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When is the time that you step in and record a bands part when producing?
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #61
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DeathMonkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Representing the bottom of the ladder, I work with a lot of bands who have far more ambition than skill. If I'm producing a band, we don't book the studio time until we've hammered all this out in pre-production. If there's a part someone can't play consistently enough, we change the part. There is nothing so musically precious that you cannot restate it effectively emotionally - there is nothing you can achieve musically with a crappily played part that cannot be surpassed with a simpler part played well.

Part of what clients at my specific lower level are looking for is a bit of ass kicking to get to the next level, a bit of the rock and roll boot camp. My role is almost more important in pre-production than in the studio.

I understand if you're working with a situation like Aerosmith in the late 70's, and your entire band is on teh dope, and you have to get a record done. Life is strange, and sh*t happens.

The only time I've played on a client's record is when they've asked me to as a credited guest performer. Other than that, I will do what it takes to make the performance work. If that means recording note by note, or chord by chord, or slowing the song down, I'll try it, whatever it takes.

Even if I'm just engineering on a supertight budget, I will try to find a way to make it work. Throw a phaser or massive delay on it, lol. Make it a "thing" in some other way. I think there's enough editing magic in the box that you can do some mighty turd polishing. heh But usually I ask the player what they are trying to accomplish, and then we find a way to do the same emotional thing with a part that they can play.

The one caveat to this is that if one guitarist is clearly better than the other, I will have them do as many of the basic tracks as I can get away with.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #62
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➡️
I've worked with plenty of famous professionals who have confidence problems. My allegiance is to the band members first, labels second. And the "amateur" you fire one year could very well be the "pro" musician or a&r who doesn't hire you the next year. The arrogance may bite yer ass.


Best- Brad
it's not arrogance!! It's doing me job ! Not bitten my ass in twenty years so I'd be surprised if it happened!!

I've sat in studios and worked a string section all day without the right results. I've then asked the fixer to replace certain players. It's just work.... people still get paid.

As for bands - I've had session drummers come in on dozens of projects to play where the "band" drummer can't quite cut it. If it's okay for Ringo....... It's just how it goes... egos in bands ? Pointless. Won't work with them...... Had it happen a couple of times.... walk from the session...... life's too short for egos when you're being paid to make a product.....The times it HAS happened it is, of course, done tactfully! I've not had complaints yet....

Amateur? I've not fired an amateur (surely an oxymoron)..... I've not even worked with one for about 15 years !

What you've gotta remember is that not all bands are "rock n rollers" Sometimes it's a band for a singer (the touring band) and there is a particular thing needed. I played bass for four years for an extremely well known 90's pop band in the UK. In that time, I had my parts replaced on several occasions without being asked or even told. The keyboard player let me know! My part wasn't right, the producer wanted it changed - I wasn't there, or had the wrong touch.

On other occasions I was called into records to lay down (usually slap parts) on records because the bass player "in situe" couldn't do it. The parts would be sequenced live anyway (as sooo many acts were in the 90s).... and many of the acts didn't play live anyhoo.

Now I'm behind the financial buttons on much product, i find myself with the same bottom line decision making that those producing records I played on 15 years ago did. Whatever it takes gets done. NOW - I agree - if it's a blistering garage rock act (my particular fave thing to do ) of COURSE one doesn't play he parts or get other people in. The way that kind of act plays is part of it. But, for example - this month I've been working with an electro-pop outfit. They have a bassplayer. I've played half the parts myself.... he was happy for it, it was MY decision, and job is done. They also have a live drummer who I chose NOT to use in the studio - because he was too "sessiony"..... needed a more groovey vibe. Got a different guy in.

It happens. It's very common. It's not always with players knowledge. At he end of the day - I'm given a budget to make a record. It'd be pretty irresponsible of me not to deliver what I said I could, on time and on budget. Side with the band? To a degree. Side with the label? To a degree. The bottom line - who's paying?
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #63
Lives for gear
 
JQ127's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➡️
it's not arrogance!! It's doing me job ! Not bitten my ass in twenty years so I'd be surprised if it happened!!

I've sat in studios and worked a string section all day without the right results. I've then asked the fixer to replace certain players. It's just work.... people still get paid.

As for bands - I've had session drummers come in on dozens of projects to play where the "band" drummer can't quite cut it. If it's okay for Ringo....... It's just how it goes... egos in bands ? Pointless. Won't work with them...... Had it happen a couple of times.... walk from the session...... life's too short for egos when you're being paid to make a product.....The times it HAS happened it is, of course, done tactfully! I've not had complaints yet....

Amateur? I've not fired an amateur (surely an oxymoron)..... I've not even worked with one for about 15 years !

What you've gotta remember is that not all bands are "rock n rollers" Sometimes it's a band for a singer (the touring band) and there is a particular thing needed. I played bass for four years for an extremely well known 90's pop band in the UK. In that time, I had my parts replaced on several occasions without being asked or even told. The keyboard player let me know! My part wasn't right, the producer wanted it changed - I wasn't there, or had the wrong touch.

On other occasions I was called into records to lay down (usually slap parts) on records because the bass player "in situe" couldn't do it. The parts would be sequenced live anyway (as sooo many acts were in the 90s).... and many of the acts didn't play live anyhoo.

Now I'm behind the financial buttons on much product, i find myself with the same bottom line decision making that those producing records I played on 15 years ago did. Whatever it takes gets done. NOW - I agree - if it's a blistering garage rock act (my particular fave thing to do ) of COURSE one doesn't play he parts or get other people in. The way that kind of act plays is part of it. But, for example - this month I've been working with an electro-pop outfit. They have a bassplayer. I've played half the parts myself.... he was happy for it, it was MY decision, and job is done. They also have a live drummer who I chose NOT to use in the studio - because he was too "sessiony"..... needed a more groovey vibe. Got a different guy in.

It happens. It's very common. It's not always with players knowledge. At he end of the day - I'm given a budget to make a record. It'd be pretty irresponsible of me not to deliver what I said I could, on time and on budget. Side with the band? To a degree. Side with the label? To a degree. The bottom line - who's paying?
+1. And I think it's irresponsible as producer and engineer to let a band waste half a day on a 6 second guitar part they will never be able to play. Ya gotta draw the line somewhere. If the album sounds good no one even remembers who played what half the time.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #64
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
*sigh*

musicians have to learn eventually.. I learned in the studio.. poor engineer..
biggest lesson was,
How you sound in the studio, is how you f***'n sound. no excuses

you should record them (don't let them do more than 10mins worth of takes), print that to disc, and send it home w them.. and don't forget to deliver devastating blows to their self-esteem (that is the most important).

Although it is the musician's duty to value self-improvement, most people have babied them deaf. They will thank you the next day after they've practiced their arses off to impress you. Then, you can give them that generous 20mins to rec that solo.

Just don't let them waste your time & vice-versa
or take it to the moan zone

*you shouldn't perform on the album.. that's like doing your kid's book-report*
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #65
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluner ➡️
musicians have to learn eventually.. I learned in the studio.. poor engineer..
biggest lesson was,
How you sound in the studio, is how you f***'n sound. no excuses

you should record them (don't let them do more than 10mins worth of takes), print that to disc, and send it home w them.. and don't forget to deliver devastating blows to their self-esteem (that is the most important).

Although it is the musician's duty to value self-improvement, most people have babied them deaf. They will thank you the next day after they've practiced their arses off to impress you. Then, you can give them that generous 20mins to rec that solo.

Just don't let them waste your time & vice-versa
or take it to the moan zone

*you shouldn't perform on the album.. that's like doing your kid's book-report*

You guys are so full of ****...wasting time unfortunately IS part of making a record...you have to learn how to deal with it properly...and sitting on your high horse isn't the way....some solid prepro (as others have mentioned ) is a good way minimize it...
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #66
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suedesound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would never replace a part without the artist knowing. I'll edit the crap out of it, which I hate doing, or have another member play it. (BTW I only really play drums)

I've been asked on a couple of sessions if I'd play drums instead of their drummer. Both times I told them I charge the same a day to play drums that I do to engineer, and they will have to pay another engineer or assistant to run the session while I play. That shut them both down. These were both demo projects with low budgets, both made their drummer work for the session with decent results. One has stuck with the drummer for over a year since and is doing another album soon (and getting local radio play for their demo). The drummer has gotten much better.

Half or more of the sessions I do I could (technically) play the drum parts better, but what's the fun in that? Plus I'm getting into session drumming as welll as engineering, so playing for free doesn't make sense to me personally.

Long story short (too late) I wouldn't play unless asked, and even then I would bill myself as a session musician. (this is more in the drum department, don't know if it's the same with a short gtr part etc).

If it's something like crazy/background synth parts or percussion or something, that's just the collaborative fun of making a recording and who cares who plays it.

I should mention I mostly engineer, but with no real producer present. If there's a producer it's up to them but still think the band should play their parts.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #67
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
A while back I was watching VH1's Classic Albums episode about Hysteria. One of the Def Leppard guys said, "the purpose of a producer is to make you a better musician." That line really stuck with me because it was so beautiful in its simplicity.

One of the things that keeps me going as a producer is the challenge of working with musicians who haven't reached their full potential and constantly pushing them to get there. When I'm working on one of those projects where we're up to take 68 I just keep my eye on the prize. Also, in the back of my head I'm asking myself what I might have failed to do during preproduction and how I might be able to catch some of those things earlier on next time.

I'm constantly trying to develop techniques to get better performances out of musicians. Here's one I come back to again and again. Let's say the song's at 120 and the guitarist is having trouble playing a part cleanly. I reach for the metronome and dial the tempo back by some ridiculous amount, like maybe to 70 BPM or so. I'll have them play the part over and over again. If it's still sounding sloppy at that tempo, I'll pull the tempo back even further and/or zoom in on what their fingers are doing and try to improve that. Once it's sounding ok, I'll raise it 5 BPM. I won't raise it again until I hear them play the part well 3-4 times in a row. Sometimes I'll need pull it back 5 or 10 BPM again. I'll keep doing this until we work our way back up to 120.

This works wonders for helping clean up a part. but not everything can be cleaned up in one session. If I realize that the performance just isn't going to happen in that session, I'll switch to another song and give the musician a homework assignment to, say, practice the part with a metronome for a week or do such-and-such finger exercises or what have you.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #68
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluner ➡️
musicians have to learn eventually.. I learned in the studio.. poor engineer..
biggest lesson was,
How you sound in the studio, is how you f***'n sound. no excuses

you should record them (don't let them do more than 10mins worth of takes), print that to disc, and send it home w them.. and don't forget to deliver devastating blows to their self-esteem (that is the most important).

Although it is the musician's duty to value self-improvement, most people have babied them deaf. They will thank you the next day after they've practiced their arses off to impress you. Then, you can give them that generous 20mins to rec that solo.

Just don't let them waste your time & vice-versa
or take it to the moan zone

*you shouldn't perform on the album.. that's like doing your kid's book-report*

you're right - you SHOULDN'T. But on occasion if I HADN'T XXX records would be outta pocket another couple of grand to get the damn thing working and it may even have never been finished. Case in point would be a rather well known A&R director for xxxx-yyy record (as they were two years ago). Kept telling em what a great drummer a certain band had. Well - the guy wasn't what he appeared to be on stage. Great stageman, poor balanced player. Hitting the beats in a complicated manner doesn't make you a great drummer. Hitting cymbals with finesse whilst maintaining a strong back beat does.... solution was session drummer. A&R man didn't find out. Kept faith in band, band go on to do well. Told drummer and no-one else. He was cool with it.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #69
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➡️
you're right - you SHOULDN'T. But on occasion if I HADN'T XXX records would be outta pocket another couple of grand to get the damn thing working and it may even have never been finished.

I feel ya, man - it sounds like you are working in much higher pressure situations where the financial and timing concerns are paramount. I would agree that in those situations, the ethics and demands are quite different. Especially in this day and age where people and players get to be HUGE f*cking stars without needing a ton of talent.

The machine that propels that kind of stuff is very different than what other more traditional band oriented producers work with, and I see and respect that perspective. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and quickly. There isn't time to worry about some prissy prima donna who can't play his way out of a paper bag getting butthurt, it has to be in the f**king can YESTERDAY.

Funny thing is, I'm with detatched on this - I love being part of the chain that gets musicians and bands from amateur to professional. I love having the time and being able to put forth the effort to make sure that when they DO make it to that level, they're as prepared as I can help them be. So when they come to play for YOU, they have their sh*t together and you don't have to replace them in the middle of the night
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