Episode 035 : Sweet Spot
Friday, December 17th, 2021
CLINIK: Why did you choose to go by the name Sweet Spot?
Sweet Spot: The name Sweet Spot has roots in my love for baseball & stats analytics. When I was younger you could catch me in my backyard throwing a ball against my garage fielding grounders and squatting like a catcher in my leisure. Played in too many travel/local leagues to count. Often the term "sweet spot" is used to describe the barrel of the bat that hits an instant homerun with disregard to trajectory and exit velocity. Baseball is the main sport (IMO) that's statistically driven where skill & structure are equal in impact. I like applying that concept to my mixing. Also, I follow a mantra of mixing moods, not genres. Truly believe there is a sweet spot in all genres, just have to find it!
C: How has NYC influenced your outlook on music, if at all?
SS: NYC is definitely one of the main hubs for the creative arts. Being exposed to such a wide palette of sounds daily definitely sparked my love for music at a young age. It's like getting a huge pizza pie, you're gonna try to eat it all lol. No matter what day of the week it is you can find an incredible event going on in any of the boroughs. You can really reap the benefits of all NYC has to offer when you have an appreciation for all types of music.
The environment here can also be very intimidating and LOUD, which led me to be mostly seclusive as a kid, especially in the deep winters we have. Music was my escape from the outside noise, giving me clarity to think clearly and feel less alone.
C: Your instagram bio says that you are a DJ, Event Curator, Creative Coach, and MGMT. What initially inspired you to become involved in the music scene? How do you balance all of these different roles?
SS: What initially inspired me was seeing so many artists that had yet to become discovered. I knew I possessed the means of furthering the undiscovered whether that was through pushing their sounds through mixing, curating events for the underground or serving as a creative coach to help entry artists get to the level they want to achieve & reach their goals. It’s easy to relate to these budding artists as an artist myself who wasn’t given the time of day. I have been building up media platforms for years with a communal mindset. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing that wealth with those seeking the opportunity.
Balancing these roles is definitely tough, but finding a common ground between them all is how I thrive. When one facet grows, it brings the rest with them. Also a huge math nerd, dividing my time effectively has always come at a premium. It really took me stepping away from my 9-5 as a Civil Engineer to fully pursue all I want to do musically 24/7. Sadly, my personal project often takes a back seat if the time doesn't allow for it and I lean on working at night for SSC related business when industry heads are more readily available.
C: In addition to performing as Sweet Spot, you are the founder of Sweet Sounds Collective. For readers who might not be aware, what is Sweet Sounds Collective? What is your ultimate vision for Sweet Sounds Collective?
SS: Sweet Sounds Collective is a digital artist-to-artist network that serves as a creative incubator providing the resources necessary to grow talent. We are spread out all over the country (in some cases, the world) with artists who specialize in different arenas. We provide a collaborative of visual artists, graphic designers, animators, producers, instrumentalists, mixers, vocalists, songwriters, flow artists, painters, street artists, audio technicians, wood craftsmen and healing instructors who side step label-type restrictions and work together to promote the development of each others craft. By pooling all these incredibly talented minds together there’s less of a need to outsource, boosting creative output. It is truly a team effort where the community plays just as significant of a role as myself toward our collective success.
My ultimate vision for Sweet Sounds is to take the digital concept of SSC to physical space and provide mentorship programs based on your creative area of interest. This would involve opening a creative “playground” filled with the tools needed to pursue all artistic forms of expression like a gym membership, but with instruments. Following the “build it and they will come” ideology of the movie “Field of Dreams” garnering self sufficient creative output. Definitely have a lot of lofty ideas for the future lol…really enjoying the present moment of the journey though :)
Some immediate goals are hosting takeovers in major hubs around the country to give all our artists local to these areas an opportunity to perform with us without the carbon footprint tax of travel! Pushing collaborations with other groups/collectives breaking creative boundaries is a main focus. Truly believe in strength in numbers at this point in time given all the limitations in today’s society. Lets f****** GROW!
C: Sweet Sounds Collective is an organization that seems to be in tune with mindfulness practice. How do you create space for a culture of mindfulness both in the bass music scene and in life?
SS: As someone clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety, the healing facet of our organization holds the utmost importance to me. We regularly host events in the digital and IRL landscape for the community to gather with the intention of fostering safe space to mentally reset and unwind. Sweets Sounds Collective “Mind Garden” holds workshop offerings available to music festivals/events with emphasis in guided meditation, generational healing, yoga flow, movement classes, sound healing, reiki, sitting with the sober mind, crowd safety and more as avenues of reprieve.
Our main goal in mindfulness practice is to provide free avenues of therapy to help lessen the strife for those who struggle with mental health (PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar, hearing impairments, addiction, etc) vocally or silently. When we have the opportunity to fundraise, donations go towards non-profit organizations spreading awareness and activism for mental health. Our main partnered organization is Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based non-profit leading the charge for mindfulness in the classroom with young adults. We look to open our events with healing workshops to help lead our community to make healthy decisions for their mind, body and soul.
Our team is staffed with directors in community well-being and community outreach who are readily available to the artists in our network. Our hope is to help prevent creative ruts by helping mitigate any grief or mental strife an individual is going through, even if that's just being an ear to talk to in a challenging time. So important to protect the livelihood of our community.
C: You are active on platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok. What are some strategies you have used to grow your social media following?
SS: Finding your voice on social media platforms is the biggest advice I have for growing your platform. You have to see from the viewer's perspective and realize they want to support the human behind the page, not just the art. Establishing your voice gives your audience a sincere look in at your world and helps retain them as fans. You only have a few seconds of your viewers’ attention as they are processing so much digital content on their phone daily. It’s important to be concise in your wording as well as the content!
Also, following and supporting similar accounts within your market is a quick way to grow. Spending time engaging with your audience, whether they are an artist or a fan is so important. People remember who share, like & comment on their posts and will be more inclined to return that favor to you. Speak from your heart and take the time to read people’s captions. Three fire emojis don't do the trick, speak with substance!
C: Who are some of your favorite artists from other genres outside of electronic music?
SS: Tash Sultana, John Mayer, Tame Impala, Mac Miller, Purity Ring, The Story So Far, Bayside, Tom Misch, and anything R&B
C: You are a unique DJ and promoter. What advice would you give to newcomers in the industry who don’t want to hop on trends and want to create their own lane like you have?
SS: Thank you! Three pillars I’ve stayed committed to is consistency, authenticity and patience. Tell your story with your art. You will be surprised how many people share the same mindset. Lean into what makes you unique. You can’t make a difference with the same product. It’s important to not lose yourself to what you think the industry “standard” is as you grow. The most renowned creatives have stayed true to themselves and didn’t mold to the narrative.
Don’t give up your direction if it doesn’t stick initially, you might just need to get in front of the right audience. Support systems are huge. Personally, finding a community of creatives who support me unconditionally gave me the confidence to try new projects without the fear of failure. Try different avenues if one isn’t working off the bat. Not many wanted to give me a shot as an artist when I was first getting started. While that was heavily discouraging, I decided to create my own opportunities, especially with live streaming.
It’s important to remember that we are all students to the creative teacher, actively learning. You are no less of an equal for being at an earlier phase in your creative journey. Be proud of how far you’ve come already!
C: Where is one place in the world that you would like to perform someday?
SS: While Red Rocks and Brooklyn Mirage would be an ultimate goal in the States, my real desire is overseas (Australia, London & Amsterdam to name a few). The drum & bass scene in the UK is absolutely bonkers, I'd lose it performing there!
C: What are some goals that you have for 2022?
SS: One huge goal of mine was to headline an event I wasn’t curating myself. Stoked to say that goal is already in motion! Heading to Louisville, KY (home of the sluggers) in March as the lead artist on an all dnb event. So excited to share more details soon!
My biggest goal for my project is to get fully original produced tracks on all streaming services. As someone who works closely with so many talented artists critiquing their work, it’s so incredibly daunting finding the courage to release my own music. I am committed to allocating more time in the lab for 2022. I do preach patience though, I know my sound design will be superb when the breakthrough comes. Stay tuned!