KJ Sawka on Building Connections, Struggling to Make a Living, and Working With Rob Swire

“It’s important for young artists to understand that they have to add value. Just because they make a track that’s as good or on par with Pendulum or Hardwell doesn’t mean anyone is going to care.”—KJ Sawka

In this episode, I sit down with legendary drummer KJ Sawka. We talk about what how he got his start in the industry, his advice on how to breakthrough in today’s crowded scene, and what it is like to work with Rob Swire (Pendulum/Knife Party). We also talk about why he turned down a full ride from the Berklee School of Music, and how he crafted his own music curriculum.

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This episode is brought to you by EDM Foundations.

EDM Foundations is my course for new producers, those who’ve been producing for under 12 months, or even those who’ve just started. You can learn more about it here.

The whole idea of the EDM Foundations course is that you learn the fundamentals of music production by actually doing and not just learning concepts. The course consists of 12+ hours worth of streamable video where I walk you through the creation of 3 songs, and give you advice for creating your own original.

We’ve had over 500 people sign up for the course, many of them have had great results. Hope to see you in there.

Links from the episode:

Connect with KJ Sawka:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Soundcloud

Show notes:

  • Turning down a full ride to Berklee School of Music (4:56)
  • Creating his own music education curriculum (6:59)
  • Drumming til’ his hands bleed (9:56)
  • Having one of his biggest inspirations reach out to him (11:34)
  • Moving from rock to electronic music (13:59)
  • Meeting and joining Pendulum (17:45)
  • Struggling to make a living while touring the world (23:40)
  • His first show with Pendulum (25:38)
  • His thoughts on whether or not artists make a difference (30:03)
  • Learning stage presence from Beyonce (32:22)
  • DJ’s are the new rockstars (34:14)
  • Visualizing his target audience while in the studio (38:35)
  • Working with Rob Swire in the studio (41:58)
  • Why he found his own record label (43:26)
  • Managing your career expectations (48:40)
  • Adding value first (49:26)
  • Life lessons from ill.gates (50:34)

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