These are actual lyrics someone is paying me money to record and mix and master I just cannot believe….that….this is a real song someone sat down and wrote and was like “yeah, yeah this will really kill the rap game”
My kid does 13K in damage to studio equip, we handle it like lunatics.
I’m an audio engineer and score arranger full time in my self-owned business. It’s how I provide for myself, my fiancée (also CF), and my mother. I record, mix, and master for bands, voice-overs for local commercials, and write music for people’s weddings, college films, indie games, etc.. It was my passion since I was a child and every day I ask myself why I get paid to do what I do.
You know, until today.
I had a woman schedule to come in because she wanted me to record her monologue for an acting class. I thought it was going to be easy enough. I set up a mic and a music stand in the sound booth and got my workstation prepped for tracking. She was supposed to show up at 3:30, so when 4:00 came around, I called her to ask her if she was still coming. It was my last contract for the day and I was wanting to get home to my fiancée, dogs, and dinner.
“Oh, sorry sweetie, I’m going to be there soon. I just had to get my son from ex-boyfriend.”
4:12, she showed up with her child.
To preface, I’ve never really wanted kids, and don’t really hate them either. But I’ve been childfree of mind for a decade now in league of several bad child experiences in public.
Anyway, I sat her down at the conference table and tried to talk to her about the contract and billing, etc., and just couldn’t because of the six-years-old pile of ovary droppings next to her.
“Mommy it’s cold in here.” “Mommy, I’m bored.” “Mommy, that guy has girl hair.” “Mommy, I want to play on the phone.”
The incessant whining went on for the entirety of the discussion. She did nothing about it. I had an ache in my stomach that this might be a rough session.
I was right.
I showed her to the sound booth, positioned the mic at face level, told her the basics of mic use, and then she floored me with a question.
“Can my son stay in there with you while I do this?” I insisted that he wait in the conference room (across the hall from the control room) because the control room wasn’t a very kid-friendly place considering the 120K of equipment at arms reach.
“But he’s a little angel.”
I shouldn’t have taken her word for it. I SHOULD NOT have taken her word for it. This kid was ANYTHING but. I let him in, told him to sit in one of the office chairs and don’t touch anything. Needless to say, he touched. I queued the recording arm and signaled her to start. She got three lines into her take before I hear a deafening screech and crash.
That little shit machine had just knocked over a $4,000 Korg into a rack with $9,500 of equipment. Completely shattered the touchscreen on the Korg, busted the dials off of half of the effects, and totaled my distressor that I use for almost all the vocals I track.
All of this, by the way, was the room’s length apart from where I told the crotch goblin to stay.
The kid, because of the loud noise, started full-lung screaming. Not crying. Not yelling. Screaming.
The mother, with no hesitation, ran over to the control room and DEMANDED to know what I did to her child. She cussed at me and accused me of hurting her little snot monster. Threatened to sue and even swung at me. When I told her that her precious angel had just racked up at least twelve grand of damages, she said “good”, spit on me, then stormed out, slamming every door on the way. So I pulled the security camera footage and had filed a police report. Grand total: $13,504.25. I also mailed her the bill for her session for good measure.
Of six years in the studio, this is my only truly terrible experience. Fuck mombies. Fuck having children. Thanks for making my vasectomy decision that much easier on me.
10 essential tips… 20 mistakes… 30 production secrets and so on, such lists seem to be really popular these days. Although many of them are just full of crap. Especially forget about the longer checklists – even if you could find some good advices there, most tips are just nonsense, like “don’t mix bass with headphones”.
Anyway, to you aspiring producer, here’s a few things I think you should care about:
Limiting yourself can help drive creativity. Don’t use all of your instrumental arsenal at once, don’t try to cover all music styles in one track.
Listen to different styles of music and try to identify what you like and what you dislike.
Analyze your favorite artists’ work in great detail. Theorize with both feet on the ground.
Go ahead and copy other artists, but don’t settle there – tweak and add your own style and flavor.
Cover, remix and remake your favorite tracks, it’s a good and fun way to learn about music.
Use reference tracks, compare your shit to others, but don’t get paralyzed when your track doesn’t bang as loud as them.
Learn about synthesis and learn how to sound design different kind of instruments, e.g. strings, plucks, percussion (make synthetic drums using waveforms, a noise generator, filters, envelopes and such).
Check your music productions on several systems; from high-end studio monitor speakers to iPhone earbuds.
Sleep on it. Let your track mature over night and return to it with fresh ears.
Go hardware, get tactile if you are growing tired of a software-based environment. To actually play an instrument or to turn a real knob is really something else.
Get inspiration from collaborations with other artists. Just reach out to people you admire – this is globalization, this is the time of teh internetz.
Try to keep passionate about creating music, but don’t be afraid to make some demands of yourself, just to push things forward.
This is something I wrote/recorded a couple months ago. I guess it’s just sort of a demo, I know it’s pretty lame but I’ll re-record it someday with better equipment once I’m finished writing some other stuff. Either way here you guys go. I have a sheet of the words I’ll upload in a sec if I can find it too.
So I’ve had this blog for a year and a half now – yay! I’ve primarily focused on music production methods and tips. If you’re into that, making music, then here are a few (not all) old posts that could interest you. Now, did you ever wonder…