Editors Note: A day after I received this guest post from Graham I read the following on Bob Lefsetzs review of the Muscle Shoals Documentary and figured it would be a nice addition:
“Sometimes they [Producers] neither play nor sing, they don’t even put their hands on the board, but they know what’s right. They’re searching for that elusive something that separates an average track from a hit. It’s not so much eliminating mistakes as it is capturing the essence. It’s the exhalation at the end of a vocal line, the way a note is bent, getting the drummer in the pocket… As the years have gone by and acts have seen everybody produce themselves, the value of a great producer has been diminished. But every session needs a boss. And it’s best if it’s an outsider.”
Sure, not all of us have the luxury (i.e. the funds) to have a producer but being educated on the importance of a “good one” and their role in the process will give you a leg up should you come get to that point.
What a Music Producer Does
You know that you need one, but are you sure about what they even do?
Music producers have a variety of roles, and it may be more accurate to refer to them as a ‘project manager’ as that is their main responsibility. It is their job to make your music something more amazing than you thought it could be, through the recording, mixing and mastering processes. If you are in the process of deciding which producer to use then it may make the process easier if you fully understand exactly what it is they are responsible for.
This is the stereotypical idea of a producer, taking care of all the technical aspects of the music over a mixing desk. You may think they spend all of their time fiddling compression settings and making slight alterations to everything.
Producers need to have musical abilities to be able to properly advise you on your record. Some producers even go so far as to contribute to the album by playing an instrument here and there. A producer without much musical talent is probably one you want to steer clear of.
A lot of producers have a signature sound that can be the Golden Ticket for a lot of artists. Although you need to be careful you choose a producer whose signature sound is compatible with the sound you are trying to achieve.
A lot of producers consider themselves as your mentor, they will be with you the whole way and they have seen it all before. You should exploit their experience and try to learn as much as you can from them. Most producers are happy to share their experiences in order to help you, be wary of ones who keep tight lipped about the success of their previous records.
These are just some of the roles fulfilled by a producer, if you think you are just hiring someone to record your music then you are very mistaken. They will be the only other person who knows your music as well as you do, it is important not to underestimate their responsibilities.
Guest Post: Graham is a keen blogger and passionate about all things to do with music and its production. He has many years experience in mastering and production, if you would like more information then check out http://www.cyclonemusic.co.uk/