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  #1  
Old 01-13-2009, 11:02 PM
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Pachikara-Tharakan Pachikara-Tharakan is offline
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Default Recording Studio questions

Hi Friends,
I am just a beginner learning everyday by watching others play and by playing along the records and from most of the posts here in this forum. .I may sound naive, (Of Course I am), I am just curious about what is happening in a Recording studio when a Band's music is being produced, as far as the drums are concerned.

Does the drummer have all the freedom to do whatever the way he thinks to play drums generally?

Or

Does the producer have the final approval?

or.... the Band Leader?

or.. who decides how the drumming should be?

The drummer should write the drum tabs first and get the approval???

For eg:

Life's been Good- Joe Walsh
Hynotized- Fleetwood Mac
Come Together- The Beatles
Daniel- Elton John
Hot for Teacher Intro- Van Halen
Dyer Maker- Led Zeppelin
etc.. etc... the drumming is different.


thought I should ask since most of you folks really play in bands or in studios. Do you have any bitter experiences ?

I just wanted to get a general idea about this.

thanks in advance for the responses.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

If you are a signed band or not, most of the time the Producer has a huge impact on the overall recording. Especially if he/she is a well rounded musician and has recording experience with multiple instruments. They often hear things that the band does not and suggest fills here and there on any given track. A great Producer can make or break a recording. As an unsigned band, we pretty much had the final say on each of our tracks. We did on several tracks record the ideas that our Producer suggested based on his preferences for the genre of music being recorded. Our goal was not to over produce the album and keep as close to the live sound as possible. Whats the point in overproducing an album if you can't sound anywhere close to it live?

I don't have any bitter experiences yet.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Thanks Nodiggie for the info. what do we mean by signed and unsigned? pardon my illiteracy.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

unsigned bands are not part of a record label, and as such have more freedom to do what they want with their music and band decisions. bands referred to as "signed" are part of a record label and are then under more pressure to do as the record label says to achieve a certain sound or have an album done by a certain date- therefore, they have less freedom in their music. However, they get the benefits of playing to sold-out arenas and working with top record producers.

The producer has a lot of influence on an album, especially for a signed band. An independent or unsigned band don't really have to even listen to the recording engineers or in-studio producers, but it is strongly encouraged as the usually know what they are talking about. Bands signed on to a major record, however, really only have the freedom to determine the lyrics and melody, and even those are subject to being rewritten per the producer's suggestions. I worked on the media side of a band who worked with produce Steve Thompson (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica) who completely revamped a song the band had previously recorded on their own, and even modified the lyrics slightly...the song sounded much better, and the band was happy with the changes, but the lack of freedom wore them down a bit.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Hawk9290 did a good job of explaining. I have done some studio recording with a few of the bands I was in but it was just demo stuff, not full albums. We already knew the songs so it was a matter of just going in and laying it down. It was pretty straight forward.
I never did any drum overdubbing so once the basic tracks were recorded I was pretty much done while the guitars, vocals, etc were done. Studio recording can be fun but can get tedious if you do enough of it. Still, it's a great experience.
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2009, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

..really appreciate you hawk and Badstuff for the explanation.

here is another question that I have. This may sound silly.... How about the session musicians, do they have any input? are they expected to come up with a creative riff or drum pattern on their own? If a band leader goes solo, does the band leader or the producer decide how the music should sound by default, right?
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Hey Pachikara Tharakan,

don't feel stupid asking questions, thats what the forum is for, right? What may sound as basic knowledge to some might not be known by you, just like you know things we do not...

You should see session musicians just as hired workers. If you have created a song with chords, melodies, lyrics, guitarparts, keyparts, drumgrooves and the whole bunch but you cannot play drums, you can easily hire a session drummer to play those parts for you.

You will pay him to play the parts you want him to play, because it's your music. Ofcourse a session musician is still a musician so he or she can come up with better ideas for drumparts but you are the one who decides ofcourse. And if you have no idea what kind of drumming you would like with the music (or parts of it) you created you can tell the session guy to create something.

Hope this clears something up for you!
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

As usual it all comes down to money - whoever pays calls the shots. If you're hiring the studio and the producer you''ll retain creative control. If the label pays, or you're being paid to play, you follow orders. As other's have said, that's not especially a bad thing - if your label has best intentions for you, they'll be careful in choosing a good team that share in your creative vision. It doesn't always work out so well, and if you're only looking to cut demos, then best advice would be to spend the money on getting together your own recording set up.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

thanks Vickyviking and Jonescrusher.

Here is another interesting question that I have.
Roger Daltrey of The Who did some solo work back in the days. We all know he wont compose or write any music. It was all done by Pete Townshend. All he did was singing, most of the time (I may be wrong)
Now when he went solo, who decided how the music should be?Was it the person who composed the music? So the producer or the music composer tells him and his session musicians what to play or how to sing, I guess. So basically Daltrey was "hired" ?
If that is correct,
when we appreciate a solo artist's music, we never think of the producer or the music composer behind the scenes.

just a thought.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

I am not a session guy but I would think that if someone hires someone like Steve Gadd or Dennis Chambers that they would give them some kind of freedom to sound like themselves. Maybe the bandleader or songwriter has a specific drum part in mind or just a basic template. The guys here with session experience can answer this better than I can.
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2009, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baddstuff View Post
if someone hires someone like Steve Gadd or Dennis Chambers that they would give them some kind of freedom to sound like themselves. Maybe the bandleader or songwriter has a specific drum part in mind or just a basic template.
makes sense to me.

However, just to play time keeping ( if thats what the producer want), they dont have to hire Steve Gadd who is a brilliant quiet drummer, but it all depends I guess.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

yeah, I guess that depends on the session and the budget. I'm sure Gadd has a hefty price tag. Not all sessions are the same so I would imagine the type of session and the budget would have something to do with it. At least with Gadd you know you're getting the consummate pro.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

An artist like Roger Daltrey is a completely different entity to a hired musician. The terms of his contract would be much more favourable - already being a globally famous star means that he can bargain more control into how his career develops. I'm sure he is credited to some of the songwriting on his solo work. He will have chosen himself people who he wants to write for/with him, and he'll be surrounded by a team of advisors.

Yes, to some extent the producer is perhaps underecognised in the creative process, but then again he's paid a usually very handsome fee for his efforts on the understanding that writing and creative input are two different things. Occasionally they get their dues - Rick Rubin, Mark Ronson...
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachikara-Tharakan View Post
makes sense to me.

However, just to play time keeping ( if thats what the producer want), they dont have to hire Steve Gadd who is a brilliant quiet drummer, but it all depends I guess.
They do if they want the time on the record to sound like Gadd's playing it! John Robinson is a prime example; he's the most prolific studio drummer of all time and yet the majority of his work is the straight money beat - only JR can play it the way he does.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

good point jonescrusher, JR is a prime example. Even on a straight groove it still has that JR feel and that's what people pay for. Not to get off topic but that's why people pay JR the big bucks and don't use a drum machine. Drum machines can't cop the JR feel.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

There is no one right answer to your question, that's for sure. I do a good bit of freelance studio work, in everything from national release albums with signed artists, to some national and local television work, to local musicians, both signed and unsigned, and I can tell you that almost every experience I have had has been completely different.

When I was working with Suzie Andrews (a nationally signed gospel artist), her producer had control of almost everything that happened in that studio. He went as far as making me re-record a part of a track because he wanted one of my ghost notes one 16th note away from where I was placing it. I'm not exaggerating.

My first national television recording was the same way...it was down to the minutia, I was just a robot playing exactly what they wanted.

My second national television experience was the exact opposite. I had all day, a ton of percussion instruments, and the ability to record and improvise on them at will, in between relaxing, getting fed, shooting pool, etc. That was the most fun I ever had in the studio. Ironically, it was for the same people as my first TV experience, but it was a different producer.

Every producer does things differently, and every band as well. Some guys I have recorded with have a very set idea of what they want from me, and will have written charts or just explain it really well, and I'm not allowed to deviate from that. Others will come in with a vague idea, or none at all, of what the drums should be, and trust me to come up with something that fits.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

I think generally the Sound engineer/producer will have the biggest say in how the drums and the band sound, and to a lesser extent what the band plays. Totally depends on the band,record label and the producer really. Some pop-idol types will just walk into a studio and be told what to play, and other more striving bands will have total control over the content, and the producer will just have a say on the levels, and final mastering ect...

I think with session musicians it is different. Generally they will be told what to play and sometimes how their drums should sound, which ofcourse is a little hard to take for some (understandably). I have read some funny stories of drummers like Jeff Porcaro getting quite pissed off with studio engineers regarding this!

Denny Fongheiser: One time this engineer came out and said, "Your snare drum sounds horrible," and so I hit this other snare and he said, "That's much better." I put it up, he walked back in the control room, and I took it off and put the old one back because I really thought the other one sounded better. So I hit the drum and said, "Is this better?" And he said, "Man, it's so much better. I knew that was going to be the drum."
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

I am gonna dig JR now, thanks guys.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Recording Studio questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachikara-Tharakan View Post
I am gonna dig JR now, thanks guys.
Check out- Quincy Jones-'The Dude' !
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