Inspired by the “War of Art,” and her fellow Producer Dojo artists, Kaitie Echele shares her take on the importance of getting to work and following your dream.
Kaitie Echele’s transformation has been really amazing to experience. In a very short time Kaitie (artist name: Slowform) has taken her craft to new heights. In addition to her amazing contributions to the Producer Dojo World of Dance Cypher (“Warning”and “That’s Sumthin’”), Kaitie has also collaborated on the tune “Woke” that will be on Trigem’s new Producer Dojo EP, Kismet, launching on February 22nd. I was happy to catch up with Kaitie to learn more about her startling transformation in this candid interview.
Kaitie, tell us about your musical journey and how did it lead you to ill.gates, The Producer Dojo and the Class of 808?
So it was kind of a random chain of events that led me to the Class of 808. I have always loved music and knew I had a passion for it, but for whatever reason it never really occurred to me that learning music production was something I could be into until about a year ago. It seems silly to me now that I didn’t start pursuing this sooner… of course it would be something that I would love! But last New Year’s Eve after playing a house party with a friend for the very first time, a few different friends (s/o Arkarado Crew <3) came up to me and asked if I had ever thought about making my own music. And like I said before, I really hadn’t, but hearing that got me thinking and wondering if I actually could. The very next day I downloaded a free trial of Ableton. I was so lost haha. I didn’t know anyone that produced music, so I turned to Youtube, but honestly I didn’t even know what to search for or where to start. Fast-forward two or three days and I’m scrolling through Facebook and an add for “The Breakthrough Workshop” by ill.gates pops up on my newsfeed. The timing was just all too perfect. I signed up immediately and watched the workshop later that week. So many of the things he talked about in that workshop really hit home with me and I just knew that I was right where I needed to be. I signed up for the Class of 808 a few days later and the rest is history :D.
Where are you from originally? Can you describe your life using only song titles?
I am originally from St. Charles, MO but moved out to Colorado two and a half years ago and absolutely LOVE it out here.
Okay, so this was kind of hard, but also really fun :D. Tried to only use my absolute favorites..
Look Around with Infinite Gratitude, Cherish Friendship and Ridiculous Wobble.
In the Quiet Inner G I Just Don’t Know.. Open Your Eyes and Wander On.
Star Gazing, I Am Back. Understanding the Possibility. Wubbalubbadubdub!
What made you want to become a music producer? What do you do when you are not producing music?
Becoming a music producer wasn’t something I ever had in mind until this past year. But after joining the Class of 808 and beginning to learn about music production there were several things about it that really made me want to commit to pursuing it. First, the constant learning and growing. In the months leading up to when I joined I was starting to feel like I was really only living for the weekends and during the week I would go to work and then just come home and waste time. I needed a change, but I didn’t know what. After joining the Class of 808 though, those hours wasted on Netflix now went to going through The Weekly Downloads and studying and practicing the different concepts. That love of learning that school sucked me dry of quickly came back and each day I woke up excited to learn something new. Second, the challenge to really push yourself each and every day. This past year I’ve hustled like never before and it’s exhausting at times, but that feeling of accomplishment when you go to bed knowing you gave it your all for the day… there’s really just nothing else like it. And lastly, because it’s FUN. I love music and I LOVE to dance. And let me tell you, I dance around like a fool whenever I’m writing a track haha. It really is my favorite way to spend a day!
Whenever I am not producing I love to go to shows, go on hikes, post up in my hammock with a good mountain view, snowboard, go on scenic/aimless drives, travel, and hang out with friends!
I hear you are a big Bassnectar fan. How long have you been a follower and how many shows have you attended? Is it possible to name a favorite show and if yes, why was it your favorite?
Haha oh did you now? But yes, I first saw Bassnectar in 2011 (which actually happened to be my very first bass/electronic music show) and I’ve been hooked ever since. I just remember leaving the show thinking “wtf was that and where can I get more of it?!” That night was really what started my love for bass music and the community surrounding it. Oh gosh, I wanna say I’ve been to about 25 now? Honestly, it’s really hard for me to pick a favorite- each show is so unique and special in it’s own way. I always have an absolute BLAST and form new friendships/strengthen current ones… and that’s really what it’s all about :). If I had to pick though, I’d say Sunday night of Freestyle Sessions this past year. It was the first show I was an ambassador at and there really aren’t any words to describe how I left feeling that night. Being able to give back to a community that has given me so much really was something special. Besides, he dropped WOBBLY out of nowhere that night and that song is my JAM.
What are your plans for your music (both near term and long term goals)?
Right now, my main focus is just to keep practicing, working hard, and learning as much as I can. I’m thrilled with all that I’ve learned so far, but I know that there is still SO much I don’t know and even more that I am completely clueless about. So really my main goal is just to keep cranking out as many tunes as possible. This year, I am shooting to do four timer beats and at least one full studio writing day every week. I’m also participating in FAWM this year (which I have been loving so far!), so it’s about to be a very busy month, but I’m up for the challenge! I’m also planning to start work on an EP this summer and would love to have a demo ready by the end of the year.
What are the top 3 “game changing” lessons that you learned as a member of the Class of 808?
1. Failing is learning. This one was something I was constantly reminding myself of especially in those first six months or so. I used to get so frustrated and down on myself when I’d spend all day working on a beat just for it not to turn out. But I started convincing myself that I should actually be happy when something doesn’t turn out because it means I learned more in that studio session than if it had. It may sound silly, but that little shift in thinking was such a game-changer for me.
2. Creativity can be learned. This was a big one for me. Before this past year, I never really viewed myself as a creative person. All of my classes throughout school were in the medical field, so everything was always very black and white, and I never really had a creative outlet. But, I learned that like anything else.. you just have to practice and work hard at it.
3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Throughout school everything was always either right or wrong, so you did everything you could to avoid making mistakes and that mentality very much carried on after. With music, however; that just isn’t the case!
If you could go back 10 years ago and advise your younger self of just 1 thing, what would that advice be?
Normal is BORING, so stop caring so much about what other people think. I spent so many years being unhappy trying to fit in, too scared to be my true authentic self. I WISH I could go back and knock this piece of advice into my younger self’s brian.
Do you ever experience writer’s block in the studio? How do you overcome it?
Yes. There have been plenty of days that I will be about an hour or so into writing and just not feeling it and am so tempted to call it a day. But, I learned from reading the War of Art by Steven Pressfield (incredible book, highly recommend) that you can’t just write only when you’re feeling inspired. Put in the work and the time and the inspiration will come. So on these days I just power through it and nine times out of ten something does end up sparking that inspiration.
I’ve gotten into a good habit of doing something music related everyday. I work the overnight shift at my job right now so I’m able to wake up and spend a few hours on music before going into work each night and then I have my full studio writing days on the weekends.
What are your favorite genres of music at the moment and who are your top 5 favorite artists right now?
I really love deep/dark dubstep and the more experimental/weirder side of bass music. I also recently discovered that I’m really into classical music and have been listening to that a lot lately as well! Man, this one was tough to narrow down.. but I’d have to say CharlesTheFirst, Truth, The Widdler, Enigma Dubz, and Khiva
Are you involved in any other music production communities?
Gravitas Create Community has been another great environment for learning!
If you were having lunch with a music producer that was on the fence about joining the Class of 808 what would you tell them?
DO IT. Seriously, just make the jump. I am so incredibly glad that I did. I recently hit one year with the Class of 808 and I really am amazed at just how much I was able to learn in a year. But more than the ridiculous amount of knowledge you will gain, it is such an amazing community to be a part of. The Class of 808 is filled with so many genuine, kind-hearted humans that are always willing to help and just want to see you succeed. This has without a doubt been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and having a community like this to fall back on when that self-doubt creeps in really is invaluable. Love my Class of 808 fam <3
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Just a little reminder to anyone reading this that you really can do anything you set your mind to. I know this was something I definitely had to be reminded of. Like I mentioned before, I jumped into producing not really knowing all that went into it. As I started learning all the different skills that go into being a music producer, it seemed like an impossible task, but I kept at it anyway and pushed through. And I am so glad that I did. This past year has been a crazy, wonderful ride and I cannot wait to see what another year of hard work brings 🙂