Back in the day when daddy used to rock, we were making an album with legendary record producer Steve Brown, whose work you will all have heard on your classic records, even if you don’t know who he is. I was a hotheaded young guitar slinger and certainly didn’t want no producer giving me shit about how guitars should sound.
With 20/20 hindsight he was right and I was wrong. Why? Because he was trying to encourage me to go beyond my comfort zone, so that what we would come up with would be different to what everyone else was doing. Why is that important? Well, if you take an objective look at the odds of a project being successful, the more different it is to anything else that’s going on, the more you increase your chances, because all those people you have to convince about your greatness are sick’n'tired of hearing your very admirable and surprisingly close approximation of what was popular last week.
They want something NEW and DIFFERENT.
What is new and different about an artist is easy to see from outside the artistic cocoon. Very hard to see from the inside where artists spend days arguing about where the proverbial comma should be. Hell, what if the entire sentence is bland? Who cares where the comma is?
Which is why artists need producers.
Next time you go in the studio give the guy who’s there to help you sound better and more interesting a chance to help you.
Of course, it ain’t gonna happen in your local demo studio because the skill level and the experience isn’t available. Which is why those recordings don’t sound good or different. They sound like shit and that is why nobody is interested in them.
I had an interesting meeting with a well known music publisher the other day. We decided that it’s a good thing that advances in recording technology have made it possible for many people to document their interesting ideas for very little money. You can do it at home.
We decided that all the DIY tools were great for getting careers off the ground.
We also agreed that thus began the myth that you don’t need recording studios or record labels any more. I quoted the old Texan saying “Piss in one hand and wish in the other: see which one fills up first.” to make my point suitably clear.
We agreed that the building called “recording studio” contributes somewhat to the process of making of a record, about as much as a nice football stadium contributes to an enjoyable day out watching football. The real difference is the talent in the stadium: the players and the managers who have put the hours in to get great at what they do.
In a studio you can certainly make stuff sound better with good gear. Most good studios are better equipped than your average bedroom.
Notwithstanding the generality of the foregoing, it’s the talent inside the room working the good gear that makes the real difference.
So, dear reader, marry your great ideas with great knowledge of making records and the equipment with which to make them. To those records harness the skills of those who have great experience and knowledge of the business in which you, too, desire to make a living.
All other avenues are likely to lead to costly mistakes. Dead ends. Frustration.
Like the other week when I decided to take on the plumbing at home. Should have left it to someone qualified to do it.
How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man…. the answer, surely, is blowing in the wind.
On that thought, happy bank holiday weekend to all.