Home Recording Forum

I talk a lot about music recording at home in my blog. From using my voice recorder to put ideas down through to microphone technique and Pro tools. Its all scattered amongst my song releases, music downloads and photos here. Recently, I've had conversations with friends more integral to the internal philosphy of DIY music and Home Recording in general...

Can a songwriter be an effective music producer for his own project? Is a self-producer the ultimate music wanker? The internet is drowning in a heaving sea of mediocre music recorded badly and some would say that its killing (or already killed) the music industry.

I think the answer is not a straight forward "yes or no" but more about what your musical and career goals are. If you're aim is to be a huge Top 40 artist then maybe not. Take a look at the music charts, how many in the top 50 are home recordings?? ANY?? At the moment of writing this I can say firmly, no. Sure there may be some examples of this happening, but if your goal is to compete with major labels, with big budget recordings and promotion schedules, then home recording is probably not the path to take. Audio engineers and music producers are highly skilled and while their industry is taking an on-going battering lately, they are still the top of the game.

In many respects, being a DIY music producer is operating outside of the concept of an 'industry'. Creating a sound unique to your own music and vision (that would probably not get traction with record labels anyway). Get that music out there and start building an audience of people who may be jaded by the posturing and predictability of the pop music industry. This is where home recording belongs and where the quirks and limitations associated with lower budgets can become part of the beauty. Of course there's still a learning curve and there's still financial outlay. There are still benefits to working with producers or mix engineers or mastering engineers. But the rules are yours to make up as you go along, your path becomes part of your unique identity as an artist.

 

1 comment

  • Peter Kearns

    Peter Kearns New Zealand

    Hi Fronz. I'm shocked at the idea of 'Is a self producer a music wanker?'. Has it really come down to that way of thinking? This is the first time I've heard that. If so, I guess we better include Prince, Kate Bush, Paul MCCartney, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, Jeff Lynne and a slew of others that have done this, some of them to a large degree. My opinion is that it doesn't matter where it's done, self-produced or not. What separates the pro from the amateur is the quality of the decisions you make in the process, and naturally the longer you've been doing it the better decisions you'll make. Also money. It's not cheap to do this well. But even if someone has money and can afford the best gear there is, if they don't know what they're doing, it won't sound good. That's where experience comes in. I have a modest studio, but over thirty years I've worked in all kinds of places from shoestring huts to world class complexes, and I came through the tape recording era. So experience tells me right away what I can logically expect from a given set of equipment. This is in contrast to the newbies I meet who believe they can get world class recordings using a laptop through a home stereo or even headphones. I see this kind of ignorance a lot, and I also see a disinterest in learning about recording and it's history, which I think is necessary if someone is serious about doing it. Basically, many guys just want the (so-called) glory of being able to say they're 'producing'. So to use the word us antipodeans love so much, it's those guys that are the 'wankers'. They get in the way of guys like you and me doing it for the right reasons. You're younger than me, but I don't view you as a product of the internet age. Clearly you would've been a musician whenever you were born. The real deal. Someone with a voice. Self-produced or not, that comes through. Self-production can be a cross between desire and practicality. So next time someone spins you a bs line about self-production, tell 'em to go fuck themselves, and tell'em Pete sentya. Cheers, Peter.

    Hi Fronz. I'm shocked at the idea of 'Is a self producer a music wanker?'. Has it really come down to that way of thinking? This is the first time I've heard that. If so, I guess we better include Prince, Kate Bush, Paul MCCartney, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, Jeff Lynne and a slew of others that have done this, some of them to a large degree.

    My opinion is that it doesn't matter where it's done, self-produced or not. What separates the pro from the amateur is the quality of the decisions you make in the process, and naturally the longer you've been doing it the better decisions you'll make. Also money. It's not cheap to do this well. But even if someone has money and can afford the best gear there is, if they don't know what they're doing, it won't sound good. That's where experience comes in. I have a modest studio, but over thirty years I've worked in all kinds of places from shoestring huts to world class complexes, and I came through the tape recording era.
    So experience tells me right away what I can logically expect from a given set of equipment. This is in contrast to the newbies I meet who believe they can get world class recordings using a laptop through a home stereo or even headphones. I see this kind of ignorance a lot, and I also see a disinterest in learning about recording and it's history, which I think is necessary if someone is serious about doing it. Basically, many guys just want the (so-called) glory of being able to say they're 'producing'. So to use the word us antipodeans love so much, it's those guys that are the 'wankers'. They get in the way of guys like you and me doing it for the right reasons.

    You're younger than me, but I don't view you as a product of the internet age. Clearly you would've been a musician whenever you were born. The real deal. Someone with a voice. Self-produced or not, that comes through. Self-production can be a cross between desire and practicality. So next time someone spins you a bs line about self-production, tell 'em to go fuck themselves, and tell'em Pete sentya.

    Cheers, Peter.

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