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What to do when the band that payed you to produce them won’t listen to your advice
Old 2nd January 2020
  #31
Gear Maniac
 
Wilburguy's Avatar
As some others have mentioned in this thread, don't forget that we engineers and producers are service providers. George Massenburg one said in an interview I saw,

"We serve at the pleasure of the artist"

Do your best to guide them, but when push comes to shove, remember that is their music and do what they ask.

In the long term you will be judged on the experience the client had working with you, not the sound of the final project.
Old 6th January 2020
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
does any engineer/producer in 2019 have enough work that they can afford to turn down work??? prolly not


A good producer can make any band ready, especially with a DAW at hand.
I do have plenty of work; I treat what I do as an art and a craft. And I have refused clients who treated it as a joke. Producer/musician disagreements are common. It's part of the creative process, and both sides should be prepared to listen to alternative viewpoints.

If sloppy vocals doubles are part of their sound, fine, I can roll with that. But if it isn't, and they even aren't far enough along musically to even tell their performance is sloppy, and are adamant that inferior results are 'good enough', then I'm willing to step out and let them work with someone else producing.

As I mentioned, I would be willing to do hired gun work tracking and mixing, but I know when to step back as producer if they aren't willing to accept or even discuss my advice.

This is just my own view, I wouldn't expect anyone else to have it. If the 'bills need to be paid' mentality is driving your artistic decisions, that's your own call.
Old 6th January 2020
  #33
Gear Guru
 

The OP implied that he is charging the band for producing. I would assume this means he is charging them more than his standard studio rate, for his guidance, expertise and extra work. For the responsibility he is taking for delivering a finished product and not just X amount of hours.

I have always considered the extra expense charged for Producing to be "motivational" (in the same way that psychoanalysts say the fee is part of the therapy). That is, they should be looking at their bank account and thinking "we are paying this guy for his advice- we had better listen to him." If the band thinks they know better, why are the paying more than just the hourly rate?

That's why this band strikes me as so weird. Or the deal is weird. If the band is not paying extra, they will feel much freer to to disregard the producer's direction. If they are paying extra and they are unwilling to accept advice, then they truly are not worth a second thought, IMO. Do the engineering (and remove your producer credit) and pocket that extra cash as a fee for your pain.
Old 28th January 2020
  #34
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Really interesting thread.



This, to me, is what most of the "Nevermind" album sounds like. That record did pretty okay.

And if my producer suggested that I fake a double by nudging a clone a few ms and panning it, I'd probably stop asking for suggestions.



So what it comes down to is, you're putting your interests ahead of the band's. They want a record that pleases them and sounds like them and their music, while you want a record that sounds slick enough that other people will want to make slick records with you. If a record company hires you to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse that's one thing; if a band hires you to realize their own vision that's something else. Pros do the job they're hired to do, not the job they wish it was.
Brent makes a great point... it’s worth reading the history of the Nevermind recording process

That being said, most acts recording their first demos suck at something... often they suck at multiple things. And usually they suck at everything.

So, if it bothers you so much artistically you can burn an hour of your time and tune the double... or, comp a new double with bits from one of the tales not used on the main vocal... and pretty it up and present it alongside the version you don’t like to the band.

It’s a good lesson to pack in a little extra $$ into the budget... so, if you don’t need to do this extra work you can give the band a little cash back at the end (which they will adore).
Old 30th January 2020
  #35
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jdier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
...if my producer suggested that I fake a double by nudging a clone a few ms and panning it, I'd probably stop asking for suggestions.
I am curious if everyone on this thread actually thinks clone and nudge is a good idea. Having not heard the singer, performance, song or production, I am shooting in the dark, but my instinct would always be to use two different takes.

Or, as someone else suggested, multiple takes and comping them.

I do not think copy/nudge has ever worked for me.
Old 30th January 2020
  #36
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdier View Post
I am curious if everyone on this thread actually thinks clone and nudge is a good idea. Having not heard the singer, performance, song or production, I am shooting in the dark, but my instinct would always be to use two different takes.
To me, different takes that were made independently are a poor substitute for a double that was made in an conscious attempt to "double". If you are not listening to the original while singing another take, it's not going to be great.

There is this thing called "stealing doubles". If you have some union string players for example, and you ask them to double, you have to pay extra because it's a union thing and they want to 'encourage' you just hire more players.

So some producers will say: "oh sorry we had a technical issue, can you play that part again?" even though there was no technical issue! They 'steal' a double. But if the engineer feeds them the first take in the cue mix to match up to, they will know the producer is lying. So they will play it again as if for the first time, and even if they are playing to a track, reading the parts and are good players, it really is not the same. I have had to edit some "stolen" doubles to tighten them up and it is more work than editing intentional doubles, for sure.

Quote:
I do not think copy/nudge has ever worked for me.
Nor should we expect it to, because a clone and a nudge is just a delay.

A delay of a certain length just sounds like an echo and and a delay under that length will eventually "merge" in the listener's ear as a kind of "ambience". It has to keep changing.

A true double is always going to be a little off in timing and pitch - but only a little. And the amount of off-ness is going to vary - but only a little. . You can painstakingly fake these differences, but it's work. With a clone, I have had some fun with elastic time or automating micro pitch shifts. But there's something about a true double that just sounds 'true'. And at a certain point, is easier.
Old 21st February 2020
  #37
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
To me, different takes that were made independently are a poor substitute for a double that was made in an conscious attempt to "double". If you are not listening to the original while singing another take, it's not going to be great.
Since people have made comparison to Nevermind, I feel I should point out that this is exactly how Butch got Kurt to do most of his doubles - without monitoring the previous take.

Not to mention, he's probably making composites from multiple takes (this verse, that chorus, if not more surgical) before lining it all up as doubles.

To the OP, I feel your pain.
In any professional situation, it's really tough to handle being hired for a specific role, just to be micromanaged and effectively under-utilized.

While it sounds like the band you are dealing with is lacking experience, and perhaps also lacking a bit of motivation, it doesn't seem like ego or a hard head is entirely the issue.

I see people suggesting ADT and auto-tune and alignment tools and the like - I don't see that as much more than a band-aid here.

Use your engineering skills and make a single composite track of all the best parts, breath by breath, syllable by syllable, if you have to. If they aren't offended (will they notice?) by the sound of the composite track, use that as a guide track. If double tracking to a really solid sounding composite doesn't work, then you get to bust out those editing skills and make a composite double.

Sounds like work? No shame in taking that producer money and outsourcing an editing session!
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