In this series, I will explain my perspective on how bands
can make better records by learning the right reasons to choose a record
producer, rather than many of the flawed ways of the past.
As a record producer with over a decade of experience and hundreds of
record under my belt, I have witnessed bands choose me and my fellow
producers for both smart and stupid reasons. Seeing as this is one of
the most crucial decisions in a bands career, this is some of the most
important information you can learn.
Making a great record
is what we all want to do. Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of a
bad record is making a poor choice in who should produce your record.
Many veteran music industry people still guess and use flawed logic when
making this crucial decision. Over the years we have all heard records
with great songs but flawed production. It happens all the time and many
times we can’t even get into a record because the approach taken by the
producer is so repulsive that it makes it a unlistenable mess. After
the jump we will begin to discuss some of the flawed ideas that have
ruined many a record and in the preceding parts of this series we will
discuss how to understand and fix them
Budget- The first problem we run into when making a record is not
having the proper budget. In this day and age you do not need $100k
or even $20k to make a record that changes the world. You do however
need to be realistic about if you are budgeting enough money to
accomplish your goals. More often than not this is what kills a record
before it is even recorded.
Personality – While it is
important that you get a good feeling from your producer/engineer, that
is not everything. There are plenty of producers who are aces at
meetings and not the right person to get the sound you are looking for.
Just because someone was the coolest person at a meeting does not mean
you should work with them. On the flip side, if you have a bad vibe from
someone from the get-go, in all likelihood it will only get worse once
the pressure of the studio is upon you.
Dog And Pony Show -
A fancy studio with a huge console, glass windows and a high ceiling
does not make great records. A talented person with great ideas for your
record does. These days fantastic sounding records can be made in
bedrooms. High studio prices, fancy equipment and comfortable lounges don’t
make great records. Listen to 90% of the records that come out of big
studios and you will realize this instantly.
Filling In The
Blanks - Just because someone has had a successful record in the
past does not mean they are the right producer for you. Every group has
blanks that they need filled in. What often makes a great record is a
group teaming up with a producer who fills in those blanks properly. For
example, if you group has perfect vocals and you get a producer who is
inept at drumming ideas and your drummer is just as inept, your record
will most likely be dead from the moment the rhythm tracks are laid
down. Just because a producer made a great record with a few bands you
love doesn’t mean they are a genius and can deliver the same results for
your record. It means their blanks and that group’s blanks worked
together and fit together like puzzle pieces to make a great picture.
- One of the most overlooked parts of making a great record is good
planning. If a group doesn’t have the songs or their performances down,
the record may take longer than average to make. That said, if the
producer is on a tight schedule and a record has to be done on time this
can also kill a record instantly. Proper planning has killed more
records that I can count.
These are some of the more basic
problems records die because of. In this series we will go over many,
many more reasons and how to fix them. Stay tuned.