I have been producing records since 1978. In that time I have been lucky enough to work with hundreds of artists of vastly different abilities, playing and singing music in innumerable styles.
The first thing I learned was – listen. Not only to the music, obviously, but to the intention, the passion, the meaning of the lyric. Find out what the artist wants to say. If they don’t know consciously, gently probe deeper. I personally don’t enjoy weak music, music with no passion.
I would rather listen to music with ‘mistakes’ and passion than music which is perfect and soul-less. Most people agree.
So the trick is, how to achieve the conditions necessary for a great recording experience with the necessary technical control to get the required sound without letting the equipment and the recording technique get in the way of the performers and their performance.
Each individual and group has a different dynamic in this respect and so what I do is
- have a discussion about goals, finance, time, location
- try and see the act live if possible
- find out what works for you and your project
- check that it continues to work, otherwise, we can change tack!
Sound simple? Well it is, and I always try to make recording a fun, exciting and energetic experience, so we all have the opportunity to give our best.
That way the end result will also be exciting and inspiring.