Behind the scenes/Procedures
steve10358
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#1
16th June 2009
Old 16th June 2009
  #1
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Joined: Feb 2007
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Behind the scenes/Procedures

Butch,

Can you walk us through behind the scenes stuff such as how you hook up with a band, how their ideas are represented to you, what you do to familiarize yourself with the music (listen to it in an office, car, take notes) and how you develop a vision where you wanna take it? etc.

It's difficult finding interviews with those that do what you do, so thanks for doing this!

Steve
#2
17th June 2009
Old 17th June 2009
  #2
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ButchVig's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 303

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve10358 View Post
Butch,

Can you walk us through behind the scenes stuff such as how you hook up with a band, how their ideas are represented to you, what you do to familiarize yourself with the music (listen to it in an office, car, take notes) and how you develop a vision where you wanna take it? etc.

It's difficult finding interviews with those that do what you do, so thanks for doing this!

Steve
Steve....
This is not a quick answer, as every band is different, so the process is different.
I'll try and give you some examples later...
steve10358
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#3
18th June 2009
Old 18th June 2009
  #3
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Joined: Feb 2007
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButchVig View Post
Steve....
This is not a quick answer, as every band is different, so the process is different.
I'll try and give you some examples later...
Thank you.

Steve
steve10358
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#4
25th June 2009
Old 25th June 2009
  #4
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I just wanted to take the time and elaborate by saying I was more interested in a brief summary versus an epic 20 paragraph reply. The Q was more about your thought process, rather than a specific band story.

I just figured I'd throw that out there so you didn't feel obligated to be that detailed- should you have time to reply. I know you are very busy, and if you don't reply, that's ok too!

Thanks again!

Steve
#5
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #5
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ButchVig's Avatar
 
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Posts: 303

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve10358 View Post
I just wanted to take the time and elaborate by saying I was more interested in a brief summary versus an epic 20 paragraph reply. The Q was more about your thought process, rather than a specific band story.

I just figured I'd throw that out there so you didn't feel obligated to be that detailed- should you have time to reply. I know you are very busy, and if you don't reply, that's ok too!

Thanks again!

Steve
Every situation is different, let me walk you through an example.

A couple years ago I got a call out of nowhere from Craig Aaronson at Warner Brothers. He told me about a group he had signed Against Me, and that they were great, really passionate young band. He was VERY enthusiastic on the phone, so I told him to send me some of their music.
A couple days later I received a package which had contained their previous album as well as several earlier EPs. I listened to the album Searching For A Former Clarity and really liked it, especially the song Don't Lose Touch.
i called Craig and he wanted me to fly immediately to Florida to see a gig, which i couldn't do as I was in the middle of another project. I looked at my schedule and saw an open weekend about 3 weeks later, so I flew to Milwaukee to see them on Warped Tour.
The day of the gig, I went straight to the venue (a huge, hot, asphalt parking lot) and their tour manager took me right to their tour bus. We chatted for a few minutes, and I followed them onstage, and was able to watch their performance a few feet away (always good to see them that close, you can really see how they play together).
After the brief set, I went back to their bus, and we sat down and talked for about 2 hours over a couple of beers. I asked them a lot of questions. They asked me a lot of
questions. They played a few new songs for me (one of them Up Th Cuts, which I immediately loved, and I noticed they had played it in the set earlier).
I really, really liked them, so as I shook hands and was getting ready to leave, I asked them "so, do you want to make a record together?" And they said "hell yeah!"
Normally, I would wait a few days to make a decision, talk to the A&R person again, listen to all the new demos...but I really felt a good vibe from hanging with them, and just decided to go for it.

The next step was pre-production, and I told Tom Gabel to start sending me demos. As the songs came in, I would give him very specific feedback..some of them were great as is, some songs needed a different groove, some I suggested chord changes to make the chorus better, etc...Sometimes I will suggest a reference point to a band, like "how about writing a song like this." iI had noticed a lot of the new songs were very social political (which is one of Tom's strengths, and one of the reasons i love his songwriting) and i suggested he write something more personal, maybe something that tells a story. I suggested "why don't you write a song that's a cross between "Rebel Rebel" and "Walk On The Wild Side"....a couple days later, he sent me an early demo for Thrash Unreal, which became the first single from "New Wave" and needless to say doesn't sound anything like the song references!

After I felt the songs were good, we booked studio time in Los Angeles, and I booked 2 weeks of pre-pro rehearsal. Andrew asked me a couple day beforehand "What are we going to do for the next 2 weeks?"....During rehearsals, I would deconstruct everything they were playing, have them play their parts solo for me (just the drums, just the bass, just the guitars) work on arrangements, and work on tempo maps (I also brought in a drum machine for Warren to play with as some of the songs were unstready...and at the end of two weeks, I knew, and the band knew, every part and note on every song they were playing!

Then we went into the studio and recorded the album!
#6
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #6
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Nashville TN
Posts: 68

Do you tend to record all of these pre pro sessions and do any of these recordings ever end up on the record? Do you tend to make the majority of your arrangement changes during this process or do you continue tweaking arrangements all the way through the mix?
#7
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #7
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 2,549

Great story!

That was a fantastic example of what the modern producers role entails, in my eyes. Getting right in there and absorbing the personalities and skills and making the best of it all.

Do you still get to spend time "hanging out" with bands before you work with them?

Or put another way, has the 'decline' of the industry affected the way you work, in terms of pre-production?
#8
26th June 2009
Old 26th June 2009
  #8
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 549

Very interesting and informative reply thx BV!
steve10358
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#9
30th June 2009
Old 30th June 2009
  #9
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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 84

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thank you very much Butch!!
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