How to choose the right producer for you – Spotify for artists

Producers can play many roles for artists, including recording mentors, performance partners and songwriting guides. Finding the right studio peer is not always easy, however, since each creator has different music styles and perspectives, as well as different resources for them. The right collaborator is the way to connect to a musical talent market like Spotify from versatile mouth word of mouth labels or management recommendations. Soundbetter.

If you sign a label, your contract may include the support of a team – possibly with a manager, an A&R representative, and a publishing company, which may facilitate producer contact. Ashley Calhoun, VP of A&R at Pulse Music Group, a Los Angeles-based publisher, management and services company, said that while it makes connections easier, you should also be proactive about building potential relationships.

“Contact your publisher, and make sure they understand what you’re trying to achieve and are on the same page [as you], And ask who they have to work with, ”he says.

Where to look and what to look for

If you don’t sign up, you may have to work harder to secure such connections – and you probably won’t be able to work with the biggest producers right now. But don’t be afraid to lean on some internet research and contact your dream partner.

“Maybe you can’t get big name producers with your top target producers if you don’t have the budget or a team or something,” Calhoun says. “But maybe that producer has someone under them who is advising them, or someone has signed up with them that you can work with him too – and get your feet on the door to work with that producer.”

Ashley Callahan, Pulse Music Group

Ashley Callahan, Pulse Music Group

Dylan Baldy, Indie-Punk Band Vocalist / Guitarist / Lyricist Cloud Nothing, Suggests that looking for producers near home is another great option for artists to get started. “Listen to music made by your friends or people in your local music scene and then find out who recorded these albums and which ones you like best,” he says. “Every local music scene has at least one ‘recording guy’ with whom you can interact and create an album.”

Calhoun echoes this sentiment, noting that he advises finding studio collaborators for unsigned artists who provide a sympathetic aesthetic or sound. “If you’re an artist and you know what your vision is, and what your word is and where you’re trying to go, I’ll just do your research, do your best, inspire you – it’s not who you’re trying to sound. , But whose word will be comparable to your choice and your word and what you are trying to achieve, ”he says. “Research who those people are and reach out to them.”

Cloud Nothing (Dylan Baldy, TJ Duke, Chris Brown, Jason Garrix) Photo by Daniel Topet

Cloud Nothing (Dylan Baldy, TJ Duke, Chris Brown, Jason Garrix) Photo by Daniel Topet

Los Angeles based Killian Cruiser, Who has had great success with production work through the online soundbetter platform, advises to behave like a two-way street with collaboration. “It’s looking for producers who are involved You, And finding out the producers who are asking you questions, “he said.” A good producer is going to ask a lot of questions. They’re not just letting the artist go, ‘Okay, that’s exactly what I want. What can you give me ‘A producer says,’ Well, what do you want? ‘ “Asking questions leads to a better creative environment for everyone,” he added. It doesn’t just keep me busy – it keeps the artist busy. “

Follow your ears and your network

For Japanese post-rock bands Mono, Following this process, developed a long-term recording relationship with engineer Steve Albini. More specifically, after hearing that guitarist Taka Goto Albini had worked on previous albums, he immediately knew that the band needed to record in the engineer’s Chicago studio, Electrical Audio.

“I’ve only asked Steve once,” Goto said. “I asked, ‘Which booth did you use to record the drums?’ LessOf Things we lost in the fire And NeurosisTimes of Grace? ‘Because I wanted both the special feeling of the air with the unusual excitement from the quiet parts of Lo and the sound of the room from the loud band part of the neurosis. “

Mono has worked with Albini on multiple albums since 2004 Walking clouds and deep red skies, flying flags and the sun shining Through 2019 Nowhere here. “We usually hate overproduction,” Goto says. “We’re a band that everyone likes to play live together, and do live recordings on an analog tape. Steve is a genius who can record perfect, powerful – like bone piercing – and beautiful sounds, and mixed. He never misses a single. Things the band will want or need. “

Mono photo by Chigi Kanbe

Mono photo by Chigi Kanbe

Baldy’s Cloud Nothings also worked with Albini in 2012 Attack on memory. But the band subsequently listed and enlisted several producers for the studio album, including John Congleton, John Goodmanson and Randall Dunn.

All of this collaboration has come about because of the advice of Baldy’s musical network, he says. “I’ve always believed in the opinions of people who work with us and have known us pretty well over the years,” he said. “My own style of singing doesn’t vary greatly from album to album, so I’ve always felt that it was important to have different producers on each record so that they all had different strengths and environments.

Baldi added, “It’s very important to have a dialogue with people in your music circle so that you can work with anyone and have some similarities with you – instead of just choosing a big expensive producer based on name recognition.”

And if you don’t jail with a producer, all is not necessarily wasted. For example, if Cruiser faces a project that doesn’t have a pretty good sonic fit, he says he’s happy to recommend the artist to another producer who could be a better match.

Don’t forget the chemistry

Of course, the relationship of a successful studio work goes much deeper than just gelling at a sonic level. You should also try to work with producers on a personality level. “If I have very timid, shy artists, I probably wouldn’t put them up with a very timid, shy producer, because the session would be uncomfortable,” Callahan said. “Or if I have an artist who has very strong beliefs in a particular area, and someone I know might be a little reckless or talk recklessly in the studio, I don’t want to bring those people together. If there’s a bad feeling in the studio, you You will not get the desired result. “

Fortunately, you can find out the possibility of a smooth studio relationship with a manufacturer by asking the right questions in advance. “My first question I always ask people [is] ‘What kind of vibe are you going for? Which artists do you like? It tells you a lot if you want to work well with someone or not. ”

Calhoun recommends that you talk to the front of the business – start with a hammer to see if you can afford to work with a specific partner – and talk to the manufacturers about their process.

Some people – such as his management client, Rahki, who created the song Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Mac Miller, And Sid– Starting with an artist and creating songs in the studio. Other producers, however, prefer to start with rough sketches and collaborate with musicians during the session – and some prefer to work with finished tracks. “They don’t really want to do anything extra in the studio except just the vibe, which probably helps to manage the session,” Calhoun explained.

Baldy asks Cloud Nothing’s potential production associates if it’s useful if they’ve heard the band or caught them live. “It seems like an easy process when you have some idea of ​​how you feel before you go to the studio with them and what you’re going for,” he says. However, he added that word-of-mouth opinions from the old days could go a long way towards helping artists make decisions about collaboration.

“Ask people who have worked with the producer and see if there are any ghost stories,” Baldy said. “It’s up to you to decide if the source of the story is reliable – but I think it’s always the big red flag that doesn’t make me want to work with anyone.” Calhoun adds: “It doesn’t take long for a bad thing to travel. So if you hear something, do your best, see it, research it for yourself – but things are probably not publicized for no reason. . “

Of course, no matter how well an artist prepares or researches in advance, there is no guarantee that a producer’s relationship is going to be fruitful or successful. However, Calhoun adds that believing in your instincts – for example, if something goes wrong in business or Studio Vibe just isn’t happening – is never a bad thing. “If something feels wrong, it’s probably,” he says.

The strategy is finding a production partner on your wavelength that has your best interests at heart, he adds. “You really want to surround yourself with people who see the vision, and who can add value and really believe in you and be a champion for you.”

– Annie Jalesky

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