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Imagine yourself traversing a vast, uncharted desert. An oasis awaits just beyond the horizon, and you have only 12 hours to reach it before dying of thirst. As the sands of time draw this dreaded fate closer and closer, a genie suddenly descends from the heavens, offering you a choice: he will either gift you a generous supply of water or a reliable compass. 

The thought of cooling your parched lips is tempting, but as long as you remain lost, quenching your thirst will only delay the inevitable. You choose the compass.

In music production, knowledge is like water. It is the fuel that enables you to get from point A to point B. But intuition—that quiet inner knowing—is your compass; your Northern Star. 

Gatekeepers (a.k.a. insecure people who believe there isn’t enough success to go around) often overplay the importance of specialized knowledge. Wall Street sharks conjure up ridiculous jargon to make investing seem like rocket science (hint: it’s not), and countless music producers overhype the technical prowess you need to make a hit. 

In an overwhelmingly male-dominated field, it comes as no surprise that intuition – the more feminine kind of intelligence – is usually undervalued. But without it, you may as well be walking in circles with a blindfold on. No amount of knowledge will save you unless you know where you’re going.

The greatest producers understand that the technical aspects of music production are not an end in themselves; they are a means to an end. A shitty song that was produced with the fanciest gear and the most experienced engineers is still a shitty song. A great song that was created with the bare essentials, Steve Lacey style, speaks for itself.

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