Sometimes the hardest part is showing up in life, and social media doesn’t necessarily help with your focus. DJ and producer Naufer decided to unplug to create more mindful habits and help with cooking beats in the studio. He also talks about why life is about the journey, not so much the destination.
How did you first hear about ArtistMap, and what have been some lessons that stood out to you?
I can’t pin-point exactly when and where I heard about ArtistMap. I do remember I was going through a rough creative patch and I was trying to find ways to improve my productivity mindset while approaching music. The main thing that stood out for me was the whole mindset that ArtistMap pushes. Particularly the book “The Daily Stoic”, completely changed my outlook on music and life in general.
Miami is known for its strong and growing electronic scene. Home to Space, a legendary club, what’s helped you to grow as an artist in a city that attracts so much sound?
The thing that helped me grow as an artist was my consistency to show up and work. I started as a promoter working at a club in South Beach and five years later I was working at Club Space as a resident DJ and artist liaison for LinkMiamiRebels and III Points Festival.
You don’t really have an online presence with social media….do you feel this has helped you as an artist?
I used to be obsessed with social media for a very long time. We are conditioned to think that these things are relevant for artists but I was wrong. I make music because it makes me happy and everything else that revolves around that is just noise. I wouldn’t say it has helped me much as an artist but it sure has helped my well-being as a person.
Do you think you’re missing out on connecting with potential fans online or even sharing your music with a greater audience?
I am well aware that I am missing out on potential fans online and whatnot, but I honestly did not start making music to get fans or be popular. I did it because I enjoyed getting together with my friends in a garage and playing loud and awful punk rock. I have an arsenal of music just sitting in my studio. I think the last piece of work I released was over a year ago. I am planning to upload everything to a BandCamp so people can get it for free. Given how things have played out this year, touring is not a reality anymore for small independent musicians.
My mental health is stronger than ever. I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with these issues to cut the noise. It is very hard to explain it until you actually experience it. People need to understand that most of the things we see are fake.
The push and pull of social media
Knowing that you’ve made a conscious decision to not be on social media, what are other ways you self-promote given that social media has become a huge tool for artist discovery?
Well, I can not really say I have decided to not be on social media. I just don’t spend time using Instagram and Facebook. I have had to adapt to actually make a living since I am not comfortable getting a job given the pandemic we are living in. I started a channel on Twitch.tv and it’s grown quite a lot in the past few months. There I produce music and also play video games with viewers. I feel like this is the new path we’re heading for musicians to reach a broader audience without having to tour for months while coming home with more debt.
Have you noticed a difference in your focus and overall mental health since you dialed back in social media?
Yes, I have. I feel a lot better. My mental health is stronger than ever. I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with these issues to cut the noise. It is very hard to explain it until you actually experience it. People need to understand that most of the things we see are fake. Social media companies have conditioned us to believe that we need these things to be successful but all they are is a distraction from what is really important, THE MUSIC.
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects in your artist path?
The most challenging thing has been dealing with my own mental health and how traumatic events in my life have shaped and detoured me from the path I had taken. I used to be in a band and we toured a lot and were relatively successful. We played a bunch of international punk festivals and toured with big bands here in the US and abroad. While all this was happening I was battling with a lot of personal issues and the pressure of being the main songwriter pushed me to the brink and I had to take a break, so I left the band.
The same thing happened again when I was working at Club Space. I had reached all these milestones that I had dreamed off but the stress of the night life was draining me from the love I have of making music. So after 6 years working with them I decided to leave and take care of my own well-being.
Any projects or music you’re particularly excited about?
Before this pandemic started I had packed all my things in my car and I drove up to NYC from Miami. My friend Rony and I decided to start jamming again after 10 years apart since I left the band. Things were going really good but then Covid struck like a bat out of hell. I tried to ride it off but had no choice but to come back to Miami since I couldn’t get a job. So as of now I am still writing music with the hope that we can get back where we left off. It had been years since I felt alive while composing and performing.
What has 2020 taught you so far?
The biggest lesson I have learned from 2020 is that everything we have and do in life is finite. I am trying my best to be present and actually enjoy what I am experiencing in the moment instead of looking to a future that is not guaranteed.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to let everyone who reads this to never lose hope in your dreams as an artist. Even if we fail in the journey of getting success. We need to remember that this is not what’s important. The important thing is to enjoy the journey and remember that we do this because we love music and we love performing. It’s better to expose yourself and fail than to never have tried at all.
Cristóbal Marte, aka Naufer, is a Miami-based producer from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His deep, moody, melodic techno productions and live sets draw on his longtime skills as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. His engineering expertise was honed at the ripe young age of 12, when he would accompany his older brother, a DJ himself, to gigs and help set up sound-checks. In this setting, Cris came face to face with the powerful emotion that music can inspire in people.
Under his Naufer alias, Cristóbal has released productions on Alfa Romero Recordings, Phantomdeck Records, Hatching Creatures, and his own label Nosso. He has toured and shared the decks with the likes of Tale of Us, Luciano, Victor Calderone, Danny Howells, Bedouin, Oliver Koletzki, Thugfucker, Nick Höppner and many more.