The Dears’ Krief on the biggest lessons he’s learned in music

As former guitarist for The Dears, Patrick Krief made sizable contributions to shaping that band’s often dark and brooding sound. But working within another artist’s musical boundaries has never been enough for Krief, as evidenced by his latest solo project.

Bearing only his last name, Krief’s two new albums, Automanic Red andAutomanic Blue (out simultaneously Sept. 30 on Toronto indie label Culvert Music), contain 20 songs that capture the emotional extremes the Montreal native has lived over the past few years.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as you’ve built your career, and what advice would you give?

I’ll answer this in point form:

Being talented is not enough.
Hard work does pay off. Tenacity does, too.
Be prolific. Know when to let go of something and that it will never be perfect. The closer something gets to “perfection” the more sterile and boring it will become.
Always offer to help musicians or artists you believe in. Don’t hoard your knowledge.
Decimate any sense of entitlement you have.
Treat people with respect in all situations.
Be loyal to the people who helped you early in your career.
Know that the people who work for you are also taking risks. Hear them out and be cooperative.
Respect your vision, and don’t let your mind (insecurities, goals/ ambitions etc) get in the way of inspiration.
Protect your assets. Define all the work you do. Anyone refusing to put something in writing for you is up to no good.
If you’re gonna goof around in a press photo shoot, know they will use THAT picture.
Nobody can ever care as much as you do. Understand that and respect it.
Don’t slag other artists.
Lead by example.
Don’t waste your time or money on “battle of the bands” type gigs.
Be self sufficient, learn as many skills as possible to advance your art and career.
Don’t blame others for your failures.
Understand how others have contributed to your success and credit/ reward them for it.
If you’re not loving it anymore, STOP.
As Bob Dylan says, “know your song well before you start singing” … and as Willie Nelson says, “you can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say.”