When a new band is getting to grips with the music industry it can be tempting to go it alone, recording and releasing all of their music without the involvement of producers and labels. Without the equipment and facilities needed to give your music the professional treatment, many artists are happy to express themselves using a small and inexpensive recording setup and then release their home recordings through streaming sites. That’s the “indie” way!
This DIY approach is certainly a viable option and it has worked well for artists of all stripes – often with high levels of success! But you should know that your options don’t simply end there. You may find that soliciting the services of an expert producer and recording studio is exactly what you need to take your music to the next level. Indeed, on top of their technical ability, producers are likely to approach your material with years, often decades of experience. Nowadays, many bands who previously made their name “flying the flag for indie rock” find that they cannot not live without their producers! Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your band could benefit from the services of a producer too.
A different pair of ears
For an artist, making music is a long and drawn out process of writing, rewriting, rehearsing, recording, editing, and mastering. When your band spends so much time with just one song, they become more likely to lose sight of the bigger picture. The smaller details of the music can niggle at you for days on end. You may even grow to dislike a song purely out of frustration. When you are struggling to see the forest for the trees, a producer could be your saving grace.
When they listen to one of your songs they are not only hearing it with highly experienced ears, but also unfamiliar ears. They will hear problems with it that you may not have spotted because you were too close. Perhaps the structure of the song could be improved, or the progression. The producer will hear your music differently to you, which is invaluable when recording. But it’s not just about spotting the negatives – they will help a band identify and focus on their strengths, bringing the best out in their musicianship in ways that the band never could on their own.
A touch of quality
One of the ways in which producers can accentuate the strengths of your musicianship is by giving your songs a unique and high-quality sound. Having professional equipment is one thing, but knowing how to use it creatively and expressively is another. This takes years of experience – experience that only seasoned producers will have. A producer can apply their knowledge and technical know-how to your music. They will know which mics are best suited to your vocals, which effects would work best with your instruments, and which guitar parts need overdubbing. Your drums will have room to breathe, sitting nicely in the mix as opposed to overpowering it.
All in all, bands will be able to capture and present their music far more accurately with the assistance of a producer who can bring the best out of their music. They will also be able to focus more on the music when the technical side of things is already covered by a producer – as stated above, getting stuck on smaller details such as the particular qualities of a guitar tone or the EQ on a snare drum can ultimately distract from the song itself. A good producer will take care of the equipment and sound engineering while encouraging the band to think about the more intangible aspects of their recording.
A taste of the industry
For independent bands new to the game, getting a producer to help record your material can act as an introduction to the music industry at large. You may start feeling like an outsider when you have to record and release music solely on your own terms. But taking that first step into a professional recording studio and laying down your music in an industry-standard format offers a glimpse at bigger and better things. This can be a motivational experience for up-and-coming bands looking to make new connections and grow as artists.
Furthermore, whether you like it or not, having a producer on your record acts as a form of validation due to the added quality they can offer. They can give your music an extra edge, making it easier to promote and distribute to a wider audience. As such, producers can be invaluable assets in terms of your music career – especially for those looking to make a living from their band. While there is of course a certain charm to home recordings and self releases, it may not stand you in good stead when it comes to securing a record deal or booking venues at which to perform. Everyone has to start somewhere, but they also have to go somewhere too!
A feeling of improvement
Understandably, many bands fear that a producer will get in the way of their artistic individuality. When you value your independence as a band, and perhaps even prefer doing things yourself, introducing a producer into the mix may seem unnecessary or counterproductive. However, such doubts are often based on the misconception that producers will take over your music and try to do everything on your behalf, when in fact their aim is simply to assist your creativity, giving your band a feeling of improvement by imbuing the music with the quality it deserves.
The producer will try to help your music fit into a wider aesthetic and work a cohesive package. They will be very careful now to inhibit the expressive purpose or the creative message that your band is trying to convey through music. While they will offer opinions about the best equipment to use and the quality of the sound, it will always be the band who controls the direction of their music. For the most part, they will not try to leave their mark on your work, not will they hijack it for their own purposes. Far from imposing on your band, good producers always know when to take a step back and let the band do their thing.
To get a better idea of how a music producer works in the studio, watch this amazing in-depth interview between George Apsion, lead producer and owner of Kore Studios, and fellow George Shilling of RecordProduction.com!
Kore Studios is a recording studio in West London run by experienced producer/engineer, George Apsion. We offer a large live space and two control rooms, backed up by a mixture of high-end and vintage gear, brought together by experts in producing and mixing various different styles of music. Get in touch to arrange your tailored studio session.