Pre-recording woes

My band is about to record two songs with a local guy who runs a studio. Pretty decent equipment and is giving us a good price. The first song is more of our radio-friendly hit that our audience enjoys and dances to. The second song is a more complicated, longer in length, and basically fits the personality of our band.

Yesterday we had a pre-recording meeting with him. A few days ago we sent him a raw recording of the two songs just so he knew what songs he was going to work with and also jot down some of his ideas he had in mind. Well, we started with the complicated song and he added some stops here and there that rest of the band seemed to dig. He suggested that I simplified the chorus beat (which I thought was simple enough as it is). However, I made it more 'driving' and it sounded like it fit better. We got to the radio-friendly song and that's when all hell broke loose for me. It's basically not the same song since nearly a minute of it has been cut out and so many stops and rests were added. Now it seems like a brand new song and my mind is cluster-f*ck whenever I try to play it. I wish I had the clips uploaded on soundcloud or something. I'm more of a feel player and whenever it comes to stops or rests I always seems to jump the gun - either too early or too late. Mind you, we made all these changes within a couple of hours and I haven't really had time to fully practice the new versions.

if TL:DR - how do I get better at stops and rests as a feel player.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
Sounds like he was acting as a producer, not a recording engineer. if you weren't asking/paying him to produce, you could have declined his suggestions.
 
Most of the changes weren't really drum-related per se but more rhythmically so that the song was more established and to the point. But yes he was acting as a producer yesterday and gave me all the heads up on tuning my drums prior. I should have disclosed that he is the producer/engineer for this tiny recording session. My mind was just drained from trying to remember the changes. Ugh, the fails.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
if TL:DR - how do I get better at stops and rests as a feel player.
You just have to be comfortable with the song and be able to feel it coming. That either comes with listening to the tune over and over and over again, or writing out the form to the measure and learning it like you would a regular chart - following along as you play and/or listen.

In regard to the rest of your post.. that's a crappy situation. Something has to be said for the fact that your fans are already familiar with the existing version, or changing too much may not have a desired effect. You say this guy is "local".. what is his experience? how successful were the other tracks he helped produce? Have this talk with your bandmates, but unless you explicitly given this guy production credit on the track, there's no reason you have to take his advice.

EDIT. just saw that you said he was the producer. so scratch all that rant.
 
We were about to go with a reputable studio in town who charged almost $1000 per song but then we realized that we'd rather just record a couple of songs every 3-4 months and once we get an album worth of material and eventually released the album. That way it's not hurting anyone's wallets. The guy is younger than I am and I've listened his work and the band is pretty impressed with his mixes. He's done full production work, some remixes from different studios, and the band as a whole was pretty impressed so we went with him, plus he's charging $300 per song, flat rate...as long as it takes. I'm hoping to lay the tracks down before the weekend. If it takes me all weekend then I got some serious practicing to do lol.

You just have to be comfortable with the song and be able to feel it coming. That either comes with listening to the tune over and over and over again, or writing out the form to the measure and learning it like you would a regular chart - following along as you play and/or listen.

In regard to the rest of your post.. that's a crappy situation. Something has to be said for the fact that your fans are already familiar with the existing version, or changing too much may not have a desired effect. You say this guy is "local".. what is his experience? how successful were the other tracks he helped produce? Have this talk with your bandmates, but unless you explicitly given this guy production credit on the track, there's no reason you have to take his advice.

EDIT. just saw that you said he was the producer. so scratch all that rant.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
NEVER let someone you have not contracted act as producer.


Other than working on memory exercises, I would suggest learning to write/read rhythms...at least to give reference for the changes you want to make.

A click track with cues can work but will prob. cost $ for setting up.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Don't sweat knowing the songs yet. I have been in situations where we wrote the songs in the studio. You will have time once the recording is done to spend some quality time practicing along with the tracks. Another trick I have used is to get a drumless track from the engineer and play along with that.

As far as the engineer acting as a producer, remember it is up to the band to use or discard his advice. Don't let him bully you into making changes you are not comfortable with.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Aside from the whole "is he the producer or isn't he" thing, chart the song back out. Whether you do a full-on notation, Nashville Numbers, or something similar, it'll get you to the desired product quickly and effectively without breaking your noggin.
 
Don't sweat knowing the songs yet. I have been in situations where we wrote the songs in the studio. You will have time once the recording is done to spend some quality time practicing along with the tracks. Another trick I have used is to get a drumless track from the engineer and play along with that.

As far as the engineer acting as a producer, remember it is up to the band to use or discard his advice. Don't let him bully you into making changes you are not comfortable with.
I got the iphone recordings we did with the new changes just about an hour ago and now I hear where the changes are much clearly now. It's just mind boggling during that moment or so that as we were making changes I literally almost fell into song oblivion. I wish my group charted but the way they write songs is through the software Reason and usually they have a drum rhythm in mind (which helps me) and then I add in my own flavor. Granted I should probably chart the measures that they have but that changes like how you change socks.

I don't have any problems with producer input, I actually welcome it. I don't have a huge ego like some guys I know who will not budge one bit. He doesn't take credit for anything that he inputs (as far as I know).
 
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