Live performances from your favourite artists

Part 7: What Should we look for in a Producer?

The Producers job is to help you get the recording that you want to make. In most cases the music producer is also a competent arranger, composer or songwriter who can bring fresh ideas to your tracks.

Sometimes it’s good for a band to get an outside perspective on their songs. Picture the band in a boat heading towards their goal, they are all focused and looking towards their destination. Since they are all looking in the same direction they cant see the hole in the back of the boat that is going to prevent them from getting there. To a person outside the boat, the hole is clearly visible.

 

Engineer and Producer are 2 separate roles, although some producers engineer sessions while others prefer to focus solely on the producer role and have a separate engineer.

The role of the engineer is the technical side of the recording, while the producer is focused on the songs.

 

What should we look for in a producer?

When looking for a producer you can look at who has worked on some tracks you like to see who is working in the style you like.

In Australia there are a large number of producers that work freelance that are able to travel to where the band is located to record. You can decide to go with a person that works with bands in the same style or you can decide to go with someone that would bring an outside perspective, its up to the band. There are pros and cons to both.

If you go with someone that works primarily within the style of the band, they will straightaway know where you are coming from and where you want to go. A problem may be that it could lead to the band not standing out form other bands in that style if the producer is known for a particular sound that they bring. In that case it is important that the songs stand out from the other bands in that style, as the sound may not distinguish the band above others.

The pros of a producer that works in a different style is that they can bring in other influences to help shape the sound of the band. This is what Tool did for the Aenema album, choosing to work with David Bottrill who had done a lot of world music previously as well as King Crimson. That Tool album launched Bottrill’s career with that hard rock sound and he went on to produce releases for Mudvayne, Godsmack, Staind among others.

The band can decide what level of involvement they would like the producer to do, but obviously the band has chosen their producer because they value their opinion and musical knowledge. The producer may be there to help shape the vision for the song, offer advice with regards to the sound or even help with the arrangement and lyrics of the songs.

The producer will need to be someone you trust to improve your music with their input, if you choose an award winning producer they clearly have experience in taking artists tracks to the next level. However if you feel that the songs you are working are perfect already and that any changes made by an outsider will no longer have them feeling like your songs the perhaps a producer is not for you. Producers work by listening to your tracks and analysing them, offering criticism and if needed suggesting changes.

If the band is not yet ready for an outsider to offer criticism and advice, they may not be ready for a producer.

The important thing about a producer is that they are a separate person to bounce ideas off or help find a solution when a problem arises, so you need to make sure you get along with the producer!

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