The Importance of Finding the Perfect Producer
David Ostroff on September 30, 2017
Quality music production tends to be over looked with new bands but it could be the difference between fame and failure.
Music production has taken on numerous forms over the past 30 years. It has developed to a point where anyone with a Macbook and Garageband can put out an album. This, coupled with the ability to advertise a product to literally over a billion people for free gives anyone the potential to be a music sensation. This change in music production has inspired some artists to create a new way of recording music (relatively speaking.) Musician and producer Alan Evans of Soulive is one of the first to to notice this change and has recently created a project that breathes life into an old-school way of recording and releasing new music. He said this method will give artists more creative freedom in the studio.
Although that same creative freedom can be found in the living room of any aspiring artist, this is a feat that is much harder to accomplish with, for example, an eight piece rock band. It requires more space, equipment, musical instruction and leadership as well as a deep understanding of musical theory. Evans hopes that making this space available to larger, rock, soul and funk groups will yield, “high quality, soulful music that will help add to a growing community of independent artists and listeners striving to feed the music revolution of the 21st century…” (http://www.vintageleaguemusic.com/about)
The use of this technique has resulted in some of the most inspiring musical creations that have been the muse of countless modern groups. And with nostalgia being a great source of comfort in the modern age, people are looking back and appreciating the conventional ways of doing things. Society is watching movie reboots, playing old video games and more recently, people are appreciating the sound and tangibility of vinyl records. With restyled recording tactics like the one Alans is using, the old way of creating music can start making it’s way back to the chart tops which in turn may yield the revival of a dying genre, rock based music.
Having the ability to shine a light on the little guy recording his/her new song in the skunkworks of his/her studio apartment is great, but they’re not creating rock, soul or funk albums; They’re making pop or rap tracks and leaving one of the most influential genres, rock, to be just remembered and not rekindled. Proper music production needs to make it’s way back to its roots if up-and-coming artists are to become prosperous and that means starting from the very beginning when bands would release a tangible copy of a single recorded in a low pressure situation by talented producers and recording artists. And now, with the new found love of the vinyl age, it’s possible for bands to thrive instead of settling for the pennies that Spotify and iTunes drop into their clients hats.
Historically, spontaneity has yielded some incredible pieces of work. Whether they were sarcastically or accidentally made, artists have put together chart topping hits from just messing around in the studio. Black Sabbath is a prime example of this. One of their most recognizable tracks, Paranoid, was famously produced in under two hours because of their freedom in the studio (and because of the immense amount of talent that filled that room.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoid_(album) Unfortunately, that kind of time and space is not readily available to most up-and-coming artists. Evans intends to change that. The Music Development Agency spoke with him via email.
“If they record five songs and feel only one is strong enough to release, perfect,” said Evans. “I don’t want anyone to feel the need to do any more than they want or need. I just want to create a very relaxed environment for artists to create something new.
Yes, the world is changing and the recording process needs to follow in a forward thinking manner, but modern advertising and publicizing tactics can still be applied. Why not release the single on a site and make it available for streaming but not for download? This would force the hand of music lovers to buy that record and finally get some decent revenue headed into musicians pockets. The recording process has changed but so has societies thought process. People want something unique but familiar. They ate up the soundtrack to both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and there wasn’t a single song off that soundtrack dating after circa 1979. That charming oldies sound can have a modern feel to it while holding the comfort of something that was created over 40 years ago. It’s possible for these rock based groups to thrive, they just need to get crafty. This is true not just rock based groups. There is a number of highly obscure genres out there not getting the credit they deserve because musicians think fixing a master track in their apartment is good enough.
Anyone involved in a complex, rock based group or obscure genre will have no problem finding a producer with a similar mindset and vision. These might be overlooked genres but there are a number of producers out there willing to help kindle it. These other producers might not have the pedigree that Evans has but the opportunity is out there. Rising musicians with this style of music just need to be weary of who they entrust with their first studio album. It’s important to work with someone that has a similar sense of what an album should sound like. This process may take some time but it will undoubtedly be worth the trouble.
There a number of sites like https://soundbetter.com that can help musicians find local recording studios and producers that will produce with a likeminded idea of what an album should sound like. There are countless producers and even more artists available for hire, from mastering engineers to session musicians. New artists and groups must not overlook the importance of finding a catalyst for their projects; the amount of effort that went into creating the music should be applied into finding the proper way of exposing it, especially for new groups.
Here are a few tips on finding the proper studio for specific recording needs:
- Artists looking to record should really start by finding like minded bands with a similar sound; there’s nothing wrong with asking for help and advice. Go online and search for likeminded bands and see who they liked and didn’t like for a producer.
- Getting to know the producer outside of the topic of recording is also helpful. Being able to communicate properly with the producer is key; If their personality doesn’t match the musicians’, the end result might not be the perceived one.
- Networking in general is always a plus. Ask the cashier at the local record or music shop and see what they have heard. The field is not as cut throat as some may think. Being a musician is a career and in this day and age it’s all about networking; Treat this like is if it were any other job.
Proper music production is something that is overlooked and it’s understandable. If a band has great material then it should take off on it’s own, right? That’s not always true. Yes, the road to recognition can be paved with social media but why risk it? Put in that extra effort to have the master track sounding perfect and the results will be astounding.
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