresh out of school. I’d never worked in a professional environment and it was very much sink or swim. Immediately.”

Some artists crumble under this kind of pressure. Matt managed to handle it…

“I learned a lot. Very quickly. Everything from how to talk to record execs and managers to spending time with booking agents. Everything on that side.”

But his biggest takeaway? How to interface with other people in the industry.

“I learned, psychologically, how to interface with people like that [booking agents/managers/industry people/artists]. I mean, considering BT himself is an artist… he’s got all the crazy that we all have and he’s not any different.”

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

“You know, it was really hard. It was really hard on me. And that’s why I only did it for a year. But I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone through that, so I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Want to learn how to network with professionals? Read this article.

Two ways to break through creative block

Matt Lange is prolific. He makes a lot of music.

So I had to ask him about creative block.

He said he gets it, but there are two ways to deal with it.

  • You can fight through it and keep working, or…
  • you can wait for inspiration to strike.

He prefers the first option. So do I. So does Steven Pressfield (read his book, The War of Art. It will change your life).

“I’d much rather just sit down and physically do the work, because I think there’s a lot more discovery in that and I feel more accomplished, as opposed to if I just blow off the day and decide that I’m not feeling it right now and I’m just going to go and watch movies all day or something like that.”

Want more advice on dealing with creative block? Check these out:

This is just some of the stuff we cover in the episode.

Listen below to hear my full conversation with Matt Lange, and learn:

  1. How to deal with your ego and not let it destroy you
  2. What Matt learned from working with BT for a year… and the challenges he faced
  3. Two strategies for dealing with creative block

Plus more.

Direct Download Link

Right-click and select “Save Link As…”

Listen on Soundcloud

Subscribe in iTunesSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe on Stitcher