Offering to record bands, the repercussions.
by, 10-13-2011 at 10:08 PM (1024 Views)
So I'm a 22 year old kid trying to become the next big thing in music. Just like that guy who did Anvil's last album or Uncle Bob.
What happened now to me is, I offered to some musicians I found in a pub the chance to record some good songs. 6 to count them. Everything seemed perfect, simple, and most importantly non-intrusive.
The story begins with 'Rain Dogs' a Tom Waits cover band playing in a local band, just after I came back from a town where I spent a few days in a 2 bedroom apartment with a few cute girls and listened to Tom Waits for the first time (another story, another time).
Now some-how I end up in Londophone (A local bar) and their playing, so with hops of impressing someone and to have 'bragging rights' as a producer, I approach them. Of course my approach to a potential 'client' isn't "Hey I got a microphone, and I have pro-tools, let's record something for a small fee" or some mumbo jumbo like that. My approach is grab a guitar and see if I can hit the right chord to get these guys to sing along with me, in other words discover who they are, and become friends, eventually at 5 a.m. me the band and the owner of the bar are sitting drinking Russian vodka and talking about how important music is (or something like that).... Good times
The first night goes out with a blast, packed bar, happy people. By the late of the night, me and the bar-man (with whom I is already friends with) are busy learning to play harmonic to whatever these guys are playing (me teaching her). Good, grab their interest, point one taken care of. Now that they noticed that I'm not just some smooth talking 'gangsta' maybe I have the 'schueve' to approach them and not see way to akward. So now I can talk to them and actually receive attention, they won't disregard me and I can probably get a phone number too.
So the next few days, again I'm invited to a show, I show up, I mingle with the bands friends (and I read some-where on this forum that it's not good to talk in circles, or social ladders or whatever there called.) But, I did the exact opposite. I somehow befriended friends of the band, and got them (or so it seems) to mention 'that I too am not soo bad when it come to music.' This is the part where you 'come as you are' Like 'hey, I got some free time tomorrow and I'd like to go drinking with you guys at a pub I know'
So when you don't have a name for- your- self you have to go into using whom you are as a person, you morals, integrity, and knowledge to gain the advantage and drive people to say, yes I want to record some songs with this naggy bastard. Socialize.
The next thing I know, after I posted a little video of them doing some songs nobody knew they did in that bar (and having them comment on how bad it is and that I should mention in the video that they were drunk and it was 4. am, and of course personally showing it to them. We ended up in the same bar on another occasion and I caught them during sound-check, so I showed um the video.). They ended up organizing a 'jam session' in another pub, this time everything sounds like crap. The reason for it, is that one of the speakers was broken. So the next day, I'm doing all that I can to fix the speaker, calling everyone I know, getting prices for what they need done and etc.
By the end of the week their playing again in the sample place, I'm bragging about how I fixed the speaker and talking to their sound guy about this and that, industry money, clubs etc. The ball gets' rolling towards. 'Hey this guy isn't just some audio-phile, he actually works in music', manly because what me and the sound guy were talking about they couldn't understand (that's actually a joke . So getting recognition with a band some way or another is pretty important to having them come in and feel comfortable recording....Or just coming in to record.
So yea, another month passes, I finally make my offer to record them live....which isn't taken serious. It seems I need something to break the ice.
This part is really interesting, I had a show in the first mentioned bar. I invited them over too. This time, my equipment was plugged into the p.a. so it made recording as easy as hitting a button. After my gig is done, they asked if they can jam and play a few songs too. I hit record and let um at it, they played, it got late into the night and I said, "hey guys let's play a joke on the 'bar-man'." I hit play on my daw and everything came blasting through the speakers the exact same way they played it. We all went up to the bar and said "Hey look I'm playing this song with no hands and without opening my mouth, give me a beer, "and I recorded it"" (of course we didn't get any beer for that.... just a few laughs). This is the selling point as it would be called in marketing. Where you assure your' client of you products quality.
Finally who knows what else happens (but yea me and the singer somehow end up on a weekend vacation at some mountains with some friends). I get a phone call one day that they want to come over and record. So we set a date and they show up....a day later than originally planned, and many hours behind schedule (Saturday at 12 turns to Sunday at 4. ) Another thing that came up was the acoustic guitar needed a replacement tuning peg. Of course I had some laying around the house...So never throw away any useful equipment of musical integrity.
The house is empty, my neighbors aren't making any noise. The first thing I say is ' We have to focus on capturing the performance and not the sound. So get your instruments in tune and drink this'. We spent 5 hours recording 6 songs. It was a pretty simple set-up, no drums, no bass, just 2 guitars and 1 vocal track. I made sure all the levels were in the 'happy place' for an acoustic show, the singer kept his voice in check and we did everything just like it was a live show. Of course after that we have to go to a jam session, again, where I meet there sound engineer. I talk to him about how he makes the band sound, what's to notice and etc, just to make sure that when I have to spend time on the recordings they sound right...I get home, obviously a little wasted from a long night of 'fun' and I get to work the next day I send over a few .wavs (big files impress people ) and everything sounds good. By Thursday I promise that everything will be done. And it is. I get drunk the whole house is spinning and I'm writting this little 'blog'
Tonight I got the chance to tell their sound guy. 'Cut the mids, raise the bass, add a little highs to the guitar, also pan it left and right and add a delay, o wait you can't do that on a live mixer... soo ya I spent an hour exploring every single way to get it to sound good trust me'. The vibe you get from being part of a band is pretty groovy. Being in a room and knowing the lyrics because you had to set the volume and delay on every single word beats the hell outta being at home and doing whatever else (except cooking). So after the show, there's an after-party, karoke, tequila, beer, and being part of a group. Is someone who records a band supposed to talk to everyone the band knows? Or be laid back and restricted ? Hell is there even a template for how a engineer should be ? I don't care much about those questions. But I gotta get more people to want to record with me and I did just take a step in the right direction. Saturday I'm actually giving their sound guy a day off by doing his job, and eventually splitting gigs so we both have work in this little town. Hey partner this town is big enough for the too of us
I'm wondering though, as a producer of music. How am I going to deal with the fact that musicians love to go out, party, and live. If I have 4-5 bands recording a week just how many tequila shots is that going to equal and is my liver going to cope with that. It's not the first band that get's me to wonder this but, it's the one that made me ask myself....Wait as- econd, I'm having to much fun....what's goin on??? I had one band where I payed for nothing, played bass in it, worked on lyrics and recorded and lived in an apartment for free. Though I'm not making enough money to actually pay the rent, a pay-day does come occasionally and when it does I sometimes wish it was put in a bank account for my kids college fund than spent on 'living the dream' (but I don't have a kid, so hooray !).
So now that music picked up and all that's left is to go out and make money (dam do I hate saying that) what's the right attitude to have towards 'clients' as captilozimn would have us name our fellow musicians. Should I, the recording engineer worry about having the band sound good and not bond with them. Or should I actually become a formula of the band, show up late at their gigs and scream my head-off singing one of my favorite songs? .
I don't think anyone that works in music, has a studio, trys to put out good recordings, or just make the best sounding live show cares about the money factor. I think that it's more about making music and having a good time. Hell if any of us ever wanted to make money we'd become dentists and lawyers, get a job as an accountant and spend half the time going to shows to just occasionally talk to the sound guy about how 'this space seems to have a notch at 5k, how did you get past that' or ' wow, your' using that compressor as a tube amp, that's cool'.
If you record a band their fans eventually become your friends, just because well hell, they listened to these songs after they got out of the shower, and your the reason why the songs sound good, if it wasn't for you the engineer the band wouldn't have what to give us the fans when the bands in Hawaii drinking a passport to hell.
Hell my head hurts and the rooms still not standing still ! This is what I get for approaching people, and recording, Hades plays his tricks on me! The only reason I had to go out was to give them the masters of the recordings (and the lame mp3s) but we couldn't part, on thing led to another.... This job is the greatest.