We’re back with another episode of FAQ Friday!
We have a bunch of questions here that are very business oriented and I realize that doing youtube and having my own channel one might think I’m a professional YouTuber but I’m not.
I’m in a unique position because I’m a guy who produces, engineers, mixes, song writes music for a living. So rather than theorizing about business, I can give you an opinion of what it’s actually like to make music for a living.
So let’s see if we can focus today on some of the business orientated stuff, some of that could be about interpersonal relationships with artists which is a very tricky subject for us to navigate which I’m sure you are all very aware so let’s talk a bit about that and a bit about the business side.
Today’s featured question: “Have you ever worked with a musician that tested your patience? Like playing when you’re trying to listen or just being annoying? How do you handle those situations?”
No life is perfect, everything is easy… haha. Of course I have, but what are we going to do about it? I can think of a couple of analogies, Greg Suran is a good friend of mine, you probably currently know him because he is the lead guitar player on American Idol.
I was watching American Idol the other night for the first in a few years because it was Queen night! They had Brian May on there and Roger Taylor and they were doing queen songs. – I had to mention Queen at some point, haha
Greg is the guy with blonde hair and he’s a phenomenal guitar player. He and I have talked about this many many times, and the reason I bring him up is he’s a touring and session guitar player and he’s gone to some Eagles rehearsals as well as working with 2 individual members.
So I asked him what it was like and he said his experience at the rehearsals started with a count off then they played the song, stopped and talked about it and not a single person in the band played a single note between performances.
He said it was the perfect situation, every musician was communicating there was no shouting over one another. – They are professional, they know what they are doing.
I understand the frustration, I can’t count how many sessions we have done as producers, engineers, or even mixers where there is someone in the back practicing some guitar or two guys having a conversation.
You have to understand that if you’re working with younger musicians It might be their first time in the studio so you need to help them. If this is someone I’ve been working with for a long time I would be like “dude I’m trying to mix your record can you please be quiet.”
I will definitely be a lot more forceful with people who should know better, but when its a young or inexperienced artist you’ve got to let them know. Sometimes if its persistent I use a phrase and everybody around me will have heard me say it because not everybody understands sound when it’s not their life. When it’s your life like it is for me and many of you, trying to mix something and hearing bags of chips cracking in the background is insane.
People just walking in banging around with cups, talking and you can stop and ask them to be quiet but they will probably go back to making noise because they don’t fully stand what it is like.
This is the analogy I use since people are far more visual than they are auditory, it is much easier for them to understand visual cues than it is for them to understand sonic cues.
We as producers, engineers, mixers, and musicians, live and die by our ears but that isn’t most people, especially people who are fresh to the industry or fresh too recording.
So say this to them “Imagine watching a TV show or editing or watching anything and there are all these flashing pixel colors going on in the middle of the screen they are watching” Let that sink in for a second and say that is what it’s like when I’m trying to mix your music.
It’s tough for people to understand but visually they get it and that’s most important.
Yes, artists can be difficult but we need them. I sing, lots of people sing but no one is paying me to sing, nobody is like “I’m dying to hear Warrens latest album” I work with singers who have beautiful voices that actually have people who are compelled and dying to listen to.
So it’s my job to write with them, record them, play on their stuff, mix it. Whether my job is one of those or a combination of things, my Job is to present them in the best light. – It’s not about me.
Watch the video below to hear the end of this answer and the rest of today’s FAQ Friday questions.
We cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• With all the clients you work with, the companies you work with, all of the deadlines you have to meet and running the academy, how do you keep it all organized? Do you have your assistants remind you? Do you use an app on your phone? Or is it An old school appointment book? (2:08)
• Have you ever worked with a musician that tested your patience? Like playing when you’re trying to listen or just being annoying? How do you handle those situations? (8:19)
• Do you have any tips on how to approach live recordings for minimizing bleed or how to deal with it? (17:10)