Production for Songwriters
We sometimes like to use the catch phrase,”If it goes on a CD, we do it”. We can take a lyric and a melody and put these to music, usually within a few hours. This includes a basic beat (Drum Machine), guitar and bass. Now you can record the vocals and work on the arrangement. This is usually a good way to see if your song works as a song. When we have the perfect arrangement we can add any instruments you might want, including live drums.
Production for Rappers
Too many rappers, like to read their lyrics. You should be trying to tell a story, A story told with passion. Try telling the story without reading. If you can’t, then you don’t know the story well enough. Practice in front of a mirror, if you believe the story then everyone else will.
Good beats are hard to come by, does the beat you have help or take away from you’re vocal. Sometimes a simple beat will work better for your story than a busy one. Your vocal is the most important part of the song. Don’t make it compete with the beat.
Production for Bands
Okay, you’ve done all the pre-production required. Now it’s time to tell the engineer/producer what you want to sound like. Sometimes it can be hard to convey what you hear in your head to somebody else. Now imagine what a four piece band goes through. I usually ask a band or artist to give me the flavors from other bands they think are close to the sound want. Example, “ I want the acoustic sound of Mumford and Sons but with a Rolling Stones drum sound and Katy Perry vocals with Keith Urban electric guitars”. Cool. Now the engineer/producer can get to work and listen to the bands you described and maybe spend some time with you in rehearsal. Single out the tracks you like the best and be specific about what you want to borrow (sounds) so everybody knows where to start.
Doing a good job in the studio takes time. Try and find out how long your favorite band spent in the studio recording their last CD. Getting everything played right takes time. Getting everything played right with passion and a great performance takes a little longer. I know what you’re going to say, “we don’t have a record deal or the budget to spend that kind of time in the studio”. Budgets are always a problem, but here’s what I’ve found out. It’s better to do one song really well, make it great, than to do five songs just okay. If you have one great sounding song people will want to hear more. Five songs, just ok, not so much. Make it sound like it’s on the radio and climbing up the charts.
Take your time in the studio, get past the nerves and insecurity and go for a great performance. If you have little fixits to do, do them. Don’t have any doubts about your song. Look who you’re competing against. If a promoter or record exec says no because of something you didn’t correct then you didn’t do everything you could of. Take all the no’s away, you have nothing but yes’s.
Break a Leg.