Cody Yozipovic: “Take your time to master your craft”

Invest a little money as soon as you can, when you can, and stick with it. Take your time to master your craft. Don’t compare your success or your timeline achieving goals to someone else’s. As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing M!NT, also known as Cody Yozipovic, […]

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Invest a little money as soon as you can, when you can, and stick with it.

Take your time to master your craft.

Don’t compare your success or your timeline achieving goals to someone else’s.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing M!NT, also known as Cody Yozipovic, who is a multi-faceted music producer, engineer, and film composer based in Brooklyn. Yozipovic’s portfolio was first built on creating original instrumentals for popular remixes, showcasing his style of edits and fine-tuned production skills. Operating out of his Brooklyn studio, Arrowhead House, M!NT has worked with the likes of Ooah from Glitch Mob, NAO, and Cautious Clay.

Over the years M!NT has worked his way around the festival circuit performing at Electric Forest, Mysteryland, Lighting In A Bottle, What The Festival, and Shambhala. Yozipovic is also a co-founder of the Afro-Caribbean New York party series Sweatshop, which has showcased a plethora of local and international talent including Jada Kingdom, DJ Tunez, Electric Punnany, UNIIQUE, Florentino, BAMBII, Jubilee, Riobamba, and Uproot Andy.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thanks for having me guys.

I grew up in a small town outside of Calgary, Alberta with a close, but spread out family all over Canada that I would spend time visiting in the summers. My parents moved my sister and I to Arizona when I was young, but I would always go back to work on my grandparents farm or with my uncles somewhere else. Those summers had a profound influence on me compared to a much different experience growing up as a teenager in Arizona. Eventually I found music, friends, and started playing in bands, which resulted in me returning to Canada way less often. I tried college for things completely unrelated to music, but focused on my music the entire time. I eventually dropped out of school and moved to Brooklyn, where I’ve been for the last 10 years.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was always surrounded by music. My parents are still musicians to this day and my grandparents were always listening to records with the whole family around. It was common to see someone bring out a guitar around the fire, and as a little kid I would always try to attempt that with my little ToysRus 3 string. ‘FeeFallin’ by Tom Petty was apparently my hit.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ve worked a bunch of different roles in the music industry as a DJ, producer, audio engineer, stage tech, and roadie, but when I first moved to NYC, I really needed money. I knew a jazz guitarist through my Pops who also produced shows on the side, and he needed some extra hands for this ‘event special’ up in Harlem. At this point I was subletting someone’s Bushwick living room, I knew no one in this town, had no idea what to expect, and had no idea what I was doing. Little did I know, it was a tribute to The Supremes and Diana Ross at the Apollo Theater. Being a fly on that wall for one night taught me more about the industry than I could have ever imagined.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Being a sound tech around NYC you’ll usually find an opportunity to open or close a show if you know the artists or promoters, even more so if you also play or make music yourself. On this one occasion, I was asked to close a big electronic event at Avant Gardner. As an Ableton producer/performer for 10 years, I was still getting used to performing on CDJs…and I did the worst thing you can do. As the headliner was finishing his last song, I took out the wrong USB. The emergency loop engages, then disaster strikes. An insanely energetic room of 500 people went dark and silent as we collectively realized that I, the sound guy, just disrupted the entire show.

Lessons? Plenty, lol. Don’t be a rookie, have patience, ask questions, use a flashlight, be totally sure…but most importantly: own the mistake, laugh it off, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m really excited for these next couple projects coming out with Nas Leber and Imani Beau. I’m honestly hyped about everything coming out this year, but we’ve been sitting on a few of these tracks for a while and a ton of our friends have already heard them.

In the more work related realm, I’m working on a new project with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ian Urbina and someone that I can’t yet mention. Ian hired me to lend music his Outlaw Ocean project for the New York Times last year, so anytime I have an opportunity to work with him, it always attaches itself to an incredibly special purpose. Last year was ocean conservation and environmental awareness, so I can’t wait to share who this next collaboration is with.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

It’s important that everyday people, consumers, and the entire population in general experience things through their entertainment as they actually would in the real world. The industry should look like the world, or your city, or your community, not just how one group things it should look. The old normal is a white and male dominated industry, which is simply not real life. Suppressing diversity is like removing culture from the entire experience, so what is the point of entertainment and celebrating life if we aren’t celebrating every walk of it? All prejudice comes from fear and misunderstanding, usually based on how a person was educated about, nurtured by, or exposed to something and someone. If the true diversity of our world and communities had always been properly expressed, celebrated, and commercially marketed to everyone from kids to adults, we wouldn’t have placed so much emphasis on “roles” or who ‘deserves’ to play them. Being human should be enough, and being exposed to different people and cultures who are just like you should have been the norm from the beginning.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Invest a little money as soon as you can, when you can, and stick with it.

You don’t have to be friends with everyone.

Some of the people that will hurt you the most will be the closest to you.

Take your time to master your craft.

Don’t compare your success or your timeline achieving goals to someone else’s.

All of these have essentially the same reasoning behind them: trust and invest in yourself. This music thing is not always pretty, it’s actually extremely frustrating more often than not. But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, if you remain decent and humble throughout, and if nothing else makes you feel the way music does, just do it your way and have a backup plan to survive along the way. Choose your circle wisely, and don’t be 100% available to everyone. You can never go wrong when you follow your heart, trust in the process, and remain consistent. Just make sure you have some money saved along the way when sh*t hits the fan, because it most definitely will.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Keep switching things up, keep searching for new things, and learning new skills. Try not to alienate yourself or others based on what you personally like or enjoy. Move cities, move studios, or shock the system by traveling when things seem redundant. But whatever you do, don’t let go of the one thing that keeps you inspired, and don’t be afraid to work 3 jobs at once, even if you think you are above them. Everything is temporary, just remain consistent with your art and output.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would kill the competition in the upper echelons of the industry that results in artists losing all of their creative freedoms because of impossible contracts. That and our new dependence on likes, views, streams, and viral “TikTok’ status. That’s what breeds stale art, lack of diversity, and an overall mundane expression of life that is so much more than any of that.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ll put it this way, I’m just grateful that some things didn’t work out the way that I had hoped they would. Some of my greatest lessons and guiding moments came from my mistakes, and some of the biggest help came from my friends and family even if that was completely clear at the time. Keep people around you that motivate and inspire you to be a better version of yourself, even if they aren’t necessarily “fans’’ of your music or aren’t following the same career path. I recently signed my first record deal with Amuse Records while retaining my creative independence, so their support truly changed everything last summer. I now have a platform to share my art with the world in the way that serves me best. All the while actually being compensated for it, on top of being able to share the work of all my friends and collaborators. Ryan Celcius really took a chance with me, so I couldn’t be more grateful for a team that truly sees the vision.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I was a kid, my grandfather Archie used to always say “slow and steady wins the race”. At the time I probably scoffed in my usually rushed and impatient state, so I was usually missing the deeper lesson in that. I now understand that phrase being about so many other things besides time and speed. Looking back on my career, I applied that lesson to so many aspects of my life without even realizing until I got older. Take the time to learn yourself, take the time to observe and understand your environment, don’t ever worry about how fast someone else is going, and don’t gauge your existence off someone else’s experience. However you get to the ‘finish line’ should be your journey and for your reasons alone. Pay no mind to anyone else, and go at your own pace.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Rick Rubin or Quincy Jones. They’ve done and seen it all, and I think their experience and wisdom is completely invaluable in times like this.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me on most socials as @mintbeats, or you can search M!NT on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and everywhere else you look for music.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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