Motivation gets you started but discipline keeps you growing, ArtistMap member Stephen Disario knows all too well that habits can only take you so far. Setting and maintaining a structure makes the world of a difference in helping you achieve results. He talks about the strong mindset he’s cultivated over the years thanks in part to his mother and also shares why managing expectations has helped him grow as an artist.
When did you start ArtistMap and how did you first hear about it?
Jia told me about his plan on starting ArtistMap probably six months before the program’s launch. Through discussions between myself and other peers, I think those helped formulate the layout and structure behind ArtistMap. I think for me ArtistMap just redefines a proper structure on how to succeed.
Looking at days BC (before COVID), how did you structure a typical day or week? And how have you adapted to current times?
I worked full-time before COVID-19 and still do. My typical structure is to work my normal job Monday-Friday and use the weekends to let out my creativity. Working from home definitely opened up more opportunities for me to get creative during the week since I am not sitting in 2+ hours a day in traffic anymore. The main change for me has been the absence of events to go out to and get inspiration on the weekends, instead, I have been going outdoors in nature much more to find inspiration.
Has it been challenging on the creative front for you these days?
Absolutely, with not much to look forward to as far as gigs, and not being able to test tracks outlive it has made the inspiration and creative process a bit difficult. It’s taken a lot of self-reflection on what other outlets you can gain inspiration from, for me, it’s been nature and getting outdoors.
Understand that if you want to maintain a presence it isn’t by making the biggest one-hit track, but by staying consistent and not letting your ego take over.
On managing expectations, Stephen Disario aims for longevity
Discipline is an effective habit that helps people move toward their goals. How do you approach discipline as an artist?
I am extremely grateful to have a very disciplined mentality. I think I get that from my mother haha. I beat myself up more than anyone else ever could, so holding myself accountable for anything I do has been the biggest factor. I always make sure to finish my “work” before I go and have “fun” so to say. I only really enjoy myself after I complete something, whether it be in music, my regular job, or a commitment. It also is a lot more enjoyable doing things as a reward after you’ve accomplished a task.
Treating the music biz like a sprint and not spring not marathon is one of the major reasons for burnout. How do you manage your expectations?
I take it a day at a time and make music for the pure joy of expressing myself. I set goals at the beginning of each year and hope to obtain them. Understand that if you want to maintain a presence it isn’t by making the biggest one-hit track, but by staying consistent and not letting your ego take over. Changing the mindset from “I need to be at the same level as this person” to “I just want to make good music” ultimately helped me. Be a good person, make good music, and good things will follow.
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of your artist path?
Finding a balance is and always will be the most challenging aspect here. The balance of family-friend relationships, maintaining industry relationships, a full time 9-5 time, as well as a full-time producer is not an easy task and takes a very strong-minded person to balance all of this. Having a good support group around you that understands what you are doing is a huge factor as well.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out (a year or less)?
Formulate a structure that allows you to be in the studio as much as possible to learn the craft, without exhausting your creativity. Don’t rush, stay consistent, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
Any projects or music you’re particularly excited about?
I am working on a few things at the moment, I have an EP coming out on Say What? In October with a big remix by Brennen Grey. I am also in the works of finally doing my first live stream and I can’t wait to announce the details when it’s time!
What has 2020 taught you so far?
Although the world might be burning, you still have the power to be your best self in the midst of turmoil. This has been a huge period of self-reflection and seeing the disgust in the world ultimately has made me want to be a better person and live with healthier habits.
About Stephen Disario
Stephen Disario is a techno producer from Los Angeles. His deep love for dark melodic beats as well as minimal heavy techno create a blend that is one of a kind.