-   Q+A with producer/musician Gordon Raphael (
-   -   How would you get started in 2020? (

dannymcguire 1st December 2020 03:16 PM

How would you get started in 2020?
Hey Gordon,

Thanks for doing this - learned loads so far and was v cool to read about your NYC experiences.

My question is a bit more business/life related too - assuming you had the relevant skills, what would your approach be to begin doing this for a living if you were starting afresh in 2020?


Gordotronic 3rd December 2020 02:01 AM

It would be the same path as me, but transposed into the present moment.
The first question (I asked myself), "What do you want to do?". I wanted to play synthesizers, Fender Rhodes, grand piano, Mellotrons and Hammond organs, learn to play distorted echoplexed guitars, sing and write songs. I also wanted to perform onstage and travel. Soon I felt a need to learn how to record and produce, as I though the only way I'd really get to hear my own songs was if I learned how to stack different parts on top of each other to develop my sounds and build my own types of orchestration.

2 decades later, people started asking me to record and produce their music-- which was something I never wanted, nor dreamed of doing. BUT, I found it to be enjoyable and helped me pay bills and rent in NYC when I needed it most. Why am I telling you all this? Because identifying which aspect of music, or sound that you want to be involved in is a huge first step.

Lets say you want to be a producer or engineer. Then the second most valuable question becomes.. "What do I want to be in studios listening to and recording for potentially LONG hours and MANY days in a row. Is it rap? classical, jazz, rock and roll, experimental art music? Imaging hearing music you didn't like for 10 hours a day for a month? YIKES== instant insanity.

Then I would immerse myself in the type of sound and scene I wanted to come up though, or get involved with. If I was a composer i'd try to write and record my own music in the genre, or with the sounds that I'm in love with. I'd also be listening day and night to inspiring artists that do music I love and trying to understand and discern what I was actually hearing.

If I had access to a studio or even some equipment in my apartment or basement: I would meet young bands or musicians and tell them to come over to my place for some cheap demos.. Used to go to clubs to meet these, but now we can hear stuff all over the world with internet. Building relationships, and making cool sounding recordings with artists is a fabulous way to spread your name around and build up a clientele. Having tons of imagination, some personality traits that range from tolerable to "fun to be around" certainly helps. Having some self made recordings to show people who might be interested - is very valuable. Im my case I had a thousand different songs/recording/noises to pick from when I wanted to show my first potential client what I was capable of! Interestingly I became a much better, more competent engineer after I worked recording other artists.

If I already had skills in recording or producing-- but no gear, I would find basements or studios that did have cool gear or usable gear, and make arrangements to bring people there who would then pay the studio and possibly me --just to get the momentum building.

I hope that somehow helps!

dannymcguire 3rd December 2020 12:19 PM

Thanks so much Gordon! Really appreciate that

Gordotronic 3rd December 2020 01:21 PM

Glad u liked it!

Jules 3rd December 2020 03:05 PM

We want the book!
We want the book!