So here we are at a venue on Sunday afternoon. The place is deserted and the bar felt more like someone’s kitchen then a commercial establishment. The problem was the bar owner was planning on people leaving the seafood festival to come to the show and it didn’t happen. Perhaps the rain discouraged the motorcycle riders from puttin around. Anyways, after the second break, I was sitting outside with the band and the bar owner comes out and pulls up a chair. Now we are nervous. Anytime a bar owner wants to talk like this it’s usually a sign that were going home early and that means not getting paid. The bar owner was a tough as nails tough and his shirt that read “The BOSS” was an understatement. So here we are all together and it felt like a proverbial woodshed moment. “Boys”, the owner said, “you got the sound, your sound is great”. “You got the songs that I like to hear and my customers like to hear”. He continued, “You make it look easy to play and you play it damn good”. I seem to hold my breath when people start out complimenting. I figure that this is it…time for the “but…..” part. I just sat there, still not breathing. He talked about album covers and band pictures and what these images meant to him personally. Still expecting to be fired on the spot, the owner then surprised me. He went in a direction that I never expected. The owner went on to tell us what was on his mind. “When I close my eyes I hear your band playing. The singer is simply outstanding”, he says. “As I am listening, an image of the band is formed in my mind”, he says. “I see that image in my mind and when I open my eye to see you guys playing, it’s not even close to the image in my mind”. “You just don’t have a look”, he explains. “You don’t look how you play”. He goes on to explain how bands have to have a look to be successful, He sounds actually disappointed which I take to mean that he is impressed with the band, but wants his image of us satisfied. He starts to explain how, as a bar owner, he sees lots of bands and how successful they are or are not. As he is talking, there is an air of fatherly advice in his tone. From my perspective, the guy broke us down and was now building us back up. As he want on to explain how an image of the band is very important, I listened. He explained how other bands built their image and what it meant to put on a show. We are in show business, right? So by now I am hanging on every word. I know this is tough to hear but it is so important to the band’s progress. He is right. The band plays great, sounds great and is worthy of a helping hand. This guy sees 5 bands a week, every week. He doesn’t need to help us. The turnout wasn’t making him any money and it looked like he was going to pay us out of his own pocket. The bar owner didn’t need to put his neck out to help us, but he did. I respect that and actually felt pretty damn good for a gig that hardly a soul came to see. Most owners would never do this. There is just too many bands and not enough venues to give slots to all of us. He didn’t tell us anything that would didn’t really know, he just gave us a clue as to what a typical venue owner wants to see in a band. He gave us a gift of self awareness and I hope the others in the band can see it this way. Next, gig I am going to dress a lot better. Thanks to Bill at the Chop Shop in Seabrook New Hampshire for giving us your time.
Check this out….
So here you are, a band that is getting pretty good. You practice every week and have learned all the songs and playing out has been going well. At this point you have already been asked if you have a CD. You need the CD if you ever want to do more gigging and attract more fans. Who doesn’t, right? Of course the next thing to do is to make a demo CD. Demo’s are 3 or 4 songs that owners of clubs, booking agents, managers and your fans want to hear. For more information about demo’s click here. You are now a band on a mission to immortalize your music and sound. The band is going to the next level with a new lease on life. It’s time to record!
What am I trying to do again?
Recording is an art form all to itself. Here is a pointer to some comprehensive recording techniques. You might be tempted to record one of your gigs and simply transfer to CD format and voila. My advice to you is don’t. Develop your music to its best. Develop your sound. If you want to become or stay a professional musician, you will need to be heard on recordings. These recordings will also help you draw more fans. People love to watch bands that they have heard on a CD or mp3. For many audience members, a live show is confirmation of what they originally heard on a recording. They go to the show to hear your band doing the magic live.
Making a quality recording
Making a quality recording is not difficult. You need to find a way to record the individual instruments and microphones. I have used a Yamaha AW16g 8-Track recorder for years and made wonderful demos. You microphones should be clean, dust-free and not exhibit crackling or popping sounds. A Shure SM-57 can be used for snares, guitars and vocals. Use direct boxes to connect your keyboards and bass and perhaps guitar into the recorder. Plugging directly into the recorder can lead to ground loops that cause hum and rf noise. The battle over hum is ongoing.
“Ok, you’re on!”
Recording the band live has it’s fair share of technical issues. I’ll give you my quick and dirty guide to basement recording. First off, play very close to one another. If everyone is within 10-15 ft of each other the recording can tolerate mic bleed. Face one another and make a circle. Place the monitors and amps inside the circle and keep the mikes pointed away from center. Use direct input recording for the Bass and Keyboards. Mic the drum kick, snare and 1 overhead. Hopefully, you can do the songs with just 8 individual tracks. Make sure that you let the songs end with total silence in the room as the sustains die down. Some people have a knack for talking too soon after the last note is played. The engineer wants to keep the mikes open for effect and the moment is ruined by talking. Don’t let you input signals clip when being recorded. The loudest playing or singing should not “peg” the meter. Turn the input gain down and record at a lower level. The mix engineer can work with levels that are a little low but levels that are too high are impossible to make good sounding.
Find a Sound Engineer:
Now you have 8 tracks. You can mix those tracks into a song using a Digital Audio Workstation of DAW for short. Programs like Pro-Tools, Cubase, Reason, Sonar and more are DAWs and are readily available for your project. Mixing is not something you will be good at, right away. Just like learning a musical instrument, mixing is an art that must be practiced to be mastered. Sound Engineers are well practiced at that art of mixing. Sound Engineer’s will make your raw tracks into a beautifully blended musical presentation that should sound exciting and interesting. Once you have built a successful piece of music that is sonically pleasing to others, you have a great tool for working with others in the music business.
Welcome to the twjproduction site. Communicating with musicians is the goal of this site. In an effort to make better music, with less cost and hassle I present my latest endeavor. This site should provide musicians a way of working with a Professional Sound Engineer. A Sound Engineer is an artist and should be considered like all the other players in a band/ensemble. The SE possesses musical experience and knowledge. I came from a professional musician background and I have performed many, many times for the public and of course my family. I have thousands of hours behind a drum kit and I have recorded many CDs. I always loved playing back the sessions in which I performed. Over the years I got better at mixing and eventually I ended up taking courses from Berklee School of Music. Berklee taught me how to focus and present my talent. After kicking around musician website like www.indabamusic.com I decided to go pro and to devote as much time to making music as time and money would allow. This site is the latest step towards making my ambition to be a full time music pro. I hope you as a musician or other music professional will find this site useful. If I can help you make sound better then I have been successful. Let’s work together to make the music of our time.