Your jazz outfit has been gigging for a few years now and you’ve built a great following. Gospel music lovers can’t get enough of your worship band’s ministry. Maybe your singer-songwriter solo performances are garnering consistent rave reviews. Perhaps your rapper/DJ duo has been lacing your beat-maker’s tracks and taking the hip-hop game to the next level. Whatever the case, your live shows are electric. You’re killing it on stage. Your team’s synergy is palpable. What’s more, SABC Radio’s 90% local music policy is now in full swing, and truth be told, your work is better than a lot of the stuff being broadcast. It’s time to record that new radio single or EP. The question is, do you really need a dedicated producer in studio? Is your capacity to put on a killer live performance not enough to guarantee a top quality recording?
We can think of four reasons why you may need a producer for your next studio session. This week we’ll consider two reasons. Check back next week for two more.
Experienced producers have the ability to visualize the best sonic outcomes of a recording. That’s their role. Often performers are so close to their art that it’s hard for them to step back and view their work objectively. True, some artists may be over-critical of their work while composing and creating, but once the audience starts showing love at gigs, it becomes harder to critique their own success. Producers can see past all the distractions that ego can cause. They can help great performing artists FOCUS on the goal of making an even greater record of a great performance.
Each of the members of your team are excellent in what they do. Each player knows what to do to move the crowd. Your musical director is highly skilled at navigating the band through a killer live performance. But how do you make all that live energy come together in a small space with no live audience or live ambience? How do you ensure that the finer details of tonal selection, balance and separation – factors which are less of a priority on a live stage – are not overlooked in studio? How do you know when your group’s studio performance is not cohesive enough and needs to be individually tracked and overdubbed to tighten things up? Producers turn the brilliant performances of individual musicians into a cohesive, believable, dynamic record despite audience and ambience limitations.
Vision and cohesion are two reasons why you need a record producer in your recording session. Next week we’ll look at two more.
Tell us what you think in the comments below and feel free to contact us for more studio advice or insights.