Episode 29

Music Producer 103 - Elements of Compelling Musical Recording


September 5th, 2018

1 hr 13 mins 44 secs

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About this Episode

This week we dive in EVEN deeper to the subject of producing, specifically the role a producer plays in the studio. Trigger warning: ITS DEEP.

Emotion Trinity

Are the players playing together? If there's only one player, are they playing in a good, solid tempo?
Are the players in tune?Are they in tune with each other, as well as themselves?
Is the vocalist in tune?
Are we getting the tone that we want? We could be looking at more raw, kind of unusual tones, but is the tone doing what we want it to do?
The connection of the vocalists to the lyrics. Are they putting that lyric across in a way that really makes us listen and understand what's going on in the story? Are the nuances in the vocals compelling to emotions we want to convey.

Melody & Harmony

Is the melody doing what we want it to? Is the harmony supporting that? Is all this coming together?
Are the lyrics as strong as they can be? Are they fitting together right with the melody?
The different elements, the different sections of the song or the composition. Are they coming together in the right way? Do they build? Do they keep us interested? Do we feel as though they're taking us on a journey? Does the chorus pay off when we get there? Does the whole thing build up to some sort of a climax that really gives us a reward for sticking around and listening to this whole piece of music?

Vocal Placement

Is the vocal placed in the right place? What about the intelligibility of the vocal? Can we hear every single word of the lyrics if we want to, to be able to know what's going on in the story?
Also then, in terms of the vocal placement, how close or far away is it? Is there a lot of reverb on it?

**Reverb: **Make the vocal seem it's further away from us, and we call that being a very wet vocal.
**Dry: **As we dry it up and take reverb off, or don't put it, it gets closer to us, and sometimes that can be more intimate.

Let’s talk about impact. What's the thump like of the kick drum, the thwack of the snare, the click of the pick on the guitar? How hard or mellow the impact usually depends on the genre of the music.
Again usually depends on the genre of the music. Sometimes we're after a lot of clarity and other times, we need to mush these things together and have them act more as a unit and be a little less defined.
Are we giving the listener enough cues to know exactly what the focus is at any given time, where we want them to listen the most, where we want them to put their focus at any given time in the recording?
This is what we call ear candy, things like Reverb, delays, distortion. Always ask yourself are they distracting from the focus of the record or are they really adding to the overall effect? These element can elevate or destroy your mix.

All of these things, actually, as technical as they may be, we have to keep in mind that they're all in service of creating emotion.
As you're listening to these technical things in the recordings, we always want to be thinking about how is this affecting the emotion of the record?

As a producer, your job then is to really try to figure out, what is it about this style of music that the audience really loves? And how can we put that forward?. Be more interested in music to experience what it tells you about the human condition(emotional & technical), and also, if it can teach you something new, you can use it in your own productions.

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Intro music by: Home - Billiards
Photo by Tam Pottiger on Unsplash