Archive for November, 2010

General musing and ramblings from Nitten

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Well I got nothing better to do, and seeing it’s been a while since i last wrote a blog, i figured i might as well write one.

This blog have no subject, but hopefully will touch a few notes you might take with you. I’m basically just going to write about what ever studio related topics that jumps into my head, it might become a bit confusing although i will try to keep some structure in my writing.

Talent and skill

A question i been asked a million times about my dream of becoming a pro audio engineer is: “Aren’t you afraid you aren’t talented enough?”

My answer is: “No because i know i can become skilled enough.”

For this to make any sense, you need to know that i see talent as a ability to learn certain things quickly and easy (i.e. if you are talented at playing the guitar, then you aren’t going to have a hard time learning to play a guitar, as opposed to somebody, who aren’t talented). I see skill as the actual ability to do something (i.e. a skilled guitar player knows how to play the guitar).

My point is that no matter how hard it might be, you can learn, and if you really want to learn, you will. Dedication is the name of the game, if you are really dedicated, talent won’t matter and skill will come.

However i noticed that people often are dedicated in fields, where they are talented, maybe it’s nature maybe talent (by my definition at least) is somehow tied to dedication. The good thing is that we all got the potential to become truly skilled.

Of course i know that i’m not guaranteed to become a pro, first of you need to be somewhat lucky, it’s not exactly a big open industry, then there are connections, networks and all sorts of things, not related to audio engineering, that play a part, and of course the old proverb probably holds true: “There is always someone better out there.” I’m not scared that i might not succeed, i want to give it a chance, and as long i know i did what i could, i’m happy with it not happening.

My point is that we all been in a place where we think: “Do i got what i takes?” next time you ask your self this, answer: “Maybe not, but i can get it!” and never be afraid to fail, only chance you regrets is the once you didn’t take.

The Producer

Especial in hiphop, there seems to be some confusing on what a producer is, so i’m going to help you understand. I’m not going to go into to much detail here, just enough for you to understand.

The beatmaker.

The beatmaker is a person who makes beats and knows the difference between this and being a producer.

The producah.

The producah is a person who makes beats and thinks it’s producing, and usually the laughing stock for people who understand the difference.

The producer.

The producer runs the sessions, all practicalities are handled by him or approved by him. However he got another job to, he is the creative supervisor of the project, so to speak, while musicians have some idea of continuity, sound and concept of a project the producers job is make it work, s/he’s the wall the musicians bounce their creative ideas of, so to speak.

How to be your own producer

This section is for musicians with home studios.

Let’s face it, being your own producer is not ideal, far from it. However a (real) producer cost money and home studio projects generally don’t have the budget for a producer, if you got, get one. Just like using mixing engineers and masterings engineers are more ideal then DIY, so is the case with producers.

There are some people aspiring to become professional producers, and they might be willing to work for more affordable rates, some even free. Beware though, unless they got a grip on the producers job, they might hurt more then help. Of course chances are you won’t find the next George Henry Martin here (and if you do, sell the house and hire him permanently), but there are a few out there, that are worth the money.

Assuming you on a zero budget (meaning you got no money to hire outside help) you are going to act as you own producer. This require at the very least two different quality, self-discipline and self-honesty. First off, even though you don’t have to book your studio or engineers or anything, you are going to plan a schedule for the project (and stick to it), if you are in a group of some sort, you also need to make sure everybody knows when to show up, when to record what and the deadline. Of course chances are delays and hang-ups are going to happen, and you will need to deal with them, perhaps the schedule have to be reworked, but you can’t let every little problem push the project back, you need to be able to guide the session with authority (especially if you are in band).

As you probably figured out, being your own “wall to bounce creative ideas of” is extremely hard, basically you need to be totally honest with yourself, it might not seem that hard, but it is. A trend i seen with many musicians is that they either very critical or not at all critical of their own work. That’s not going to work, if you are your own producer you need to identify pros and cons of every little bit of project (and every little bit got both). As you might figured out, the producer provides a second perspective on these thing, that’s one thing you can’t do very well. Here it’s nice to be in a group or at least discuss ideas with other musicians, as they can provide another perspective. This is not the same perspective as a producer, if you are discussing ideas with the rest of the group, beware that they got the same viewpoint as you, being a musician in the project. On top of that, they probably like somewhat the same things you do, after all you play the same music. Outsiders on the other hand have no interest or insight in the project, this means some of their suggestion might not help the project, if it collied with the concept or idea of the project for example.

That’s all from me this time, hope it’s been a, at least somewhat, useful read.

A little trivia

George Henry Martin produced all but one of the Beatles albums, and wasn’t very optimistic when he first signed them.