Ever since audio got to be recorded, the idea of recording music and listening at any moment became something extremely interesting, not to mention, difficult, and nowadays it requires a lot of time and dedication to be able to produce music in order to be reproduced in the best way possible, maintaining a clean and crystal clear sound.
Producers have to work with the artist as if they were partners, or part of the same band. Nile Rodgers a very well-known producer says:
Almost all the producers I know and dig, like Quincy Jones or Brian Eno, are really musicians first. I’m a composer, an orchestrator, an arranger and a musician first. I know how to write and rewrite songs, and the genius is really in the rewriting. You don’t hear the first or second or sometimes only fiftieth thing we producers do, you hear the final one. That’s the gift of really great producers: they’re terrific writers or rewriters.
But what do they actually do?
Music production is all about cleaning the sound and rearranging the music, this means that every instrument can be distinguished from the others, equalization is done correctly, the tempo is perfect and at the same time, recording and producing can be a great moment to reevaluate the song, and considering adding or taking something away in order to get a more accurate version of the idea. The producer also works as a reality check in some occasions due to the fact that sometimes, the composer’s idea does not sound that clear in reality, and some changes have to be made.
This process has also changed over the years as many other areas of music.
Digital offers unlimited editing and tracks, and has very affordable storage. Compatibility with other studios is easy.
Analog has limited editing and only 24-tracks. However, analog offers exceptional sound quality.
Dave Grohl said on the “Sound City” documentary: ““Nowadays, it’s almost easier for young bands,”
“You can record an album in in your living room for free and with the click of a button you can distribute it to the entire world. If you’re really good, you can go out and play a gig and let everyone know you’re coming. You have to get outside of the conventional processes we used to use, you know, like radio or records or any of that crap. Ultimately, if at the end of the day, if you’re really f**** good at what you do and you go out and play for other people and they see that you’re really f**** good, that’s how it starts. But don’t expect to be Justin Bieber.
Dave’s point is very true, nowadays the internet, computers, and digital studios, it’s very easy to start a music project, the only issue with this, is that the competition is bigger than ever. The first part of this new way of producing music is composing something, then record it the best way you can with what you have, then you do the work of a producer by polishing and making every sound work as it should; if you get all of that right you may still not get any kind of recognition due to the lack of social media presence. Still making music in the comfort of your room will never be as good as recording in a studio with a producer.
Whether you want to be a producer or not, it’s always good for a musician to familiarize with how this process works, and if interested enough go as far as to produce some music, to learn and have the experience, there is no doubt this will make you a better musician.