As one would imagine, when I moved to Los Angeles I met many talented, hardworking artists that were in the city pursuing their dreams. One of those artists was 3NGLMN (pronounced “Engleman”), who I met at a hostel in Hollywood. He is a producer, DJ and engineer from Austin, Texas who has an undeniable passion for music, and is fully committed to pursuing his music career. We sat down and spoke about an array of topics, including #VanLife, patience, networking, and his move to Los Angeles.
Taylor: When did you know you wanted to make music for a living?
3NGLMN: Before going to college I knew I wanted to be a music producer. That's kind of what I went to college for. I took music marketing and then I realized I wanted to have my own record label, so I went the entrepreneurship route to learn how to run a business and stuff like that.
T: Before college, what experience did you have with creating music?
3: I was in band from sixth to eleventh grade, so I already understood music theory and the fundamentals. And when I was younger my friends would always freestyle, so I wanted to make Hip-Hop instrumentals for us to rap over and make songs. That’s when I started producing. During college, I got too busy with school and put music down for a while after 2013.
T: So after finishing school, you jumped right into your music career?
3: Yeah. Right before graduating in 2017 I said to myself, “I went to college for music why not do music full time?” Initially my plan was to run multiple businesses, then at 40 I would have enough capital to start a major record label. But I decided to go all in and not wait. I quit my beard oil company that I owned at the time, I got out my equipment and I started producing again. At that time I just started doing research and strategizing. #VanLife was a huge movement at the time so I decided to purchase a van and travel city to city.
T: What was your goal in traveling to different cities?
3: I was trying to understand the music cultures in different places, and to plant my music seed in numerous cities. I would go to shows, meet different people and make music in every city. And at this point, I was still gaining a lot more skills and knowledge about production.
T: So when did you take the leap to move to Los Angeles?
3: After traveling, I went back to Texas from San Francisco around Thanksgiving 2017. I stayed there for about 4 months, kept working on my craft, and learning mixing and mastering. I went to SXSW and met a few people in the industry, and after that I decided I wanted to move to LA. I made sure I didn't have enough money to drive back home. So from May to September 2018 I stayed in the mountains in my van, until I began going hostel to hostel because it was cheaper and a better option than riding my van uphill, messing up the transmission, and burning gas every day.
T: You mentioned that when you left Texas you made sure you didn't have enough money to come back, could you elaborate on that a little bit?
3: I wanted to have just enough money to get here. I wanted to have to figure out how to make money here. I believe people have these safety nets or fallbacks and it makes them not work as hard. People say I have a fallback with my accounting degree, but that's just not me. It’s not what I want to do.
T: Right. So the things that many people make their priorities, like money, aren’t that important to you right now?
3: Yeah. I mean money comes and goes. I'm just focused on chasing my dream, chasing goals. I know money is going to come eventually, it's just patience. Working on my craft allows me to have value and the more I work on it, I bring that value up.
T: Constantly working on your artform and making it an everyday priority takes extreme patience. What has helped you to develop that level of patience? Or have you always been a patient person?
3: I've never been a patient person really. I’ve always wanted stuff fast. When I had my beard oil business, I would stress myself out every single day trying to reach goals and commit to these building blocks. With the music, at the beginning I was doing the same thing, but now I understand it just takes time. For me, I think the reason I’m so patient right now is because I know I'm doing this long term. I'm doing this for life. I've been wanting to be a producer since 17, I'm about to be 25 now. I mean, there's only time.
T: When you take time with things the results follow.
3: Yeah. It takes time to build connections, to build the client base, to gain people's trust, etc. You just have to be patient.
T: You’re a self-taught producer, DJ and engineer. A lot of people find self-teaching extremely intimidating. How do you make it easier on yourself?
3: First you have to make sure you like what you're trying to learn. You have to find something that you're craving to learn. It's about what you're willing to do. Are you willing to sit at your computer for 12 hours straight just to work? Are you willing to work on a song until 4:00 AM, just to get up at 8:00 AM and finish the song?
I think the easiest way to learn something is to give yourself homework. Apply the same principles from school. Also, understand why things are done how they are done. A lot of people try to be creative first without understanding why certain things are in certain places, so learn the fundamentals first.
T: A lot of failures are due to a lack of consistency and discipline. How would you say you keep yourself disciplined and consistent especially with everything you juggle as an independent artist?
3: I like to have daily goals. Stuff like “read 50 pages a day to gain knowledge,” or “I need to create 1 sound today,” “I need to work on a song for an hour.” You have to treat your art like your business.
T: So would you consider yourself to be a very regimented person?
3: Not really. I just tell myself I need to get certain things done. It's all about forming a habit. Like, I wake up every day knowing I'm a music producer and everything I do is for my career. You have to be confident in what you’re doing in order to build discipline and form good habits. So that’s what helps me stay consistent.
T: Getting started is the hardest part for some. What advice would you give someone who has inhibitions about starting a career in music, or just art in general.
3: Fear is a big thing but you have to overcome it. I have a reminder on my phone that says “Do something that scares you everyday.” When you start to do things that scare you, you start getting outside your comfort zone and stop caring about what people think.
T: You recently DJ’d at Catch One for an EDM event by We Love Candy. What advice do you have for artists who are ready to work, but are struggling to book gigs?
3: Find local events happening in your genre, go there and figure out who the person is that is putting on the event. Talk to them, have them like you and once you book a gig, talk to all the performers. It’s just a chain reaction. If you don’t talk to people, no one will know who you are. Good engagements on your socials may help, but the best advice is just talking to people. Like people say, its not what you know, it's who you know. That’s exactly what it is when you’re trying to get gigs.
You can catch 3NGLMN at Control Los Angeles on July 12, 2019.
You can follow him on his socials:
Contributors socials: Instagram.com/overnightcelebrity.mp3
Photo by AJ Wilson
No Starving Artists correspondent: Taylor Williams