The creating and producing of great music

It it feels good……..

It might sound obvious but when deciding between vocal takes or if an instrument should be added to an arrangement, go with your gut. It does not lie to you unless you want it to.

Sometimes you really want your gut to lie to you.
Sometimes you have to be less then harsh to spare the feelings of a delicate artist.

But most of the time, lead with your gut and head down the path that feels the truest.

My body is an indicator of what I am feeling. If I start bending my back when a singer is trying to hit a high note, my body is instinctually trying to bend the note as a guitar player would when reaching for an emotional peak.

Trust your body. It knows what is good.


Less is more

Whenever I get to a place where adding or changing small items do not help to bring out the best in a song, I tear it down and build from the foundation.

Leave the vocal and the most important instrument to convey the emotion of he song, then add parts one at a time that are really necessary and do not fight each other. Less parts mean each can be louder and have it’s own space.

Be ruthless and do not hold on to the past.

Five Questions

Five questions to ask an artist before you produce them:

1. What are your influences?
2. Who are your favorite current artists?
3. How do you see yourself as an artist?
4. How do you want to be seen as an artist?
5. What kind of music career do you want to have in the future?

Once these are answered honestly, the many decisions that must be made regarding song styles and choices, vocal delivery, and arrangements will be made with the end game in mind.

Inspired from an article by producer Cliff Magness

1. Surround yourself with talented people

2. Let them bring their A game and show their unique talents – it will make you look better

3. Come to a rehearsal, session, or production meeting confidant and well rehearsed

4.  Pick the specialty that is unique to you and become known for that

5. Always aim for the highest production and performance level and allow your creative partners to do the same

Is it live or is it a show?

I went to see two concerts in the last few weeks.

The Decemberests at Hard Rock Live put on an amazing recreation of their latest 45 minute rock opera. Straight through with no breaks or talking between songs, each of the characters played their progressive rock parts and character vocals perfectly. Their devoted audience knew what to expect and they got it. Even when Colin Maloy’s guitar amp was making loud humming and buzzing sounds like a blown tube until the tech crew fixed it, it just made it more real and honest for us.

After a 30 minute break, their second set was just the opposite. It felt completely ‘off the cuff ‘. When they divided up the crowd for a three part sing along, or when the audience passed the drummer over their heads, they had their fans eating it up.

A great show and the audience walked away with more then they expected.

The other concert was Blues Traveler at a small club The House of Blues. They are a musicians Jam Band and they felt like they were playing for themselves with long extended solos. That would be fine except the groove was not there like at a Grateful Dead show. Without something to move your body to it became a cerebral experience. Their hit “Runaround”  from 15 years ago was the highlight as it actually had a groove and a melody everyone sang along with.

I came to hear John Poppers great harmonica work, but with his constant riffing, it did not have the impact it should have had.

The future of the music business is authenticity, being able to play, being honest but most importantly pleasing your core audience.

Good vrs. Bad Music

Is there a such thing as bad music? What is good music? If we call good music good, is it because it is really good or is it because we have lost a reference point?

By definition, bad is substandard, poor, inferior, second-rate, second-class, unsatisfactory, inadequate, unacceptable. Does society set the standards or does the media force it on us?

Think of an example of music that you labeled as ‘bad’. Someone else could hear it while they in the middle of an amazing experience and upon hearing it again get reminded of that experience. To them, would it be called ‘good’ music even though society might agree it does not fit in their standards of quality.

Music put together with any visuals also could be hard to simply categorize as good and bad because the visuals entice our brain to react in a different way.

– Please post you thoughts.

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