For some people, going into the studio is all they dream about – other people dread the thought of stepping foot into a studio due to anxiety or fear.
Whether you’re in the first group, the second, or somewhere in between, going into the studio with the right mindset and ideas is make or break for your music.
Listen now to hear how you can increase your productivity, keep bandmates happy, and leave the studio with the best finished product that you can get!
What you’ll learn:
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#86: Six COVID Takeaways for ALL Musicians (Part 1)
– “Welcome to the Black Parade”
Welcome to episode 89 of the Bandhive podcast.
It is time for the episode of the band. I've podcast. My name is James Cross and I'm very, very, very, very, extremely excited and happy to have back my favorite co host Matt Hoos of alive in Barcelona.
You just got back from the studio after, I don't know, like a month on the road, going to see family being the studio, all that good stuff and I can't wait to hear all about it. But first Matt, how are you doing today? You know, James, If there was any way that I could be doing better, I wouldn't know what it was. It's a beautiful morning here in colorado. The weather is gorgeous. I'm starting off the morning right with the podcast and, and I got my cup of coffee.
My kids are happy, my wife's happy. So I've just had a nice long uh, Break from real life and now I got to jump right back into it. So eager and excited. Yeah, well man, that is great to hear. And if the weather holds out, we will have a wonderful day here as well. It's supposed to be 70 and cloudy with chance. Rain sounds perfect, fingers crossed. We don't get rain so I can go work a baseball game tonight. There you go. Yeah man. Well, like I said, it's a pleasure to have you back and I'm excited to talk about today's topic because I thought, what better to talk about than what you learned while you were in the studio this past month.
Yeah, studio time. Oh yeah. And you know, this is something we've talked about before is tips to go into the studio and all that kind of stuff, but it was a more abstract thing because it wasn't right after you had been in the studio, so just jumping right into things here when you went into the studio, how do you mentally prepare for that experience? Oh well, you know, for me, I'm a little bit different than a lot of people, You know, if you talk to most musicians, everybody's like super gung ho about going into the studio, everybody's always like, oh yeah man, we're going to go record all these new tracks, I call it The Dreams of Grandeur.
It's like the same problem you run into when you're in like high school and middle school and you have to like write a book report. And in your mind you're like, oh yeah, I'm gonna write about this, I'm gonna write about this and this is gonna be awesome, I'm gonna tie this in here and then like you get like a half a paragraph in and you're like, wait, what was I gonna write about? You kind of like start to lose focus or you know, you just had this like perfect plan for everything was going to be laid out, but when the rubber meets the road it's a little bit, you know worse for wear.
So for me, I'm one of those people who does not enjoy the studio, so it's kind of a a fresh perspective for all of you, all of you listeners out there, the studio was not always wonderful. I personally get a severe amount of anxiety every time I go into the studio and I hate it. I really, honestly, if there's a perfect word to sum up how I feel about going to the studio, it is hate, I love writing music, I love getting a polished product at the end.
I even enjoy finding places to put the bells and whistles for post production and things like that. But the actual act of tracking drives me up the wall. Now. I've met people who are like me, where they're like, oh yeah, I really don't like the studio and but I've met infinitely more people who are like, can't wait to get into the studio, can't wait to do this, you know, and I couldn't tell you if it's a common trait amongst people who have anxiety or if it's a common trait amongst singers, but for me it's a combination of both, my anxiety can get pretty crippling and it's nothing even really directly music related.
I mean, it is obviously because the whole nature of me being in the studio is music related, but my anxiety really comes from the nature of I am a member of a band. I am one piece of the puzzle and the one really tough thing about being a singer is that you're the cheerleader for the band, so you can listen to like the coolest music ever, and a bad singer will come in and totally ruin a project for you. Like, the band betray you in my opinion, is a perfect example of this betray you.
Has always written like pretty cool music and their singer's voice is terrible now that it's worked for them and they've been able to have like a nice long career of success and and I hope that they continue. But for me, when I hear that guy's voice, I'm like man, there's like a billion other people who would have been a better vocalist for this. And for me, I guess, since I have the benefit of sitting on the outside listening to other people's music and making those types of judgments, I also think about other people sitting on the outside of my music, making those judgments as well.
And so a lot of the time it can become really nerve wracking, because it's like, oh, is what I'm gonna sing, is this really going to, you know, is this going to represent everybody in the band? You know, is this really important to all of us? And so when that anxiety starts to set in, it's really hard. You know, not not only do you have to get in there and play your parts perfectly, but then on top of that, you're now fighting against your own anxiety. So, like, for all of our listeners who kind of experience the same thing for me, I found the most useful thing was making sure that you have demos.
You know, I know we've talked about demos repeatedly, but there's something that you can't ever hear when you don't record a demo, because when you are recording in the studio, you are in the booth and your producer is in the control room and they get to hear what you sound like recorded. It's not the same as what you hear in your ear while you're singing. Or while you're playing your brain will connect some dots, naturally. It's kind of what brains do, their massive computing organisms that allow you to connect dots in certain areas, you know, and some of the time those dots will be connected in your ear, and so you'll be singing something and you're like, man, that sounds so good, and it might be on time and it might be in key, but when it's played back it's like, wow, that doesn't sound very good.
What's it missing? That's something I feel for me as an artist. That's what we always listen for. Whenever we go back to listen to our stuff, to figure out if more needs to be added or if things need to be changed, is is what's missing, A finished product will sound finished, whereas an empty product will sound empty. You know, in a lot of the times I say, it's like, you don't know what's not there, unless it's not there, you pop in a super high quality record and you don't realize that there's like seven vocal parts during the verses.
You know, you just don't know that because these producers are so good at what they do, it's like, okay, yeah, you're gonna sing this in this register and then I want you to sing it one octave higher, but I want you to sing it quieter and then I want you to sing it one octave lower. But when you sing an octave lower, that's gonna really muddy it up. So I want you to smile while you sing it now. These are concepts that like a lot of people who haven't been in the studio repeatedly don't really understand.
There are lots of little phonetic tricks and things that you have to do. Like you can tell that I'm smiling right now, it makes me sound a little bit more like a sociopath. But when you're singing and you're smiling, it will actually bring in some brighter tones to what you're doing and it will also help you enunciate your words a little bit better. And so things like that, or it's like little tips and tricks of being in the studio, things were like if I was sitting at home in my living room singing, would it still sound good?
Yes. Would would somebody sitting in the room still be able to appreciate it? Yes. But when you are going to the studio, when your goal is to like record your perfect performance perfectly, that's really what you're trying to do is get everything that you you know, all of the emotion that you want to have captured all of the right notes, all of the perfect pitch in timber, the right emphasis that all needs to be done in the studio. And so sometimes what does that look like? Okay, go ahead and check that again.
Okay, go ahead and track that again. Okay, go ahead and track that again. Even if you did it perfectly because you're not just looking for perfect pitch or perfectly on time. One of my favorite sayings from one of our producers is, and has always been, uh he, he said it to us the first time I ever went into the studio, he said, it doesn't matter, you cannot auto tune attitude and I was like, man, that is so good. Like it's more important for you to make sure that you have your emphasis in your panache and your personality and your music than even for you to have to take that is perfectly on pitch because there's a lot of really awesome programs that can pitch correct you, you know, granted you're probably not going to be using that if you're competing at this level of the game or you're using it for polish up work or your machine gun kelly, right?
Or if that's your style, you know, like if you go and listen to like early Justin Bieber compared to late Justin Bieber, it's like, wow, this stuff early has like no auto tune, no melody, nothing and then like this later stuff, it's like now this is very obviously pitch corrected, but there's a certain amount of pitch correction that's considered socially acceptable in music and you know, thanks to like t pain making it more popular, there's lots of artists who do it, you know, and sometimes it's tasteful and James, you probably know a lot more of those types of tricks of the trade then a lot of people just because that's all done on the production side, but absolutely, you know, it's, it's your personality, your personality is supposed to shine through in your music.
That's really what you're selling. When you sell music, anybody can write a forecourt song with a lead over it. Music theory is music theory for a reason. You know, it is this is coded music law. Like it doesn't matter when you play a 153 that sounds pleasing to the human ear 100% of the time. Now there might be people who don't particular who don't like popular music and that's fine. That's personal preference. But if anybody ever tells you that pop music does not sound pleasant in their ear, they're lying to you.
It has to. So like when you have things like music theory, you can go in and you can learn all these things and you can write a song and for some reason it still might not get popular. Well, how come? Well, it doesn't get popular because it doesn't have your attitude. Or maybe, you know, there might be a multitude of reasons, but I guarantee you that the more attitude you have in your record, the more marketable it is the new Olivia Rodrigo, I believe she's killer. And if you listen to the emotion that she has in her songs, you know, she's got that driver's license song or it's just very like drab and sad and you can tell that she's sad when she sings that song and then she has that other song where it's like way more upbeat, kind of sounds like Paramore meets Taylor Swift, but she just rocks it and you can tell that she's kind of she's angry, she sounds good, but more importantly, she sounds like a bad ass.
She sounds like she's like, doesn't matter, doesn't matter what happens, I'm a champion and that you can feel those vibes coming off of her, that to me, you can't attitude attitude. And so when going into the studio, it's like when you have to like fight against anxiety, when you have to fight against stress, when you're sitting there in the booth and you're like, okay, I've got to sing this perfectly, I represent everybody. It's really easy to kind of like, forget to put your personality into things, don't forget that, don't forget to be yourself in the studio, don't let anxiety or stress or anticipation really like lead the way for what it is that you're doing, because this right here, like when you're in the studio, that's when you're cutting print, that's when it's time for you to shine, that's when it's time for you to be like, oh, this is what we've worked towards, I gotta put out something that people are gonna love and how do you do that?
Well, you start with attitude. If this is music that you're truly proud of when you wrote it, you had attitude, then that should be easy enough to get in, you know? But it's difficult for everybody. Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to add something there back on episode 86 part one of six Covid takeaways for all musicians where we had my friend David Ryan Olson of the music business mindset podcast here. He's a good producer. And one of the things that he touched on in that episode is when you go into the studio, just go in and play or perform with confidence because recording is cheap.
Like the actual, if you have to do another take, that's cheap. I'm not saying the whole day in the studio is cheap, but that section so play with confidence. And if you are going to mess up mess up loud, like that's the thing. I don't know how many takes Olivia, Rodrigo have to do to get her vocals spot on, but like you were saying in that one song, she's angry, I'm sure that emotion, she was putting 100% into it, knowing that hey, if I mess this up, who cares, we can do another take in the big picture, it's better since we're paying all this money to go into the studio, it's better to mess up loud a few times, then be timid and just tiptoe up to the mic and whisper Absolutely.
It kind of brings me to my next part where we're criticism, criticism is an integral part of being in the studio now, for anybody who's in a band, you know, maybe some of you have a band mate who is like super anal about how your music is, maybe you're that person in your group that's like, you know, this has to be perfect, you know, and which is good, you know, don't crucify the perfectionist because they are your greatest asset, but it is important to remember that criticism is going to come, nobody likes criticism.
So if you can take it constructively apply what they're telling you, and the thing is it doesn't hurt to try, keep in mind that it doesn't hurt to try while you're in the booth, you know, we just recorded three more songs And we didn't have 100% of the vocal parts ironed out, we didn't have all the harmonies ironed out or anything. And so while I'm in the booth, I have my producer and I have jesse sitting there saying, hey, why don't we try this? And for me it's like, okay, I have to be good with the flow.
I could sit there and be like, oh, I didn't write that so I'm gonna be upset. You know, it's like, no, that just curb that crappy attitude and curb the anxiety, realized this is a project, this is something you all work on and it's okay for more than just one of you to be proud of it. And so like if there's certain things, like for instance when we recorded one of these songs, I had written a line, a specific way, I wanted the last word of the line to fall on the downbeat of one of the next bar.
So I recorded it that way. Then Jessie heard it and he's like, you know, I think we should try it. So where it finishes before that first bar. So I said, okay, it's gonna sound bad that way. But okay. So we did it a couple times. He liked it at first and he said, okay cool. Well we hadn't tracked the chorus yet, it was like the blind leading into the chorus. So then when we went and tracked the chorus with everything there it sounded off, it sounded weird.
And so he said, you know what, Matt, you're right, it sounds better when it's on the downbeat. So let's go back and change that. And honestly we probably made more ground just recording it twice than, and I tried to fight with him and then on top of that he would have had a bad taste in his mouth, He would have been left with this. Like man would if we did this it could have sounded better. I would have been like, man, I can't believe he wanted to go away from this when this obviously sounds better or you could try both things figure out which objectively sounds better, you know?
and it was great because we recorded both of them and my producer was just like this one sounds better. It was like okay, cool. Everything worked out nicely. No emotion needed to be, you know, involved with the band mates. And on top of that we were able to get like this third party objective opinion outside looking in saying, oh if I were listening to this song, I would think this sounds like a more polished, better product. So like that criticism, a lot of the time it saves you going back to that dream of grandeur.
It's like we think that everything is going to be perfect. But in reality it's like dude, utilize your bandmates utilized the fact that they care about this project to utilize the fact that they have also listened to music their entire life utilized the fact that they care. So you know, hopefully you have bandmates that care enough about what you're doing, that they're going to sit there next to the, you know, like I've heard Jesse ask our producer before he does this book you that I just like sit next to you the entire time.
He's like, honestly, I wish more people would do it. He's like, it is frustrating at times because like if you don't know what's going on and you're sitting there, you're like, well, are you the little annoying kid being like, are we there yet? Are we there yet? What's this button do? That's not helpful. But if you learn enough about music production and you can say like for his particular, you know, his voice in this part, when he keeps singing that it just sounds a little too wet to me.
And then people like all of a sudden it's a total paradigm, you know, like, James, if you had somebody say that to you, how would you feel? I'd be like, okay, let's see what we can do well, and you would feel like they're more involved in the process, it might be a little bit more work for you, but I would be willing to say that the work that you put into it would be a little bit more fulfilling to get out, right? Yeah, absolutely. And it's ultimately the end product.
If that's better, it's worth it. Like, I remember the first time I worked with the band where I made a suggestion and they didn't fight it, and they're just like, yeah, let's try it. And that made it so much easier for me to bring up other suggestions during that session. And working with that artist was easier than any of the other bands I'd worked with before. Where every suggestion was like an argument where it's like, no, like this will be better. Let's just try it. And if we don't like it, we can undo it.
It's pro tools. It's not like it's committed to tape, it's pro tools. We can hit command Z and having that environment where it's an open discussion both ways between the artist and the producer or engineer, whoever you're working with, having that open communication channel is so wonderful. And like, I don't even know if we ended up using my idea anymore. I just remember that they were open to that first idea. So I brought up way more ideas in that session than I would have with other artists who were argumentative about it.
And so because of that, the final product was better because the band was opening to, you know, it goes back to the constructive criticism you mentioned and it wasn't even criticism, it was just like, hey, like what if we add this little guitar part here? I think I was telling them to try adding some octaves or something. Just something that's going to make it a little bit more full, right? A fresh perspective. And that's the most important thing is if you can go into the studio ready to take on a fresh perspective, you know, in your mind, it's like all of our stuff set in stone now, we're going to go print it.
It's like, well no all of your planning is done your demos and stuff like that, Everything is still subject to change. You know, like you might get in there, you might record something, you know, like I don't like that guitar tone. I see stars, I can't remember what record it was. Maybe it was three D. But I see Stars recorded an album called three D. And the Guitar Tech slash producer who did all the tracking and got all the tones for the record. It took him three days to find the guitar tone for the album.
Three days of moving his amp around, changing different little tiny tweaks and little tiny subtle nuances about it to get this perfect tone. And then when they sent it off to their mixing engineer, he turned the guitar is way down in the mix. And I remember talking to him about that and how upset he was. He was like, dude, I should have just used the stock plugging. Like if they were just going to turn, you know, the whole mix down. And then after the fact when I talk about those guys about it, they were like, oh yeah, we actually really enjoyed like the guitar tones and we didn't like how much they got turned down and mixing.
And it was like, man, these were guys who were very obviously a part of the tracking process. But then like when it came to mixing and mastering, it was like, they didn't go with somebody who was ingrained in the process, which was like having that producer, there was a change in paradigm where it's like, oh dude, if we're going to take three days to find a guitar tone, like these are people who care about what their music sounds like. I mean, that's insane. Three days to find a guitar tone.
Like, you don't hear stories like that too much anymore because most bands don't have the budget to go and you know, to have three days in the studio finding a single guitar town. So like find guys that know how to do this stuff, take that. You know, like you're saying it was it's not even criticism, it's like, hey, believe it or not, I also have listened to music my whole life and I have heard other bands do this and that makes products sound better and you don't have to take the advice.
But in the end, if it's something as simple as saying yes to like one thing, and even if you don't use it, there might be 10 other things that that leads to where it's like, oh, I didn't like the first thing, but these other like, seven definitely make our album better. In turn, it makes the entire experience better for everybody. The people walk away going, man, this is some new, fresh aspect to my music. The producer walked away going, man, I'm really happy that I helped in that project.
I know if I was recording a band, if I just tracked all of their stuff and mixed and mastered it, that would make me excited. But if I gave them my opinions and they use those, that would make me even more excited. There's something really magical about having a producer who is just on fire about your music as well. And so like if they're willing to give you criticism, if they're willing to like tell you things while you're in the booth, like stand on your tippy toes, like what?
Oh, stand on your, stand on your tippy toes while you track this next part. It's like, what do you mean? It's like, oh, that'll just help you hit the high notes. You're like, how does standing on my tippy toes help me hit the high notes. It's like, oh, I don't know, but psychologically it does. And sure enough, you try it and you're like, holy cow, that's the weirdest thing ever. And I don't know what it is about tightening every every muscle in your body and standing on your tiptoes to hit those high notes helping or to smile and having that make your enunciation better or breathing heavily while you track your vocals.
So that way the mic captures some of your, your breath penis in your airiness. A lot of these, these are tricks and tips that like you as an artist won't discover because you don't spend enough time tracking things. These are things that producers learn. These are things that producers are like, oh yeah, no, we need this to be brighter. Like I literally had my producer tell me, he's like, what did he say? He's like, Come 3″ closer to the mic and use more breath but sing lighter, more of a whisper, whisper harder, but with more breath and 3″ closer to the mic.
And I'm just like, what a lot of what you're doing in the studio, It's not perfect pitch in perfect time. It's enough breath and it's the distance from the microphone and it's your inflection when you say a word, and it's like how breathy your layers are for one of my songs, I sang a normal line, and then after that I sang an octave and then after that I whispered that same octave. And if you were to listen to that soloed whispered octave track, it would sound like a squeaky mouse.
It doesn't sound pleasant by itself, but when you add it as a layer and you mix it in and you drop it down in the mix and you stuff it up real high back behind everything else. You're like, wow, People don't like music, People like noises. That's what they really like. Music production is the bells and whistles. If you were to go watch a movie without the postproduction explosions or without the perfect overdub, the movie would be laughable if you're unsure of this, go get on Youtube and watch any movie with a laugh track.
There's sad movies on there with laugh tracks. I actually, even just earlier on this morning, I saw there's a movie where Bruce lee fights, chuck Norris and in the scene where they're both taking off their robes to fight each other, somebody overdubbed with like just some like sensual type music and it totally makes the entire thing feel different. You know? It's like, oh they're taking off their clothes and now this is now the central music instead of taking off their belts to fight each other to the death.
It's like okay, these little subtle nuances, you don't realize how much they kind of control your emotion and what you're thinking. Music is super, super powerful. That's why people like hans Zimmer and steve Jablonski are like the only names that you ever see on like movie soundtracks because these guys literally know so much about music and about just in the individual note, it's like if I just play this one note for a long time, that's really going to make them anxious and they have these like tools and tricks, they know the subtle nuances like the back of their hand.
And so like if you get some awesome producers that know things like this or where it's like, oh, this might be better if you don't, you know, you don't want to resolve on that note or you do want to come down on on the downbeat of one having those producers who give you constructive criticism who know enough about their craft and who are really on fire about your project. If you have that combination of things, it's like, don't ever go to anybody else if they give you a good product, like they're a part of your team and just like, you would respect your drummer's opinion or your singer's opinion or your guitarist opinion.
You should also respect your producers opinion because the more excited they are about your product, guaranteed the better product you're gonna end up getting. And it's also going to curb some of those things like anxiety and, you know, and just the anticipation or your nerves or, or maybe you're somebody who feels the burden of having too much on your own shoulders, and then it's nice to just have, like, somebody else, give their opinion and then you're like, sweet, thank goodness I have a billion other things to worry about.
I don't want to worry about whether this should come in on, on four or on 12 things. Well, first of all, a second ago, you're talking about how composers know where every note should go. And I want to just point out how important every note is. You don't want to have too many notes. You don't wanna have too few notes. You want to have just the right amount of notes in just the right place and kind of as uh, I don't know if this is proof, but an example of how one note can matter the G. At the beginning of Welcome to the Black Parade, you hear that one note, bum bum bum bum And you know what song that is?
Just that one note or how about the intro? Piano note to the reason? By harvesting, Dun dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun dun. I mean those simple things, it's just like your brain is so programmed to that. David Gilmour is the master guitar player who probably could play just as fast as a mom steen and steve vai and joe satriani and john Petrucci. He probably could play 23 notes a second. But you know what else he can do, he can shut up, he can stop playing the instrument.
He can literally say this 32nd guitar solo is going to be six notes and you get to the end of that and you're like, that was gorgeous. Beauty does not need technicality, technicality. It's not be beauty. They're not mutually indistinguishable from each other. It's not, you know, they're not opposites. It's like Mark Twain used to say, don't use five words when three words will do. And I think the same thing goes for when you're going into the studio, it's like If you're gonna play three notes and that's gonna sound just as good as you playing a 10 note solo, why go to the extra work, You know, and maybe there's a place for it.
Maybe if they're interchangeable, then maybe there is a reason for it. Maybe one fits your style a little bit better. But the point is, is like, the options are there. And so, like, even though you're going into the studio with your whole plan laid out, you have to have an open mind. That's hard. It's important though. I mean, not everybody is good at taking criticism. As a matter of fact, most people aren't, you know, not everybody is good at changing things last minute, you know, especially in music, we practice things over and over and over again and we build up a muscle memory.
So then what happens when you're trying to change that muscle memory into something else? And I've even had my my own producer say it before, we're like he's recording, me and his wife is standing right behind him and he was just having me do the same thing over and over. I actually heard her go like jimmy like this seems mean, what you're doing to him. She like literally thought that what he was doing was mean because I was having trouble getting the vocal part. We had changed the vocal part while I was in the booth and so I'm like trying to overcome my muscle memory and jimmy just said he's like, no, no, no, he's killing it, it's just that he's trying to overcome muscle memory and he was 100% right and then I did it a few more times and then eventually got it right, we used that melody line and everything was way way, way better.
So like there are things that like on the outside looking in you might be like oh this is bad, like this is harsh, this is like going to the studio man, these producers that was the only negative, you know, they made us change our music like now dude there's no producer alive that wants to put out a bad product, you guys are in this weird limbo area where like you're at the mercy of of how good the music that's brought to you is written. Some producers are made by the fact that they produce good artists, you know it's like they're good at their craft and then they produce artists that know how to write music boom, what a cocktail for success.
Then there's producers who are really good at their craft that don't get the pleasure of producing good artists. And you can still tell that their work is good, but it's still harder for them to compete because they're not getting these giant label budgets and they're not getting these, you know, massive record contract deals where it's like, oh yeah, we're gonna end up sending five artists from our label, Joey Sturgis prime example. He recorded like two albums. It redefined the metal industry in the hardcore industry. And then the following year, every single major label artist that played hardcore music released an album with Joey Sturgis everyone.
And then lo and behold then the bands that did it. First Attack Attack and Devil wears Prada. Neither one of them went back to Joey searches after that because they realized that everybody in the industry had the same tones, the same tricks, so to speak. Then they released, I believe it was the dead throne album. Devil wears Prada released Dead throne. And it was a lot more raw and in my opinion, the production quality was not as high. You know, it wasn't as Hi Fi as roots below, but it was great.
It was different, it was fresh and it was something that was like, oh, for the last three years, the industry has been oversaturated with all these massive symbol swells and giant snare drums that literally sound like they're in the world's largest auditorium, which don't get me wrong for like how big you wanted your metal music to be. That sounded really good. But when everybody did it, people just started begging for something fresh. And so I was like having different producers, you know, James, I know you've talked about, you know, having different audio engineers, different trackers, different mixers, different masters, you know, just to get more people involved in your project.
But on the production side it's like you guys are lucky if you get artists who are open minded, who are humble about their music, who respect what you have, like what you have to bring to the table as an artist. I do not go to a producer simply because of the gear they have. And if I do that's a fool's errand, I have heard some of the stuff that paul level has tracked on tape and it's phenomenal that does not come from the gear that he has, that comes from the experience that he has.
I have heard people that have the best gear in the world and I've listened to their finished products and I'm like that's okay. Or I've heard songs where I know that there's like over $100,000 in an account specifically budgeted for this song. And I hear it and I'm like, that's maybe like a $5,000 recording you know, and, and so having people that are ingrained in your team, you know, you really want, you guys are integrated with each other, you're bringing them business, you want to write the best music for them, They want to do the best production for you.
A rising tide raises all ships. You want your producers to be busy, you want to make your producers money, you want to bring them business. So listen to what they have to say. To be honest, producers probably listen to a hell of a lot more music than musicians do. I heard it said one time I asked a producer to our very first DP we ever recorded, I said, what's your favorite band? And he said, you know, I don't even know, said, oh, really? How come? He's like, well, does the chef go home and cook dinner for his family at night?
He's like, I just don't know that I, I have a favorite anymore, or that I even know what I listen to for pleasure, because my whole life is music. If you're gonna be working with somebody whose entire life is music, then cling to that person, make sure that they love what they do and integrate them into your project. If you're going to them for production, that's what your goal is. You're, you're not, it's not about their gear, it's about them being a part of what you're doing for the long haul.
Yeah, absolutely. It's the ear not the gear is a common saying in the audio world, and I want to kind of tie together, I think three different points you made there. So the first one being, yes, you know, pick a producer, the second one splitting up the duties, like you said that I refer to all the time, which is very true. And then the third one is being open to constructive criticism and I want to turn that around a little bit and say also be open to giving constructive criticism because like your example with I see Stars, if the band had just requested a revision and said, hey, the guitars are a little low in the mix, could you bring them up please?
They probably could have solved that. And there have been times where in the past I worked with an artist and I send them the mix or the master and they say they love it and then I hear it later. Yeah. You know, we weren't actually that happy with it, but we didn't want to say anything like, why not? You're paying me for this. So now, every time I work with a client, once they sign off on the final mixer master or whatever it is that I'm delivering to them, I set a reminder and one week later I hit them up, I'm just like, hey, are you still happy with this?
Let me know. Like, I'm happy to make any changes if you've had a week and you think there's something that needs a little tweaking, you know, I'm not going to restart the whole thing from scratch, but if you want, hey, can you bring up the vocals? Three decibels here? Like that is no problem because I want you to be happy and I don't want you to think like, hey, he's going to be upset if we go back and try to make a change. So be open to asking people to make changes.
Don't be afraid that you're going to upset somebody, this is your art. You have the right to say, hey, can you make this adjustment please? I don't think anyone would fault you for that, and if they do, that's not a good person to be working with. Well, you know, that's when we recorded our debut full length album with paul, there were specific things that jesse was asking for, and he was saying like, hey, can we try this? and after Jesse had asked like four or 5 different things, and paul was going through making mixing changes and whatnot.
He just kind of leaned back in his chair and he said, he's like, you know, man, I'm trying things that I've never tried before, Which to hear that coming from somebody who had literally recorded people on tape, like in his basement when he was like 15, it's like, that's pretty impressive to have, you know, like 25 years of audio engineering under your belt on eight track and tape, and you know, vinyl, and like, and for you to say, oh this, I'm trying things that I've never tried before, I'm doing things in ways that I never thought of, and it was both really refreshing to hear, because we could kind of see that it made paul a little more excited.
You kind of made paul a little more excited because It now was no longer what he was doing every day for the last 25 years, you know, that was like, oh, let me see what kind of like, new tips and tricks I can do. And then consequently, you know, when we sent off that album to be listened to by a whole bunch of people, people were just like, wow, sonically, this is some of the best producing I've ever heard. And it was so cool because it was like, wow, we had this guru who just by us asking a few things, it was kind of able to like light, a little bit of like excitement in his life.
So instead of him like sticking to his guns and doing exactly what he thought was going to be the objectively best way to produce an album, he tried new things and in turn, he was just like, how this is really cool, I'm really happy that I did that and you know, which in turn probably made it. So we got a better product in the end, you know, who knows for sure, because we don't know what the product would have been without it, But the fact that we tried it was it was just it made all of us feel like the producer that we chose was integrated into our project.
That's really all you can do. That's what the music industry is, is finding a team of people who are integrated with the project that you are pursuing. You know, whether that's your bandmates, your producers, your marketing teams, your label, you don't ever want to work with somebody who doesn't want to be on fire about your project. If they don't want to be on fire about your project, then they don't want to be a part of your project. If they don't want to be a part of your project, then they shouldn't be a part of your project.
So this kind of all actually ties into my last point about going into the studio, you need to have fun. And this is something i it's like a mantra that I tell myself too, because like, my bandmates know that I do not enjoy going into the studio and so we try as hard as we can to make things exciting, you know, and whether that's just like simple things like all going to lunch together while you're in the studio, hanging out together, watching videos together, you know, listening to music together after you've tracked a song if you're staying in the studio, which a lot of people do, sometimes you'll be able to go and listen to the song after your producer has gone home for the night and then you might be able to come up with post production ideas or maybe it's like I've literally been listening to this music for two days straight, I'm miserable and I don't want to, I don't want to listen to it anymore.
Then maybe it's time for you guys to go see a movie together. There's all sorts of things that you can do and it's, it's about having fun, it's about the experience start to finish. So whatever you have to do in order to like make that time better, do it, have people that care about you and find whatever way works best for you to conquer your anxieties and who knows, maybe, maybe you and I do not share any of the same stresses of the studio, Maybe you're like a guitarist and you're just phenomenal.
Like I remember watching the guitarist from the air I breathe, just nail one of his like super nutso solos first take. There are people like that. My drummer, we have tried very, very hard to make it, make the studio more enjoyable for our drummer because he's such a good drummer that he will literally knock out an entire album in one day. No problem. He's done it on multiple occasions, which really sucks for him when he comes to the studio for two weeks because then he literally does everything day one and then he sits around and twiddle his thumbs and he doesn't, doesn't necessarily care too much about like whether or not I go up or I go down on this vocal line and so a lot of the time what we've done is we've separated his drumming days into like two or three days.
So that way he doesn't just come in on day one and then he's gone the longer he's there and doesn't do work, the less he wants to be there, the less integrated he is. So you want to bring people in, you've got to figure out what works best for you and who knows, maybe coming in and knocking it out and one day is the magic. But in my experience, I've been in the studio by myself, I've been in the studio with one other person and I've been in the studio with my entire band and it's always, always, always a better time when my entire band is there when we're all there pursuing what we're passionate about.
Yeah, I feel like that sense of camaraderie really makes a huge difference and I want to toss something out there too because you mentioned going into the studio and you know, you grab lunch or you go see a movie, you should all as a band do that. Even when you're not in the studio, just like have a once in one thing where it's like, hey, we're going to go do something fun together, we're not going to talk about band stuff, we're just going to have a good time and hang out because that will make the band that much tighter and will help you make better music and better business decisions as your career progresses.
Mhm Mhm Mhm Mhm That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. I just wanted to reiterate how glad I am to have Matt Hoos back on the show after his time away in the studio with his band alive in Barcelona. As much as I love having guests on the show and we will have more guests in the future, It is also very nice to have somebody that you have on the show every single week and you can bounce ideas back and forth and have a discussion and there's that report already built up, that is super awesome and I just want to throw this out there Matt and I both offer coaching for artists through Bandhive.
So if you are looking for some advice or some kind of structure or just don't know exactly what you should be doing with your band, head on over to Bandhive dot rocks slash coaching to fill out our application and sign up for coaching with either one of us. We'll look at your application and see if you're a good fit and then we'll figure out which one of us is the best coach for your situation, depending on what your needs are and how that fits in with our expertise.
So again, that's banned Hive dot Rocks slash coaching. Head on over now to apply aside from that, we will be back with another new episode next Tuesday at six a.m. Eastern time. Until then, I hope you have an awesome week. Stay safe. And of course, as always, keep rockin.
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