Productivity Secrets of a Master DJ (Meditation, Morning Routines, and More) (#62)

The Tim Ferriss Show - Glitch Mob

(Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Justin Boreta is a founding member of The Glitch Mob. Their music has been featured in movies like Sin City II, Edge of Tomorrow, Captain America, and Spiderman.

In this post, we discuss The Glitch Mob’s path from unknown band to playing sold-out 90,000-person (!) arenas.  We delve into war stories, and go deep into creative process, including never-before-heard “drafts” of blockbuster tracks!  Even if you have zero interest in music, Justin discusses habits and strategies that can be applied to nearly anything.  Meditation?  Morning routines?  We cover it all.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Ep 62: The EDM Cinderella - How The Glitch Mob Exploded

The Glitch Mob’s last album, Love Death Immortality, debuted on the Billboard charts at #1 Electronic Album, #1 Indie Label, and #4 Overall Digital Album. This is particularly impressive because The Glitch Mob is an artist-owned group.  It’s a true self-made start-up.

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This episode is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What music do you listen to when you work? When you really need to get in the zone? Please share in the comments.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, could you please leave a short review here? I read them, and they keep me going.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram | YouTube

Learn More about The Glitch Mob




Commercial Work

Show Notes (Time Stamps Approximate)

  • World-class attributes of Justin Boreta
  • The Grant Korgan story
  • Unique attributes of The Glitch Mob and the feeling of being on stage in front of 90,000+ people
  • Defining “indie” and “artist owned”
  • The makeup and evolution of The Glitch Mob team
  • Tools and software of The Glitch Mob
  • What exactly is “mastering”?
  • Deconstructing audio engineering software and Ableton
  • How to have your music featured in massive motion pictures
  • The story of the Sin City II trailer
  • Justin plays Animus Vox [approx 36:30]
  • The fourth member, Kevin, and his role in the success of the business
  • Developing the creative process as success comes into play
  • Soliciting feedback, Justin Boreta-style
  • Describing a day in the studio for The Glitch Mob
  • Commonalities of the most successful songs
  • The importance of traditional instrument skills when performing/producing music
  • Justin plays the never before heard 6th version of Our Demons, followed by the finished product [57:30]
  • A rapid learning program for music production
  • The draft version of Fortune Days, followed by the finished product [1:03:15]
  • How many separate tracks are running in a Glitch Mob song?
  • What percentage of samples are custom vs. off-the-shelf?
  • Current revenue streams for The Glitch Mob
  • Favorite pastry, pre-show meditation, defining success, and advice for his 20-year old self
  • What EDM show should the uninitiated go to first, morning rituals, meditation and morning workouts
  • What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? [1:40:20]
  • Justin plays us out with Can’t Kill Us [1:48:45]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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236 Replies to “Productivity Secrets of a Master DJ (Meditation, Morning Routines, and More) (#62)”

  1. I listen to pianist Michael Travisano. He is amazing. EVERYONE should listen to him. Everyone should go out right now and listen to Michael Travisano. He’s also a great dancer and tells really great jokes. (jokes aside – great interview – as a DIY musician, myself, I found it very informative and inspiring.)

  2. Thanks Tim for this podcast. I now listen to The Glitch Mob day in and day out while I write. They’ve inspired me to put myself out there and have helped me to go with the flow past my fears.

  3. I am an artist with an interest in Shamanism and ayahuasca, so I normally listen to psychedelic ambient music i.e Lightchild, Bayawacka, dj Fada, Shpongle, Erot, they make it easy to get deep in the zone!

  4. Hey Tim,

    If you have the time, please write up a quick post about gut health. A round of antibiotiocs is killing me and leaving me with a lot of fatigue. Downing kefir, yogurt, kimchi in a very binge-y and arbitrary manner.

    A post that is kind of like the 4 Anti-Cold Cocktails That Work would be grand.

    Thanks Tim,


  5. Great episode! Another interview suggestion: Bear McCreary (composer for Battlestar Gallactica, The Walking Dead, etc and all around awesome dude). I can get you in touch, just shoot me an email.

  6. Tim —

    I loved your question halfway through the episode, when you asked Justin what the first week would look like if he hypothetically was going to teach you how to make an awesome song. I feel like that question really got to the heart of what the podcast is all about (for me anyways).

    Would love to hear you ask the same question to other guests — photographers, investors, etc etc. “How would you approach teaching an absolute beginner in your craft?”

    Keep on rocking!


  7. One of my favorite EDM artists interviewed by one of my favorite authors. Simply UH-MAY-ZING!

    Biggest takeaway? Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing. Focus on what you think is good work and give it 110%.

  8. each and everyone of us has our different styles and routines to be more productive, so we can’t really apply ourselves to everything that they say here. my point is, go explore yourself and explore the world and figure out what drives you. you will be surprised.

  9. I wanted to pull out the quote that struck me from this interview. “It is so easy to be cynical these days about everything”. The idea that being cynical is the easy or lazy way to see the world- good stuff.

    Thank you Tim

  10. Tim,

    I really love your interviews.

    Invaluable insight into “masters” of their fields.

    But your questions are perhaps overly backward-looking.

    I know your goal is to deconstruct the past achievement of success.

    But personal histories are naturally subject to unconscious revisionism.

    So how about a question that is *forward-looking*?

    Ask your high-achieving guests about their futures.

    Ask what their next next goal/problem is,

    And *specifically* how they will set out to achieve that goal or solve that problem.

    Steps one, two, and three.

    And which step is the most important?

    This will give us all insight into how “masterminds” at work in real time!

    Thanks for all you great work!


  11. Thank you for introducing me to The Glitch Mob and their great music. I listen to it as the backdrop of my writing, strength training, and sunny barefoot walks to the park. It’s exciting, inspirational, and motivating, and even my fiancee, who normally does not like EDM, enjoyed it as we worked together. Thanks Tim!

  12. Fantastic show. Bravo! I listened to the Glitch Mob when studying for exams as well as while I was climbing and skiing. These days I listen to several electronic podcasts pretty much all day, everyday: Group Therapy by Above and Beyond, In the Air with Morgan Page, Felix Cartal’s Weekend Workout, and 3LAU’s House. When the episodes are not just bleepy dutch house, they are fantastic. They keep the mind going and push the body when it needs it during exercise. #flowforsho

  13. Really enjoyed this podcast. I have an interest in good music and consider myself a very amateur musician / producer but took a whole lot from this.

    Also – really refreshing to hear some tune interspersed into the conversation, really refreshes the mind to take in the following info.

    Have immediately got into The Glitch Mob too, having never heard of them, I’ve now listened to and love Drink the Sea and Love Death Immortality.

    I realise there are probably licencing hurdles to overcome, but any chance of getting a couple of tracks into more of the podcasts? Maybe asking guests to name their favourite new music!

  14. Hell yeah, Amon Tobin is a great listening recommendation! As for listening while working, I’ll often tailor who or what I’m listening to the task at hand. If it’s work that doesn’t have a high cognitive load (data entry on my own site for example, tidying), then I can listen to talk-based podcasts or standup comedy. If I’m editing certain authors who are kind of “baroque” in their approach I might listen to something like Igorrr or Bong-Ra, if it’s an author who is a bit more sedate, it might be more something from the (don’t laugh) witch house genre, or Burial or Volor Flex.

  15. Hi Tim,

    Long time reader, recent discoverer of your podcast.

    Follow up questions from the Glitch Mob interview.

    Have you used Ableton since the interview and would you recommend it as a new user?



  16. Nina Kraviz is great (particularly good for “systems” thinking), Tensnake, dnb like Mark System, Randall…lots of variety really but those are some of my favorites that I’ve been listening to a lot recently; I work in web production and have a standing desk, so I like to get into a groove and dance while I work, it makes it a lot more fun (and I feel more focused if I’m in this type of groove).

  17. For beginners they recommend to start with beats purchased form internet. Can anyone recommend some good resources for this?

  18. My usual playlist consists mostly of Jason Mraz. However, I switch to dethklok – murmaider to get pumped up or just generic sounds of rain to really calm and focus my mind.

  19. I have a “Writing” playlist on Spotify! While it’s not one song, it’s intense, no vocals, mostly electronic. I’ve listened to it so many times it feels like one track at this point. If I were to only choose one group to listen to from the playlist, it would be The Field. [Moderator: link removed]

  20. Hi All! Wondering if there is any research on the songs people repeat to see if there are any qualities that make certain songs more ideal for productivity. Can’t wait to dig into Tools of Titans. Thanks!