There is a very fine line between producing music and just recording it, a line which is pretty blurred most of the time. Although this is not a Producers job description (that would be an endless list), it’s what I can offer you in the studio…
1. To Take Responsibility For The Outcome Of The Recording
This means that I’ll use my experience to judge every aspect of the music, and if I’m not happy, then I will not consider it complete. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But I believe this is the main benefit of involving a producer; someone who can set a standard and maintain it. Problems can arise when too many people are making important decisions, or the decisions are left to somebody who doesn’t have the experience to make them, and therefore the set standard and artistic direction get lost along the way.
I would suggest that 90% of all problems encountered in the studio can be avoided or reduced if they are spotted before recording starts. Pre-production usually involves the producer attending band rehearsals well ahead of any recording, to work on song arrangements, potential recording methods, and discuss aims for the project. It’s also a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.
Once you have your aim, artistic or otherwise, you then need someone to help you focus on it throughout the process. One too many cups of coffee and suddenly you’re redesigning the current song based on an idea you had last Wednesday…and wasting valuable studio time.
4. Sonic Skills
…or an ear for detail. Your perception of tuning and timing can improve gradually over time, particularly if you spend the majority of your life in recording studios. Some people may be born with golden ears, but for most of us it’s an acquired skill learnt over years of listening.
A fresh opinion. Has the middle eight of your best song always been lacking something? Sometimes it takes a non-band member to hear these details, as you can easily become too familiar with your own material. Objectivity is also essential when judging performances, giving musicians feedback without putting pressure on them to critique their own work.
6. An Opinion
I believe that having an opinion is a good thing when recording, as it can help to eliminate endless possibilities or can inspire new ideas. Does this mean the producer is always right? Only when their name begins with a J…
By the time you encounter a problem during recording it’s often too late – you’ve got to re-do some of the work you’ve already done, which can often be very time consuming. Common problems that arise during recording sessions can usually be avoided if your producer has enough experience to spot them early on, which can prevent a lot of time being wasted.
8. A Musical Relationship
Play me music that inspires you, or music that turns you off. Either way, I’ll already have a much better idea of your tastes than I did five minutes ago. This is invaluable when you’re trying to convey ideas about the sound or style of your music. Sometimes, hearing just one reference track can enable me to ‘join the dots’ and understand how you hear yourselves.
Lets face it, how many musicians do you know that turn up on time?! But seriously, making the best of the time available is crucial to meet budgets etc. In my experience, most recordings suffer to some degree because time is not allocated appropriately to the tasks that need to be completed.
I believe that everybody can benefit from working with a producer, and that having a producer involved in your project is not simply for the ‘top end’ of the music industry. Indeed, working with an experienced producer at an early stage in your career can often be more beneficial. Obviously, you need to be realistic about what can be achieved if you are a developing artist, but the sooner you can start acquiring studio skills the closer you’ll be to achieving your musical goals.
If you think you might be interested in hiring a producer then please email Jamie at email@example.com