The Daily Grind, Secus Works Well Under Pressure

Author : Daisy Magana
December 15, 2020

The Daily Grind, Secus Works Well Under Pressure

Matt Salamone, or better known as Secus, knows a thing or two about discipline. Balancing not only his musical career but a “9 to 5” job, Secus creates a tight structure for his daily workflow. He also shares a few personal lessons he’s learned over the last 15 plus years since he first started his artist journey.

When did you start ArtistMap and how did you first hear about it?

Back in 2017, Jia and I were at a festival discussing growth as an artist and about my future path. He was mentioning how much he likes to help people and watch them grow and wanted to become a coach/mentor for those going down this path. As he has been in the scene for 10 plus years and is close with many successful artists, he really wanted to determine the key factors that made them successful and be able to replicate it, then there was ArtistMap. I believe I was one of the first along with a couple of others to be one of the “guinea pigs” for ArtistMap. Jia has been amazing as a coach, and I’m so stoked to be a part of it.

How do you balance your time between work and music?

I feel it’s well balanced. Once I’m off work, I’m usually mentally checked out and ready to focus on music. I have a pretty disciplined schedule that I follow. I work from 7:30am to 4pm M-F, gym, dinner, then it’s all music the rest of the night typically 5-6 hours.

What workflow or process has worked best for you in the studio?

For me, the best workflow has been setting days to work on specific tasks. Creativity can take more time than I have in a weeknight and trying to force it can mess with the ideas and flow. For example, on the weekends I know I have a 12 hour or more time slot where I can mess around with synths, try new things, record a bunch of sounds that I come up with, without being stressed about time or feeling like I need to stop. During the week when my mind is more structured, I start a new track and aim to get the basic layout done in the same night to avoid changing it all the next day. Other nights I’ll mix down a track I made the week before so I listen with fresh ears. This all ebb and flows with what’s going on week to week, but it’s worked well for me this last year.


Understanding realistic expectations. When I started I thought if I made a good track I should be rewarded with a release, getting gigs, getting attention/popularity, but there’s so much more to it than that and a lot more time investment required. Consistency and patience are key.

Lessons learned along the way, Secus keeps growing as an artist


Do you feel having a full-time job has set you back in your growth as an artist?

No, I think it’s actually helped keep me stay structured and keep me motivated. Having 5-6 hours a day is plenty of time to finish a track a day. The rest of the time is spent on communicating/building relationships with those in the industry. The only area where it might set me back would be with touring. Pulling the long weekends overseas might be tough, but I’m ready for it. Also, my job is flexible enough to take 2 weeks straight off of work. Overall, financially it allows me to run the label, buy new gear, and contribute to my overall path as an artist.

What have been some of the lessons you’ve learned on your own going through the artist journey over the course of time?

Understanding realistic expectations. When I started I thought if I made a good track I should be rewarded with a release, getting gigs, getting attention/popularity, but there’s so much more to it than that and a lot more time investment required. Consistency and patience are key.

Don’t fall in love with your track. If you make a certain riff that you think is the best thing ever and try to make a track around it, most likely you’ll spend way too much time on it.

Don’t think every track you make is going to be a #1 hit. Aim to finish every track you start and weed out the ones you don’t like from there. Work on your craft, better yourself through education and practice. When starting out, get a song mixed and mastered by a professional, so you understand how it should sound, from there understand what you need to work on to match that quality.

Learn more about ArtistMap, and enroll in Phase-1 (FREE course access).

What words would you share to an artist who just started on this path of turning pro?

Be yourself. Be nice and respectful. Say yes to almost every opportunity. Focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others’ success.

Actively listen to music you like, listen to each element in one of your favorite tracks, and determine what makes it great. Spend a whole day working on an element you don’t feel confident in. Spend a whole day figuring out what techniques work for the sounds you like, make it sound unique, then keep it consistent when working on new tracks. This is how you will get to YOUR sound.

How do you define success?

For my work to be recognized, appreciated, and played out by my friends and favorite DJs.

What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?

To be on some of the labels that inspired me from my beginning, and consistently playing gigs and festivals throughout the year. Traveling and sharing amazing moments with some of the best people I’ve met in my life along the way.

One of the best feelings is being in Detroit during Movement festival, jumping from one great after-party to another, and running into friends I’ve met over the years from all over the world. All of us are there sharing the same love for the music that’s playing. Whether it be at a festival or a private desert party, to be able to create and share those great moments with my own music is the ultimate goal.

Any new music on the horizon?

I have tons of new demos I’d like to get out. A big vinyl release coming out on Tympanum, my good friends Josh Sturges and EAS’ label along with a solo EP. There’s also another EP on my own label Ascetic Limited. Hopefully a few more before the end of the year!

About Secus

Secus has been a musician since 2002, an audio engineer since 2005, and a producer since 2010. He was first introduced to underground techno in his hometown of Los Angeles in 2011, and he quickly began experimenting with his own techno productions.

He has been releasing under the duo Motionen since 2016 and in 2018 began releasing his solo work. He has since released on his own imprint Ascetic Limited, Christian Gerlach’s and San Francisco-based label From 0-1. Originally a drummer, he is strongly influenced by jazz and metal genres translating their deep, driving, and technical elements into his own composition of techno. His powerful yet dynamic approach aims to satisfy everyone on the dance floor.

Secus has shared DJ booths with artists such as Claudio PRC, Ness, Deepbass, Wrong Assessment, Viels, David ATT, Wata Igarashi, Jeff Derringer, Rebekah, Christian Gerlach, Mike Parker, Kangding Ray, Edit Select, Orphx, Reggy Van Oers, Etapp Kyle, Setaoc Mass, Exos, P.E.A.R.L, Kwartz, Oscar Mulero and more.

Follow Secus: SoundCloud // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Resident Advisor