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morespaceecho

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Posts: 2,248 Member Since:29/01/2011

#21 [url]

Apr 15 17 10:12 AM

soapfoot wrote:
...but, of course, there are some people who have honest creative impulses, and do it all themselves because 1) the technology is available to them now, in some fashion, 2) they lack the support or financial means to hire experts, 3) they live in some remote place away from experts, 4) they're introverts and struggle with collaboration, or some combination of the above (and additional factors likely not considered).


 


i'd add 5) they simply like the process.

and maybe the enjoyment of the process is more important than the result?

if a giant pile of cash landed in my yard tomorrow and made money a non-issue, i could hire you, jean and seth to play everything on my next record, i could hire chuck to mix it and larry to master it. i'm sure it'd turn out great, and be way more popular than the records i make myself (not hard!). and i'd have a great time (and would learn a lot) hanging out and watching everyone work. but i dunno if being the producer sitting back on the couch lighting cigars with 100 dollar bills and giving orders would be more satisfying than just sitting in my chair alone and doing everything myself. cause that's just what i like to do, how i like to spend my time. 

then again it might indeed be more satisfying! i don't know. i may have changed my opinion in the time it took to write this (i'm a gemini, we get to do this). but you know what i mean.
 

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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soapfoot

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Posts: 7,207 Member Since:04/02/2011

#22 [url]

Apr 15 17 10:16 AM

I very often take on more than may be wise simply because I don't know whom I can trust to really 'get' the vision that I have, and I'm too closed-minded to having that vision subverted or re-imagined by 'outside influences.' Or, relatedly, because it's often easier and faster for for me to just DO it, rather than explain how I want it done.

brad allen williams

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,531 Member Since:26/01/2011

#23 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:05 AM

morespaceecho wrote:

soapfoot wrote:
...but, of course, there are some people who have honest creative impulses, and do it all themselves because 1) the technology is available to them now, in some fashion, 2) they lack the support or financial means to hire experts, 3) they live in some remote place away from experts, 4) they're introverts and struggle with collaboration, or some combination of the above (and additional factors likely not considered).




 


i'd add 5) they simply like the process.

and maybe the enjoyment of the process is more important than the result?

if a giant pile of cash landed in my yard tomorrow and made money a non-issue, i could hire you, jean and seth to play everything on my next record, i could hire chuck to mix it and larry to master it. i'm sure it'd turn out great, and be way more popular than the records i make myself (not hard!). and i'd have a great time (and would learn a lot) hanging out and watching everyone work. but i dunno if being the producer sitting back on the couch lighting cigars with 100 dollar bills and giving orders would be more satisfying than just sitting in my chair alone and doing everything myself. cause that's just what i like to do, how i like to spend my time. 

then again it might indeed be more satisfying! i don't know. i may have changed my opinion in the time it took to write this (i'm a gemini, we get to do this). but you know what i mean.
 

Thanks MSE, I appreciate that. I grew up in an environment where a great deal of money was at stake any time you walked in the door of a studio, and in order to get their money's worth most people had to work fast and efficiently. If we had the luxury of spending more time and we could all dig deeper then we could offer that too. But working for people who were on a voyage of discovery was usually not a good thing - you can't work quickly and explore at the same time, they're fundamentally incompatible. So people who know what they want (and, importantly, know when they have it) can work fast and get great results. People who don't know what they want either have to have bigger budgets or a lower-cost environment. There are a miniscule number of people who really can do everything themselves, I think of Stevie Wonder or Prince, but as Chuck pointed out they don't really do everything. What inexperienced people don't understand is that most of the skills required in making good records are difficult and time-consuming to learn. If you're learning engineering and Pro Tools chances are you're not learning songwriting and/or musical performance skills to the degree that your skills are usable in a serious professional context, and vice versa. If you haven't been through the meat grinder of the music business chances are you're not going to realize that your skills are inadequate, because that fact hasn't been thrown in your face. You can't underestimate how important that experience is. If you haven't interacted with the 'real' record business you can't know if your product is viable or just self-indulgent. If an artist is frustrated because their self-indulgence isn't meaningful to anyone else, I don't have much sympathy. The fact that they've spent years toiling at Trader Joe's to finance this project only speaks to the depth of their self-indulgence, not their product's authenticity. If you can't face the truth about getting good, you're very unlikely to be successful. Certainly not in the long run.
 

Last Edited By: seth Apr 15 17 11:08 AM. Edited 1 time.

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

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#24 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:24 AM

seth wrote:

morespaceecho wrote:

 

 

The fact that they've spent years toiling at Trader Joe's to finance this project only speaks to the depth of their self-indulgence, not their product's authenticity. 
 

That is both the harshest and maybe the truest thing I've read today!

But of course, sometimes self-indulgence and authenticity do go hand in hand.

brad allen williams

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chrisj

Gold Finger

Posts: 955 Member Since:22/02/2011

#25 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:39 AM

morespaceecho wrote:
brad, what was the record that prompted the thread?

curious to hear opinions on the last beauty pill record:

https://beautypill.bandcamp.com/album/describes-things-as-they-are

it's a bit too self-consciously arty for me, but the sonics are interesting....dazzling even, and i know this record was very carefully and painstakingly considered. i'm pretty sure most of it was actually done on a laptop.


I'm friends with Chad and own that record in 24/192. I absolutely love it and don't feel there's such a thing as too self-consciously arty if you mean it (mind you, I also adore Beefheart and pretty much all 70s prog). And yeah, Chad mixed 'Afrikaner Barista' in a coffee shop on a laptop, which is not to say that is always the answer (this is not a guy to go around proclaiming how to do things). If I got a chance and had to pick among anybody here, and Chad/Beauty Pill, to do a record, I would pick Chad even though this crowd has some of the most amazing, beautiful people I've ever met.

Personal taste. Everything about the Beauty Pill project just works for me, and it's getting better not worse as it goes on. I can't even emulate that stuff, I'll just have to go do something else and leave it to Beauty Pill. Nothing I ever do will mean that much artistically (for THAT at least, there'll be no argument ;) )

Chris Johnson, airwindows.com

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chrisj

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Posts: 955 Member Since:22/02/2011

#26 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:41 AM

zmix wrote:

What I heard the first time I was played Beauty Pill and now again is a sense of hyper self awareness, beyond even self consciousness, a sense of a "hand" in the production,  a lack of emotional expression

[left]
But that's me. It's perfectly okay if it's not you, but it's me and so it speaks to me very openly and indeed emotionally. Perhaps the makeup of the band just dovetails with me as a listener? I know from conversations around/about the band that someone in it is 'on the autism spectrum', as I am. Might influence the expression, and of course Chad is a hell of a thinker.

I can't imagine him R&Bing out with his shirt off, and it wouldn't be true to him. This is also Chad's composition, and this is what he is like when passionate. "The leash is loose enough to feel like autonomy'… that's not his words, that's his father's quote. He comes from a context and yes there's a lot of self-consciousness but that is completely appropriate to who he is, how he is, where he is.

[url=

Chris Johnson, airwindows.com

Last Edited By: chrisj Apr 15 17 11:46 AM. Edited 1 time.

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zmix

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:20/01/2011

#27 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:45 AM

morespaceecho wrote:
soapfoot wrote:
...but, of course, there are some people who have honest creative impulses, and do it all themselves because 1) the technology is available to them now, in some fashion, 2) they lack the support or financial means to hire experts, 3) they live in some remote place away from experts, 4) they're introverts and struggle with collaboration, or some combination of the above (and additional factors likely not considered).


 


i'd add 5) they simply like the process.

and maybe the enjoyment of the process is more important than the result?

if a giant pile of cash landed in my yard tomorrow and made money a non-issue, i could hire you, jean and seth to play everything on my next record, i could hire chuck to mix it and larry to master it. i'm sure it'd turn out great, and be way more popular than the records i make myself (not hard!). and i'd have a great time (and would learn a lot) hanging out and watching everyone work. but i dunno if being the producer sitting back on the couch lighting cigars with 100 dollar bills and giving orders would be more satisfying than just sitting in my chair alone and doing everything myself. cause that's just what i like to do, how i like to spend my time. 

then again it might indeed be more satisfying! i don't know. i may have changed my opinion in the time it took to write this (i'm a gemini, we get to do this). but you know what i mean.
 

Most importantly we'd have developed WORKING RELATIONSHIPS, rather than be straw men or adversaries (in our imaginations).

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morespaceecho

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,248 Member Since:29/01/2011

#28 [url]

Apr 15 17 11:46 AM

seth wrote:
If you're learning engineering and Pro Tools chances are you're not learning songwriting and/or musical performance skills to the degree that your skills are usable in a serious professional context, and vice versa.
 


for sure. as a teenager, my goal was to be a Professional Guitar Player. the day i got my first 4 track was the day that goal started going south.  turning knobs and recording stuff was just more interesting to me than practicing guitar, and here we are. i'm ok at a few instruments but i'd be terrified to be out on the floor on a serious session.
 

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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morespaceecho

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Posts: 2,248 Member Since:29/01/2011

#29 [url]

Apr 15 17 12:19 PM

chrisj wrote:
 I can't even emulate that stuff, I'll just have to go do something else and leave it to Beauty Pill. Nothing I ever do will mean that much artistically (for THAT at least, there'll be no argument ;) )
 


you make plugins that lots of people love, chad doesn't know how to do that. 

i can't emulate his stuff either, at all, but i can listen to it and be inspired to work on my own stuff, which is what matters.

sort of related.....the BP record sounds very 'modern', even 'futuristic'....awhile back we were at an art exhibit, there was one interactive piece that was a big sphere made with thin aluminum pipes. you laid on a bed in the middle of the sphere. there were a bunch of little speakers mounted all over the sphere, and a couple subs under the bed. as you laid there, various tones played over the speakers. they might've panned slowly around the speakers too, i forget. but anyway it was really really cool!

i asked the artist about it and he said it was all done in MAX/MSP. he showed me his screen and was explaining how it worked....i got the basic gist but most of it went way over my head. 

i went home thinking "man, i just record guitar, bass and drums in real time....i am so OLD FASHIONED."
 

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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jaykadis

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Posts: 2,404 Member Since:24/01/2011

#30 [url]

Apr 15 17 1:15 PM

Our focus may be a bit narrow if we only concentrate on how the old paradigm of playing live for years before starting to record is being subverted, although that was how I came up. Music creators now have far more in the way of tools and some have figured out how to use them in entirely different ways. MAX/MSP is a great example. Our students use it to create really compelling live productions combining sound and video in novel ways that tip the hat to the light shows of the '60s while producing live EDM music on the fly. I have recently begun using MAX to create a really fun installation that uses a Plinko-inspired MIDI controller to randomly trigger a hundred or so short sound files from an array of 16 speakers. It has turned out far cooler than I imagined. I won't be trying to combine that with my "regular" band for the moment, but using MAX/MSP with our live show might become practical in the near future once we get back to regular gigging. I've had plenty of argument, but I still think technology advances push changes in popular music and some of those changes are for the better.

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,207 Member Since:04/02/2011

#31 [url]

Apr 15 17 1:19 PM

re: the Beauty Pill record mentioned above--

It's a very cool-sounding, well-done record. For whatever reason, I don't relate very strongly to either the writing or the vocal approach/performances on an emotional level.

But it's quite well-executed, and I can't help but think that this was part of its appeal... which brings us back to the original thread topic.

brad allen williams

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,531 Member Since:26/01/2011

#35 [url]

Apr 15 17 1:45 PM

soapfoot wrote:

seth wrote:

morespaceecho wrote:

 

 

The fact that they've spent years toiling at Trader Joe's to finance this project only speaks to the depth of their self-indulgence, not their product's authenticity. 
 

That is both the harshest and maybe the truest thing I've read today!

But of course, sometimes self-indulgence and authenticity do go hand in hand.

It's not intended to be harsh, it's just a fact as I see it. You hide from it at your peril. I'd say self-knowledge and authenticity go hand in hand, and it may seem like self-indulgence. The distinction is can other people relate to it or be moved by it? If not, it's pure self-indulgence. An expert knows the similarities among different styles and makes them sound authentic by learning the differences that make each style unique. The similarities among most western musics are much greater than the differences, certainly in pop and rock. An amateur reinvents the wheel and calls it authentic because he struggled. It's making that struggle relatable, personal, and compelling to strangers that makes music successful.

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gtoledo3

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Posts: 4,061 Member Since:23/10/2013

#36 [url]

Apr 15 17 2:38 PM

soapfoot wrote:
I very often take on more than may be wise simply because I don't know whom I can trust to really 'get' the vision that I have, and I'm too closed-minded to having that vision subverted or re-imagined by 'outside influences.' Or, relatedly, because it's often easier and faster for for me to just DO it, rather than explain how I want it done.


The best possible scenario (IMO) is to be able to do a mix yourself (if you want to), have a few other people do a mix, pick the best approach, and then maybe do a final if necessary! Might not be needed either, but it can be really surprising to hear how differently people might present something.

Those jarring experiences of "oh, this isn't how I would do it" can sometimes be good, and really give perspective.

I suppose those scenarios can be few and far between in life, but there is something to be said for accumulated talent, teamwork, and/or brainpower.

Does seem to be a true case of "whatever works" though, since either collaboration or working in solo, can both be functional or dysfunctional.

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

#37 [url]

Apr 15 17 6:15 PM

Funny how production has evolved. I really love every aspect of it.

Chad is one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. Miss running into him at AES and TapeOpCon and such. Had many a great conversation with him about production, mastering and his vision. He is a man who knows what he wants and goes for it. Always liked that about him.

I enjoy collaborating with people but many times I lay down the whole foundation (rhythm section) myself. At that point I'm following my muse. Then I'll get two or three lead players (keyboards, guitar, B3 usually) to improve and overdub on it at the same time.

Took decades to perfect being able to play all the base parts, learned out of necessity. Started playing drums at 5, switched to bass at 12, was on the road touring at 14 (got my first Teac 3340 4 track that year as well), studio session player and engineer by 18. So I know exactly what Seth is saying. Nothing like being under the gun and having to pull it off... every time. Wether playing or engineering. You get better because you have to, getting hired again is the only way to tell if your doing it "right" in the long run.

Good topic, there is hope as this is music, it transcends time, it touches the soul, it speaks to us at the very root of our existence... people will "discover" and "perfect" it for all eternity...

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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zmix

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:20/01/2011

#39 [url]

Apr 17 17 7:30 AM

seth wrote:
morespaceecho wrote:

soapfoot wrote:
...but, of course, there are some people who have honest creative impulses, and do it all themselves because 1) the technology is available to them now, in some fashion, 2) they lack the support or financial means to hire experts, 3) they live in some remote place away from experts, 4) they're introverts and struggle with collaboration, or some combination of the above (and additional factors likely not considered).




 


i'd add 5) they simply like the process.

and maybe the enjoyment of the process is more important than the result?

if a giant pile of cash landed in my yard tomorrow and made money a non-issue, i could hire you, jean and seth to play everything on my next record, i could hire chuck to mix it and larry to master it. i'm sure it'd turn out great, and be way more popular than the records i make myself (not hard!). and i'd have a great time (and would learn a lot) hanging out and watching everyone work. but i dunno if being the producer sitting back on the couch lighting cigars with 100 dollar bills and giving orders would be more satisfying than just sitting in my chair alone and doing everything myself. cause that's just what i like to do, how i like to spend my time. 

then again it might indeed be more satisfying! i don't know. i may have changed my opinion in the time it took to write this (i'm a gemini, we get to do this). but you know what i mean.
 

Thanks MSE, I appreciate that. I grew up in an environment where a great deal of money was at stake any time you walked in the door of a studio, and in order to get their money's worth most people had to work fast and efficiently. If we had the luxury of spending more time and we could all dig deeper then we could offer that too. But working for people who were on a voyage of discovery was usually not a good thing - you can't work quickly and explore at the same time, they're fundamentally incompatible. So people who know what they want (and, importantly, know when they have it) can work fast and get great results. People who don't know what they want either have to have bigger budgets or a lower-cost environment. There are a miniscule number of people who really can do everything themselves, I think of Stevie Wonder or Prince, but as Chuck pointed out they don't really do everything. What inexperienced people don't understand is that most of the skills required in making good records are difficult and time-consuming to learn. If you're learning engineering and Pro Tools chances are you're not learning songwriting and/or musical performance skills to the degree that your skills are usable in a serious professional context, and vice versa. If you haven't been through the meat grinder of the music business chances are you're not going to realize that your skills are inadequate, because that fact hasn't been thrown in your face. You can't underestimate how important that experience is. If you haven't interacted with the 'real' record business you can't know if your product is viable or just self-indulgent. If an artist is frustrated because their self-indulgence isn't meaningful to anyone else, I don't have much sympathy. The fact that they've spent years toiling at Trader Joe's to finance this project only speaks to the depth of their self-indulgence, not their product's authenticity. If you can't face the truth about getting good, you're very unlikely to be successful. Certainly not in the long run.
 

I think this is the heart of this discussion, Seth.  I've been reading the book you suggested with my jaw on the floor...  simply because I've been saying the same thing for years, trying to get NARAS and others to see what the outcome of this all is to us..

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zmix

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:20/01/2011

#40 [url]

Apr 17 17 7:32 AM

soapfoot wrote:
I wonder whether a lot of phenomena we're discussing now are, to some extent, fallout from adversarial relationships (both real and contrived, factual and mythological, honest and exaggerated ) from the heyday of recorded-music commerce. And that whether, once the dust settles, we can move to more mature attitudes, and whether that might in fact be beginning to happen.

Like, everyone older than millennials (who are now in their 30s!) spent their/our childhoods reading and hearing about "this bad producer who 'overproduces' my favorite artist and ruins the art" or "this evil empire record label that tempts my favorite artist to sell out," or "this A&R weasel that encouraged the label to shelve my favorite artist's new album because he didn't hear a single'", or even "this out-of-touch rich music celebrity who has all the money she'll ever need, and will never notice if I burn a CD for my friend." We even heard from the recording engineer/non-producer/anti-producer producer of our favorite band, who insisted that every actual professional in the industry (except him, natch!) was somehow corrupt and money-driven and cynical and didn't care about the art.

With all of that background, why wouldn't we mistrust "outside influences" and professionals? And as soon as we could circumvent their 'corrupting influence,' why wouldn't we? Even if that meant our art was a little rougher-around-the-edges, we were willing to accept that tradeoff. And some of that roughness even began to serve, for our audiences, as a sort of signifier for 'purity' and artistic virtue.

But now all of that is far enough in the distant past that the 21 year old kid with the laptop doesn't really have all those same hangups. She never knew an "evil empire"; never had the "powerful but corrupt major record label" as a dominant bit of imagery. She might not regard professionals with quite the same degree of suspicion, and might even see collaboration with expert specialists as a way to break new ground artistically in her work.

Time will tell, but I'm semi-optimistic, actually.
It's such sour gapes, innit?

We all had out ears bent by those people, in fact back then I coined a phrase to describe them:


"Wanna-be Has-beens™"




...

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