Ep 79 : Asking Questions

Apr 19, 2023

Asking Questions with Josh Doyle

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In this episode, we talk with Josh Doyle, a creator, mixing engineer, and entrepreneur in the music industry. We discuss the power of asking questions and how it has helped us in our own careers in licensing, producing, and developing songs! We believe that asking questions is a continuing trait of successful people. In this episode, we explore why questions are opportunities, not something to be embarrassed or afraid of.

Join us as we share our experiences and insights on how asking questions has helped us grow our careers and achieve success. Discover the power of asking questions for yourself!

 Read the transcript below (made with an AI transcriber and may contains typos)


Mike Meiers 00:00
Hey, I'm Mike Meiers and this is the Songwriting for Guitar podcast which is geared to support songwriters and producers to gain confidence and turn pro. I bring on industry experts to help you improve and monetize your skills, Engage better in the writing process, and build healthy habits to create a sustainable career. You love. Caffeinated, inspirational, conversational? What's up friends Mike Meiers here with the song rang for guitar podcast episode number 79. Asking questions with Josh Doyle. Now this episode we got Josh, Josh is back. And we're going to talk about the power of asking questions. Because when you get into a career, like we have with licensing, producing and developing your songs, it can seem like you just got there mysteriously magically, you know, we say things like, oh, this person's really talented. That's what's got them there. They got the drive, they got the energy. But here's the thing. There's a continuing trait and people that are doing well. And Josh and I were talking about this, and we realized we need to do a podcast about it. They just asked a lot of questions. They're not afraid to ask questions. They're not afraid to dive in and be like, Hey, maybe I don't know enough about this. And I need to ask somebody that can help me. Now that can be super vulnerable. You can feel weird. But Josh and I have embraced that any opportunity we have when we're with somebody that we're like, oh my lord, yes. We are like, you know, doing a ton of like writing down on paper, all these questions that we want ask, we're thinking we're not missing this opportunity. And that's what we want you to see questions as opportunity, not something that's bad. So we're going to dive into this episode, Episode 79, asking questions with Josh Doyle. People are excited, Josh, you know why?

Josh Doyle 02:11
I do not know why. Tell me please.

Mike Meiers 02:13
We're we're going to talk about questions. Today, we're going to talk about asking good questions.

Josh Doyle 02:19
All right, let's ask some questions.

Mike Meiers 02:23
Well, you know, I think it's because as you get further and further down the path, when people are looking at the people that are doing the thing, and they're, they're almost placed on a pedestal, right, of just like, Oh, they've, you know, they, they're just so gifted, they're so talented, they're so nice. And it's like, or, if we could, and this is what it gets into, or they just asked a lot of questions. I think some of the most like uncomfortable things for people is asking a question and admitting when they don't know some right, or they need help. Yeah,

Josh Doyle 02:56
I've mentioned this before, when you listen to like, any kind of interview with actors or any other professional sports professional or whatever, they always have that mentor, who they, you know, that it was like, they had that safe space, to be able to ask those, you know, quote, unquote, dumb questions. And, and, you know, fill in those gaps of their knowledge. That's key. I mean, and we've all had that. I know that I've had that that question like, just haunting me of like, I secretly don't know what a compressor does, you know, like, that kind of thing. And you're like, I'm kind of too far along to really like, ask what the threshold knob on a compressor does, like, you know, those kinds of types types of things.

Mike Meiers 03:39
But, yeah, we need to ask questions. Yeah. But no, it's so somebody comes and they ask a question, sometimes the question they're asking is not the question that needs to be asked. But there's a question underneath the question. Yes. Like, there's another layer to it. Yeah. And that's why you have to ask the question, because you think, Oh, this is the important thing I need to be asking, but someone who is your mentor and is down the path they go? That is absolutely a valid question. But what I think you need to ask is actually this, right? And then that causes either two things, either causes resistance, and that you know, the person. No, that's not it's not an important question that they're telling, even though they came to that person, because they were like, you have the answers. And then they go, but I do know that's not the answer. Or so there's either resistance or they go like, Oh, I didn't even think of that. Right. What does that mean? And then that actually then creates the answer for the following question. Yeah.

Josh Doyle 04:36
And I've been there so many times, like, especially on the the mixing journey and production of like trying to figure out like, how these great sounding albums are made. You know, I reached out to people or was asking, I was asking like decent questions, but just the wrong questions for the goal that I was trying to get at, you know, like I you know, Yeah, I would ask like, whatever something like what kind of drumsticks should I be using for, you know, this, this rock song that I'm trying to record? Because I'm really trying to get that like Dave Grohl snare snap. And they're like, that's not the right question you should be asking the drumsticks aren't what you should be focusing on. And they were absolutely right. You know, I didn't know what the ingredient was that I was missing or what was like, you know, the most important thing? Yeah, those kinds of things.

Mike Meiers 05:26
But I think then people go either like, oh, no, that they either become also self conscious, where they were like, I asked the wrong question. That's what I'm worried about that I'm going to ask the wrong question. It's like, no, no, you got to start somewhere. And you have to ask, because then you actually get to the shit that matters, and is actually going to provide the answer. So you have to be okay with being uncomfortable, too. That's another thing. I think you say that with coaching students like, Hey, you're gonna be uncomfortable. Yes. And you got to be okay with that. Yeah.

Josh Doyle 05:54
And even, you know, even those wrong questions, like help inform me of like, kind of where their mindset is, and there's no, there's no shame in it, you know, like it, if they're, like, really focused on something, and I hear, like a deficiency, or a gap in their mixes, or, you know, whatever, even in their songwriting, or whatever, it helps me realize, like, Oh, they've been spending a lot of time focused on this, or that may be where their passion is. And that's an okay thing to like, they're very passionate about this. Not so much about this. Let's kind of see what happens when they put some attention over here. You know, there's just, it's an informative,

Mike Meiers 06:36
or it's like, when someone goes, Hey, tell me what needs to happen with this production? Tell me where it needs to go? And also tell me just like the balance, is it good? It's like, yeah, it's not bad. Can I ask you another question? How many songs have you written in the past? Like, month? Two months? Oh, three? Okay, well, you know what, I think you may have to write a little bit more, because the questions you're asking are valid, but I think you need to go back to the writing process, and maybe write a few more Yeah. And then from that, and have your references, and then just keep on practicing. And then your productions get a little bit better. You can't put stock into the first two or three songs and expect, you know, 25 years of growth or five years of growth in those songs. That's a lot to put on them.

Josh Doyle 07:25
Right. Right. Right. Yeah. And I also think, like, I don't know, if I if I could give like one bit of advice to people on their their question asking is, maybe take one step back from the level, like, you know, if you're like at, there's questions that beginners would ask, you know, like, how do I plug in this cable to my, you know, whatever. And then there's like, the questions that everybody always wants to ask is, like, is this mix done? Is it syncable? They're always asking the very final step question, right? They're always like, yeah, where should I do when I get paid for my sink? Where should I deposit it in my business account, you know, there's like, way, they're, like, way past, like where they need to be. So my advice would be like, the question that you think that you should be asking, take another step down from that, and like, ask a pre question to that, like, be a little bit more humble in in your question, right.

Mike Meiers 08:20
You know, what, I think you're right, there's two ends of the spectrum. There's like, the very beginner and some people go, I'm, uh, you know, I know, I check my gain staging. I plugged in my ampere, I'm all good. And then there's the extreme of just like, so what's a balanced portfolio? Investing with this? You know, the 1000s I'm making, it's like, cool. There's about like, you know, 50 other steps in between? Do you have any questions about those 50 steps? Exactly. Because it seems like it's an easy jump, you know, to see someone further down the road? Well, they just, you know, they just, they just did a lot that, yes, they did a lot, but they did ask questions. And I guess my question to you, and you can tell me if there's actually a question on top of that. Why, you know, I'm making a broad generalization a little bit where it's like, you know, either people are just, they're very resistant to hearing it, or they just don't want to hear it, or they're uncomfortable. Why do you think people sometimes are just resisting asking questions?

Josh Doyle 09:18
I think it's insecurity. I mean, it's, it's, you know, I think we all had like, whether it's a friend or a parent or relative, or whoever that always, you know, we would ask a question, and at some point in our life, we probably all got that, that says, dumb question. I can't believe you're asking me that, you know, and, like, that stinks. Like, you didn't even realize it was a dumb question. And that that can that can, like, you know, I can put some scabs over, over, you know, your vulnerability to like, just ask questions. And I think that's where like, you need to embrace being uncomfortable and, you know, just ask some dumb questions like just just get in there. Just jump in the water. Under is gonna be cold. But like once you get in there, it starts to warm up, you know? Yeah. So I'm always I'm all about the dumb questions like, the more the more basic, the more I love getting into that, because there's like there's nuance in those beginner questions or, I don't know, I know dumb questions. Like, they're all interesting to me.

Mike Meiers 10:20
That to me, is interesting. The idea that some people are carrying like the scars a little bit of what someone said, and even the toughest people are Oh, no, I'm does not bother me. But meanwhile, it's just like that moment of stupid and it's like, oh, maybe it is. Yeah, right.

Josh Doyle 10:35
Yeah, they're carrying

Mike Meiers 10:36
that. Or is you think of school to like when you go to school? Yeah. What who are praised who are lifted up? Well, the people that give the right answer. What happens if just like, that's not the important question right now. Oh, okay. I thought, oh, no, it's just like, sometimes our even our inquisitiveness is kind of like, trampled down by teachers, because they're like, well, that's not part of it right. Now. I know. That's not an important question. Oh, okay.

Josh Doyle 11:01
And, you know, and that's a tough thing, like, you know, for us is like, teachers, as coaches, you have that story of like, you know, when you were asking questions, I forget, I forget how it went. Exactly. But yeah, um, you know, we've had that where that's not the the question you should be asking you right now, or that's not, you know, oh, no, I remember what it was. You said, like, you asked a question. And the guy said, Well, I could explain it to you, but it's not going to make sense. Yeah, you know, like, that's like a form of that. And you're like I, you know, and that's like the type of thing where you're trying to be, you're trying to be considerate and polite. And you know, they might be asking you about some advanced level? And the answer is, like, I could tell you, but really, like, can we talk about this other thing that I think will help get you there? And then you'll understand like, what that answer is, and we're not trying to be condescending, or insulting or anything like that. It's just really like we've been there. We know like, Yeah, I can't tell you like, I'm always talking about compressors. But I can't tell you the number of times I had to have somebody explained to me what a compressor does like, what all those knobs mean? Like how all the how they all fit together. It took me forever to get it, you know, and I had to keep asking that same question over and over and over again. And finally it clicked, you know, like, so yeah. There's a lot to unpack there.

Mike Meiers 12:17
And what's interesting is, sometimes the answers we get may not always fit 100%. So somebody's showing you, hey, this is how this is supposed to be done. And then you're doing the thing. And then part of you goes like, okay, so they told me this is exactly, and I've got all the settings, right. And I've got everything there. Yeah, but I'm getting this feedback. That's not right.

Josh Doyle 12:36
That's the danger. Did they lie

Mike Meiers 12:38
to me? Did they lie? And it's like, no, no, no, they didn't lie. But it's not always a one size fits all. It's also like the process and the answer may have to change a little bit based on this. That's what's also mind. Yeah.

Josh Doyle 12:50
Yeah. And that's, that's like, a whole other angle of like, when you are asking the questions, like, really think about who it is you are asking and what their perspective is, you know, like, if I'm, if I'm going to even some like a list like hero, mixer, person, producer, whoever, songwriter, if they only you know, if they have all their Grammys have come from, like working with heavy metal artists, as genius as they might be. That's not a genre that I work in. So I'm going to be very, it's not that I'm not going to ask them questions, of course, I'm going to pick their brain, but I'm going to be very aware and particular of like, okay, what's a universal question that I can ask? That's not gonna steer me wrong, because they're gonna probably like be setting, you know, doing their things like very differently than what a singer songwriter, producer engineer mixer might be doing. And so you got to be careful of like, the questions that you ask and take it into context. You know,

Mike Meiers 13:53
it was interesting. We did, I think this was a couple of months ago. And it was a critique. And usually when we talked about sync, we're always talking about builds drops. And yeah, you know, this one song kind of went straight through where it was like, but it felt good, nice. And that was the thing. And then somebody asked, the question was like, I thought you said Build and drops were important. I'm like they are. The song feels really good. Like, it's like, it's emotionally pulling me in. And it was just like, and Heather and I were like, This is great. Yeah. And they were like, so we shouldn't do builds and drops. And I'm like, here's the thing you want. I wish it was a very like, and sometimes the answers we get, and maybe that's why we don't want to ask questions. It's not going to be a yes or no, kind of like how that dude told me, I could tell you, but it won't make sense. And at the time, I was like, You're right. It doesn't make sense. But here I am now and I'm like, you know, yeah, everything that I've been doing doesn't make it's not an it's not a straight. It's all over the place. The thing I thought I was going to be doing that morphed into this, that I moved here. That's what he means he has that it's going to change it's going to be you can have to Go with your intuition a little bit. And it's like, no wonder he couldn't say like, Hi, Mike, here's the form, fill it. Right. It's not. And so when you get those questions about, like, why thought this rule applied to everything? Yeah. Not always. Yeah. Well, how do I know? That's the thing? You might not? No, yeah.

Josh Doyle 15:19
And that's where like doing a lot of work. Man, I love a hard and fast rule. That is always true. And there are so few of them, like, ever, there's always the exception. And I think that that's the toughest thing, not only to teach, but also to just be aware of, of like, when is this breaking of rule? Because like, you know, everybody's always like, kind of, I don't know why that is, like, they're always trying to, like, prove the teacher wrong kind of thing. Like you. You said, Everything needs builds and drops and everything needs layer. Yeah, you know, and look at this, this doesn't have it. And you're like, Absolutely, it totally doesn't. But, you know, this is for a very specific thing. And, you know, you might not see this, we were talking about ads at that time, you know, or whatever the thing is, and this does not work for ads, this works for something else. So don't take what I was the advice I was giving on add music for this other thing, this works very well for its own thing. You know, like, there's all kinds of caveats to do those things. Oh, that's

Mike Meiers 16:23
a good word. I love that. Just pulled that out of your little little word book right there. Yes, a few words. It's my word of the day. But I think it is. I get that too. Sometimes that little resistance and people are like, but you said, but you and it's like, I know. And I did say that. But like where I am standing right now. It's not it doesn't work. Right. But when will it work? That's a great question. I don't have a yes or no answer. It might eventually work. Where, you know, if someone says, Wait, am I going to get my first placement? That is a great question. Yeah, I do not know. So it took you this long will it take me that long? It might? Yeah. If you, you know, do the, you know, but the you know, I had a different workflow. And you know, when I did this, so if you're not writing a lot, it may take a little bit longer. If you're trying to do everything on your own, it may take a little bit longer, how long? Not sure. Yeah, just all I can say is a little bit longer. Or you may run into someone that may go like, Oh, my God, this is perfect. And it may be even quicker than me.

Josh Doyle 17:26
Right? Or you may or you may find you're just magically find a killer collaborator, who's just like, you know, taking you under their wing. And now you're like, got writing credit on the song and it's landed right away.

Mike Meiers 17:39
See, there's so many different scenarios that we point is like, here's, here's what could happen. Here's what could happen. And then so people are always looking for those, like universal, I guess, kind of like those truths of like, well, is there anything that's consistent? Yeah. Is anything true? think it has anything true? And I was like, well, be nice. Yeah. There

Josh Doyle 17:56
you go. That's there. Yeah.

Mike Meiers 17:57
There we go. That's one that will never fluctuate. That's probably the only one that I think of them. Like, that's pretty much it. Don't be nice. Don't be a creep. Yeah. Create a safe space and respect the other time. Yeah, those are pretty much the only ones that are tried and true. Everything else could change. Yeah. But you got to ask questions. Because if you don't, that's what is. So I feel like and you're in the same space when we took classes when we were in the same class. Like, I was just asking, you know, here's another one. If there was a speaker, here's a question. Here's a question. And you know, I, I didn't want to seem overwhelming. And I'm like, Yeah, I'd be like, I got to ask, because this is like, this is a moment. I don't know when this is going to happen. And I'm always surprised when there's a thing and I'm like, Hey, do you got questions? And nothing? silence And I'm just like, yeah. Are you sure? You know, we're just gonna throw this out any questions? Here's this person. Do you got questions for him? Because it's like, this is crazy,

Josh Doyle 19:00
right? When I first so I've said it. Before that it took me I think about two years, maybe a little bit less. To get my very first sync after I've been like building up my catalog for a while. I just didn't have the contacts I didn't understand. Yeah, you know, libraries and stuff like that. And I eventually got to take a music supervisor out to lunch. And man, I tell you, I prepared for that lunch for like, an entire day. I went with a notebook, just full of questions. And some of them like weren't great questions. You know, I had to skip over them. You know, they just weren't weren't applicable. But man, I went prepared. I was like, I was questioning that guy. His entire meal. I'm he's like, he got to eat.

Mike Meiers 19:42
But I think that's an interesting thing. You said you prepare. So it's like, even if you know that's gonna happen. I get people that come into situations cold. And they're just like, Ah, I can't fit Yeah, because sometimes your mind just, it's it can't compute. It's like trying to pull stuff out. And you're like, really? Like, you know, like, where do you like to go? Like, do you have you have a puppy, it's just like those are not. That's what your mind's coming up with, you don't have time of this lake. And maybe this is another thing, like kind of carving out some time for like, reflection and kind of like thinking about like, Okay, well, if I do meet the end kind of studying up on them and what they've done, and the thing so that when you're with them, I remember when we would get those moments let in that course, if we did a live event, and they had supervisors, you could spend like five minutes with, I remember just being like, okay, so I have my draft, I have my song, I have the backup of the song, I have the backup of the backup in case, you know, the backup explodes in my backpack, and it's just like, and then I'm going to be like, hey, I really, you know, it was great, because I, you know, I know so and so and did it. And I really gave thought to that because that small window is so huge. Yeah, it's just like, that's where maybe you get that one thing, because you asked and then suddenly makes your brain kind of go like, Oh, that's why I like going to conferences or the thing because I know, my notebooks going to be full of, I don't want to say I'm suspicious, but I'm a little I'm a little suspicious. Like when someone doesn't write down when someone's talking or just taking notes, or just like filling up questions or doodling or allowing their imagination to go with what the person is talking, which could spawn questions. I'm just like, you're just sitting there expecting to remember. Yeah. Do you remember? Do you remember? It's like, No, you won't? Yeah, do you not? Yeah. And man, those are so many missed opportunities of like, growth. And I don't know, just like paving forward to the, I don't know, creating the things that you want to create.

Josh Doyle 21:48
Anybody that's, that's further along, in in any path. I look at that as an opportunity to, to I don't know, I'm just like, naturally curious. Like, I'm always wondering, you know, oh, somebody works at a mortuary. I want to pick their brain like, how does that work? What's that? Like? You know? Yeah, that's question,

Mike Meiers 22:08
what playlist Do you have? What's acceptable? Is it like, just the playlist change where it's like, families coming? Yeah. And then you like the other ones? Like, do you ever eat on your lunch break? Do you? Right? Yeah. Like, what is? What is the what? No, it's just like, it's I and maybe this is the other thing, too, do you think? And maybe, as I'm talking this out, this is causing me to think and ask questions. It's like, Do you Do you think people that ask good questions, allow their imagination to kind of like, go a little bit and just, like, wander and expand and think, and create scenarios, so that then suddenly, like, a question pops out?

Josh Doyle 22:49
Yeah, you know, that's like, that's something I've been thinking about, recently to like, the, like, some people are like, well, I don't even know what questions to ask, you know, so like, how do you how does that like, come? Like, I don't even know where my weaknesses are. And then maybe that's where those questions of like, hey, is this sinkable? Because they that's their goal, right? Like, I want to get a sale. Yeah. So it's, you know, it's not that they're, they're doing anything bad. It's just like, that's all they can do is like, I've got this goal, it's just sink, isn't there yet. And they don't know how to like break down. Any other questions. And this is like, a whole a whole thing, right? Like, if you're, it gets into like the act of listening of like, Hey, I'm trying to capture this, this element in the song. That's like a better question to ask, you know, like, you really have to get, you have to get out your microscope and start getting into I want to capture that acoustic guitar the way that like, you can hear her thumb, hit that low E string. And I've got songs like that where you can actually hear the fingers on the string as they're strumming. You know, that's such a cool thing to be able to capture. Those are questions like, get into the details of like, that, you know, like, that's like an entire conversation right there. Like, how do you capture that? On that note? There's this quote from I think it's Eleanor Roosevelt, like that talks about Simple Minds, talk about people, average minds talk about events. And then great minds talk about ideas. And that's something that I think about, like the thinking about the idea of, of what you're trying to go after,

Mike Meiers 24:27
but I mean, ideas. Yeah, it's just that sitting with what is it 3am Does this thing that's really cool. Like, it's part of their employees that they have to carve out time of imagination. And I was just like, that's wild that they have to do it because imagination creates things but then creating things leads to like, Well, how am I going to do that and then steps then you got to ask questions to get to that thing. And so yeah, when someone says it's, you know, it's the simple it's like, yes, that's cool. I get I get where you're going because you want to make sure that It is fits. But my next question would be like, you know, what was your? And what are you trying to do? Have you? And then my mind then goes to imagining? Have you tried mixing this this this? No? Is it gonna work? It might but I try. It's like you just start thinking about things and start maybe creating Well, let me try this. And if it doesn't maybe I'll just eliminate one of these things and I'll add this. There we go that you have to Yeah, I don't know, just kind of imagine some ideas and then test them out. And it may give you the answer, it may lead to a question that you go, that doesn't work. But I do like that. I'm going to follow that away. But I'm going to take this way. That was my solution. It's, yeah, there's not a very simple Well, it's x, y, z. Yeah. And then you're going to exactly get the consistent answer. I think in you know, just continuing questions will lead to a process and a system that you'll develop, and that will become more and more predictable over time. But then even then, you're gonna be like, I gotta mix things up. Yeah. Like, it's just now it's like, you know, I don't want to deliver the same thing again. And again, so you know, what, I'm gonna try this. And then you just or it's like, I'm gonna go over here. That's something. I feel like people that get further down the path want to be more uncomfortable. Yeah, they don't want to be very, you know, protected. And just like, oh, this is great. This is great. They want to be uncomfortable. They want to be like God, because they know this is like a new period of growth. Because if they're super uncomfortable, and they're really pushed, that's where it's just like, oh, man, this is like a new extreme. Nothing good comes from just, I was so comfortable. And then man, great things happen.

Josh Doyle 26:42
Yeah, I always have to have at least one element that is that is pushing me forward, like I'll do, I'll do like several songs in the same style, to make sure like, especially if it's a new style, and I'm trying to capture it, and that's my challenge. I'll do several more to kind of prove to myself like, hey, I can replicate this, I really do have this down, you know, but after that, I need to add an element, there has to be something to it. That is, is pushing me holding my interest. Because after that, you know, then I'm just kind of going through the motions, and it doesn't feel as inspired.

Mike Meiers 27:28
Hey, it's Mike. And I just wanted to jump in the middle of this podcast to ask you if you've been listening to this for quite a while, because here we are episode number 79. And you know, you haven't left us a review on Apple podcast. Could you do that right now, because that would be huge. It could just be like talking about your favorite episode. Because believe me, reviews matter. We read each one. And it helps bring notoriety and awareness of our podcast and brings more exposure. So it really helps us out a ton. So if you've been listening to us for a very long time, and you haven't done that yet, could you just take a moment right now, I truly do appreciate it. And I truly appreciate you continuing to listen and share this podcast. So without further ado, let's jump back in to this week's episode. It's interesting that you said that you stay with it for a little bit just to learn the I guess kind of like the the blueprint or the boundaries of just like cool, this is what and then you gain some consistency. Yeah, cool. Now I got to add something to mix it up. Otherwise, it's just gonna be like, I don't want to say like a watered down or a Kool Aid version of what you're making. But it's like, you got to do something to it to just make it like you. You're right, right, but still have that authenticity of the genre, the style, so that when you pitch it, they're not going to be like, Ah, this is wildly off where you even listening to what yeah, what it is. And it's like, but no, you've got those elements. But now you've got that thing. It's like when they say, what does he have? He's got that thing that style that present. And it's like, that's such an intangible thing sometimes that we're like, what does that mean? How do I get that?

Josh Doyle 29:08
Yeah. When you're meeting with somebody and getting yours, you were just talking about like that, what three, um, they carve out that time for like imagination? Where does your brain go? Like when you were thinking of like, like asking questions like, how do you come up with with that? Like, is there like a certain like, do you start like digging into that? Whoever you're gonna be asking the questions of Do you dig into them and kind of see where, where things might link up where connections can be made in terms of like, where they can kind of provide the most value or be of most service is like, how do you how do you go about it?

Mike Meiers 29:44
You know, it was interesting, because we had on the insiders, John Lennon, who is the composer of like, last kingdom, Downton Abbey, and I was just like before he came on, I just listened to to some of his interviews, and it was really cool. He has a great Scottish accent. So thick and it's so, but it wasn't, I was just like, oh, let me listen to some of his, uh, you know, you know, everybody sometimes thinks everybody has a niche like a very, but it was interesting because last kingdom was very Nordic and there were lots of and it was very ambient, but he had this one vocal that was just like prayer. And I was like, wow. And then there was a recommended, oh, recommend from Jama. And it was like Ranchester. And it was like 1950, I think it was somewhere around the 50s, early 50s, where this show to jet and I ended up binging on it. And it was great. But it was I listened to like the soundtrack, very simple, very minimalist, very like piano. And I'm like, Man, that is such a departure from this. And then I listened to Downton Abbey. It was like, somewhere in the middle. And then I was like, Well, I was like, you know, and that was the first question. I was like, how do you go from that? Yeah, to a very, like, very classical, very, like standard, just like very polite piano piece to suddenly. And he explained that when he sits down, this is where I was like, this kind of resonate. I was like, oh, I need to do more of this. He goes through his instrument, but he has he just closes his eyes and thinks about a visual of what does this feel like? And what is it? You know, does it seem does this feel like it would move and he was like, Oh, for that last kingdom? Yeah, I had like these. I had, like, all this ambient, but then we brought it I saw somebody showed me this clip of this woman and I sampled it, because I was like, There's something about it. And then we tracked her down. And then I brought her in, I flew. I was like, Whoa, so it was interesting that his process doesn't start with a. Okay, so tell me what the script and he'll read that. But like, he's sitting down, and he's like, I have to visualize, and I'm like, visualization and right. He's allowing his imagination. So it's like, even down that path. He's not getting further. So I'm like, I guess I'm doing a deep dive on them. So you're in really? Yeah, just consuming what they do.

Josh Doyle 32:07
So you Yeah, that's really interesting. And that's a that's a great way to go about that. So you're digging into what they're doing and finding things that interest you. And like, like, kind of prompt questions instead of like, yeah, instead of just being like, Okay, I'm sitting down with, like, a composer be like, Well, what do you think of Spielberg or whatever, you know, like, instead of just like, random, kind of like, film composer II questions, you're actually digging into who they are, what they've done, and then finding questions of like, how did they do that? Like, I've never heard that before. And then that's where you're, that's what prompts your questions. That's, I like,

Mike Meiers 32:41
the natural question below. What VSTS do you use? What racks do you use? It doesn't matter doesn't it doesn't matter. Not that they're not? I'm sure they're cool. And he could probably tell me a million ones that I should probably go out and binge and buy. Yeah. But it's like, the plugin isn't the important thing. It's like the person and like their mind and what they're thinking, as their mind is like, it's just like, What is he thinking when he gets something like, He's given, like, a template of what, you know, Downton Abbey is, which is like, people are like, you know, when he first got that the first season, he was like, yeah, they explained that it was going to switch from all these different things. So I realized the pacing of what I was doing needs to cool now he's getting into shit that I'm like, Oh, that's interesting. So you're thinking about, you're even thinking about the transitions when you haven't even seen the footage, but you're trying to visualize it and experience. You've told me everything that I'm like, that is amazing, right? But now it's just like, now I got more questions. So yeah, is that how it always is? And he's like, No, not always. But sometimes it's like, wow, yeah, that is to me. You know, the basic question would have been Yeah, like, or what piano? Do you have? You know, what piano do you use? And how do you you know, how do you practice? I'm sure those are, those are not. Those are valid questions. But if I've got five minutes with them, I don't think I'm going to be asking that. I'll be like, Wow, what goes through your mind? Yeah. Can I get it? Can you paint a picture of what you're seeing in your head? Yeah. So I can try to visualize that too. And then just be like, Oh, okay. That's, that's the shit that gets me like on fire. And I think that's the important too. And the questions. Sometimes people are asking questions, they're so deadpan, like, this tells me the answer, and it's like, oh, man, I sometimes to want a question. That's a little bit more like,

Josh Doyle 34:35
fiery. Yeah, that has some like layers that you can peel back. Yeah, yeah. I feel like what you're what you're kind of touching on is like these these, like these universal experiences that like even though he's a film composer, and like you and I don't really do a lot of that. It's like, Where, where is there crossover? Like, you know, a great question is like, what do you do when you get stuck? Do you know like, you know, writer's block, that's a very common experience. And like, that would be an interesting thing to see what he does. Because like, you know, if you, if you asked another songwriter, they might, like, think about it from a lyric standpoint, well, a composer doesn't deal with lyrics. So like, what does he do to like, get out of that? You know, like, I think that that's interesting.

Mike Meiers 35:20
It's funny, you mentioned that, but I did ask him something along that lines, he goes every day, he plays a different piece from Bach, oh, he sits down and plays through because he was like, he has such a vast catalogue. You can't help but find something interesting, that kind of like, and I was like, I was like, that's interesting. So even when the welds dried, then you go to something. And then you still fill it up with a new idea or a different approach. And I was like, that's, that's intriguing, because there you go. Yeah, it's still half. So he's also saying, like, hey, it's always gonna be there. But you got to find ways to kick that funk. And so I think that was also acknowledgement. whatever way works for you find that way. It needs to be there. So it's like if somebody goes, well, I'm writing pops, or I'd listen to Bach every day. I don't you know, it's not necessarily you should listen. Maybe you should, because you know what, I think Bob Bach was a great like, he was essentially like a pop song.

Josh Doyle 36:15
Right? Yeah. Right. There's a reason his melodies are still around.

Mike Meiers 36:19
And they Yeah, and you know, what, they didn't have any recording. So all you had to take away was just that moment. And so you realize how crucial it was that you remember, some sort of piece? Yeah, something different, because we can all see data, or metadata and data, that we're seeing his melody, or his courses, if you will, kind of those parts it comes back to? Yeah. So that was a cool little takeaway from him, where it was like, Ah, so he has writer's block, too. And sometimes your questions may not get answers, but also validation that the person that you're asking goes, Hey, guess what, that's great. And you know, what, I'm still figuring that out. Yeah. And that's, you can still be further along and still struggle with that question.

Josh Doyle 37:02
You know, in terms of like, being humble, and, like, vulnerable and honest. Like, you know, those classics are like, also what, what are taught to beginner piano students, you know, those melody like, and he's going back to those, like, beginner, I mean, you know, they're, they're masterpieces. So they're not like, you know, yeah, lullabies or anything. But yeah, he's like, totally being vulnerable and being like, you know, I'm just gonna go back to like, my roots in a way. Yeah, and re explore those now, with my ears. With a Masters mind. You know,

Mike Meiers 37:39
it's interesting to just have that perspective, because like, that was an example of me asking good questions. I can remember when I asked terrible questions, I remember being here. And I was visiting a friend and I was watching him. He was nice enough to watch me let them build out. So he built out a song, show me his process. It was so quick. Yeah. Wow, you're getting this done, like an hour and a half. Like, how do you do that? And now I'm like, Oh, he just did a lot. And that was that was to me, I was still not at that quota. But then he was mastering and I was like, Dude, what are you using? He was like, Oh, this is just the UAE master pack. I wrote it down, went home, bought it. And I emailed him, I was like, Can you? Can you screenshot shoot me your settings? Like, I can, right? And I remember being like, no, no, no. But now I'm like, oh, that doesn't matter. Yeah. Because like, the settings used for that may not work for what I'm doing and the order and like, I may have to use one less than them, I don't always have to use that precision limiter, I can use a different one. It's doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter.

Josh Doyle 38:42
That's that's a great point there that. And I was trying to figure out how to how to word that exactly. But when you ask questions like that, and I've done this to where I've asked, you know, your your mind is blown. You see somebody, like put together a song in like, 30 minutes, the entire thing that something that takes you weeks to do, and you're like, how do you do that? And then the answer is not as interesting or as mind blowing, as you think, you know, and they're answering it. And it's like, yeah, I guess that makes sense. You're doing that and then this and yeah, that's exactly what I do. Only it takes me like three months to get something that sounds half as good. When when that happens. And you get those answers that aren't as, as interesting as you thought that they would be. That's like a sign that you need to re like ask better questions, like rethink the question that you're asking and be like, Oh, alright, I'm asking something that's probably above my level right now, or isn't the right question. You know, and that that's a prompt for me to be like, Okay, I need to, I need to figure out like, like, how, let me let me like, re let me zoom out a little bit and be like, Okay, what is he doing? That's really something that is puzzling me, you know, like in a very narrow way instead of just like broad question of like, how are you doing this?

Mike Meiers 40:02
And it's interesting. I go back to that moment. I'm like, oh, that's the question. That was the answer. I should have been paying attention to the mastering session. You know, settings didn't matter. But what did matter was he wasn't overthinking. He was told. That's what I was so overthinking. And it's interesting that you mentioned that the idea that people are like, No, that's the answer. Yeah. Write more songs. That's not what they want. Because then it's highlighting something they're not doing. Yeah. That they know they should be doing but they're dragging their heels. And they're just like, and they're more making. They're asking less questions, making more excuses of like, Well, right now, it's really tough right now. I just, it's like, Oh, my Lord, do you want to do this or not? Yeah. Now, that's an easy question. Yes, no, yeah, that one does have a very specific answer. Does it? Does more problems in the process intrigue you? Or does it discourage you, for me is intriguing? Because I'm like, well, there's more questions I need to be asking. Yeah. I'm not disheartened, I realized there's always going to be there's no clarity moment of like, the entire thing. Yeah. It's only little bits of it's almost like, the fog lifts a little bit. And you see a little bit more of a skyline you're like, Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, I see a little bit more, but you don't see everything at once. It's, it's never gonna happen,

Josh Doyle 41:16
you know, something that that that whole thing on what you're talking about, there was somebody recently who actually did do the thing where they did several songs. And I think they sent me like a playlist of 1015 20 songs, and it was over, you know, it was maybe over like a two year period. And just them doing the repetition. They were still, you know, even after doing it for a couple of years, their mixes weren't sounding, you know, they didn't achieve like everything. But even on their own through repetition, you could tell like what they did for their first five songs, they were not making those same mistakes on songs 10 through 15. And it the things that were consistent of like, Oh, they're lacking here, yep, that's a thread that they're following. They're they're not they haven't found the solution to this thing. That's, that's been bugging them the whole time. Man, in terms of like, from a teacher coaching perspective, that's like the, the holy grail of what I look for in a student, somebody who's like, shown that they put in the work. And even though they're not, they've struggled that whole time. I'm like, let's solve this. I know exactly what you need right here. Like, let's dig into this, and we're gonna solve this for you. And it's gonna like, it's gonna be an aha moment. Because that little thing that's been a pain point for them the entire time. Now, they can just like, fix that and apply it to everything they've done the past two years. And, you know, like, oh, man,

Mike Meiers 42:43
it's changing. It's like, it's one of those things where they're like, holy shit, you're right. I missed that. Yeah. But it's cool to see too. But hey, you still have been figuring out problems? Yeah. Cuz you can point like, Hey, this guy better, right? Because you just stuck with it. And sometimes that's also the answer. It's like, you got to do it again. What do you mean, do it again? Yeah, do it again. Yeah. Who do any tips? Well, do it again, again, I'll see. And then we'll, we'll meet with this one. And then I'll probably tell you to do it again. And then you're gonna have to do it again. Right, one? Well, I have to stop. You know, again, it's not one of them. Again, not necessarily an answer. That's intriguing. But it's just like, that's the answer. Yeah. It's like, Oh, I thought it was gonna be like, tell me six. And then I could stop. Yeah. You know, and yeah, it's, this is why questions are fascinating. I don't know. It's just like, it's interesting. Yeah,

Josh Doyle 43:40
there was a chef that I heard on, on something who was like just obsessed with croissants. I think that's like, just just obsessed. And he said, he didn't feel like he understood how to make a good croissant until after he'd made 10,000. And that's like, literally making the exact same thing over and over and over. And he said that he didn't really feel like he knew how to do it until 10,000. And I'm like, that just blows my mind. And I almost don't believe him. But I don't know that that just really like put in perspective of like, just what repetition does. And I mean, in a way I believe it like, you know, I can see that because I still I still struggle with things that I have always struggled with. You know, there's just things that are in your croissants

Mike Meiers 44:33
aren't writing they're okay, they're okay.

Josh Doyle 44:38
But yeah, just repetition. There's, there's just some things that like, there is no other solution for it's just you just have to do and kind of going back to like what I was saying about the the person that have been working over two years and had the you know, 1015 songs done. You know that compared to somebody who's just bringing me to and saying I just I've done these two That's like such a small sample set for me to listen to and be like, where? I can't see the thread yet. I can't see where you're struggling. I can't. I can, you know, I can critique these in isolation. But is that really like doing? I don't know, you know what I mean? Like, there's a reason that like, doctors have you keep on coming back for more bloodwork? Because they need to see the they need to see what's going on. Like, where Where are you heading? Is it a good draft? Or is it just Yeah. Are you getting too many croissants?

Mike Meiers 45:31
But that's, that's, that's so. And it makes sense. Like this week? Like, I had to do a whole bunch of like, Shark Week music. Oh, right. Yeah. And like, when you do like production stuff, it's just like, you have to do a lot because honestly, I don't really send the first two or three. Yeah. Because there are okay. But like, I really get a better template. I get like, understand, like, I like this more. I really hate Oh, this was so bizarre. This is this feel this feels but again, it's such sometimes like, oh, you know, the question could be What do you mean feel? Oh, I just like, I can close my eyes. And like, they asked for on wonder and it feels like on wonder, I feel like I could see, you know, I can look at you know, I'm at the bottom of the ocean looking up and the sun's hitting. And it does that, like, that sparkly kind of thing. And they're talking about conservation in some sense. And that feels like there's, you know, these are majestic creatures, that feels right. The first to

Josh Doyle 46:26
man is okay, I just want to I want to repeat that for anybody listening, that you just said that you don't send the first two or three. And the fact that like, we ask people like, Hey, do do 10 more of these, you know, like, Do do do 20 Of these, like, you are absolutely spot on, like, you're not precious about it. You're not like every single thing that I'm making is, uh, is, you know, is a goldmine is gonna be perfect. I'm absolutely the same way. Like, I'm like, you know, I'll collect, like, a handle, like a bunch of ideas, like little nugget ideas and not use, you know, half of them. Really, you know, and you just pick the best ones. It's the same reason why artists say that, you know, I recorded 40 songs for my album, and we picked like, 12 there's a reason for that. It's yeah,

Mike Meiers 47:14
I think it's super important. Because I don't know, then it's also I realized the craft that I'm doing, I can't just assume like, oh, this you know, everything I you know, should has gold. This is great. It's like it's not bad. But I bet it can be just like better. Well, that comes from not overthinking, just refining a little bit done. And so it is also a disciplines built over time. So it's like, I guess the question we can ask, Are you building good disciplines in your creative structure where it's like you, you have those rules, but even when we're giving you the answers, we're still applying those answers to our own things, because I tell people do more. Do more. And it's because I know it works. Like once I send you know, the fourth song after don't accept it. Yeah, yeah, I'll get added in Yeah, it'll be okay. Could they accept song one, two or three? They might? Could I waste my time just uploading them being like, you know, as good. That was the we didn't use that one. Yeah, yeah, they're probably that's what's gonna happen. And that's okay.

Josh Doyle 48:12
Yeah, no, it's, yeah, it's like, it's like, you know, in baseball, it's like your batting average, like, there is no perfect batter. Like, they're always striking out in every game. And sometimes they hit a homerun, sometimes that, you know, they get to first base, whatever. Yeah, and the same thing is true for me, like, this is about improving your success rate, and you're never gonna get to 100%. And that's what keeps us going. Because like, as soon as we got to 100%, then we'd be like, well, this is boring. Like, I know that they're gonna accept it. Right? I know that I know, I did this. Oh, I'm a genius, whatever. But yeah, the same thing is true for me. Like, there's a project not too long ago, where I sent 10 at once, you know, like, they just wanted me to get my 10 done, and I send them in. And just just like clockwork, they they didn't take like the first two and then they didn't take like, the sixth one. I did you know, because maybe I like tried to branch off into something. I was like, Ooh, maybe, maybe I'll try something over here. They didn't take that one. But you know, like, the middle and the end, they took a batch of those songs. That's that's just how it goes. So that's why like, you know, we're always saying like, do more do more like get improve your your workflow, get these things knocked out? You're gonna have to, you know, if you're serious about it, you're gonna have to do a lot anyway.

Mike Meiers 49:25
It's interesting that like, yeah, it's that that after batch that like later, but yeah, that seems to be picked up. I did like a series of covers with like, matting and the one that we did after was the one that was picked up the most because they were like, oh, yeah, this is a really like, and I was like, huh, that one? Really, I thought it would be this one. And I was like, well, when did we do that? Oh, I did that after and I was like, but there's not a lot in it. Yeah.

Josh Doyle 49:49
Like it's so minimal.

Mike Meiers 49:51
I was like, I was like, that's okay. You know, yeah, but that's not you know, I guess the important question is like cool. Do you can do can you do more? I'm learning it also validates cool, that's still the answer. Like it hasn't changed where it was, like, just do 12 Yeah, it's like no do a lot more. Because you know, Only now do I feel like I'm starting to get a rhythm and a routine. If I'm gonna keep that up. It's gonna have to stay consistent for

Josh Doyle 50:18
a while. Yeah. And then like, great questions to ask, like, you know, that the, with the song with Maddie where there was the last one that you did? I'm always going back and doing kind of retrospective analysis of like, okay, why did they take that one? Why did that one really jump out to them? And then, you know, maybe it's because whatever, like, you find out, you know, this, the show airs, and you see how they used it and be like, Oh, they never told me that this was like, somebody died in this scene, and they just wanted something ironically, like, yeah, once you find that out, then you're like, oh, man, I, there's no way I could have ever known that. And therefore, like, there's not really a great learning lesson from that specific use case. You know what I mean? So you can't like be yourself. But yeah, you can't beat yourself up too much about it, because they didn't give you the information. There's no way you could have known. And so you just got lucky. And that's, you know, that happens. But then there's other times where you can look at it and be like, oh, like, they took songs, three, four, or five. And those were all up tempo. And they didn't take the downtempo ones. There's some there's some evidence, there's a pattern, there's a pattern, what am I going to start making now? What am I going to start sending them? Yeah, up tempo?

Mike Meiers 51:31
Ah, I love that. Yeah. But I think this is the importance of asking questions. Yeah. So I guess the whole idea of this episode was ask questions. And before and kind of like, I think you're good piece of advice you gave before you ask the question, ask yourself, is this like the end question? Like, you know, like, how much it or could you backtrack? Coupled? It's a little bit more impressive that could give you actually the answer you can start taking action with, as opposed to, like, you know, how do I protect myself and all the song insight? Right? Well, before we get to that, why don't you write like a couple more? Yeah, that might be a little bit better of a question to ask. That is, I think, great advice. backtrack a little bit and not assume the final question is the question you should be asking. Right? Somewhere like in the middle. Yeah. Well, sweet spot, the middle,

Josh Doyle 52:19
especially like finding your pain points, like, you know, look back at those and be like, Man, I did three songs. And I really struggled here. You know, right at this kind of like 25% finished Mark, how can I like improve that? Like, does everybody struggle that at that mark to like, that's, that's a great point to like, start asking questions. Like, you know, when I start layering my bass guitar, my mixes get really muddy. Does that happen to you? Like, how do I fix that? You know,

Mike Meiers 52:43
that's a good question. It's like, that's like, awesome, or like, Oh, my, my drums drop out when I add more things. Should I add more to the drums? Should I add another layer? Where should I?

Josh Doyle 52:51
Yeah, yeah, maybe. Let's Let's listen. Let's dig into it.

Mike Meiers 52:56
This was great. Yeah. Well, we'll ask more questions. We'll do more. We'll do more questions. Absolutely. And that does it for this week's episode. It was edited and produced by Chris Mathias. I'm Mike Myers. Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai