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Dan Ubick Talks Music Production, Hip Hop + Positivity

Dan Ubick Talks Music Production, Hip Hop + Positivity

With the world in its current state, it’s hard to remain positive. But to survive, we have to continue to find the beauty however we can and be inspired by the good. Our guest today, Dan Ubick, is not only an extraordinarily talented musician, but he is also a shining light in these dark times.

Listen to Dan Ubick episode here

As a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Dan grew up with music. His father was a jazz bassist, and his mom listened to the Beatles and classical music while designing jewelry. Dan’s sister introduced him to hip hop, and the rest is history. With an impressive discography, Dan has worked with everyone from De La Soul to Big Daddy Kane to Method Man. In this episode, we talk about Dan’s incredible musical journey. As someone who values friendships and connections, they have always opened up great opportunities for him.

Music polymath Dan Ubick
Music polymath Dan Ubick
Dan Ubick with EPMD at The Metro in Chicago
Dan Ubick with EPMD at The Metro in Chicago

We also do a deep dive into the world of hip hop, and Dan and Sourdough share their experiences of discovering the genre and the impact that it had on them. Listening to hip hop was a formative experience for both of them. They learned about new worlds and issues they'd not been exposed to before. They also discuss how the foundation of hip hop is being diluted, which they attribute to the kind of capitalist society we live in. It has become about growing wealth at whatever cost, rather than remaining true to a message. Dan and Sourdough extend this discussion by touching on politics and the harsh capitalist message being spread today. The world is growing increasingly unkind to many, while a select few benefit disproportionately. Along with this, we also talk about the importance of acknowledging those who came before you, why creating with integrity is more important than being famous, and the many activities that Dan is up to. We loved having Dan on the show, and we already can’t wait to have him back. Be sure to tune in today!

Dan and Slick Rick
Dan and Slick Rick
Music producer Dan Ubick
Connie Price & The Keystones Lucas High produced by Dan Ubick
Connie Price & The Keystones Lucas High produced by Dan Ubick

Key Points From This Episode with Dan Ubick:

  • How Man One and Sourdough are holding up during coronavirus.
  • Find out what Dan’s typical week looks like as a multi-talented musician.
  • Dan’s upbringing and his early formative musical influences from his dad and sister.
  • The power of connection: How Dan got his musical start through friendships.
  • Where Dan draws his inspiration from and why he gravitates to the music he does.
  • How the music industry has changed and the difficulties musicians face making a living.
  • Learn how often Dan looks for records and some of the DJ gigs he plays around LA.
  • What Sourdough and Dan listen to on Apple Music and what they’re most excited about.
  • Insights into Sourdough’s musical journey and how he discovered hip hop.
  • Some of Dan’s earliest hip hop influences and how it opened up his musical world.
  • The tension between influence and inspiration and outright stealing.
  • Early hip hop’s influence on culture has been unprecedented.
  • Why Dan feels like the message and purpose of hip hop is continually being diluted.
  • It's so important to learn from those who came before you and understand history.
  • Dan’s vision for 2020 and how he always remains as positive as he is.
  • What Dan and Sourdough feel about Trump and the message that he’s propagating.
  • The engine of capitalism is corrupting society at large as well as art.
  • Even if you’re not feeling inspired, create anyway and something will still come of it.
  • Why Dan likes to collaborate with others when creating music.

Read Our Interview With Dan Ubick Here:

Sourdough : Dan Ubick, welcome to Not Real Art.

Dan Ubick: Thank you, man. Thanks for having me.

Sourdough : How are you holding up? You had a (recording) session last night.

Dan Ubick: Yeah, I had a session with my friend, Chris Dowd. We're recording a new song for my group, Night Owls, and, we were gettin' vocals for it last night.

Sourdough : Yeah, you feel good about it?

Dan Ubick: It came out good. Yeah, we gotta finish the background vocals, but we got the lead vocal last night. Sounded real good.

Sourdough : Okay, so it was a late night? What time did you end up crashing?

Dan Ubick: About 1:30 or 2:00, I think. I'm a little bleary this morning.

Life Of A Music Producer

Sourdough : Yeah, I'm guessing your recording schedule is like herding cats sometimes, trying to get everybody together.

Dan Ubick: Oh, yeah. It is. But, it was a good session. And, yeah, recording sessions are always like herding cats. So many schedules, man. Everybody's like doing a million things.. But, it worked out.

Sourdough : What does a typical week for you look like? You're essentially a musical polymath. You kinda do it all.

Dan Ubick: Thanks. I'm gonna use that on my business card.

Sourdough : So what does a typical week look like for you as a musician, as an engineer, as a producer?

Dan Ubick: Yeah. Well, it changes every week, which is kinda what I like about it. I do a lot of different things. I produce my groups The Lions, Night Owls, Connie Price & The Keystones and The Mad Geezers as well as music for TV, film and gaming. I also track and mix music for different artists who might just need to track vocals, organ, etc. or work on full albums with them. I'm just kind of a work for hire, in that respect as well. I also DJ, so I'm out doing that a lot being the obsessive record collector I am. And then, I teach music lessons to kids too. That's my main bread-and-butter, teaching lessons.

Dan’s guitar and vinyl collection at his studio, DanUbe Productons

Sourdough : Interesting. So, you give instrumental lessons?

Dan Ubick: Yeah, instrumental lessons. I teach all the rhythm section stuff. So, I'm teaching a lot of guitar, bass, drums, and then I teach ukulele and songwriting, and-Recording, and stuff.

Sourdough : You grew up in a very musical family, did you not?

Dan Ubick: Yeah, my dad was a musician. He was a professional musician. Jazz cat. Yeah, he played, he was in the USO and played with Bob Fosse and Stan Kenton, a lot of the big band stuff.. that was his era. He was from Milwaukee, and so he'd be playing in Chicago a lot. And when, some artists would come into town, he'd be one to get the call, you know. He got to play with Billie Holiday that way and Spike Jones.

Sourdough : So, you got to grow up with that pedigree.

Dan Ubick: Well, it's kind of daunting and inspiring at the same time, you know 'cause he's a jazz musician, and I…

Sourdough: Did you rebel and go into rock 'n' roll?!?

Dan Ubick: Yeah at first. It’s funny. My best friend in junior high was a super metal guy, Kragen Lum, who plays with Exodus now, a super hard rocker since he was 15 or 16. Still does it. And, so we used to listen to that stuff and go to those shows, and my dad was just like, "What are you listening to?" You know, Slayer. And then, my sister was into rap, so she got me into like, Public Enemy and EPMD. So, it was just like a lot of that. And, it was not his thing at all. So, he'd be giving me like, you know, Earl Klugh, George Benson tapes under the door. He's like, "Please, just try this," you know. And, it took me a while, but I finally came around, and I love and listen to jazz constantly these days. But when I was 15, it was all about Slayer and Public Enemy and…

Bad Brains History

Sourdough : Were you a Bad Brains fan?

Dan Ubick: Oh, yeah. I saw Bad Brains in, I guess '87 or '88 at the Country Club in Reseda. It was the I Against I tour. I wish I gotten to see them at some of their early DC punk shows around Rock for Light but I had all those cassettes ‘cause I worked at Rhino, and they had them. I Against I came out on SST when I worked at Rhino and I was like, “Damn, that’s the same group, but the sound’s a little different.” I flipped out, that was one seminal show for me, and then I got to open for them at Sunset Junction here in L.A. I was playing with Big Daddy Kane, and then it was Fishbone, and then it was Bad Brains. So, it was just like, “yes!”

Sourdough : What a bill, man.

Dan Ubick: It was a bill. I grew up idolizing those guys. So, it was super fun.

Sourdough : I ask because I'm watching a cool documentary about them. I had heard their music but I wasn’t a fan at that time. But I remember in Chicago, I liked Naked Raygun and Bad Brains played with Naked Raygun, at The Congress Theater years ago. I remember that but this documentary I'm watching is really interesting.

Dan Ubick: There's the one about them specifically and there's an HR doc as well that's really cool. It's beautiful. If you haven't seen the HR one, it's pretty incredible. He's got all kinds of stuff that he's dealing with, mental issues and everything. But, it seems like he's gettin' it together and in a good place. He's such a deep, amazing person. It's an emotional ride, but it’s beautiful. A really cool doc.

Dan with Flava Flav
Dan with Flavor Flav at House of Blues, L.A

Peter Butter Wolf

Sourdough : In preparation for our little chat today, I was reading some stuff about you and you've worked with some super sick people. I read quotes from Peanut Butter Wolf talking about you being a "Perfect marriage of '70s Curtis, Isaac, and Barry meets '80s Dust Brothers, meets '90s Kane, J5, and MOP,” "A master of the craft,” is what Peanut Butter Wolf called you.

Peanut Butter Wolf
Peanut Butter Wolf

Dan Ubick: I just love that dude. Also, a fellow Polish brother. I met him through my friend, Miles, who I played with in Breakestra for years. I asked Chris (PB Wolf) and a few other industry friends for quotes for the record just to help out, so we could promote it or whatever. I didn't hear back from him for a while, and then he sent me that quote and I literally teared up. It was just so beautiful. I mean, he has so much weight these days. And, it was like, just to have him say that made me feel great. So, thank you, Chris.

Sourdough : If I were in your shoes and I was waiting on a quote from Peanut Butter Wolf, and it wasn't coming, and we'd been old friends, I'd get in my own head about it. Like "Oh, what's going on? Is he pissed?" Like, what’s going on…

Dan Ubick: Well, he is a super busy dude. But when it came in, I was like, "Ah, thank you dude, thank you."

DJ Nu-Mark, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples + Beat Junkies

Sourdough : Of course, Nu-Mark was talking about, "Texturized grit and rusty passages are always a signature of Connie Price and the Keystones. Get 'em."

Dan Ubick: First of all, thank you to Nu-Mark. I first met him…well, he's been around our kinda little scene cause he’s a big part of Jurassic 5, who are obviously from here when I did my first real tour with Jurassic 5, with Breakestra, my old band. I was just talking about it with my friend, Miles, and Wolf did this tour called Word of Mouth — up the coast. it was from L.A. or San Diego, up to Vancouver and back.

DJ Nu-Mark
DJ Nu-Mark

The tour had Breakestra, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, and the Beat Junkies. So, it was just like an epic first tour and I, obviously, got to know all the people, and we'd do, like the DJs versus the band, you know, play all the breaks back and forth…the crowd would go wild. It was a really fun show. Yeah, I'm just honored to know those guys. Man, each and every one of the dudes in all those groups are talented beyond belief, and to have Nu-Mark say that about me was really cool.

Artistic Journey

Sourdough : How do you find yourself in those circles? Obviously, you grew up in LA and you grew up in a musical family. I'm sure it happened organically, and you hooked up one day and suddenly you're working with these amazing artists. But more specifically, was there a particular moment, or a particular project, or a particular time where a door opened for you? Take us through your journey…

Dan Ubick: I was playing with local bands and stuff, trying to just play, you know.  I played in high school and then in lots of local groups when I was in college, just trying to meet other talented people.

I think the biggest door opening for me at the beginning, and I just have to say thank you to him, is because of my friend, Miles Tackett. He had me play in his group, Breakestra. He just believed in me. He knew I was funky on guitar. And he brought me in, and it just worked. And, we did lots of stuff, toured, and went to Europe and Japan …but, it was because of him. He knew so many people already. Miles is two years older than I am…and is super talented.

It was through playing in that band, and then playing at the club he had called The Breaks, which turned into the Root Down, which turned into Funky Sole. All these clubs he's done. But, it was just everybody hanging out there because it was us playing all these classic samples from rap songs. So, I was simultaneously learning about where that Jungle Brothers sample came from, or where that De La Soul sample came from. And learning about all these amazing records. At the same time, hanging out with Cut Chemist, and Nu-Mark, and Marvski, and all these amazing DJs who just knew about all that stuff. So, I was just soaking everything up and having a blast doing it. So, I have to say a huge thanks to Miles 'cause he introduced me to so many people. And brought me into the scene, really, so thank you, Miles. It's all about friendships, you know.

It's like, the more people you have a like-mind with you like to make cool stuff, and they are cool and nice too, you're gonna start getting yourself in there.

Collaborative Art

Sourdough : It's a chemistry thing, right? I mean, you can respect people, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can create together. But man is it magic when it turns out you have chemistry to make art together.

Dan Ubick: Yeah, it's crazy. Like we were talking about sensitive artists and waiting to hear back about the quote. You just never know when it's gonna happen. So, my aim has always been to just work hard. Do my best job and treat people with respect. And, stuff just turns around. I've known Nu-Mark for 25 years or something like that and we finally got to collaborate on something.

Working with Nu-Mark, Method Man + Money Mark

Last year he called me and he's like, "Hey Dan, I've got this thing I'm doing, so I need this music done for it. Can you play guitar, bass, and Wurlitzer on it?" I was like, "Yeah, absolutely, man." So, I did it, and it turned out to be this thing with Method Man and Money Mark from Beastie Boys played the organ on it. And, I was like, "Shit, that was a frickin' lucky break.” But, you know, it's just 'cause I've known the guy and he has heard what I've done, I guess he was like, "Dan could probably handle this," and I did, and it turned out great. So I was happy.

Sourdough : Forgive this hyperbolic way of putting it, but what do you think you're famous for? Are you famous for the fact you're a multi-instrumentalist and can lock down the rhythm section? Or is it because you're funky? Is there one thing people think about you? Why do people want work with you? What's your greatest strength?

Dan Ubick: It's a good question but I don't know if I'd use the word famous. I don't see myself as famous, but I'm happy to make good music…

Sourdough : I agree. Keep the fame, but give me the fortune, is what I say.

Arts Professional

Dan Ubick: I feel like my strength is that when I say I'm gonna do something, I deliver it.

Sourdough : Zero flake-ability?

Dan Ubick: I'm not a flake. I wanna do good stuff. I wanna work with good people. And I wanna I treat people with respect, and I just wanna do a good job. I think that's my biggest strength. As far as being the most gifted guitar player, no. I grew up, with my dad who was a jazz player, so I'm hearing, like George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and all these guys who are amazing. I'm never going to be that guy But, what I do have is a really good sense of composition and how things work together. That's why I feel like producing is my biggest strength. I can write a guitar part that, maybe isn't the most mind-blowing, like a Wes Montgomery thing, but it fits the song really good and I know what the baseline should be, and what the organ should be doing, or whatever it might be, cause I'm a writer mostly…

Sourdough : Wes Montgomery is a king, but he may not have been able to do what you do?

Dan Ubick: True. And, that's kinda the reason I gravitated toward music in the first place is 'cause people always say, "Who do you think is the best guitar player?" And, I'm like, "There is no best. That's why I like this.” Like, everybody does their own thing that's unique and awesome. Like Hendrix is just as good as…It's apples and oranges man. There are just so many people to be inspired by because everybody's an individual and their take is something you never would have thought of. Whether it's a chord change or it's a tone, or whatever it might be.

The Power of Art

Sourdough : Art is a very personal, emotional thing.

Dan Ubick: True. I take my leads from what makes me feel inspired…

Sourdough : What makes you feel inspired?

Finding Inspiration

Dan Ubick: I've always been someone who just appreciates the heart in something..I’m a romantic I guess. A romantic kinda person, I guess. Especially as I get older, man, seeing the complexities, whether it's the beat or the performance of it…. that's just the most important thing to me…It's not about how complicated it is. I gravitate towards the music I gravitate towards, whether it's jazz or reggae or Ray Charles, as long as it I can feel like it came from the heart… it doesn't matter to me what genre it is…

Sourdough: The fickle muses come and go. As a creative person myself, it's a blessing and a curse and one of the things I'm grappling with. While we all wanna live a long, healthy life, today is not promised. And, so one of the things I’m grappling with as a creative person is trying to be at peace with all of those ideas and projects that will never get realized.

Artistic Collaboration

Dan Ubick: It's like the old saying of going with the flow is so true, man. The times that we work so hard on something that maybe doesn't get all the exposure or legs that you wanted versus something you worked a half hour on. It's like somebody used it for a commercial, and it made you the most money. You really can't tell. You just gotta keep kinda doing what works at that time and just complete stuff as you can. Especially if you're dependent on other people too, working with others, collaborating…

Sourdough: Exactly. Then there's that, right? I sort of go through those phases. I'll ramp up to a point where I'm having to collaborate with a lots of people, and it typically goes well. But then inevitably I'll get to a point of frustration where I'm like fuck it, I'm not collaborating anymore. I'm just gonna do shit on my own for a while and then it ends up sort of just being this cycle, you know? In fact, I’m at the point right now where I'm ramping back up again. I have more collaborators around me now than I’ve had in a while but things are going well…

Dan Ubick: That's life, you know. Everybody's got hills and valleys that don't always match up. You never know what someone's going through. And sometimes it takes a week longer than you think to get someone up in the studio or to finish a project…there may be family issues…there are so many parameters….

DanUbe Productions

Sourdough: Why do you think people like recording in your studio specifically?

Dan Ubick: I like to think it’s because it’s a nice, chill atmosphere…and an inspiring atmosphere. It's certainly a long drive for a lot of my friends to get up there, but it's peaceful up there. I've got all kinds of records to listen to and throw on for inspiration. Obviously, the technical stuff. I've got nice recording equipment and all that. I just try to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable to express themselves and not feel guarded. That's what I try to create. Hopefully it works most of the time.

Sourdough: I haven't been to your studio, but I have seen some photos online and it looks very chill and civilized… a real human kind of vibe.

Dan Ubick: Thanks, man. My mom's a huge folk art collector, so I grew up with visual stimuli everywhere. And she's a jeweler too. Her house is filled masks and all kinds of amazing stuff from everywhere, so I'm just comfortable with that. I've got lots of stuff to be inspired by.

Augustine Kofie, The Visual Artist

Sourdough: How did that inform your logo design?

Dan Ubick: I have this old reproduction of a medieval lions head door knocker on my studio door, and my friend, the artist Augustine Kofie, drew it for me.

Augustine Kofie, visual artist
Augustine Kofie, visual artist

It's a long story short, but I was doing this 12 inch release after doing a bunch of touring for Scion, a car company owned by Toyota. They sponsored a bunch of these promo tours – props to Jeri Yoshizu and the Toyota people forgetting that amazing experience together.  It introduced me to so many amazing people.

So Scion asked my group, the Keystones, and my friend's groups, Orgone and Rhythm Roots All-Stars, to go out and back up all these hip-hop groups, De La Soul, EPMD, Slick Rick, all the classic dudes. We'd go to learn the set and rehearse with the artist, and then perform like five shows in five different cities, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, all these places. So we were doing all these tours, and then Scion decided, "Oh, we're gonna create a record label and start releasing singles so they asked us to pick who we wanna work with and we'll do a 12 inch."

So I picked Big Daddy Kane, and my friend Percee P, who's an amazing artist from New York as well and we did two songs, and I needed cover art. Lalo Schifrin's always been one of my favorite composers (and I got to interview him about five years ago for Wax Poetics) and his Enter The Dragon score is one of my favorites. My partner at the time who did all the horn arrangements, Todd Simon, we were just loving all the score stuff from the '60s and '70s.  So I was like, "What if we did an homage to the cover of Enter the Dragon but have Kofie do it kinda graffiti style?”

So Kofie did it graffiti style, and he just did it beautifully, he did sketches of Kane and me, Percee and Todd, and then he's like, "I love your door knocker, can I draw that?" And in Enter the Dragon there's are these little symbols in the four corners, so he took my lions head and put him in the four corners of the EP cover and then ended up gifting me the original of it years later. So it was super sweet. I've got that in the studio too. Kofi's an amazing artist.

Sourdough: Shout out Kofie. What's he up to these days?

Dan Ubick: He came to the Lions record premiere when we did it in Highland Park, or, Eagle Rock and that's the last time I've seen him in person, but I keep up with him on social media of course. Dude gets flown all over the world to do murals. It's incredible. If you don't know his work check out. His website is keepdrafting.com. He's just amazing. Gets flown everywhere, he even did a mural in Venice. He's done murals all over the world.

Democratization of Art

Sourdough: Again, shout out to Kofie. He’s great. He’s popularity gets to the creative Renaissance we're living in these days. It's interesting to think about what's driving that. You have artists like Kofi being celebrated for their public art and street art, with muralism on the rise over the world. And, music is more prolific now more than ever, the tools have been democratized. But, no one's making any money, you know?

Dan Ubick: Yeah. With the advent of the home studio it's definitely opened a ton of things up, At the same time in my daughter and son’s generation nobody's really buying music, you know? It's all about live shows, and merchandise and stuff. There's kind of a niche market with vinyl and it's doing better but it's still a niche market. Most of the young kids today are just streaming music, not even downloading it, just streaming it, which is insane to me, but that's what it is. I like to hold product in my hand, and look at the credits, and see who produced it…

Dan with Big Daddy Kane and Curtis Blow in Japan
Dan with Big Daddy Kane and Kurtis Blow in Japan

Streaming Music

Sourdough: It's fascinating because on one hand, the younger generation values art and artists more than ever, but at the same time, they don't wanna pay for it. They think it should be free.

Dan Ubick: Yeah, it's an odd way of looking at it, but you're right. People like my daughter loved all the current stuff, but going out and buying the record isn't really on her radar. She can just listen to the single on Apple Music or whatever until she's done with it and that's it. Which is fine, but I try to impress on her like, you know, I understand that you like streaming and you're paying for the streaming service, but do you see how little that makes the artist? How is that artist gonna make another record if they're not making any money? It's gonna be pretty difficult for them to make more music if they don't have an income, you know? But there are those artists who do well enough from touring, selling merch, and doing different licensing deals, getting their music on TV and film, like all of us are trying to do, and they're making it work somehow, but it's tougher and tougher for the indie artist to create an income, because nobody's buying music…

Sourdough: It seems like artists working harder and harder for less and less, right? I mean, I don't have to tell you how arduous and soul sucking travel is, going on tour and trying to be on your game every night, five, six nights in a row, or whatever. And then you gotta come back and do it again. It's wash, rinse, repeat. If you're not touring, you're not making money. I mean it's become manual labor in many ways, know what I mean? Pick your poison though because 25 years ago, musicians were hoping to get through the door of some A&R gatekeeper that could give you a contract and change your life, make you money and make you famous. You know? But is there a gatekeeper anymore? I mean so much of success in the music industry seems based on the social media likes and shares on Spotify, Soundcloud, Insta, TikTok…

The Lions live. Photo by Piero Giunti.

Dan Ubick: On a certain level music has always been about your looks and your lifestyle and stuff. That was part of the lure of Zeppelin…growing up with their music was awesome, but these dudes had their own personalized jet, living that life. But now it's more about that than ever before. I mean, how much money you have and all that stuff, self-aggrandizing, big upping yourself all the time, which is funny to say 'cause here we are talking about me.

Becoming Famous

Sourdough: Fame is such an interesting phenomena because I think the majority of folks feel like famous people are rich people too, but fame does not equal fortune…

Dan Ubick: Fame does not equal happiness in a lot of cases either.

Sourdough: For decades there’s been this generational study or survey, I forget the name of it, which asked kids what they want to be when they grow up? When I was growing up, the answers were always like Astronaut or President. In recent years, the number one answer was…

Dan Ubick: Rich and famous?

Sourdough: Famous.

Dan Ubick: Yeah. I'd like to be known more widely for all the creative stuff I do. The stuff that makes people feel good, and I feel good about doing. Having more people know about that would be great, but as far as being famous, having paparazzi following me when I’m with my family, it just doesn't interest me at all.

Musicianship

Sourdough: As a true musician with real chops, how do you feel about the push button nature of music creation these days? I ask because you don't have to have any real chops any more to make music and get a hit. You don't even have to sing on tune because you know there's technology to auto-tune the human voice…

Dan Ubick: I don't feel like it's my job to be too judgmental about that. Like I just kinda do what I do and what makes me feel good. Like The Wrecking Crew, were playing all the Monkees and the Beach Boys songs. All those guys were good musicians in their own right too but it was just like the guys in charge with the money thought it would sell more records if they had their pro guys play it. And that works. The Monkees doing their own music works too. Me playing something just live in the room and looping it works. Me playing it live all the way through works. Me sampling it works. Whatever it takes to get it out of your brain is good. But it all comes back to the bottom line for me, which is, does it move me or not? However you achieve it is fine with me. That being said nothing moves me more than a Ray Charles or Etta James record and those were single takes all the way through.

Sourdough: 100%. From a creativity standpoint, I absolutely want more tools in the artist’s toolbox. I absolutely want people to be able to express themselves in more, and better and easier ways, and I absolutely want those creative people to be able to distribute and share their work in a more democratic and populist way, but I want it to move me. That's the whole thing.

Dan, Slick Rick, Connie Price and The Keystones
Dan, Slick Rick, Connie Price and The Keystones

Dan Ubick: That's the bottom line. There are songs that were made in bedrooms with a drum machine and a singer or…

Billie Eilish

Sourdough: Shout out, Billie Eilish.

Dan Ubick: Right. She's got this one called “I Love You”, it's just the prettiest chord change and her melody over it is gorgeous. A lot of what she sings about is 15 year old stuff, and I'm pushing 50 but I have to admit this song is just beautiful.

Sourdough: She's particularly inspiring to me. I discovered her initially a couple of years ago because she had a show on Apple radio with her brother. So I just started listening to her and she had this super fun, energetic, passionate, smart, articulate and creative voice. So much so I didn't realize she was just 15. I was like, wow this kid's a bonafide genius. Listening to her show, she would introduce independent artists and music she found on SoundCloud. And, frankly, I so appreciated her show because I don't have time to go digging for new music on SoundCloud…

Dan Ubick: I'm showing my age again, but looking through SoundCloud is not how I'm gonna find music but that's her record store or like her hanging out with DJ friends I guess, so that's cool.

Crate Digging

Sourdough: So being an audiophile, when you're searching crates and looking for vinyl, where are you going? Amoeba's closing on us…

Dan Ubick: Amoeba's just moving…. two blocks up.

Sourdough: Oh, great, I had heard they were closing for good.

Dan Ubick: I don't want to give away all my secret spots, but suffice it to say LA and surrounding areas has lots of good record stores.

Sourdough: How many hours a month do you think you spend treasure hunting?

Dan Ubick: How many hours? I don't know but I'm looking in a record store at least once a week. On Mondays I have this route that I do for work and it's right near one of my favorite spots, so I just stop in there and see what they have and a lot of times they have good stuff.

Sourdough: You’re like a chef looking for new ingredients…

Dan Ubick: I'm just looking for inspiration. And then DJing I'm just always looking for good cuts that'll make people feel great…

L.A. Clubs

Sourdough: Where are you spinning now?

Dan Ubick: I do Funky Sole once a month at the Echo. My friend Miles from Breakestra, it's his club. I'm doing this place called Gold-Diggers, which is on Santa Monica. I do the Townhouse down in Venice and on the fourth Tuesday of the month I'm gonna be doing a thing at Topanga coming up soon. Like just all over the place, but Funky Sole's is one of my monthly gigs. Oh, I'm doing the Mayfair Hotel spinning raggae on Sundays with my brother Shakespeare.

Mike D’s Echo Chamber + Q-Tip’s Abstract Radio on Apple Radio

Sourdough: We're bouncing around here a little bit, do you consume Apple Music at all?

Dan Ubick: I have it on my phone cause my kids and my wife…

Sourdough: Have you checked out Abstract Radio with Q-Tip?

Dan Ubick: No, but I'll check it out. Mike D’s show is on Apple Radio too.

Sourdough: I love Echo Chamber. I had been seeing the Abstract Radio thing for a while, and for whatever reason wasn't checking it out, and then finally I checked it out, and now I can't get enough. He just lets the music play.

Dan Ubick: Mike plays a lot of music on his too.

Sourdough: I love Mike D's show.

Dan Ubick: That’s my era. The Beastie Boys are heroes. I just went to a function with my friend Danny Hollow was spinning records at with Mario Caldato, so I got to just sit and listen to them play reggae all night. I mean it's just so inspiring still. Those guys know so much about music. I'm still learning, you know, there's so much to know…

Hip Hop Origins

Sourdough: I've talked about this on the podcast before, but my journey around hip hop as a working class white kid from the suburbs of Chicago, is interesting for me to think back on because I love hip hop now, but growing up outside Chicago, I was very much a jazz and blues guy. I loved jazz and blues. I used to ditch school and hop the train into the city and sneak into blues and jazz clubs when I was 15, 16, 17, 18. But I wasn't aware of hip hop yet. And my first introduction to hip hop was through MTV. And, quite frankly, I was so ignorant. I didn’t understand the fact that hip hop was a culture, it wasn't just a genre of music. And, I thought quite wrongly and quite ignorantly, that it was an interesting fad. I wondered how long the trend would last?…

Dan Ubick: That's what a lot of people felt.

Sourdough I think a big part of that feeling was driven by whatever hip hop I was hearing at the time which wasn't resonating with me for some reason. Frankly, I suspect I was a bit of a snob in some ways too, being a jazz and blues guy. Or, that hip hop was political in a way that I couldn't relate to.

I was born in Gary, Indiana and grew up in Northwest Indiana which was a very segregated area. Gary, Indiana was where blacks lived and all the white folks lived a few miles east where I grew up. It was a fascinating time because it was somehow okay for me to go to Chicago, but not to Gary where it was presumed I would get shot. There was real danger there. Gary was the murder capital of the country throughtout the seventies and eighties when I was growing up there. Anyway, for me, I was a rocker, into Led Zeppelin or Van Halen, but also deep into jazz and blues music at the same time. So it was a while before hip hop really came into my consciousness in a way that started to resonate. I'm trying to remember now, which of those first albums it was. Maybe Biggie Smalls was one of the first artists that landed with me and I was like, okay, there is something about this I really like…

Dan Ubick It was a lot of the first stuff for me. Like I mentioned earlier, my little sister was huge into hip hop first. Our junior high school had busing, so in elementary school, junior high, high school, in our little white area of town where I grew up, we had lots of black kids and Mexican kids coming in on buses. So we instantly were listening to what everyone was listening to.

I think the first thing I heard was maybe Slick Rick or Beastie Boys, somewhere in that era. But it really took me… the first thing that really blew me away… was “Brass Monkey” with that saxophone sample, “Peter Piper” and Slick Rick songs. “It Takes a Nation of Millions” by Public Enemy adn “Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop” by BDP were the first albums as a whole where I was like, what is this? Just because I was already listening to blues and jazz and reggae and Zeppelin and all this stuff my older brothers and sisters listened to. Once they started sampling a lot in hip hop, it was like all that music in one, like a mosaic. They've got like U-Roy sampled here, and then Zeppelin's drums and like what's going on here? It's like all these cool influences, you know, coming into one thing.

And we come to find out like all those Jamaican ex-pats came to New York and we're spinning just like all the DJs from Jamaica… but playing everything from Billy Squire to James Brown, everything, and it all worked. And I just love that. It declassified music a little bit for me. It's like everything's good. Just throw it in the pot.

Beastie Boys

Sourdough: You mentioned Beastie Boys and I'm remembering my first introduction to the Beastie Boys was probably License to Ill, whatever that first big album it was that broke for them. And to the extent I was talking about my introduction to hip hop was maybe through Biggie, you know, maybe that's not entirely accurate because of the Beastie Boys. But, given my status at the time as a white kid in the suburbs and neophyte about hip hop culture and music, and hearing the Beastie Boys, at the time I liked some of their music because it was fun but part of me was like oh these are white kids trying to be black. I didn't understand at the time about their roots in punk rock and hip hop, that they had real pedigree and musical chops. They had integrity I was not appreciating at the time.

Dan Ubick: I've learned too and read about them and that it wasn't just some music they were appropriating. They really were into the culture of hip hop. I mean they're the ones who were responsible for getting LL Cool J a record deal. And they were obviously endorsed by Run DMC. They really did their best to give props to the guys who invented the genre and were doing it in the black community too, so it's pretty amazing.

Music Sampling

Sourdough: Yeah, it became apparent to me. Especially on their second and third albums, I was like oh, these guys are super creative and brilliant. But again, as a white kid in the burbs with a more conventional mindset around music, I didn't appreciate that sampling and turntablism born out of necessity. Because people have to express themselves. Artists have to express themselves. And, you use the tools you have, especially if you don't have the money to go buy an instrument, you use what you have such as turntables and records..

I remember the gatekeepers and the establishment made such a big deal of the sampling of copyrighted music, that the controversy overshadowed the artistry, at least for me. I was kind of confused like how is this music? Because they're making music with other people's music, yet I kind of liked it. It was fascinating…

Dan Ubick: You get into that, whenever there's money to be made. It's like you have your master recording, but the fact is they took the drums from “Moby Dick” on Beastie Boys, you know, but Zeppelin borrowed from everybody. They didn’t sample Howlin’ Wolf or Willy Dixon’s master recording on Chess but they definitely took it, you know. Elvis, took… you know, did Big Mama Thornton songs, I mean it goes on and on. Everybody's been influenced by everybody. But once you get the master recording sampling and lawyers involved, it becomes controversial…

Sourdough: Right. Because people are protecting their interests or they're looking for money. They're greedy. I'm bringing this up just because as I became more educated about what was really going on in terms of artists using new tools or using existing things to create in new ways, I was like this is epic. It’s the ingenuity that comes from necessity.

Dan Ubick: So mind blowing. Absolutely. The ingenuity. It's stoked my entire world. I mean “Three Feet High and Rising” and “Paul's Boutique” alone I was like I need to find out where all of this came from. Like what is that sample they took? Oh it's this British group of Jamaican dudes called Cymande and so you look for that record. And like Paul's Boutique samples Sly Stone’s “Loose Booty” for “Shadrach”…I mean it's just endless. And then you find all those original records that are equally as inspiring. I think that's the lost thing, is like all of those hip hop groups not only did so much for the vinyl community, collecting community, but also for all those artists from the sixties and seventies that fell into obscurity. Now people are looking for them. You know, it's like they didn't sell records then, but now some of those original records go for 150, 200 bucks. And it's like you're saying, Mother of Necessity, like all those records before anybody knew about them, and now they’re paying hundreds of dollars on Discogs or eBay. They were dollar records that nobody cared about, you know, and those guys found gold in them, and that's just freaking incredible.

Martha Cooper

Sourdough: Incredible. And on a related note, to the extent that we're talking about ingenuity and creativity, I was recently in Miami for Art Basel and one of the coolest things I was able to do while I was there was to visit the new Museum of Graffiti, which is in Wynwood. And it's a permanent museum, not a pop up. At this point, it's fairly modest size, it's like 3,600 square feet, but the scholarship, they really did a great job in terms of explaining the culture of graffiti. And, of course, graffiti being one of the four pillars of hip hop, for me it's such an educational experience because it's anthropological, it's sociological, It's so rich with all of this insider information, and learning. One of the coolest exhibits in the museum is this photographic exhibit by a photographer called Martha Cooper. She was a young photographer, a photojournalist at the New York Times I think, and it was the late sixties or something. But as an artist she was intrigued with youth culture in the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc. And this photographic installation of her work was so moving, it was a whole wall of her photographs…

Martha Cooper exhibit at the Museum of Graffiti in Miami

Dan Ubick: Pictures of the trains and everything?

Sourdough: Yes. But the photos that were perhaps most compelling to me were photos of these poor kids playing, and the kind of ingenuity and creativity and imagination that they were demonstrating with nothing but a random car tire, an empty box, a burnt-out car…creating whole worlds, creative whole games. She took all these photos of these kids and it was so moving on so many levels. Of course, being a dad myself now too, I'm like are my kids going to have that level of creativity and ingenuity? I mean, in this world of digital screens and computers? Anyway, you should check out her work. It's really great. But to imagine how hip hop, turntablism, Kool Herc, came out of that time…

Dan Ubick: Yeah, it's incredible.

Sourdough: I was just in New York and I know this is like a crazy thought, but I wondered about all the gentrification happening in New York City, how it has changed so much. I wondered to what extent hip hop helped drive the gentrification? All those artists coming out of the projects, becoming successful and rich and making New York more relevant…

Hip Hop Today

Dan Ubick: Yeah, I'm not sure. I don't know who's doing what and who's given back. I mean, you hear lots of great stories like Snoop Dogg coming back and put a bunch of money into youth sports here in LA…. and I mean there's all kinds of people doing wonderful stuff behind the scenes that isn't advertised.

Sourdough: Many of these artists do not forget where they come from.

Dan Ubick: Totally. It's an interesting thing to me because we talk about hip hop and the culture being so pervasive now. But I wonder… this is not to judge anybody's art, but a lot of the stuff that's under the umbrella of hip hop today doesn't feel like hip hop to me.

Sourdough: No, it's pop music.

Political Hip Hop

Dan Ubick: It's pop music, and like I said, not judging anybody's experience, but hearing about how much money you have and the pills you're popping and how much you had to drink and all the girls you're having your way with, it's definitely not like the thing that I fell in love with, being another kid who came from the white suburbs when hip hop came in, rap music and hip hop and the culture came in, it taught me so much. Like it was my window into other people's experiences.

And not that the current stuff isn't, but it's just like you're popping pills and you're drinking and you're having the most sex with anybody, and okay, great, but like what else do you have to say?

Like when I first heard Public Enemy, I was learning about Marcus Garvey, I was learning about Malcolm X, I was learning about all kinds of things and experiences from a different community, and it was like an eye opener. More importantly, it was uplifting.

We need to say this and put it in this art because it's happening and it's important and we want to bring our people together. And so much of it now seems to be the whole drive for success and fame. I understand wanting to get yourself out of certain situations and one way to do it is to become a pop star. I get that. Nobody wants to have nothing and live in a crappy situation, but is it really uplifting the community? Is it saying something that's helping humanity? And I don't hear it as much anymore and that makes me sad.

Sourdough: It's like who are you serving? Are you serving the greater good or are you serving yourself?

Dan Ubick: Right. Like, I'm fine not being a millionaire at this point, but I'm making music I'm proud of, you know. And if they're proud of that music, great, you know, whatever makes you feel good is fine with me, but I just don't buy it.

Sourdough: I'm going to bring up something I know very little about, but as I understand it, there's an interesting rift in the hip hop community to where a lot of these younger artists are saying they don't need to know or respect the history. They don't need to know what came before because they’re making their own thing. Like, I'm doing my own thing. I'm just doing me, and the OG guys are like you better know your history, you better know what's up.

Learning From History

Dan Ubick: Maybe I learned that from hip hop. I definitely learned it from my parents and my grandparents. Just like the whole thing that to model yourself after and learn from our elders. If you don't have that, what are you doing? You’ve got to learn from people who came before you or you're just going to repeat the same stupid mistakes they made.

Sourdough: 100%. It also goes back to that old saying about you can't break the rules unless you know the rules.

Dan Ubick: True. If you're like, I listened to EPMD and I just do not care for it and I'm going to make something totally different, Okay, great. But like to totally buck it, to just to be like, I'm just going to not listen to it because I don't care about my history, just doesn't seem like a smart way to move through life to me.

Sourdough: That's also very American.

Dan Ubick: I guess so, yeah.

Sourdough: I mean, Americans often don't know their history.

Dan Ubick: That's pretty true. It's too scary to think about sometimes, our history.

Sourdough: Well, then there's all that. Like we don't want to know. We prefer to put our head in the sand.

Dan Ubick: We've got a pretty crazy history.

Sourdough: When you think about 2020, since we've just started a new year, what's stirring you? What's getting you excited? What's your vision for 2020 for your life and for your art?

Dan Ubick: For 2020, I'm just trying to link up with as many positive, talented people as I can and that's friendships, people that make me feel good, people that uplift me and I can uplift them, but artistically, it's just trying to get myself working with as many new and creative and positive people as I can. It's happened over the last couple of years and I just want to amplify that. I'm just reaching out to someone if I think they're cool and let's see what we can do together. Now more than ever, I'm just trying to branch out, to do as many new things as I can do this year.

Staying Positive

Sourdough: Where does your positivity come from? It seems to me a lot of artists fall into two camps. They're either positive and optimistic, rose-colored glasses no matter what, or they're cynical, pissed off. Now, that's a gross oversimplification because artists are not a monolithic community, but where does your positivity come from? You get that from your mom or from your dad? Were you born that way?

Dan Ubick: I think I get it from my mom, and I think I get it from my mom because I know for a fact we both deal with depression, so it's like a coping mechanism. It is what it is. I don't mean to make light of that. But being positive and surrounding myself with beautiful things and beautiful people is a way to make life worth living, man.

Sourdough: Yeah. As a new dad myself, my daughter's seven, and my son's going to be three soon, so it's like I have to be positive for them. Yet, I'm going to be 50 soon and I've got a few miles under these heels. I've been around the block once or twice. I'm very aware of what's going on in the world right now and it's just so fucking hard to be positive.

Dan Ubick: It sure is. It's depressing right now. I mean just the fact that these things are being allowed and that a large percentage of the country thinks it's all right. It's absolutely frightening because it's out of the woodwork. It’s all so blatant.

Sourdough: Well because we all want to believe that the human race and our country is generally moving forward, making positive changes and evolving in a positive way. And then at times like this you realize, not so much.

Jacob Miller

Dan Ubick: Yeah. I think it's just like Jacob Miller said, it's “one step forward and two steps back”. I think there's people who are really devoting a lot of their lifetime to create beautiful things, to create change, to lift the curtain and show what's really happening. You know, whether it be with factory farming, whether it be politicians, whether it be just, you know, environmental stuff. I mean there's so much stuff happening in this world just because of greed and people not giving a shit because they want all the money and to have a stockpile of money and be sort of immune to it. We can only crap on this planet for so long before the planet keeps moving and knocks us all off.

So to me that mentality of, like the Donald Trump mentality, where you're just… I'm just a businessman, a ruthless businessman, obviously just a miserable human being, and I'm just going to stockpile all this money and that's what's important to me is and money. And to me that's just like the least important goal ever. For me, the most important goal is to make sure my friend who's going through a hard time knows that I love them, you know. Making sure people have food to eat and a place to live, you know. Like why do you care about having your own private golf resort and a house here and a house there. Like, great, you're a real freaking big man. I say that sarcastically in case you couldn't pick up on it.

It's just ridiculous to me, the priorities some human beings have. It's sad. And that's who's the face of our country right now. And that's the most frightening thing – that my kids are seeing that somehow this is being allowed.

It's so transparent, you know? It's like they can see what a douche bag this guy is. It's not a political thing for me, it's a human thing for me. It's not Republicans and Democrats, it's 1% that just likes to hoard everything while the rest of us suffer and work our asses off, and that's just not fair, it's not cool.

Fly Over States

Sourdough: When Trump got elected, so many of my friends in New York and in LA were very surprised, and these are also the same people that refer to where I grew up as the fly over states. And I would go back home to see my parents, who hate Trump and did not vote for Trump, being lifelong Democrats, But I saw the Trump signs in the neighbors yards.

Being a working class kid from a blue collar family in the MidWest, whose has seen globalization and the impacts of NAFTA and the offshoring of jobs and seeing the hollowing out of the America industry here in the country and so on and so forth, it was sad to see people who I actually respect and care for get hoodwinked by a snake oil salesman.

Now, snake oil salesmen are as old as this country. But so many of the people that I know who probably voted for Trump, I would consider to be smarter than that. But, that's how desperate they are at the end of the day.

Dan Ubick: That whole “fly over states” idea is just so condescending, My parents are both from “fly over states” but I don't feel like I'm on a high horse out here in California. I'm happy to live out here, the weather is nice and I know a lot of great people out here, but I know a lot of great people in Milwaukee and Texas and Florida, there's good people everywhere… who use their brains and think about stuff, and then there's people who are used to having it a certain way because of privilege or whatever it might be, that don't want to give that up, and I understand that, but you not giving it up is affecting everybody else. And that's just not fair man, it's not kind, is what it is.

Empathy Politics

Sourdough : We need empathy more than ever.

Dan Ubick: Absolutely, that's the word.

Sourdough: Empathy is what we need. Empathy is about the only thing that'll save us. Empathy and compassion and mutual respect in spite of our differences. We seemingly are at a time where we sort of lock ourselves in our echo chambers, and we don't talk or have discourse.I get frightened because back when Obama got elected, The Tea Party was sort of the resistance de jour at the time, right? And kind of what concerns me now is it feels like so many of my liberal friends are becoming intolerant in many ways.

They just don't want to hear a different opinion. This gets back to talking to people that you don't agree with. But I just know people who are just writing the others off. How are we ever going to come together if we can't agree to disagree? I'm so frustrated with fucking Democrats right now.

Trump is a fucking scoundrel, and maybe I'm a simpleton, but I just want us to beat him at the ballot box. That's the most profound way to protest. As for his impeachment, did he rise to the level of impeachable offenses? Absolutely, in my opinion, But Democrats knew they were going to lose in the Senate anyway. So, I question the choice to spend all of that energy and time in a losing battle, rather than taking that same energy and put it towards winning an election day. I mean look at that bullshit that happened in Iowa with that stupid app, I mean we look like a bunch of fucking clowns, you know?

Dan Ubick: It's frustrating, it's very frustrating. I mean, just what a systematic, pulling the wool over our eyes thing it is, you know. My parents were both Democrats growing up, you know, but it's just like like we need a new model. People get so afraid of communism, but how many times do we have to say it, Democratic Socialism is a different thing. It's meaning that all these taxes that we're paying, it's just not going to line the 1% pocket, but going to actually do stuff for working people.

I think it's just so much more important. And Democrats and Republicans at least in the traditional sense, it doesn't seem like that as big of a divide any more. It just seems like the same thing to me.

You know, many politicians are taking money from Wall Street, the NRA, the war machine, banks and pharmaceutical companies. You see how people rely on medication and things and how there's money to be made from sickness and money to be made from war. You look at the amount of years that we've been involved in a war somewhere since this country began, it's freaking frightening. It’s a money maker for all these people who own all these military supply organizations. It's just so transparent and sad, because it all goes back to money. This is a capitalist society. It even get back to what we were talking about with rap music again, is money the only thing that's driving us?

Psychology of the Rich

Well, it's not driving me. Sure I'd like to be comfortable and take my wife on a trip once in a while and do fun things, go out to breakfast once in a while, that's all wonderful, but like how much money does a person freaking need?

Sourdough: It's interesting because we have these shows that objectify people with mental illness who hoard things in their house or whatever, hoard cats, hoard magazines, hoard junk, whatever it is. But I haven't heard anybody talking about how Billionaires like Trump or even Bloomberg or Gates or Bezos suffer from mental illness because they're hoarding money.

Dan Ubick: Yes. I've seen lots of pieces about Trump’s mental illness going around from reputable sources, I think it’s a real thing.

Sourdough: It seems his narcissistic disorder is pretty clear. But what compels somebody like a Bezos to want to be the richest man in the world? I don't know if that was initially his motivation, but the point is, how much is enough?

Human-Centeredness

When you see the homeless situation, for example. And I know that these are complicated problems, and there's part of me that absolutely wants a small government, but I don't want people to be homeless either. And that’s part of what's so frustrating to me, I think as a creative person right, look at politics and stuff, none of these people are creative about the problems right, and just the language we use. We continue to use the same old parlance and jargon and paradigms, and just once I would like a politician to talk about trying to create and design a human-centered government. Not a democratic or a republican government, we're all humans, we're all on this planet, so if we could start talking about how having the world's best education system, the world's best health care system, is actually part of a good national defense, etc. These kinds of concepts. Just fucking think about it for a second.

Dan Ubick: It's really not a mystery, you know. It's like nobody wants to be homeless, nobody wants to have a drug addiction, nobody wants to have mental issues, nobody wants to be cold lying out in the street, people want to feed their family and live a comfortable life, do great stuff, it's just so transparent that not everybody has that opportunity in this country.

Sourdough: And you can't have it both ways, right? You can't be a wealthy individual and want your tax breaks and then complain about the homeless situation. You can't have it both ways..

Dan Ubick: Exactly.

Natural Health

Sourdough: I have a theory that so many of our modern day problems are linked to our migration away from being an agricultural society. Because when we were living in rural areas and raising crops or working with our hands, we needed each other in different ways. And, you weren't obese because you were working your ass off and and you weren't depressed because you were outdoors all the time and working and exercising your body, which is exercising your mind.

Dan Ubick: It links to digging in the dirt and using your hands… it’s an antidepressant.

Sourdough: And, we've become so sedentary.

Dan Ubick: True. Going out for a hike, and getting out in the sun, walking in the mountains. It always makes me feel the best.

Sourdough: You have a lot of trails where you live, right?

Dan Ubick: Tons, that's why I live up there, I love it. I've been up in the canyons since I was, like, about 19. And I just love it for that reason. …

Sourdough: Can I come visit someday?

Dan Ubick: Absolutely man.

The Muse

Sourdough: I'd love to check out the digs. One of my favorite things is to visit artists where they live.

Dan Ubick: Me too. Well come up, check it out. My godmother growing up was an artist. Going to her studio was one of my favorite things to do. She lived over on Fountain, near Hollywood Blvd. She was a gifted painter. And her studio was just canvasses and aisles and a garden around it, and was just one of the most beautiful creative spaces, and it just was so inspiring to me. Your space, where you feel comfortable to create, is very important..

Steven Pressfield + The War of Art

Sourdough: Do you know the book of the War of Art? It's fundamentally about the resistance that artists have to create. Like how do you fight the resistance? There are a lot of artists that just don't live up to their potential because they give in to the resistance is the premise of the book. I'm oversimplifying, but the guy that wrote it was talking about when he goes into his studio to write, he wears a certain necklace, he puts on a certain hat, he wears a certain attire that begins to stir the muses…

Dan Ubick: The mojo, the mojo pin. I think it's great. Whatever it takes.

Sourdough: Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art. He’s a best selling author. Author of the War of Art, and then he's also written Turning Pro and the Artist's Journey.

Dan Ubick: Oh yeah, I’ve seen The Artists Journey before..

Sourdough: Steven Pressfield is an interesting cat. He's actually a former marine. So he brings that kind of discipline, rigorous kind of ethos to being a writer. And yet he also struggles to write and create. Who's the artist who said inspiration is for amateurs? I think Chuck Close said that. And you know, I've always loved that quote because it gets to the nuts and bolts, and to the nature of work. It's like, if you're an artist, you go to the salt mines and get going. You can find inspiration in the actual doing of the work…

Dan Ubick: I agree with that. Sometimes you just get going and you find things through trying things out that don't work at first. And you just find a way out of it. I think of it like a little puzzle, each time I'm working on something. How I'm I going to make this work? How is this going to be the best finished product possible? It doesn't always come the first try. Sometimes it does. Sometimes you find inspiration when you're least looking for it..

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Dan Ubick — https://danubeproductions.com/bio/

Dan Ubick — https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-ubick-616310109/

Lucas High on Spotify — https://open.spotify.com/album/6rVlPa6oFIU6367XkOWCFT

Bad Brains — https://badbrains.com/

Big Daddy Kane — https://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-daddy-kane-mn0000050434

Peanut Butter Wolf — https://twitter.com/pbwolf

Method Man — https://open.spotify.com/artist/4VmEWwd8y9MCLwexFMdpwt

Miles Tackett — https://milestackett.bandcamp.com/

Augustine Kofie — https://augustinekofie.info/

Billie Eilish — https://augustinekofie.info/

Amoeba Music — https://www.amoeba.com/

The Mayfair — https://www.mayfairla.com/

Abstract Radio — https://music.apple.com/us/curator/abstract-radio/993270836

Beastie Boys — https://twitter.com/beastieboys

Cymande — https://www.cymandeofficial.com/

Martha Cooper — http://www.stevenkasher.com/artists/martha-cooper

Museum of Graffiti — https://museumofgraffiti.com/

Marcus Garvey — https://www.biography.com/activist/marcus-garvey

Jacob Miller — https://www.discogs.com/artist/112775-Jacob-Miller

The War of Arthttps://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Winning-Creative-Battle/dp/1501260626

Steven Pressfield — https://stevenpressfield.com/

Man One — http://www.manone.com/

Man One on Twitter — https://twitter.com/ManOneArt

Scott “Sourdough” Power — https://www.instagram.com/sourdoughpower/

Not Real Art on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/notrealartworld/

Scott Power

Scott "Sourdough" Power, Creator of NOT REAL ART

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Discover 100 of the most exciting artists alive today, producing cutting-edge public art world-wide.

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