Today, I have a very special video for you:
I´m interviewing Phil Allen, who interned with me when he was 19 years old. He worked his way up to become my assistant, then my recording engineer, eventually Co Writing, Co Producing and playing on many songs we recorded together! Phil has built an amazing career as a musician, recording engineer and producer: He even won a Grammy with Adele´s album of the year!
This interview will especially be valuable for all of you songwriters and producers out there:
We´re passing on a lot of the experience and knowledge we´ve acquired over the years, by working with some of the best songwriters and producers out there. – So pay close attention!
We´re discussing the work-ethic and mind-set needed to build a career in the audio industry:
Always give your best, even if the task doesn´t seem all that important at the time.
To drive this point home, Phil tells us the inspiring story of how he recorded and produced the demo for Adele´s „Someone Like You“ with Dan Wilson: In a small studio with a tiny vocal booth.
By working hard to get the feel of the song just right, this exact demo made it´s way to Adele´s final record and went on to be one of the one of the world´s top selling singles. – And win him a Grammy!
We´re also going into great detail about the psychology of being a producer:
- What´s your role and the purpose of a producer? Are you serving the artist and helping them to make the best music they can, or are you forcing your ideas on them?
- The importance of developing your ear and taste vs your technical skills.
- Give the song what it needs, don´t try to show off your skills: Sometimes simple stuff done well will serve the song better than playing at the maximum of your abilities.
- Focus on the big picture.
- And a lot more!
This is the stuff they won´t teach you at school. You´ll only learn these things with years of experience and by working with extremely talented people.
I hope you enjoy the interview and it helps you to create amazing music.
Thank you ever so much for watching.
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,
Again, comments as I watch: Technical knowledge. Again I can use woodworking as an analogy. Knowing how to use a saw efficiently and accurately, safely, and cleanly, isn’t cabinet building, but it is a required skill for building quality cabinets.
Why things are? One of my favorite things to teach is, “Why defines when.” That is about when the right trade tools are used for the right situation. It certainly applied to audio engineering.
Internship is maybe about building work ethic? Work ethic is best tempered by inglorious work.
It is a wonderful thing to be at the point like under the sushi master Hiro where you can see when he finally approves of your work. I went through that in my trades career. Artists, however, don’t have a single master to guide and validate. Artists have a finicky and brutal master, the public.
What cracks me up, Warren, is that your wife knew to monitor your Face Book… at four in the morning!
Wow, I would think forcing a vocal style on a singer would really have a non-constructive effect on a singers confidence… which is sort of all important, right?
Speaking of your rap record (rim shot). I’ve always wanted to put together a cockney A Capella rap group that does only Beatles covers called “The Beat-O’s”
So was this Conner’s last shoot?
Hi @l_scott_knight:disqus haha yes my wife was ‘where the heck is he?’ Haha I think the ‘Beat-O’s’ could be HUGE!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Wow what a great video!!! One of the best I’ve seen on production,recording,and music as a whole anywhere online! This is a must watch not just for producers and engineers, but musicians as a whole! This was such a great watch, thanks for all the great content!!!
Thanks @plap-disqus-da8ce53cf0240070ce6c69c48cd588ee:disqus!! I really appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed the video! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Great video! Phil’s point about ‘Silence’ really rang true for me. And the point about simply giving the song what it needs. We serve. We serve the audience, the artist, the song.
Reminds me of a story the lead singer of Berlin tells about ‘Take my Breath Away’, that she always hated the way the Producer made her sing the chorus. Because she was worried people would think she was a bad singer. …until she heard the Jessica Simpson version, where Jessica did the kind of vocal embellishments that she had wanted to do on the original… then she got it, if you’ve had your breath taken away, you can’t sing the embellishments. …Jessica did a great vocal rendition of the song, but she didn’t tell the story of the song.
…and any video that makes reference to Tom Petty, has got my vote! Awesome stuff Warren. Thanks as always for your time, energy and efforts.
Right on about the silence lesson. In my early tracking attempts I wrote and played my own bass track. When I played the track for others they said it didn’t sound like the song, nor did it inspire the same vision and the previous track I played them which was just two electric guitars (rhythm and a lead). I know what the problem was after that but Phil’s comment that you point out really identified the issue exactly. My bass groove was like I was playing a bass solo the whole track (well, not so free as that but way too busy). Instead of supporting the song it completely changed the character of the song and it was hard to identify why because it didn’t stand out. It just was wrong.
Hi @l_scott_knight:disqus I agree 100%! Great insight Loren! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Hi @plap-disqus-e44fea3bec53bcea3b7513ccef5857ac:disqus what a wonderful story!! I love that! That’s a perfect story to inspire singers! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Thanks a lot. I had a lot of fun watching the video! And, as ever, a lot of “aha”-moments 🙂
Hi @berndholder:disqus thanks ever so much!! Glad you enjoyed it! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
a lot of useful information, cool interview, keep doing Warren 🙂
Hi @plap-disqus-b73ce398c39f506af761d2277d853a92:disqus thanks ever so much!! I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren