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Author Topic: Your philosophy?  (Read 8943 times)

Fibes

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Your philosophy?
« on: July 23, 2007, 02:12:56 pm »

I'm bored with the debate over a certain poker playing engineer from Chicagos recording philosophy.

What's yours and why?

FWIW Mine is pretty simple--take the approach that is:

1. Asked of you.
2. Required of you.
3. Feels right.

The why:

1. They are paying the tab, if they ask you to stay out of the way or to get in the fray that is what you should do. The key here is it takes a certain amount of confidence to stay out of the way and a certain amount of ego to stay in the fray. whatever you do should reflect the prime directive and you by any means necessary should DO NO HARM.

2. That's the grey area that you have to cross sometimes when asked to stay out of the way because sometimes what a bands asks for is not completely what they want. This is where clairvoyance comes in handy.

3. This is what usually happens once the bonds of mutual respect are formed. Either way, i've listed it as #3 but it could just as easily be #1 if the trust already existed.
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Fibes
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scottoliphant

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2007, 02:41:41 pm »

what:
1. make the client comfortable and happy.

why?
repeat business, word of mouth referrals.

i can be artsy fartsy / drive the bus all i want in my own bands and recordings and don't feel comfortable as of yet donning the producer hat.

spoon

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2007, 05:03:06 pm »

Fibes wrote on Mon, 23 July 2007 13:12

I'm bored with the debate over a certain poker playing engineer from Chicagos recording philosophy.

What's yours and why?

FWIW Mine is pretty simple--take the approach that is:

1. Asked of you.
2. Required of you.
3. Feels right.




Well this thread is going to keep that discussion alive (directly or indirectly).

(Assuming Point 2 means professional requirements...like equipment maintenance and such,)
I think the real discussion point is on areas like your Point 3.

These are intangible, ambiguous and highly subjective "standards".  By this I  refer to all cases where "feels right" refers to all other parties but the band (as that would be covered in Point 1).

What do these things mean...what does feeling right to you have to do with the band, unless the two happen to be congruent.  
(And by YOU I am not referring to you personally Fibes, but this general area of "standards" that very many of us have.)

Other common comments of that ilk:
-'til it grooves/has the vibe
-'til it rocks/pops/splats
-'til it speaks to me
-Whatever serves the song/vibe (that one is my favorite)


There are few people who have a desired sound/production that bands may go for (TLA/CLA, Clearmountain, Vig, etc.)  Those guys maybe requested to perform their magic.  Or they may be in a position to be considered "hit makers".  If that indeed is even a desire of the band (may our may not be).  So their opinion is part of the package.

Otherwise, how do _you_ know what serves the song?  The band only knows that.  And even if they consciously dont, it is their art.

Point 3 really has no position in the equation unless, as Fibes pointed out, the band has a working relationship with the AE and is looking for that sort of input.

I think that is where most of the forum's philosophies will differ: whether the AE believes Point 3 type approaches belong in a mixing philosophy. (And of course shades between the all or nothing extreme.)  I think many believe that is what they are being contracted for (and of course in many cases that is so.)
I believe that thought process is assumed too much....as a default modus operandi.

I almost wanted to hold off this reply to see how many would post something along the lines of "I do what serves the song".


Cheers,
David






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chrisj

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2007, 05:24:48 pm »

I do what serves the song, duuude.

Laughing

Let's get more specific, shall we?

Unless the song is meant to be static, I want it to MOVE. I like certain things to happen at eyeblink speed, certain things to be more like a swinging weight, most of all I want the speeds to CHANGE UP and not be all rigidly stuck to a predictable style of motion. There's some sounds that slam down like a gavel banging, some that swell up like an ocean wave, some that hit like a camera shutter- all these are cool, it has everything to do with types of EQ and compression but only because they are ways of changing or maximizing what's already there. Some sounds don't need any of that, some you go totally nuts on.

Unless the song is meant to be a very restricted overall color, I want it to be COLORFUL. To me that means hi-fi is the last concern, really the last. If you're going for fidelity you'll want every sound to be well-behaved and not sound screwed up, and there are some really intense colors that are completely screwed up! I got to play with this with a new plugin on the current IMP so we'll see if anyone else agrees or not. I like the parked-wah trick. I like incredibly focused, tight sounds in many cases. In other cases I want the opposite- I want a solidness with only a loose emphasis on any particular tone color.

No matter what I always like SONORITY. That resonant richness of a distant French horn? Gimme more of that. Orchestral horns? Screw the spitty highs, I want to hear them go WAAAAAAAAH! AC-30 wound up and making that searing voicelike yowl? Ohyeah. Goes double for vocalists, I love it when people can project. One of my favorite vocalists ever is Sandy Denny. Also Steve Winwood... when these people are really laying it down, it's possible you won't even understand the words, but the tone and feeling is carrying the whole load. That's a sound phenomenon just as much as pitch range is, it can be learned, it can be enhanced in mix.

That's what I mean when I say I want to serve the song. I see the song as being carried through movement, color decisions and sincerity- and sincerity for a lot of different sounds is gonna be associated with sonority, if you don't mean it the sound isn't going to come out with the kind of resonance you get from real conviction.

I've had more opportunity to _think_ about my philosophy than to actually _work_ with it, but that's thanks to IMPs more than anything- you don't have to have a philosophy to just mix your own stuff, you wing it and have fun. When you're confronted with other stuff and you also know most of your fellow AEs are going to hate whatever you do, it compels you to figure out what it is you DO actually want, and how you're getting it. That's where the philosophy comes in.

pg666

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2007, 05:26:40 pm »

Quote:

I almost wanted to hold off this reply to see how many would post something along the lines of "I do what serves the song".


yeah, "serving the song" is pretty vague because it can be interpreted in so many ways. it's basically saying "make it more like the way i see it/want it".

personally, i have no problem with intervention (whichever side it is i'm on in a session), but i feel like the engineer needs to be able to back up his reasoning very well. nothing irks me more when the engineer does something just because "it's cool"/"that's just how i work"/"that's how records are made" or whatever. it smacks of laziness and arrogance.
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compasspnt

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2007, 09:10:19 pm »

Today, one more day is gone forever.

Never let up for a second.

Work harder at everything.
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Mike Major

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2007, 11:14:52 pm »

I don't post much so I may not be one of the "dudes" here but I thought I would throw in my $.02

Care. Alot. Care about the outcome more than the band. Take it personally. Get very involved. Try to exceed your expectations by alot. Every time. Regardless of who the band is, or if they're signed, or if they will ever sell one record. Act like it's the most important record in the world, because to them it is.

I don't work with signed bands often so where it's going afterwards has little effect on how hard I try. It shouldn't matter. They're all important. Budget and time constraints shouldn't matter either. Obviously if there is no time you do what you can but always give your best.

A guy I used to work with always told me "once you agree to do a job for a given price you have to do the best job possible. You can't have different levels of commitment to the project based on price".

Oh and also "have a good time, all the time. That's my credo Marty..."

Mike

scottoliphant

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2007, 11:32:27 pm »

Mike Major wrote on Mon, 23 July 2007 22:14

I don't post much so I may not be one of the "dudes" here but I thought I would throw in my $.02

Care. Alot. Care about the outcome more than the band. Take it personally. Get very involved. Try to exceed your expectations by alot. Every time. Regardless of who the band is, or if they're signed, or if they will ever sell one record. Act like it's the most important record in the world, because to them it is.

I don't work with signed bands often so where it's going afterwards has little effect on how hard I try. It shouldn't matter. They're all important. Budget and time constraints shouldn't matter either. Obviously if there is no time you do what you can but always give your best.

A guy I used to work with always told me "once you agree to do a job for a given price you have to do the best job possible. You can't have different levels of commitment to the project based on price".

Oh and also "have a good time, all the time. That's my credo Marty..."

Mike




well put. i tend the like "they" and "them" over "I" and "me" when it comes to helping people make records.

Tim Gilles

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2007, 01:41:35 am »

Have the best possible time... ALL of the time.

Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles

spoon

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2007, 09:27:42 am »

chrisj wrote on Mon, 23 July 2007 16:24

I do what serves the song, duuude.

Laughing

I've had more opportunity to _think_ about my philosophy than to actually _work_ with it, but that's thanks to IMPs more than anything-


Yeah, the IMPs have been great for this.

chrisj


you don't have to have a philosophy to just mix your own stuff, you wing it and have fun. When you're confronted with other stuff and you also know most of your fellow AEs are going to hate whatever you do, it compels you to figure out what it is you DO actually want, and how you're getting it. That's where the philosophy comes in.


That is a great MO.  Whatever the motivation (in this case other AE's perception of your work), that fact that it drives you to figure out what you DO.  I think that is probably the best way to approach this (sh|t, life too.)

Thanks for the perspective Chris!  (Can you ever have too much perspective...)

Cheers,
David
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TheViking

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2007, 10:45:01 am »

Tim Gilles wrote on Tue, 24 July 2007 01:41

Have the best possible time... ALL of the time.

Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles

Yeah...   what he said...   and...

Unlike a live show, a recording is forever.   Work on every record knowing that it must sound as awesome as you possibly can make it.   Sure, your skill-set will improve over time and isn't the same today as it was yesterday, but if you're having a good time making the record and the band is having a good time and you're all working at your absolute maximum level of performance, this will all come through in the sound and feel of the recording.

IMO, everything else is secondary.
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Fibes

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2007, 10:52:10 am »

Tim Gilles wrote on Tue, 24 July 2007 01:41

Have the best possible time... ALL of the time.

Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles


Yeah Tim, so true.

You don't have to subscribe to "The Secret" to understand that good vibes are contagious.

As Spoon mentioned, these things/philosophies are intangibles but the more one does this sort of thing the more intuition/the gut takes over and makes things fun/seamless/feeling good.

As a session musician I've seen projects go awry at the hand of the producer, engineer or one of their hangers on.

It is our job to do no harm.

But it's more than that.

great posts btw.






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Fibes
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The Studio

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Juergen

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2007, 11:36:54 am »

pg666 wrote on Mon, 23 July 2007 17:26

Quote:

I almost wanted to hold off this reply to see how many would post something along the lines of "I do what serves the song".


yeah, "serving the song" is pretty vague because it can be interpreted in so many ways. it's basically saying "make it more like the way i see it/want it"


Well this will definitely confirm that it can be interpreted in so many ways, because I'd actually expect someone who stands by that "philosophy", vague as it may be, to look outside himself to get to where it needs to be,

Everything's always gonna be "the way i see it/want it" with everyone up to a point, because you gotta be able to live with the results...but to me "serving the song" would actually mean "i'm not here to impose my vision on things" (even tho we all know our tastes and preferences can't be unplugged, just controlled up to a point)

That doesn't necessarily mean that I am totally non-participant...that, to me, definitely and totally depends on how much leeway the band decides to give mem which most of the times is a lot...

FWIW, my own philosophy would perhaps be:

Treat people right, make a conscious effort to enjoy everything you do, and try to get things right from the start. Everything else will pretty much take care of itself.

Juergen
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rankus

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2007, 05:36:56 pm »



1. Do whatever it takes

2. Never give up

3. Treat everyone as an equal (even if they are an ego-maniacal rock star)

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maxim

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Re: Your philosophy?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2007, 09:46:39 pm »

"3. Treat everyone as an equal (even if they are an ego-maniacal rock star)"

brings to mind another of mike stavrou's maxims:

"treat stars as regular people and treat regular people as stars"
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