Episode 002 – Dustin Klein: Whatever It Takes
“In the very beginning, no, one’s paying attention. It’s really hard to get people to watch. So get over yourself, do whatever you want. You are free to experiment in the beginning.”
From his early days as a bike messenger to a successful artist and content creator, Dustin Klein forged his way forward by doing whatever it took.
These days, he’s at the forefront of Portland’s counter-culture art and cycling scenes. His YouTube channel, Everything’s Been Done, has amassed over 65,000 dedicated subscribers who tune in every week.
I spoke to Dustin about silencing the inner and outer critic and the challenges that come with balancing life and creating art in a world where people consume content like locusts.
“The key to being good at something is, in the beginning, you have to want it so bad that you’re okay with sucking at it.”
Our conversation covered food, fashion, art, photography and so much more.
Dustin’s a fascinating artist who tends to mix mediums within each piece he creates. His take is unique and refreshingly honest.
If you like what you’re hearing, subscribe and share this show with your friends because it doesn’t go anywhere without you.
Until next time, be nice and do good stuff.
Follow Dustin Klein
About Dustin Klein
Dustin Klein (Dklein) is an Artist, Maker and Lifestyle Cyclist.
Cadence founder and original Mash rider, who has been involved with cycling culture since 2000.
Everthing’s Been Done (EBD) is a weekly video series showcasing Adventure Cycling, Small Camper Van Missions, and Creative Projects. The mission of the series is to inspire and motivate people.
[00:50:52] Chris: All right. Time to unset. How you doing today? How you feeling? That’s enough, small talk. Let’s get after it.
[00:00:00] Chris: Hello. What’s up. Welcome to the Mind Unset, episode two. I want to get straight into it. A small word of warning. There’s some adult language in this episode, if you’re listening on the speakers in the car with your kids or someone who may not dig that, consider this your heads up. My guest today is an artist graphic designer, clothing designer, filmmaker photographer.
[00:00:21] He’s just a maker. This guy’s so proficient in so many mediums. And what I love is that when he is working on a project, he usually finds a way to combine several of them into the project at the same time. His YouTube channel is incredibly entertaining. We talked for an hour and still didn’t cover everything I had in my conversation notes, so I’m hoping he’ll agree to come back for another chat. All right. Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, bourbon, some seltzer, whatever you got going on. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Mr. Dustin Klein.
[00:00:55] So what’s up, man? Dustin Klein. Thanks for being here. Let me just say that first. I’m so digging the background over there and I’m digging that you took the time. I really appreciate it. Yeah.
[00:01:04] Dustin Klein: Thanks for having me. I actually am really curious of what has started you on this journey. I know this is, and we can, we can restart too, but I’m I’m actually just, cuz I know you haven’t actually produced any there’s no like public facing pieces. So I’m just kind of curious, like you’re diving into a new thing right now.
[00:01:24] Chris: I was kicking this around for about a year to start this podcast and I didn’t do it because I kept saying, well, who the hell wants to hear somebody else talk about shit. There’s a million podcasts and 48 million episodes out there. That’s the statistic I read. And I was trying to fight struggle to do something different.
[00:01:44] When I came across this whole idea to do The Mind Unset, I thought, if there’s one person I think it’d be really great to interview, it’d be Dustin, because of your thing that you wrote on your site, and I’m gonna read it. It says, basically it’s about the process and skewing, whatever it is. It’s not just doing it the way it’s always been done. That’s boring as shit. And nobody wants that. And then how do you do, what’s been done a hundred times. You just do it. We all have our own path, inspirations experiences, traumas, and we can’t help, but have our own voice. and I think if there’s anything that I is so powerful to egg, anyone on to do anything creative, it’s those two paragraphs right there.
[00:02:27] Dustin Klein: Cool.
[00:02:28] Chris: And so that’s kind of how I ended up jumping back into this because. My plan is to talk to the creatives. You know, the creatives take everybody take care of everybody, but who’s taking care of the creatives.
[00:02:39] Dustin Klein: I mean, I guess it’s kind of up to, I think one of the things for makers, creatives is like a major component to being a creative is you have to, I call it filling the well, and it’s, it’s kind of like, Every human needs to eat food sleep, but creatives and makers need to like refuel the inspiration because the, the well will run dry if you don’t do that.
[00:03:06] So in a sense, you’re kind of, you kind of gotta take care of yourself in a way, like you just gotta know that. And also it’s not necessarily anybody else’s responsibility. It’s kind of like you’ve chosen this path, or you’ve maybe realized that this is a path that you need to go on being a creative person and pursuing it full time.
[00:03:29] And, you know, and part of just doing that is learning. Like, what does that mean? You know, like if you have a kid the same thing, like you gotta pay attention to the kid. Keep it healthy, feed it. Like it’s just, once you commit to this thing, it’s just part of that commitment.
[00:03:43] Chris: Exactly. And, and that’s a great analogy.
[00:03:46] So before we get too far into it, just for those that don’t may not know you you were, you were born in Fargo.
[00:03:52] Dustin Klein: Yeah. So born in Fargo, North Dakota, the day after high school graduation, I moved to Portland, Oregon. I was obsessed with skateboarding as a kid in isolated barely pre-internet North Dakota and the west coast is where skating was.
[00:04:09] So I moved there and just kind of wanted to find this path of. Just find a path like I didn’t at that point, really know that I was creative or that I needed to do that. And fell into a job as a bike messenger in Sacramento, ended up moving to San Francisco and it was there that I realized like, Oh, you can make things for a living.
[00:04:33] Like, you can be an artist for a living. Like I’d never really been exposed to that. And ever since I saw that I, everything kind of shifted and I was like, okay, that’s the path that I need to take. Like, I just knew that that’s what was right for me. So then I would do whatever it took to that was like my north star to go towards that direction.
[00:04:54] And it’s manifested in several different ways over my. Ever since I noted or realized that too, which just, I don’t know, kinda interesting. It’s not like I have to be a painter and all I did was paint. Like I need to be a maker and I’ll do whatever it takes within these certain set of parameters to make.
[00:05:16] And then of course we all need jobs and money, so I wanna make and be able to make those things work too.
[00:05:22] Chris: Yeah, exactly. But that’s, that’s the amazing thing that I think is really interesting to me today is that, you know, first of all, to move to the west coast as an 18 year old, did you have any family out there or friends or did you just go?
[00:05:36] Dustin Klein: There was one friend. In Portland. And I actually wanted to move to San Francisco, but I just like, couldn’t figure it out. I knew nobody there. I didn’t know how to live on my own. Like I just, it, I, I couldn’t figure it out, but one person in Portland, I was like, well, Portland’s still, you know, I burned side. I know there’s something there.
[00:05:57] So that’s what I did was move there. And then and actually from there, I ended up interning at this skateboard magazine in Sacramento called Heckler. And that was kind of like doing the path towards more, what I wanted to do in Portland. I was just like, I worked in a grocery store. I didn’t really know how to meet people.
[00:06:15] I ended up living by myself. Like it was. It was like a, a throwaway year to realize like, oh, I gotta like, focus on something to make life like enriching. Yeah.
[00:06:26] Chris: Who knew when you went to heckler? Did, did you go to heckler? Did you work there before you went to the photography school or did you, is that what sent you, is that what kind of. Motivated you to take that photography further.
[00:06:37] Dustin Klein: So it was actually the year in Portland where I was like, not doing anything. I was like, okay, like skateboarding, photography, like, how do I be involved with this culture? Ultimately, like subcultures are things that I’m very attracted to at the time it was skate culture.
[00:06:55] So then. I heard about this Rocky mountain school of photography in Missoula, Montana. It was a three month summer intensive. So I moved there to do that and just kind of like build some skills. And when I was at Misso at that school, I sent like a portfolio to heckler, which worked great because the school was ending.
[00:07:12] I was in Mon Missoula and was like, I don’t know where I’m gonna go. And they’re like, come to Sacramento. It’s like, yes, California. Nice. One of the things that’s kind of, I think is crazy about the heckler thing is that, you know, ultimately I didn’t go this skate route. I didn’t go this photography route, but when I was in the editor’s office in Sacramento, I was like, oh, I need a job.
[00:07:33] Like, do you know anyone that has any, any work? And the guy was like, well, what do you want to do? I was like, I’d work at a skate shop or a record store, or maybe it’d be a bike messenger. And they’re like, oh yeah, cool. Like, I’ll keep my ears open. And then like an hour later, this guy walks into the office.
[00:07:49] Asked the editor, a question and the editor, his name was son. He goes, Hey, do you know you know, anyone that wants to be a bike messenger? And the guy was like, yeah, we need one. He was like, oh, this guy needs a job. I was like, okay, you’re hired. Come see us when you’re done. And then that totally altered my life.
[00:08:06] Cuz then it, you know, was like, oh messenger, messenger, culture cycling. I started this cycling apparel clothing company. Cause it was like there’s clothing for skaters. How come there’s not clothing for like urban cyclists. So it just kind of like,
[00:08:21] Chris: was that commotion?
[00:08:22] Dustin Klein: It was cadence. Cadence.
[00:08:23] Chris: That’s right. Sorry. Yeah. Commotion is your artwork.
[00:08:26] Dustin Klein: Yeah, exactly. All good. I, I don’t expect anyone to know all the,
[00:08:29] Chris: no, no, I did. I’ve been, I’ve been reading about it, so I apologize for that. But cadence, yes. I didn’t mean to cut you off, but that’s, you’re now an instrumental part of the whole Portland cycling scene.
[00:08:39] So that was absolutely a pivotal moment that as what I see, as far as, and the, and the combination of your photography with your visual. You’re the epitome of the modern artist today, which has to be like, you’re a YouTuber, you’re a, a graphic designer. You’re a fashion designer. You’re a photographer. And you’re a video maker.
[00:09:01] Like you’re just a, you’re a to like entire, all. Facets of the creation that you have to do. And that’s kind of what I think most modern artists and creators have to do is they have to embrace these different facets or you get yourself in a lot of trouble with, because the, it all changes so fast. I mean, do you, do you think that is true?
[00:09:22] I mean, it changes so fast. You gotta wear like 15 different hats or else you put all your eggs in one basket you’re done when that medium changes.
[00:09:29] Dustin Klein: Yeah. I have always been like, I’m fine. I think from skate, I really learned like DIY culture and like, that is just like in me. So just do it yourself, right?
[00:09:43] Cause no, one’s, you know, I wanted to like be involved with skating or whatever, whatever, and no one really is gonna give you a chance if you’re new, because you don’t have any experience. and there’s, to me, it was like, well, what’s the difference? Like, wait for, try to fucking prove yourself to somebody, fuck that.
[00:10:00] Or just start doing it. You know what I mean? Like, so with cadence was like, just start, you know, I guess I gotta figure out how to screen print. Where do you get? T-shirts like, I guess I gotta design things. Like, how do you do that? Oh, it’s on a computer. Where do you get a computer? Like, it’s just all this little troubleshooting.
[00:10:19] And I, I really like doing a lot of different things because otherwise I’ll get really bored if I’m just doing one thing, I would be really good at one thing, but I spread, spread it out across just a bunch of different stuff for better or for worse. And, and like you are saying there’s times where it actually, isn’t the worst thing in the world.
[00:10:40] Chris: Well, this is, this is kind of what the rabbit hole I’m going down is because you know, today, you know, if I hear one more person, tell me to niche it down, I’m gonna explode when I was growing up. It was like, you just, you have interest in a lot of things. But now, if you have a lot of interest in a lot of things you’re looked at as not focused or scattered versus curious, mm-hmm, , you know, you can’t, if, especially if you’re trying to do something in a business model, like, you know, there’s a guy that has a fly fishing podcast and I mean, he’s the biggest fly fishing podcast in the world.
[00:11:12] And that makes sense, because it’s such a specific thing. But to, to, as an artist, I don’t, I think. I guess if your medium is sculpture, you work in sculpture for a hundred years and you, you become the best sculpture in the world, but I don’t think the new modern world kind of embraces that. I think it’s such a high impact culture that we’re in and fast moving that I think you have to be so light on your feet and easily switch gears and just be good in several mediums. Do you agree with that?
[00:11:43] Dustin Klein: You know, I think a lot of it is that you have to have this. The skills and that are behind the scenes. So it’s like, you know, like if it’s doing a podcast, you’re like, figure out what the thing is. You want to talk about that’s the forward facing. Then it’s like gotta design some things and then like figure out the technical stuff and like, how’s my flow.
[00:12:05] What do I ask questions? Do I like tell stories like, and so much of it. Puppet mastering. Yeah. That, and then there’s the whole social media to help promote the thing. So people actually listen to it. Like it. Yeah, I, the, there is never a right answer to anything, which is, you know, I recently I’ve been doing a lot of like trying to knuckle down and like take YouTube a little bit more serious to like, optimize what I’m doing.
[00:12:33] You know, like putting all this time in, like, why not have more views than less? So like, what does that take? And just doing like homework, like reading, research, whatever. There’s like half the people say do this and the other half say do the opposite of that. And you’re like, what the fuck? Like
[00:12:52] Chris: Yeah. I mean, I get that. You did one YouTube episode where you were talking about the data you were getting kind of consumed by the data numbers and, and watching your and, and it was making you a little nuts or just affecting you, not making you nuts, but it was affecting you. And I, and, and that’s kind of, you know, there’s a whole, do you know.
[00:13:12] Goodheart’s law, which says, you know, a measure ceases to be a good measure when it becomes the target. So it’s like when you start to, if the number becomes the target, you’re absolutely missing the point. And then you do unhealthy things or uncustomary things to meet the, to meet the number. Right? So then you take yourself out of your own shell and you create shit that Dustin wouldn’t create, just because you think it’s gonna hit the mark.
[00:13:34] Dustin Klein: Yes.
[00:13:35] Chris: If it doesn’t hit the mark, you’ve done two things. You’ve not hit the mark and then you’ve done something you didn’t really want to do anyway. So you might as well do what you fricking want to do. And say, fuck it. And your friends are gonna, your fans are gonna watch it for you and you act more like the Firefly, you shine your light and you attract people to you rather than running around with a butterfly net. Makes sense?
[00:13:54] Dustin Klein: Yeah. That’s exactly I’ve gone exactly through that. And I think the one caveat is to realize that there is like, you need at least some sort of a base to start doing that because in the very beginning, no, one’s paying attention. So it’s it’s and actually in the beginning. It’s and this is what I’ll tell people when they wanna start.
[00:14:15] It’s like, dude, no, one’s watching. It’s really hard to get people to watch. So get over yourself, do whatever you want. you are free to experiment in the beginning.
[00:14:26] Chris: Exactly.
[00:14:26] Dustin Klein: And of course still moving forward. I, I think I just kind of talked myself out of that one. Yeah. I don’t know. Lost that one. I need that butterfly net.. Is it, where is it?
[00:14:38] Chris: it’s it’s just, when you go down that rabbit hole. You end up, like I said, just compromising what you normally would want to do. So you just gotta trust your gut, but it’s really hard to trust your gut. Like there are a lot of YouTubers quitting right now. What do you make of that?
[00:14:53] Dustin Klein: Well, I think it’s, it’s kind of a gnarly job. Like it’s, there’s this thing with, I see a lot on YouTube with like, especially like the, the back end side of it is like, oh, you know, like work hard, produce more, this and that. And, you know, There’s the one thing that they never talk about is like, just do less.
[00:15:15] Like you don’t have to quit. I mean, if you wanna quit, do whatever you want, but it, it, life isn’t black and white. Like these people are like, oh, I can’t keep up a million videos a day. I’m outta here. It’s like, What if you did one a month, you know, like it can still work.
[00:15:29] Chris: Do better, do less, but do better.
[00:15:31] Dustin Klein: Exactly. And that’s what recently I’ve started to implement is like, I was doing two videos a week and it, I was just kind of not enjoying my life. It was too much like grind. And I was like, well, well, don’t I just do one a week and enjoy my life. And like, it’s, it’s working. So what’s the, who cares. Totally.
[00:15:48] What you were saying is like, am I chasing the number or my life’s experience? Obviously the right answer is the life experience. Like one of the curses of YouTube is that it’s so transparent and that transparency is like, it’s not healthy, especially for a, like the creator, cuz it’s so easy to constantly compare opposed to like podcasts.
[00:16:13] No one has any idea what the hell anyone’s doing, unless it’s on a platform like YouTube. You’re like, oh, so it. Constantly, I’ll see people in the same sphere and I’m like, why are they like twice as big as me? Like, but it’s, it’s not about that really. It’s just about do what feels right. Enjoy the process.
[00:16:35] And if all goes well, other people, people will watch it and like, you know, you can do your thing. And I, I don’t think that I’m necessarily like. I know that I’m an acquired taste. So I kind of just need to remind myself that, like, I don’t, I’m not the vanilla that everyone’s gonna love, so therefore I’m not gonna be the million billion sub person.
[00:17:00] Like it’s just, I’m too myself and that’s okay too. Like that’s. Perfectly perfect. Like, so realize that own that, and just be with that and let the number be whatever the number is like exactly what you said. Like once you stop focusing on it or looking at it, just life gets a lot better.
[00:17:22] Chris: That was my problem with starting my podcast.
[00:17:24] I was looking at the end result and, you know, you could never start a painting when you’re trying to think of what you’re gonna do with that painting before the painting’s even done. And I’m a writer, so. I can’t really start, you know, but this goes back to wearing all those hats, right? You’re also the marketing person.
[00:17:39] You’re also the graphic designer. You’re also the person, social media manager. So you’re, I’m sitting there writing, thinking, well, how’s this scene gonna play with this? And you can’t, you can’t create like that at all at all. And they’re your fans. I think your fans, you don’t need to be the million and billion these days.
[00:17:57] You just need like two to 5,000 super fans that, that support everything you do. Because, you know, Joe Rogan and Dax shepherd and all these people, they’re, they’re the pinnacle. They they’re the guys that have been doing it up forever and podcasting. But like you, the people that come to watch Dustin Klein, I’ve seen the chats on your youTube lives and stuff, which if listeners don’t have a clue, they need to go to Dustin Klein everything’s been done and check that YouTube channel out, which I’ll mention we’ll get into that later, but your chats are fricking hilarious, man. You’re fans. Like they love you for who you are. That’s.
[00:18:32] That’s exactly why I’m there is because you’re not vanilla. And I can, like you said, in your own quote, who wants to watch the same shit all the time? I think it’s hilarious when you’re you know, but I’m gonna send you a new camera for your overtop camera, cuz I’m gonna mail you something tomorrow.
[00:18:48] I wanna see a video of you smashing that shit with a hammer.
[00:18:53] Dustin Klein: that’s a good live stream.
[00:18:54] That’s a good one.
[00:18:55] Chris: There you go, but we’ll, we’ll hook you up. We gotta get you something, we gotta get you something, but it’s kind of fun to watch you wrestle with that. It’s entertaining.
[00:19:04] Dustin Klein: Yeah, that, that fucking thing, dude, this the, what are the funny, I think this is, I hate it, but from like, you know, I, I have like a little bit enough self awareness to know like, You know, I’m not just this, like I can sort of see outside of myself.
[00:19:20] And one of the things with the, the fucking live streams, I swear to God, every single one, there’s some weird technical thing that happens. That’s completely different than the last one. And it’s totally like you plug the one hole in the dam and then the other leak is over there and you’re like , but it’s, I feel like it’s just comical at this point.
[00:19:40] Chris: That’s why people watch ’em. It’s a happy accident. It, it is well, that’s why everybody kind of has to, they can’t look away they can’t look away. It’s like, oh, Dustin’s doing a live stream. Let’s see what happens. who’s he gonna be yelling at behind him? I love it. I absolutely love it. Do you do you ever have a desire to do like traditional art show?
[00:20:00] Is that ever in the back of your head?
[00:20:01] Dustin Klein: I, I, at one point I was really focused on trying to do stuff like that, but I, I kind of put too much pressure on it. So it’s, you know, It’s just like a little bit. Yeah. Like I, I kind of psych myself out about it. I do still make like, you know, like fine artwork or basically to me that means is like, make things that aren’t to be commercial or even like for an art show or whatever, just make, to make But there, I put like so much pressure on like having to make stuff that’s like good or beautiful or presentable.
[00:20:34] And it like, it totally like put a lot of like weight on it. So now it’s just lighter. It’ll be just like, as it feels right to do it. One interesting thing I can say about just process and like li like the live stream got me to think about it is like anything that we. I would almost say like, everyone knows that to get good at something.
[00:20:58] You just have to keep doing it. And especially if, if there’s something that you’re passionate. And want to be good at it. All you have to do is just keep doing it. And, and the real key to getting good at it is you have to, you have to want it so bad that you’re okay with sucking at it at the very beginning.
[00:21:17] So the first, your first tests and exposures into it are like, they’re not that good. They’re uncomfortable. They don’t look right, but you’re still like, so stubborn, hooked, passionate, determined that you’ll just keep doing it. If you, if that formula can just keep happening, like you’ll just get good at it.
[00:21:38] And of course you have to put a little bit of attention on like, you know, well, what could I do to make that a little better? Not a ton, but just some intention towards improvement and it gets better. I, I feel like the live stream is a good example of that is a little bit, I don’t know why I do them, but I’m just stubborn enough or I’m just consistent.
[00:21:58] And I just keep doing them and. I I’ve hoped to God they’ve gotten better, but
[00:22:05] Chris: they have,
[00:22:06] Dustin Klein: it’s just kind of one of those things, like pick a thing. Just do it. I know.
[00:22:11] Chris: Absolutely.
[00:22:11] Dustin Klein: I don’t know if that landed friend he’s like, why is he talking about doing something a lot?
[00:22:15] Chris: No, I mean, that’s, this is what, this is exactly what the whole, like a lot of, I think a lot of people, what a lot of people don’t understand is that in order to make great art and I don’t mean that condescending, like, oh, you, they don’t understand. I think you have to make in order to make great art, you gotta make a lot of art.
[00:22:31] Dustin Klein: Yes. Yes.
[00:22:32] Chris: Like people think you just sit down and do that painting. It’s just like photographers. They, they might shoot a thousand shots to get five shots that they can keep or are happy with.
[00:22:42] Dustin Klein: Yes.
[00:22:42] Chris: It’s like you spend 30 years writing music so that you can write the one hit song and everyone calls you an overnight success.
[00:22:49] So I think in order. If you wanna make great art, you better be making a lot of art because that’s how you clear the pipe. Right? You turn on to turn on a pipe. That’s been sitting there for years and it’s all full of rusty water. If you don’t let that rusty water run out, you’re never gonna let the clear shit run out.
[00:23:06] So you all of the bad work, all of the. Experimental shit that you do is to clear the pipe for the great shit that’s coming later. And I think your YouTubes there’s, there’s nothing wrong with the live stream. I think it’s a, it’s a charming little glimpse into, and people don’t want, people don’t have any idea what amount of work that goes into that.
[00:23:25] And they don’t go. I don’t think a lot of people have an idea of just the amount of editing and shooting and getting off the bike, riding down the. Setting your camera shot riding back up the hill and doing all that like three, four times to get that seamless shot that looks like you just did it once. Cuz you got real lucky. Like I don’t, I think if more people saw that. They would actually have a concept of how hard it is to be a professional YouTuber.
[00:23:48] Dustin Klein: Oh, two things here. One, I think also like a lot of people, like you’re like, people don’t know what it takes. Another way of saying that is like, people just don’t see what it takes.
[00:23:58] You find out about stuff after they’ve put in the quote, 10,000 hours of shitty work. It’s good work, but the results are not premium, you know, premium comes at a, at a price of time and effort. So it’s, you know, like you just, people gotta put the reps in and then yeah, the, the, this is kind of the similar thing is like, People don’t see the, like all the legwork and all the, the grunt work that goes into getting that two, two seconds is generous.
[00:24:28] It’s like a 15 frame clip of a thing. And to me, it’s like, That’s fine if they don’t know, as long as when you see it, it’s just like it’s. So it’s just like deep psychology. You don’t even realize just like, oh, this is like satisfying. Like, it’s just interesting to watch. Like that’s the, that’s my like end result of the like slogging back and forth, carrying a fucking drone all day for three shots. Why is this worth it? Maybe,
[00:24:59] maybe not. I don’t know. Like
[00:25:00] Chris: I love it’s totally worth it. It, it as a viewer, I will say it’s totally worth it. I know it’s a real pain in the ass. But I, I see, I see the. You know, I mean, shit, the drone shots are always money, you know, when you get those, but I know they’re not easy.
[00:25:14] And I know it probably takes you an hour for three seconds of drone footage and, you know, you gotta get ’em outta the weeds, but I think it’s working. I think it’s working. Earlier you mentioned a little bit of anxiety that you were having when it comes to, you know, your putting the pressure on your art to be great out the box, which I, I totally identify with.
[00:25:34] And I had a guest on last week, Tayla Lynn, who her grandmother is Loretta Lynn. She just played the grand old Opry for her 90th birthday with Jack White and all those guys. But she was talking about how she, wow. Yeah, yeah, it was badass. And she came in, like she talked, we talked a couple days after and she was talking about.
[00:25:53] Anxiety, how she, she is trying, she was trying not to ruin the moment. Right. Because she put so much pressure. She was wearing Loretta’s jumpsuit from 1970s. She, she had it like took it outta the museum and wore her grandmother’s jumpsuit in the Opry, but she had talked about it. Yeah. And, and I had said the same thing that, you know, it’s anxiety when you’re, when you’re trying to, you put so much pressure on yourself and you tend to ruin the moment.
[00:26:18] Do. How do you work through your anxiety? How prevalent is it in your stuff and how do you, how do you fight it?
[00:26:25] Dustin Klein: I, I mean, the there’s like, there’s a better way. There’s like a more famous quote of this than what I’m gonna say, but if you’re not nervous about something, especially like performing, that means it’s, it’s, you’re like.
[00:26:40] You’re not passionate enough about it. So in a way that discomfort is like a, is a, is a positive sign. That it’s something that you care about because it’s who knows why, you know, that’s, that’s for somebody smarter than me to explain. And I think the, the thing is like feeling that and knowing like, okay, this feels like no, but the, the real thing to do is just keep, just go forward with.
[00:27:04] And the more times that you is same thing as the reps, like the more times that you do this thing, that’s like uncomfortable to do. That’s scary. That’s unknown. The more you get used to that awkward, gross, uncomfortable feeling and the feeling of like slowly pushing through it. and it just, it’s always, you know, it’s like cycling.
[00:27:26] You never get any faster you or you never get any, oh fuck. How the fuck did I forget this one? it never gets any easier. You only get faster. And it’s the exact same thing. Like, it’s always hard. Right. But you get familiar with it being hard and you just kind of, you know, you just go through it and you just, you do it.
[00:27:46] And I think, yeah, that’s, I mean, to me, it’s just. I don’t know if I’m just stubborn or like, I. I don’t really, I don’t, I don’t focus too heavy on like failing or a big one. That one, that’s not a big one for me that I hear a lot of people saying is like, what people think, like what a waste of energy who gives a fuck, what someone thinks, because what someone thinks is every version of spectrum that you could think from like completely loving it to completely hating it.
[00:28:22] Everything in that is what people think. So you’re like, So what, like that’s, , it’s so confounded myself with that. no,
[00:28:33] Chris: that’s really powerful. That’s really powerful because it, it all comes down to, you know, this whole social persona that we have, right. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, yada, yada, yada, it’s all about hearing what people think and then telling people.
[00:28:48] What you think so, and to your last point though, I found it really cool. Do you think it is a great question I heard and I wanted to pose it to you. Do you think it’s more important to believe in yourself or is it more important to do the work?
[00:29:01] Dustin Klein: I mean, to me, they’re kind of the same thing. Cause if you don’t believe in yourself, you’re not gonna be willing to do the work, cuz you’ll just think like, oh, I’m not good enough.
[00:29:10] I’m not worth it, man.
[00:29:12] Chris: Interesting.
[00:29:13] Dustin Klein: I just, that’s just, I’ve seen that. You see it like yeah. Oh, you know, oh, I always wanted to play hack sack. Like the fuck are you waiting for? I always wanted to draw things. You’re like, cool. You’re really good at arguing for your limitations. Like yeah, exactly. Nice conversation.
[00:29:32] Bye. Like, I, I don’t know, like
[00:29:33] Chris: yeah, reasons are just another word for excuses. So, but I, I found that to be an interesting quote, an interesting question, you know, cuz there are a lot of people that are probably going through the motions. Right. We hear fake it till you make it. That’s kind of the whole gist of that question is you got people.
[00:29:48] There are people who seriously believe in the work and then there’s, and, but they may not believe in themselves. Mm-hmm, like you have flawed artists that, you know, they do this great work, but they’re tragic people. And then, so that, but they still get this amazing shit done. That’s what blows my mind.
[00:30:04] Right. And then you have these people that are so overly confident and they’re, they just think. Fantastic or whatever, and their work is kind of shit I just was trying to resolve the two, you know, in my mind of that’s an interesting dynamic. I was wondering what your take on it was.
[00:30:20] Dustin Klein: You know, the, like the tortured artist thing, that actually makes a, a ton of sense because like the, you know, whether it’s not believing in themselves or like living through some trauma or some, some dark thing, there’s a lot of fuel and energy there to create work from.
[00:30:39] So in a way that’s like kind of a. It’s like a sounds kind of messed up, but it’s kind of a good foundation to produce really good work because it’s, you’re kind of like crippled by emotion. Emotion is essentially like the thing of all art is like, we’re just trying to translate feeling between human to human, through different mediums, all mediums music, video painting, blah, blah, blah.
[00:31:05] It’s just, you know, which is just like energy. So if you’re feeling this intense energy. Dark intense energy is really thick and heavy and it’s like kind of easy to play into and like brood in and just like, make work off of that. Yeah. Your life isn’t gonna be that great. But your work might be could probably who knows if you put the reps in.
[00:31:29] Chris: And it’s, it’s gonna resonate with somebody , it’ll it’ll resonate with somebody. I mean, you know, there’s, I think there’s something for everybody out there, but I wanna, I wanna ask you like your freaking videos have so much good food in there. It is so unfair. Like I watch your videos and then I end up starving my ass off.
[00:31:49] So like do you, you prepare all that shit. Especially today’s you had a freaking burger that was like on a pretzel roll with had like impossible meat and avocado. I mean, shit, man. I’m starving. I’m starving.
[00:32:03] Yeah. Well that was a campout. But, so I have like a small van that I like built out, or I had built out that I, I like use as like a, a, a staging point, so I can do these rides and stuff.
[00:32:16] And, and there’s a fridge in there, but I think it’s sort of like a, for sure. It’s be a part of it is big, a big part of it is because of the videos to like, try and like. One show something different. So I’m not always eating the same thing. And two is sort of this, like, how can I like kind of outdo myself cuz I am for sure.
[00:32:37] Like if there’s a food pill. Give me a food pill. I would love that. Like, it’s sort of like, eating’s like kind of like a chore, you know, I, we, you know, we like to cook and do all that, but it’s not quite like eat out that kind of laziness, but I don’t know. Yeah. Eating is, look,
[00:32:57] man. One of the hardest questions to answer every damn day is what’s for dinner
[00:33:03] exactly. Oh
[00:33:05] man. I hate that question. What are we having for dinner?
[00:33:12] how do you guys usually resolve it? You got like a, like a, a system?
[00:33:16] No well, the system is I cook. My wife is just like, I don’t care. Just whatever you’re gonna cook. Just make it not suck. But you know, we live in Mexico, so it’s a lot of tortillas and avocados and radishes and peppers and You know, but if you go out it’s, it’s all meat.
[00:33:33] Like everything’s meat. I’m not a big red meat eater, but I’m not a vegetarian, but I do do fish and stuff, but it’s really it’s. It would be really tough to be vegetarian here, but we, we try to figure it out. Usually we end up on the lazy side and just go get fish tacos.
[00:33:48] Dustin Klein: My wife has been doing this thing recently, where on I, I made our fridge our fridge was aluminum, you know, traditionally stee – whatever the fuck for metal that’s magnetic, they’re usually magnetic ours wasn’t so I made it a chalkboard. And so on that, what a long-winded way to say that she wrote like Monday through Sunday and she’ll just like, do like a quick menu. And that little hack is still like a super pain in the ass.
[00:34:13] And you’re like, okay, like what’s the thing for the week, but it’s really helpful. It’s totally one of those things that it like. If the time, what stitch in time saves nine. It’s that you take like five minutes at the beginning of the week to save like an hour throughout the rest of the week.
[00:34:30] Chris: Exactly.
[00:34:31] Dustin Klein: It’s crazy. How just knowing what we’re gonna have. Nothing’s prepped. We still gotta make it, but just knowing is like so much faster. It’s really interesting. Yeah.
[00:34:41] Chris: The food, the meal prep is we, we. We try it. We, we do really well for a while and then we just we either get really busy and, and it’s just like, shit, let’s just go run down the street and grab tacos.
[00:34:52] But I, I totally agree with the meal prep thing. That would be the other thing about your videos, man. Is your soundtracks just kick ass that I noticed recently? You have all of this like old Motown shit going on. Is that deliberate?
[00:35:05] Dustin Klein: Yeah. Well, it’s just stuff that I’ve figured out how to get. And a lot of it is from a, a DJ called Chances with Wolves.
[00:35:12] And he does the real legwork of like sourcing all this crazy music. And then I just use what I can from his music. And then also my buddy, Ron, who’s like a continuing character in the videos. Who’s just my friend, but he’s also good on camera. He makes music and he put like a little library together.
[00:35:31] Chris: He is. So he’s, such a compliment you guys, when you, when you, when you ride it’s, it’s so hilarious. His, his, his wit is so sharp and he just comes off with these one line zingers. It’s hilarious. And I just noticed in the video today, Ron did the soundtrack for that. So that’s pretty cool. If there was.
[00:35:48] Who’s a photographer or an artist that should be required study for, for people that you like. If there’s one person that you think people should definitely know their work.
[00:35:58] Dustin Klein: Ooh, that’s a gnarly one. Okay. I think of like influences like colors. So there’s not like one, like, what’s your favorite color?
[00:36:08] Chris: Sure. Sure, totally get it.
[00:36:09] Dustin Klein: That answer’s gonna change throughout the day. To me, there’s not like you need to know this. So it part of it’s just like remembering, but the, when you say that, the first thing I think of is like ed Templeton. Who’s like skate culture pro skater. Kind of has evol- morphed into, he started a skateboard company.
[00:36:29] You’re gonna see similar parallels here. lot of photography, he’s a painter. He’s just like this interesting like DIY artist guy. And yeah, I don’t think his work is even like all that astounding. I just love the path. That he’s gone. Is he the guy that did all the black and white shots of the kids in LA, the really famous black and white skater shots that are, that you see from a while ago,
[00:36:50] maybe he had a book called teenage smokers.
[00:36:54] That was kind of like went around for a while. He was in the beautiful losers.
[00:36:59] Chris: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:36:59] Dustin Klein: Which was like a. How would I explain that it was like a, there’s actually a beautiful losers documentary too, which I mean, come on the easiest way to unpack anything is to watch a video about it.
[00:37:09] Chris: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:37:11] And the making of
[00:37:12] Dustin Klein: who would you say if that question was posed to you? I’m always looking for
[00:37:15] Chris: Man artists, I think like I think, you know, what’s really interesting to me now is looking back hindsight as a visual artist. I think Keith Haring cool was like the, the pinnacle of the postmodernist idea.
[00:37:29] Like when in the mid nineties, early nineties, when, you know, they were doing Seinfeld and shows about nothing and all this stuff, when all the irony that was hitting pretty hard and Keith Haring had this way to. Do something again, like we talked about earlier, that looked so simple, but was immensely difficult.
[00:37:47] And I think his art was like so playful, but also had so much going on in it that I think if I was gonna say art world, he would have to be one. And then I don’t know, songwriters, man. I mean, John Prine is the guy that Prine was pretty much who shaped my songwriting. Once I was, I was in a kid in Philly and I was listening to the Ramones and Hanoi rocks and all that Lou Reed’s velvet underground stuff.
[00:38:14] And I got to Nashville and discovered John Prine and fell outta my chair. And you know, a guy from Kentuckys singing these country songs, but man, he just blew me away for, for that kind of stuff,
[00:38:24] Dustin Klein: dude, that is a cool, I love hearing that. Like this totally different genre. So like kind of again, like energy was right.
[00:38:32] Chris: Yeah. And it might have been the time of my life, you know? It’s like, you just have to be open to accepting stuff when it comes along. I think even if you’re you’ll, you, you get what you need when you need it. That’s the, the cliche quote. But I like that, like I, I heard Prine and Tom Waits. And within like two months of each other and I was just like, holy shit.
[00:38:51] You know? And then I went down the rabbit hole of Ricky Lee Jones and Bonnie Rait and all these people that just were masters of their craft songwriting. So, you know, that’s, that’s kind of the angle I would go in in that world, but I’m like, you, it. It’ll change in two hours based on my mood or how I’m feeling, or if I go for a long bike ride or something, and then I come back it’s there’s no like people ask what’s your favorite song?
[00:39:13] It’s it’s impossible. It’s depends on the day and the minute.
[00:39:16] Dustin Klein: Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of just like what comes out right now. There sure is something interesting about there’s you said the ma their masters of their craft. It is fascinating how it doesn’t matter what genre somebody is in.
[00:39:31] If they’re. Like a master at it. They are like infinitely mesmerizing to consume their work. And like kind of, I wanna ask, like, what is that like? Is it cuz they they’ve taken the journey so far up the mountain that all of us in, on the, in the valley or like, whoa, like that’s what the air looks like up there.
[00:39:57] It it, yeah.
[00:39:59] Chris: The thread of creativity and creation, whether you’re a chef photographer, professional dancer musician, painter sculpture, I think ballet dancer. There’s a thread that is. Unique that runs through all of those different mediums, because it takes the same thing to reach that level of whatever you’re doing.
[00:40:23] I think there’s a, there’s a, I’m not saying it very well but there’s a, a. I need my frigging thesaurus or something. Shit, I’ve got a mental block, but there’s a, you know, you see what I’m saying? There’s a, there’s a, there’s a thread that that’s, that’s similar. Doesn’t matter. Like it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.
[00:40:39] If you are great at it. I think you could talk to you. If you were making videos and you went and talked to a chef, you could both speak the same language because whatever you are doing, there’s a, there’s a similarity there. Yes, no
[00:40:52] Dustin Klein: for sure. It, it across many mediums, the more. I experiment with different mediums.
[00:40:59] The more I realize like how much similarity there is, it’s actually like the fringy details that are different, but ultimately it’s a lot of the same. .
[00:41:09] Chris: Yeah, I, I mean, there was a great show. MTV. It’s so funny. MTV. They years and years and years ago, I tried to find it again, but it was called Iconoclasts.
[00:41:18] Did you? They, they, they took like different people from different mediums. Eddie Vedder went out to surf with oh shit. Laird Hamilton. So, like they took two mediums and two guys at the top of their field. Yeah. And so Eddie Vedder went to Laird Hamilton’s house for a weekend. And then Laird Hamilton went to Eddie Vedder, went on tour with Eddie Vedder’s for a weekend.
[00:41:39] And so they had this whole juxtapose of those guys talking about each other’s lives from their perspectives. And they did like Wolfgang puck hung out with Luciano Pavarotti. And like, it was so freaking cool. It was exactly that dynamic that we’re talking about.
[00:41:57] Dustin Klein: Yeah. That is, that would be really interesting because then you’re hearing two masters talking about their experience through their different filters. But they’re, you know, they’re bumping up against each other and you’re like, oh, they’re pretty similar.
[00:42:09] Chris: Yeah. And like one guy’s going, you’re great. And the other guy’s going. No, but you’re great. And he’s going no, but you’re great. No, you’re great.
[00:42:15] So , but you know, there’s when they, when they strip that shit away, you, you get to see why each one of them is great. And then you realize it’s the same fucking thing.
[00:42:25] Dustin Klein: Yeah. And there’s, there’s absolutely something. Super important about doing things that aren’t comfortable or that are out of your element, like yes. Focus on your thing, do the reps, but it’s so important to, and I would say like consistently try things that are not in your wheelhouse, cuz it keeps you just kind of like humble. Loose helps you learn a little easier. Like it’s just, it’s pretty interesting.
[00:42:55] Chris: Well, that’s really, what’s really interesting is you just kind of answered my question, that I was gonna wrap the whole thing up with.
[00:43:00] I was gonna ask you, you know, what you would say, you know, for years, for decades and decades, we’ve had gatekeepers in this world that kept people from. Their creativity, just getting out to the world. We had record labels and we had, you know, art galleries and film companies and stuff. But now all the, I think the creation’s been given back to the creators with all the mediums we have killer phones take great video.
[00:43:21] So you don’t need. These other people to foster your creative reach to people. So, and you just said, you know, you just get outside your comfort zone. So what would you say to somebody that’s like looking at you, going man, DK is so far up the curve. I I’m never gonna, I’m never gonna get there. Like, what would you say to a young creator who’s thinking about starting today and other than get outside your comfort zone, which I wholly thoroughly endorse and believe in because if you’re, you know, When you, your discomfort, when you feel that discomfort, you actually feel like you’re really kind of doing something.
[00:43:54] Dustin Klein: Yeah. And I’ve heard too, like. You know, like when you feel discomfort or like, like I was saying earlier, like nervous about something like that, that’s generally a good sign, like kind of lean into that as counterintuitive as it is like that, that fear and awkwardness and discomfort can actually lead to, I don’t know why it is like that.
[00:44:16] Cuz you would think it would be like complete joy in elation and then everyone would just be doing things they should be doing. I, I have no idea why that is the way it is. Ultimately, like, know what direction you want to go and just start making like any small steps and they’re not glamorous steps. It.
[00:44:35] Dumb shit, like send an email to this thing or look up this part or like clear off a table. Like it , it’s, it’s not really glamorous and it’s just always moving towards the thing that you want to move towards is really the ultimate. Just kind of figure out what your north star is, what you’re passionate about.
[00:44:57] And then. just work that direction and that it, things will work out. I guarantee you just keep going that way. It’ll it’ll it’ll work. And if it doesn’t, you can email Chris.
[00:45:10] Chris: Exactly. I was gonna actually say your email address there. I was supposed to do that. I drop that fucking punchline there, but, and you know, the.
[00:45:18] The more you go outside your comfort zone, the bigger your comfort zone gets.
[00:45:22] Dustin Klein: Right. There you go. Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a little chunk of wisdom right there. Absolutely. Yeah. And again too, like the more you do, the more kind of you get used to being uncomfortable. And then too, you’ll realize there’s times when you’re like, I I’ve been uncomfortable enough times.
[00:45:38] Like, I don’t wanna be uncomfortable this time. Like you don’t always have to push yourself right. To do things you don’t want to do.
[00:45:45] Chris: Yeah, it’s it’s I think it’s just about being open to whatever’s happening that day, as far as, just as long as you make something and just keep, like you said, keep your north star and keep marching forward, continued progress, baby. 1% every day. If you think about that, if you are 1% better every day, which isn’t a lot after 10 days, you’re 10% better,
[00:46:02] Dustin Klein: Yeah. And I, I heard that quote actually just recently and it kind of threw me cuz I was like, yeah, I like, ultimately I love that. But then I was like, well, What’s better, like is just doing the thing better.
[00:46:15] Like, yes, it is just doing the same thing. Like it might not actually be better. I don’t know. Yeah.
[00:46:21] Chris: Doing, but doing anything is better than doing nothing. Right.
[00:46:24] Dustin Klein: There you go.
[00:46:25] I completely agree with that. and then that is, yeah. Right. So that’s the better . Yeah.
[00:46:29] Chris: And, and I don’t mean better work
[00:46:31] Dustin Klein: it’s okay. To draw another crappy picture.
[00:46:34] Chris: yeah, I didn’t mean to suggest that, you know, the actual work needed to be better, but like 1% better is just like, I think if you’re trying. Every day that you’re, I think every day that you’re trying and you just don’t give up is 1% better. Like, I think as long as you’re yes, as long as you keep that focus, right?
[00:46:51] You’re you still have the focus and you may have a sh a really shitty day, like you may draw or write a song or do a podcast episode or whatever. This medium is, make a filet mignon, whatever that sucked. But as long as you don’t quit tomorrow, Then I think you’re, you’ve got that 1% better because a you’ve learned hopefully from what you did yesterday, but B you had the gumption to not quit on yourself.
[00:47:17] So maybe that’s, Worth’s something.
[00:47:19] Dustin Klein: Yeah, yes, yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. Failure is another big one that we actually didn’t really touch on, but it’s super important. It’s critical to the process. And I, I love that you put that obviously learning from the failure, but also gaining from the not giving up. I, I, that’s huge.
[00:47:38] And I have not often associated that or thought of that part of the moving forward from a failure. So there there’s like so many dimensions that. Able that we’re able to grow from these, these failures, these negatives, again, these like awkward, uncomfortable things. Yeah. They’re but they’re still like such rich soil.
[00:48:01] It it’s so weird. I don’t know
[00:48:05] what that is, is weird.
[00:48:06] Chris: And, and, and I think, I think we need to, I think we need to, to, you know, I, I never like the word failure, because if it’s something that didn’t work, like if you, if you, I think failure only works in parachutes, like if your parachute failures and make a parachute and it doesn’t work, that’s a failure.
[00:48:25] Yes. But like, if you make a piece of. And it doesn’t connect with somebody. That’s not a failure. That’s that’s success. Cuz you made it, it just may have not have worked as, as you had hoped, but like failure. Failure’s a pretty strong word. I think so. I, I don’t like the word because I think if everybody’s still, if you’re trying.
[00:48:44] And it’s just not yet clicking. I don’t see that as a failure. I see it as I call that. That’s what I call continued progress.
[00:48:52] Dustin Klein: Like I like that too, because yeah. Failure does have like a, it’s like a, a definitive, it sounds like a definitive word, like, like this black or white, like it’s. Over it’s wrong.
[00:49:02] It’s bad. It’s done. It’s like, eh, it’s not really like that.
[00:49:06] Chris: Right? Exactly. It’s like when you teach a kid, like in school, you know, it’s like I failed a test. Therefore I’m a failure. Right?
[00:49:13] Dustin Klein: So extreme.
[00:49:14] Chris: No, you just failed a test. You just got a bad grade on a test. Exactly does. Yeah. That’s kind of how I grew up.
[00:49:20] It was like, you know, it was just a test. It doesn’t exercise anything on your, of your being. It doesn’t mean anything about you. It just means you need to try harder next time and do better on the next. What you can do all of us can do.
[00:49:32] Dustin Klein: Yes. Yeah. Ex very, very I hope you have kids, cuz those are, those are good little wisdom nuggets right there.
[00:49:39] Chris: I don’t have any kids I’m adopt. I’m adopting you DK.
[00:49:42] Dustin Klein: Okay. I don’t have ’em either. So we’ll just the, the viewer is now our peripheral children of, you know, . There you go.
[00:49:52] Chris: So look, I’m not gonna keep you any longer, but what are you, what are you working on, man? What do you want to talk? Tell everyone where they can find you and subscribe to the channels and all that stuff.
[00:50:01] Dustin Klein: Just search Dustin Klein or just Dustin Klein, YouTube spelled, however you wanna spell it. And that’s pretty much it. Same thing for Instagram. Those are the two main platforms I use. And I don’t know, that’s it. If you, if you’re into it, you’ll go deeper. If you’re not it’s okay. I understand. that’s pretty much it.
[00:50:19] I don’t know. Just keep making things and staying healthy.
[00:50:22] Chris: I think what you’re doing is great. I, I really enjoy it. I really do. I’m not just blowing smoke. I think it’s funny and engaging. It’s got a soul and it, it, it, there’s always a poignant moment in, in your stuff. And you’re super conscientious about everything from the environment to health and passionate about cycling, which I too am passionate about cycling.
[00:50:43] So again, I appreciate the time and thanks for being here, man.
[00:50:47] Dustin Klein: Wow. What an ending. Thanks, Chris..
[00:50:52] Chris: Hey, thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Dustin Klein, as much as I did make sure to check him out firstname.lastname@example.org or on YouTube, and make sure to check us out at themindunset.com or on Instagram @themindunset come back next week for episode three. And the one thing I wanna mention is the last week of July and the last week of every month, we’re gonna launch a new segment called strong coffee, strong women, where I get to sit down and share a cup of great coffee with some badass women.
[00:51:21] My first guest in this series is Tayla Lynn, the granddaughter of legendary icon, country music icon, Loretta Lynn Taylor, and I sat down and spoke for about an hour. She was at a ranch in Nashville. It was a wonderful time. It was quite funny. And she had just played Loretta’s 90th birthday celebration at the Grand Ole Opry.
[00:51:39] So don’t miss that and don’t miss the episodes following. So we appreciate you very much. Drop us a line and until next time be nice. Do good stuff.
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