TO ANYONE WONDERING IF THEY SHOULD INVEST IN A PRODUCER
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
Last year I decided to stop producing records to focus on mixing and mastering. I worked in a number of different projects, specially with bands that had decided to go the route of self producing/ recording their music and looking for a mixer who would get more hands on in their productions.
What I learned was that a lot of bands do not understand what producers do. In my humble opinion, glorified engineers who go by the title of producer have blurred the lines of the role and, in a way, done a disservice to the value a producer can bring to a record.
This is an attempt to educate musicians on the return of investment a producer can bring during their recording process.
What is a producer’s role in my music?
A Producer’s sole job is to make sure your music is connecting with an audience. As an artist you want your message to be heard, a producer will help you develop the means to explain that message and communicate at a deeper level with the people who will be listening to your music.
A producer is the interesting point between music, engineering and marketing. He must speak those three languages and navigate seamlessly through them. He is here to serve the record and make the best production the artist can, amplifying the artist’s vision and providing a market ready product for the record labels to sell.
How do I know who should produce my music?
Investing in a produced means having someone who understands your vision and amplifies it. However, the key is finding the right producer for your track. And the easiest way to get there is LISTENING TO MUSIC.
Go through the records that connected with you, do your research on who was behind the scenes in those records and start looking for the patterns until you find a name who shows up multiple times. Chances are you enjoy a style of production and had no idea it was a thing until you find some of your favorite records where done by the same people.
Think of it as a guitar player searches for a guitar amp that has a certain character, your band should look for a producer who has a certain sound.
Then contact them. Most producers are very personable and enjoy talking to people. Some of them are on FB groups, most of them have a website with a contact link. Most important, hire a producer that gives a shit about your band and is passionate about the project. You should not be a “rent paying gig” for them, look for someone who understands your vision and wants to give wind to your sails.
But my band is super smart and we can self produce, after all we know best what our band should sound like…
Some bands are great at self producing BUT it’s usually because one of its members has had producing experience.
Just like you wouldn’t trust your drummer to repair your breaks mid tour without having some car knowledge, self produced records can be detrimental.
Lots of time recordings lack direction or have been recorded using the biggest studio lie “WE WILL FIX IT IN THE MIX”. If your rough mix doesn’t sound close to your end product, you have a recording, not a production. Makes sense?
Sure, mixers can pull a million tricks and polish a turd until is nice and shiny, but in the end if the recording was half-assed, you will end with a half-assed product.
My mentor had this philosophy that I try to keep present with every artist I work with:
“My job is to make bands better bands when they leave this studio”
And it is this ethos that shows artists that you care for their music and for their careers. I want every band member to feel like they learned something about their instrument and their songs that they didn’t know when they walked in the studio the first day.
Walking in a studio can be a hard emotional state for some artists. After all their art is being put under the microscope. As a producer it is your job to inspire artists to be better musicians and to communicate their art efficiently.
I hope this helps you find some sense in investing in the right person to amplify your message.