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Author Topic: Your approach to producing....  (Read 10033 times)

Thomas Lester

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Your approach to producing....
« on: January 05, 2005, 11:53:39 am »

Sorry for the crosspost.  I posted this in the Indie forum to get the "raw" side of things...  but I'd like to here the voice of those of you that do a little more of the larger budget or polished/pop thing as well.

Hi all -

This board is R/E/P (Recording, engineering, and PRODUCTION), yet we rarely talk about production (i.e. producing music). We spend way more time talking about gear are arguing that tube "A" sound better than tube "B". So how about it??? Let's talk about the creating music in this thread.

I'm new to producing... and while I've engineered for some greats (i.e. Tony Visconti, Bryce Goggin, Don Flemming, Mike Shipley, etc...), I have a lot to learn. I'm curious as to how the producers in this forum approach producing music.

For example... you have a band that has some good songs, but you need to help them find their "sound" and work out their songs.

Or... you have a singer and you've found the right songs for him/her, but they are bare bone demos... what's your approach to getting the material ready for recording, into the recording process, and out to be pressed?

Thanks....

-Tom

Extreme Mixing

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2005, 12:32:27 pm »

The situations that you have mentioned above seem to call for a musician.  Producing is more about a creative vision for the music than the ability to document it by recording.  Can you help the band with the arrangements?  Or constructively critique the lyrics?  Do you play an instrument or make loops that can make the project better?

In the old days, producers were the guys who made phone calls and ran the business side of the show.  They knew who to call and which rooms to book.  More and more, producers are the real artists.  They play all the parts and write the songs.  They hire the musicians and own their own studio.  Engineers are for tracking live performances and for mixing.  Weeks can go by with no engineer in the house.  In fact, after a producer has owned his own set up for a few years, they know how to make all of the lights blink pretty well.

Steve

Lee Flier

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2005, 12:45:37 pm »

I think the guy to ask about this is Steve Albini.  Twisted Evil Smile

Thomas Lester

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2005, 09:36:16 pm »

Lee Flier wrote on Wed, 05 January 2005 12:45

I think the guy to ask about this is Steve Albini.  Twisted Evil Smile


Laughing

brianbrick

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2005, 12:03:55 am »

Producing starts with listening to the organic thing that makes the band/artist awesome.  Grabbin' a little piece of the magic and sticking it on "Tape" is the goal.  Then Hopefully everyone is happy.  A couple of points to watch out for.  Have the band play live together full throttle before figuring out the best way to "snag' it, better yet have mics up and go for itimmediately .  Almost 10 out of 10 times you will be thinking you recorded a classic.

Good luck.
Brian
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PP

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2005, 11:04:11 am »

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Extreme Mixing

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2005, 11:58:02 am »

Peter,

That Prawn recipe looks great!  You may need to consult the "Curve" on that one.  I'd be happy to serve on the panel to select the winner.

Steve

ted nightshade

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2005, 12:17:06 pm »

Great stuff, Peter! You give an idea of what it is we can provide- an opportunity to soar away from the crushing restraints of everyday life. A respite from logistics, numbers, and paperwork and all that. The sense of infinite possibility. When I find that on a record, I play it again and again and again.

brianbrick wrote on Wed, 05 January 2005 21:03

Producing starts with listening to the organic thing that makes the band/artist awesome.  Grabbin' a little piece of the magic and sticking it on "Tape" is the goal.


This is totally on the money. The magic what we need to get recorded.
Quote:


Then everybody is happy


Except the artist or musician who is upset because they revealed more of themselves, more of their dreams and their failures and weaknesses, than they are comfortable with people hearing. In other words, they fucked up. As we know sometimes the fuckups are the best part- a note sung uniquely off pitch in a way that is really microtonal, and tells the story better than a note that's in our usual tempered scale. One of ringo's wonderfully human drum fills. Things like that.

It's taken me years of listening to myself fuck up over and over again to be able to really enthuse and believe in a wonderful fuckup that's really a crack in the veneer where soul shows through. One hint- if things could never come together quite that way ever again, you may have something there.

This is what intimate really is- seeing the things you're only seeing because you're close to an unguarded person, or a person whose guard has slipped temporarily. Things we usually are embarassed about and try to hide. And if the person trusts you with these revelations, that's a special kind of intimacy.

My own approach to production is extremely limited and extremely effective with a very few folks that I have a unique artistic and personal resonance with. Before I ask them to bleed, I bleed for them. I perform for them, or with them, opening myself wide bleeding up like I want them to feel free to do.

There's something about a session where every person present is living the music. This is why I have repeatedly broken the "rule" that a person will put in better performances if they are not doing the recording, just the performing. Having someone there who is not deeply and personally involved in the realtime flow of the music is a total liability.

The engineer of old, riding the fader during tracking and breathing with the singer, is deeply involved in the realtime flow. The engineer of today, standing back and waiting to press stop while making sure everything's getting recorded and no overs, is not involved in the realtime flow. Not necessarily- I'm open to exceptions, and encourage everyone to become one! It sucks to be living the music while people are disconnected from it in the control room. To look up during a take and see the engineers chatting while you are performing, sucks.

I worked with an engineer who would sit in front of the band on the tracking room floor, completely swept up in the music. We would know we had a good take when we looked up after the performance and he was crying! He cried a lot. He also performed bit percussion parts on some takes, live with the rest of the performance. I was producing the engineer's musical performance! This guy knew drum tuning too, and was up there pushing his knee into the calfskin bass drum heads. Some of those were incredible unrepeatable performances. Nothing professional about it!


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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2005, 01:31:07 pm »

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Gary Flanigan

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2005, 02:38:15 pm »

I seem to recall Mr. Albini saying somewhere that he expects the bands he records to pretty much have their thing together when they come to the studio, and not expect him to remake their performance.  

He may only have been speaking of someone's guitar sound, indicating that player's should have their equipment and sound together when they arrive.

In any event, my understanding of his approach is that he tries to document the sound of the bands he is recording.  Daniel Lanois he is not.

This is only my impresssion.  Obviously I do not speak for him, and he is quite capable of doing that himself.
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Thomas Lester

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2005, 03:27:08 pm »

Thanks Ted...  that was a great post.  You are dead on about "living the music".  I've been in those session where everyone was "in it".  It seems magical.  And the end result comes out magical as well.

wwittman

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2005, 09:04:22 pm »

Albini says he thinks producers are useless if not harmful and he "wishes" they'd just go away.

Needless to say , this is not my point of view, but a cool indie pose, nonetheless.

A good producer does what the band/artiste needs.
If the band needs something you can't offer, you locate and hire the person that fills that gap.

So I might engineer, I might not. I might co-write, or not. I might sing or play on the record, I might arrange, or not.

At the very least, I am going to be the one who keeps the big picture in mind and who says "that's the one" or "I think you can get that better".

Ultimately it's about getting into the artiste's head and helping to facilitate the artiste's vision.
And having been on both sides of the glass, I think it's an enourmous help to have someone you trust in your corner.
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William Wittman
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electrical

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2005, 09:44:25 pm »

Gary Flanigan wrote on Thu, 06 January 2005 14:38

I seem to recall Mr. Albini saying somewhere that he expects the bands he records to pretty much have their thing together when they come to the studio, and not expect him to remake their performance.


While it is a good idea for a band to have its shit together, I have been to too many rodeos to "expect" it. What the band can expect is to be allowed pretty free reign regarding what they want to do in the studio. If they want to play a song in pieces and edit it together, then that's what we do.

Quote:

In any event, my understanding of his approach is that he tries to document the sound of the bands he is recording.

I have never used the term "document," but other people do when talking about the records I work on. Perhaps they cannot understand the great expanse of territory between a passive presser-of-the-record-button and a typical producer.

I have been asked to make productions of any conceivable level of complexity, and I do it gladly. I am asked to do it by the band, rather than someone outside the band imposing these choices on the band, and that is all the difference in the world.

Quote:

Daniel Lanois he is not.

I bet we are both glad that isn't true. Him for bank balance, me for peace of mind.

Quote:

Obviously I do not speak for him, and he is quite capable of doing that himself.

Hey! You're right.
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electrical

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2005, 09:52:36 pm »

wwittman wrote on Fri, 07 January 2005 21:04

...a cool indie pose...

What you call a pose is the demarcation between respecting the sovereignty of a band as an artistic and social unit and usurping authority over them. You may think this is a benign dictatorship, even a benevolent one, but I object to the power structure and all it implies, regardless of the producer's intentions.

Pose, my dick.

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steve albini
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(not Cyndi Lauper, not Joan Osborne, not The Fixx, not The Outfield, not Hooters...)
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Curve Dominant

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2005, 02:58:49 am »

Quote:

posted by

RMoore

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2005, 09:13:01 am »

My approach is:

A) Go in search of the song
B) Whatever it takes
C) Identify what 'works' and what doesn't
D) Keep learning new ideas
E) Know when its good as can be under the circumstances & to move on, not being an 'antf?cker'
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People's Republic of Ryan

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2005, 07:22:01 am »

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Ozzy

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2005, 08:16:53 am »

Poyser

You read like a very arrogant individual.
You seem so superior. This may be unintentional and due to misplaced humour.

I met Albini once at Abbey Road, I think we even played pool, if my memory serves me. For the record he was working with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, even you must have heard of those two.

He seemed like a pretty affable bloke, extremely committed and professional. He's not afraid to speak his mind and has ideas about work, some that I agree with and some I disagree with.

You don't seem to have any ideas I'm afraid! Only silly anecdotes

Out of interest tell us about your body of work, It will help me to put a perspective on your posts.

As Robert Burns said:

"Oh the gift, the gift to give us, is to see ourselves as others see us"

With all due respect.
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lucey

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2005, 10:53:08 am »

oh let's not go into dick measuring or macho competition or ego .... this thread is about producing


steve and peter are both valued here
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Brian Lucey
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ted nightshade

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2005, 12:15:06 pm »

lucey wrote on Sun, 09 January 2005 07:53

 
steve and peter are both valued here


Yes they are!
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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PP

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2005, 04:58:51 pm »

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ted nightshade

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2005, 05:18:29 pm »

It's also possible, Peter, that some folks might not read your entire post, as they can be rather long, and so might miss the context and the overall picture. Could lead to confusion!

But you make good points- I read most of them!
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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PP

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2005, 06:48:30 pm »

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t(h)ik

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2005, 08:35:38 pm »

Brough...

Perspective from under the sewer grate...

Your fellow Brit called you out on that one man...

Nice back peddling but you stepped on it...

I love ya...but admit it you got a little bit upity just like a Brit....lol...

The hole artist comment er, artist hole thing...er...

carry on...



Thank you so much for making me laugh til it hurt....

from the first fukken line...

til well about the middle of your back-peddling...<g>

Sad about the whole relationship with others and who ya know and all that, I still love ya even though your a famous freak or sumtin'....

Lemme nough

TIKK

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wwittman

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2005, 08:40:13 pm »

re: "(not Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Hooters, ...)

see?
pose.
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William Wittman
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RMoore

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2005, 09:34:32 pm »

I always liked 'Time after Time' ..classic tune.
Even though I generally work in 'underground' indie genres..
I even saw Miles Davis play a version live in '84 or so..
Thats got to be pretty friggin cool having MD cover your tune.
(he played one ghastly trainwreck of a note..crowd cringes collectively in horror , he gives a little wiggle like 'ooh, that hurt' - the crowd erupts in wild cheers...what a guy!)
Hooters - no idea except I ate in a Hooters somewhere in the Carolinas once..
Thnx to everyone for sharing thier thoughts here though I must admit I fast forwarded through the P.P. prose...sorry P-man..I've got a MTV generation attention span,
Respect to one and all,
RM
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People's Republic of Ryan

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Curve Dominant

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2005, 02:43:02 am »

Albini has demonstrated a real lack of talent here.

Stomping all over threads about production, on forums about production, with such utter disregard for any consideration of various viewpoints, demonstrates a pathetic insecurity at best.

So you don't like to venture into production. FIne, go do your thing then.

I don't understand the need to kick sand in the faces of those who have the courage to help developing artists.

Self-serving audio engineers do not get a pass when it comes to evolving the art. Let the artists make that call.

When you run out of Quantegy tape, and you thus retire, we will still be helping artists.

For some of us, it's all about the music.

RMoore

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2005, 07:17:22 am »

Does anyone consider that seeing as Steve Albini has been involved with the making of 100's of albums, including discs by 'name' artists like Nirvana, The Zep guys, PJ Harvey, The Pixies etc etc that he may possibly know a thing or two about record 'production'..?

FWIW - I find his posts here often operate similarly to say a good professor in school who challenges his or her students' opinions and poses thoughts /statements so that others are forced to voyage outside their 'safety' zone and really re-examine their belief systems, opinions  & <think> hard about why it is they do the things they do..So even if you don't agree with his style, at least people are , probably, thinking hard about why that might be & thats a good thing..

When someone is thinking 'outside the box', instead of making me feel threatened or annoyed, I appreciate the exposure to a <completely> different way of thinking of things..
If everyone here did things the same way & agreed on everything that'd be a bore.

FWIW 2 - the projects I'm working on at the moment involve 2 vocalists (one former 'Grammy' award winner - still having to work hard to put food on the table for his kids while being owed 20 years of 'significant' back royalties by a certain Major label) who breeze into the studio Sinatra style, lay down some parts and cruise off..leaving me to 'produce' their records totally, coordinate the musical tracks, musicians, edit & comp their vocal performances, decide the running order, titles, artwork etc..given the artists' schedules & lifestyles, there's no way they can or even want to be present in the studio while all this other work is going on..
so they will hear the finished record later on & are OK with that..
I'm not saying this is 'the way' to make records - but this is what has to be done in order to make these particular  records happen..

I like how Steve is challenging the oft held notion of the 'producer' as the 'star' of the show / some all-knowing svengali figure imposing their own 'vision' and who thinks they know better than the artist how to mold, shape and interpret the ideas (even though that may actually be the case in some instances)..

Rock it!

RM
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People's Republic of Ryan

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Ozzy

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2005, 07:42:37 am »

I'ii go along with that Ryan.

And Poyser, it's the laboured pontificating that gets me (the spacing is also pretty annoying). For the record I'm Scottish and not English like you assumed, the Robert Burns quote was the clue.

Regards
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ted nightshade

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2005, 11:31:25 am »

Peter- keep on being Peter! With my blessing! And yes, those other too-long posts are too-long too. And sometimes lack jokes, and obscure-but-relevant historical references!

Steve, keep on being Steve. I can see why Steve is so scathing in some of his expressions- almost all records made today are ruined by bad production, whether intentionally, or by some ghastly one-size-fits-all default. Of the thousands of artists served, most are served very poorly and don't have a chance to learn much during the recording process. Way, way too often, people who are not nearly as invested in the music as the artists make crucial decisions that make the record sound way too much like everybody else's record.

Steve is deeply committed to his values, and is holding course in an increasingly desperate and frantically pandering industry. Go Steve. May we all hold fast to our own values this way, whatever they should turn out to be.
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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ExpresswayToYrSkull

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2005, 02:08:11 pm »

anyone bashing Steve just can't handle the fact that their job is a joke to someone. Steve's ethic of recording is the kind every engineer should have... you are employed by a band its not your duty to re-arange their songs. In the couple "pro" studio sessions I've been in the "producer/engineer" has done more than butcher my material and I felt raped.

This is why I bought a 16 track and just record my band myself nowadays. If i had some cash I'd love to get the chance to record with Steve someday. He might be the only person I'd want to record with at this point
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2005, 04:20:06 pm »

There are more than enough out and out bad "name" producers to go around. But that doesn't mean there aren't the good ones who can challenge an artist into exceeding their expectations of themselves. I think everyone would agree that no producer is better than a bad producer but there really is such a thing as a great producer.

electrical

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2005, 04:22:02 pm »

wwittman wrote on Sun, 09 January 2005 20:40

re: "(not Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Hooters, ...)

see?
pose.

That little sig line (yours and my negated one) is an example of what I've been talking about all along.

Producers gain their value from the artists they work with. They recognize this explicitly by mentioning artists in their signature lines. This is, in a sense, an admission of my point: That producers are nothing without people of substance to wage their producing on.

There is an attitude among "take me seriously, I'm a Producer" types that the only good records are popular ones. Thats why producers cite their most known clients at every juncture.

These standards and the notion of fame-by-association don't exist in the underground/independent world where I spend my time, where results matter much more than image. I think the points I was making are apparent; that credits are neither impressive nor material to the discussion, and it's a little creepy being reminded that we are supposed to care about them, no matter how dated, style-bound or genre-specific. They are immaterial.

I'm sorry, a little, if it offends anyone that I noticed these credits and chose to make my point with them. I remind those offended people that those credits and their associations were put there to be noticed, and I don't apologize for noticing them and making my own associations.
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steve albini
Electrical Audio
sa at electrical dot com
www.electrical.com

electrical

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2005, 05:06:41 pm »

Eric Vincent wrote on Mon, 10 January 2005 02:43

For some of us, it's all about the music.

And godspeed!

For some of us it's about doing the right thing by the people who employ us. Everyone draws the distinction in different places, and I can't be made to feel bad about where my sympathies lie.
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steve albini
Electrical Audio
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lucey

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2005, 05:54:07 pm »

electrical wrote on Mon, 10 January 2005 17:06

Eric Vincent wrote on Mon, 10 January 2005 02:43

For some of us, it's all about the music.

And godspeed!

For some of us it's about doing the right thing by the people who employ us. Everyone draws the distinction in different places, and I can't be made to feel bad about where my sympathies lie.



nor should you!

Quote:


There is an attitude among "take me seriously, I'm a Producer" types that the only good records are popular ones. Thats why producers cite their most known clients at every juncture.



I agree 100% that popularity is not the point of music, nor should it be the calling card of a Producer ... yet i feel like your view of Producers is outdated.   Most Producers I know of are working to help, and being asked to join the creative process to the benefit of music in the view of the artist.  

Is a mutual relationship possible, or is it always a conflict? How can individuals in a band work together in harmony, yet a band and a guy called "producer" cannot work in harmony?

Seems to me that as time passes the relationships are getting better between producers and bands, not worse, so why the fuss?  Those "take me seriously" types are jokers ... screw em, forget about 'em ... they're irrelevant to the real work of music making.  Everone knows that, and if they don't, they're not worth it.

Quote:


These standards and the notion of fame-by-association don't exist in the underground/independent world where I spend my time, where results matter much more than image.


Well, "results" by some measure matter to everyone.  For some people "image" is a result, but again I say fewer and fewer as music is just too hard to keep up for the "image" anymore.  And in this sense, the state of the industry today is a good thing, as it weeds out those who don't really need to make music.


Meanwhile, the underground/independent artists have become just as cliquish as anyone, have they not?  The 80s/early 90's are long gone.  And the commercial work of bands you engineered, in many cases, were responsible for morphing the last days of the 80s underground into a new thing that culturally, can never be regained.  

Pop punk is now a genre.  Alternative labels are mostly gobbled up, save the few with integrity and passion.  Truly alternative musicians with no commercial sensibilities are VERY few and VERY far between. The late 80's/early 90's are over.

And "Steve Albini" is still a name on a level of Producer clout, a name that makes a good image for some independent bands in their circles ... no offense to your talents, but why do you think some of them come to you?  You're a producer-level player, without the title or the same intentions as a producer, yet similar in the eyes of some artists, and the public.


The whole thrust of your disdain is wise and I resonate with much of the independent music and pro-artist mantras, yet in the end it seems outdated, and also seems ironically self-loathing due to your particular place in the history of making underground music into a pop culture genre.

No offense, and not trying to play shrink ... just looking at the argument and your place in it.
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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2005, 09:17:33 pm »

Quote:

posted by electrical:
There is an attitude among "take me seriously, I'm a Producer" types that the only good records are popular ones. Thats why producers cite their most known clients at every juncture.

These standards and the notion of fame-by-association don't exist in the underground/independent world where I spend my time, where results matter much more than image.



AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

So, THAT'S what this is all about.

I get it now!

The "produced" recordings are popular = uncool.

The unproduced recordings don't sell = cool.

Finally, Steve, I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from with your little "anti-producer" campaign.

Which is good, because now I can stop wasting time with these interminably tedious debates, and go back to making music.

Music which will remain "cool" so long as it doesn't sell, but which will become "uncool" as soon as it becomes popular.

Or something to that effect.

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2005, 12:19:15 am »

Eric Vincent wrote on Mon, 10 January 2005 21:17



I get it now!

The "produced" recordings are popular = uncool.

The unproduced recordings don't sell = cool.

Finally, Steve, I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from with your little "anti-producer" campaign.

Which is good, because now I can stop wasting time with these interminably tedious debates, and go back to making music.

Music which will remain "cool" so long as it doesn't sell, but which will become "uncool" as soon as it becomes popular.

Or something to that effect.

Your failure to grasp what I say in plain english, and your resort to a convoluted interpretation that you can then dismiss are awe-inspiring. You will go down in the annals of internet messageboard typing as one of the great ones, and I get to say I saw your work first-hand. I bask in the glow.

Unfortunately, once again, what I say is exactly, precisely what I mean. Not a thing more, not a thing less.

Continue to create fantastic interpretations of it if avoiding the substance of our conversation is more important than grasping it, please. Be my guest. But don't pretend that you "get it" when your suggestion of what I "really" mean has no foothold in my thinking at all.

I love it when bands sell records. When good bands sell good records, I love it even more. I certainly don't think any less of them or their records when they sell. But I don't think selling or not selling records matters in the slightest with respect to our responsibilities to the people we work for. Not the tiniest little bit.

Bending over backwards to try to sell records has been the engine of grotesquerie for several decades, and it is a poor justification for producery behavior, because, as I said and you ignored before, nobody really knows how to sell more records. Nobody can do it, or he would do it all the time and have nothing but hits. So it is a leverage gesture with no substance and I think it is gross.

We should do the right thing with absolute disregard of how many people we think might or might not buy the record. I go as far as to avoid any such estimating, because it doesn't matter.

Re-interpret my thoughts in order to dismiss them as a caricature if you like, but realize you have not learned anything, and are not genuinely debating to the point.
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Curve Dominant

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2005, 01:25:30 am »

Quote:

posted by electrical:
I don't think selling or not selling records matters in the slightest with respect to our responsibilities to the people we work for. Not the tiniest little bit.


Really? Huh! Well, Steve, we will simply have to agree to disagree on that little aspect of the debate. Because many people who record would like to be known, have their recordings heard, and the best way for that to happen, is to make recordings of them that people would want to buy. Go figure! But hey, who am I to argue with them? They know their music, and if they hire a producer to help them make that happen, then THAT is OUR responsibility. You may shirk that responsibility, but that doesn't make it go away.

Quote:

Bending over backwards to try to sell records has been the engine of grotesquerie for several decades, and it is a poor justification for producery behavior, because, as I said and you ignored before, nobody really knows how to sell more records. Nobody can do it, or he would do it all the time and have nothing but hits. So it is a leverage gesture with no substance and I think it is gross.


Oh, please, you sound like a nun. Will you please read that and see how self-righteously boring a pose it is?? Were you born in the middle ages? "Producery behavior"??? Look here, mate: Once you plug an amp into a wall, all bets are off. There is no purity in Rock & Roll. THAT'S THE POINT OF ROCK & ROLL.

Quote:

We should do the right thing with absolute disregard of how many people we think might or might not buy the record. I go as far as to avoid any such estimating, because it doesn't matter.


See above, same response.

Quote:

Re-interpret my thoughts in order to dismiss them as a caricature if you like, but realize you have not learned anything, and are not genuinely debating to the point.


WHOAH! Back up a second there, good brother. I have not re-interpreted anything. The caricature painted is one of your own making. YOU are the one who has stomped all over these "production" threads, airing your dirty laundry disguised as self-righteous indignation over a profession which you do not understand. And yes, I have learned PLENTY from these debates with you. I actually come away with a new-found appreciation of my role as a producer. And, yes, I AM "genuinely debating to the point," otherwise you would not have responded at all.

The frequency and amplitude of your posts on this subject, combined with your utter lack of humor, subjectivity and close-mindedness, speaks volumes in regards to the "learning" aspect of this debate, so please do not lecture me in that regard.

I built my own studio precisely because of the exact same bullheadedness I encountered in audio engineers like you, Steve, in "pro" studios I worked in when I was just a stoopid musician.

That's ironic, isn't it? You think producers are a part of the problem.

I became a producer, because I came to believe that (most, not all) audio engineers were a part of the problem. Your presence on these forums has done nothing if not re-enforced that decision. Congratulations.

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2005, 08:57:19 am »

<Look here, mate: Once you plug an amp into a wall, all bets are off. There is no purity in Rock & Roll. THAT'S THE POINT OF ROCK & ROLL.>

If I may chime in here & say as an outside observer it does perhaps seem as if you indeed may be misinterpreting what Steve is saying..and filling that in with your own past frustrations with studio engineers..or something..
Its like you are taking Steve's comments about producers maybe a little too personally..

FWIW - reminding someone like Steve Albini on what the score is with rock & roll is a little.. odd.. - perhaps you may want to run a google search & check out some of Steve's discography..

The net is the great 'equalizer' but I humbly suggest a little humility goes a long way at times...

Lets increase the peace folks!!

Have a good one,

RM
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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2005, 09:29:26 am »

Maybe its an opportune moment for a little time out here & what better time out could there be than Steve Albini's homemade mayonnaise recipe!:



"Here is a recipe anyone can use to make a wonderful Sauce Mayonnaise:

  Into a stationary blender, crack one egg. Add an extra egg yolk, one garlic clove,    a strong quarter teaspoon of cayenne (or a teaspoon of white pepper ground very    fine) and either a slight teaspoon of salt or a tablespoon of Tamari soy sauce.    Blend at high speed until the garlic is finely divided and the egg begins to froth.    With the blender still running, trickle in good olive oil until the mayonnaise    thickens and will accept no more oil. (this will vary, but will usually be about    a cup.) Stop the blender and add a tablespoon of good vinegar OR the juice of    half a lemon. Fold the mayonnaise once or twice with a spatula, which will loosen    it considerably. Pulse the blender until the thick consistency returns. Taste    If the mayonnaise tastes oily, add more acid (vinegar or lemon juice only. Never    combine the two, as this makes for a weird bilious aftertaste). Chill covered    for at least 15 minutes. I often add a tablespoon of fresh or dried dill or thyme    at the beginning of the process. Don't add the acid at the beginning, as this    can prevent the eggs from emulsifying. "
Steve Albini


Maybe we all can't agree on record production - but at least surely we can on something less controversial like tasty mayo...

or else there really is no hope for the World..

Bon Appetit!

RM



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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2005, 10:07:41 am »

You know, just because someone feels that using a particular type of paint diminishes the art doesn't make them right. Nor does it make them wrong. Seems strange that Steve openly shares his viewpoint of what bands need or don't need and is attacked for an opinion. Why is that?

Personally, I've seen plenty of occasions where bands were helped by having a producer. I've also seen many occasions where they were hindered by it.

Also, throwing out someone's credentials on basis that it's 'star worship' seems kinda silly. When I was growing up, we looked to the people who had real-world experience for guidance. I think Steve qualifies as an elder here (not by age, Steve, but by experience). If we would stop worrying about losing an argument and pay attention, we might all learn something from those who have so much experience, whether we agree with everything they say or not...

My (unrequested) .02
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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2005, 11:20:40 am »

Eric Vincent wrote on Tue, 11 January 2005 01:25

The frequency and amplitude of your posts on this subject, combined with your utter lack of humor . . .


That's odd.  I think Steve's posts are often funny as hell.

You obviously don't agree with him, and that's fine, but his point stands -- in this thread, you aren't really playing fair.

More often than not, it seems Steve gets folks riled up not only because his point of view is so "extreme", but because it's so well-defended.  I'd actually go so far as to say that it's pretty much an exercise in futility to argue with him, because he isn't going to change his mind.  (This isn't to say he's not open-minded, but rather just extraordinarily staunch in his convictions.)

Personally, I don't agree that the role of a "producer" is as loathesome as Steve makes it out to be, mostly because I think it's perfectly reasonable for an artist to hire a producer for the express purpose of contributing to and/or shaping the artist's art (among other things), and that this is quite often the norm.  If a "producer" intrudes on the art, in effect bullying or deceiving the artist, then of course that's an unacceptable situation.  I just don't think it happens all that often these days, at least with artists of any conviction.  What happens with artists of little conviction is another debate, I suppose.  If they hire a producer to "get them heard", and in effect supply that conviction, then what's the beef?

jim andrews
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ted nightshade

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2005, 11:33:43 am »

I've never had mayonaisse that I liked, but Steve's recipe looks quite palatable. I'll have to try that!

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2005, 12:05:02 pm »

Have not read this all...my has it grown. It will be fun reading.

Here is a typical situation. I am reminiscing from July 94 (happened to run into some dat archives of a production that is dear to me)

We had a meeting of the entire staff and management at lunch in a decent restaurant in private seating and we divided up into 4 groups. Track artists, vocal artists with the lead vocalist, studio staff and security, and going over the sheet music with everyone and day by day schedule of what we hoped to accomplish in the alloted time of 3 weeks.

Skipping ahead, this meeting cut the time down to one week and we were done with all recording and production. The meeting took 7 hours.

Facts we went over was who is to be where and when. Scheduling. Who needed what. (catering, breaks, commodities, who smoked and needed to take 5 more often (being 25 floors up, take 20 is more like it)and equipment that we needed or special requests and the exchange of phone numbers, gift cards or whatever.

How we were to approach a full scale session with 23 people laying tracks.

This all made the session run smooth. My job was "session director, vocal productionist, recording engineer"

So..I can go on and on about details but the most important thing is to get and have your shit together and be ready to work. This can be fun work or a "mixerman
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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2005, 12:09:55 pm »

Maybe I'm a bit dim, or just too green.

Eric's first post on this thread about what he recently did for an artist was printed and is on my wall right now. It's a great list of what I think many of us find ourselves doing with 'artists' who haven't figured out who they are but want to make a CD. I'm leaving it on the wall as a subtle reminder to my clents of what and how much they're really paying for. And I don't consider myself to be a producer, but sometimes its a role that must be played because the client hasn't realized the need for one.

For all that, I haven't seen anything in Steve's posts that I can take issue with.

Seem's to me the role of producer or engineer varies so much with the available talent and what potential they see in it that all of the statements made are valid at some time or another. And neither of them has to take any particular gig. Right?

k

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2005, 12:15:10 pm »

Eggs or philosophy about producers....

It's a question on how hard the whippin' gonna be...

Laughing

I think Steve's points were constructive and learned, and were not provocative but informative...

His mentoring goes a long way....

Lemme nough...

TIKK
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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2005, 10:39:49 am »

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Ozzy

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Re: Your approach to producing....
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2005, 01:03:19 pm »

Please don't jump to conclusions.

I've lived in London now for 23 years and I have many English friends. I was merely pointing out to you that I was Scottish not English as you originally implied. I was merely using that as an example of you making a judgement, the very thing you were accusing me of.

For the record I'm not anti-English, racist and I don't have a chip on the shoulder about being Scottish. I only said "I'm Scottish".

There are lots of things in your post I could react to but I wont.

I'm proud to be Scottish, probably in much the same way as you are proud to be English.

You were right about the fact that I thought you were slagging off Steve, you say you weren't, I accept that. I'm sorry but your post really didn't make that clear.

I do apoligise for upsetting you. So lets both move on.
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