This is a section that I’m going to have to take my time on. It must be well thought out on my part to be able to express my thoughts accurately. I’m currently in the middle of a few projects and my time is really tight. I wanted to be sure to at least have something here since it is the MOST significant aspect of what I have to offer.
There are as many producers and engineers as there are opinions about the art of recording.
Generally speaking, most engineers set up the microphones, press record on a multi-track, mix down the tracks and send the musicians on their merry way. This has definitely been my experience.
Welcome to Hollywood.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some unbelievably talented and caring people out there, it’s just difficult to find them. I think that’s the bottom line, there’s just so many people here in Los Angeles it really is difficult to weed though the sludge.
I feel that a great engineer / producer will also be someone you can trust for an honest opinion as well as push the right buttons and use the right gear. Since I’m a little short on time I won’t delve into the technical side of recording for the moment but I will share some thoughts.
Here is an abridged philosophy of mine:
I like to find the best part of an artist and take it a song at a time. Focus on one song that highlights that bands/artists strengths. We can do an entire album, but I like to at least focus on it song by song.
The major labels have been doing something over the years that I don’t whole heartedly agree with, but I can imagine their early benefits.
When an artist would go into the studio, the record company would scan the song demos to be recorded for the final album. They would pick one or two songs and focus almost the entire budget of the album on those songs!
This was because they wanted to be sure that the songs that they were going to “push for radio” (pay for radio play) were the songs that got 90% of the attention during the recording of the album.The record companies could pretty much care less about the rest of the songs on the album. They wanted their “money making songs” to shine.
Now, as an artist this is crazy. But as a business, (don’t forget it is a business) it’s just good business sense for the label.
I believe in focusing on a song or two at a time without ignoring any of them. Some songs might get a little extra attention because of their strength, but that goes without saying.
Would you rather have 1000 completed CD’s laying around your apartment with ten “average or below average quality” recordings? How about one great tune earning money on Sirius / XM Radio / iTunes / college radio / independent films / commercials / Showtime / HBO / etc. etc. or maybe even real radio?
It is possible these days you know. Maybe not so much real radio, because the major labels have them in their pocket, but other avenues are opening day by day! This is an exciting time for us if we are smart!!!
Different bands have different needs. Different singer/songwriters have different needs. One band may need to come across aggressive and appeal to a younger, testosterone fueled following while another is geared towards an older more sophisticated audience. Some need advice on a different strategy for getting the best out of their singer. Others may need new equipment, a different choice in drumheads, etc.
Realizing this is not a big secret or some huge insight – but being able to be honest about it with the artist and make suggestions – potentially turning down the almighty dollar – is pretty rare.
I continue to do well in this business because I place importance on:
- Giving value first
- Helping other people
- Being the BEST at what I do
- Establishing long term relationships with people
- Having fun
- Doing this every day.
Getting the right feel behind a song is as important – if not more important – as getting the right sound.