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Old 14th March 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Popular Music

Hi Michael.

Thankyou so much for your work on Superunknown. Got it the day it came out, and it still pops into regular rotation all these years later. A huge influence on me, and I know the sonics were no small part of that.

I've been reading your blog on popular music, and am glad that people like yourself are highlighting the issues and further more, offer ideas on what to do about it.

Quite flabergasted that labels aren't really interested in having artists mentored by someone like yourself. Do you have any other (quick summary) ideas about what could be realistically implemented in todays mostly small studio world that can improve our popular music?

I've spent alot time thinking about how the main point is human communication and how far away we have generally moved away from that in the last decade or so.
Old 16th March 2013
  #2
Michael Beinhorn
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

It's supremely gratifying to know that Superunknown has been this meaningful for people over 20 years after it was created. Kind of a reciprocal gift that keeps on giving.

I feel that the recording industry en masse (and with extreme prejudice) is no longer interested in originality, talent or even greatness- they only require fodder for their genre-based consumption machine (the criteria for which becomes more narrow all the time). This is because their business is deteriorating, they haven't moved with the times fast enough, have no control over the technology by which music is dispensed (or even made) and they need to find as many income streams as possible to prop their dying business up (360 deals, etc).*

For this reason, if I want to keep making recordings which I find satisfying, I've acknowledged that they may never be relevant to anyone involved in a major label. This has led me to carefully consider what I really believe in- whether I'm doing this work to make money and what my intent is- my motivation for doing it. Over the years, I have played both sides of that fence and I've found that I can only see my work as an expressive art form and little else.

I've heard extremely well-known producer/mixers who work 12 months out of the year, make comments about how this job isn't fun anymore. They've made that choice for themselves, but it is just that- a choice. I can't do that. This work is extremely difficult already- if it were to become a constant source of pain....well, that's how some people develop chronic diseases.

The only thing I can do at this point is to fly in the face of convention while avoiding self indulgence at all costs. My approach then is to make sure that I am completely satisfied by what I do and the quality of what I do. This means avoiding stereotypes, conformity and every element the record company mentality maintains are the very things which get producers on their radar. It also means confronting whatever fear I have regarding not being successful and realizing that the term is very broad and can mean many things.

The fact is, everything that is conventional was new and different at one time. This means that there is still room for unconventional thought, even though everyone on every level, everyplace is being brainwashed to do the complete opposite.*

Admittedly, this mentality isn't very popular; it defies logic (practical and fiscal), but if someone is talented and diligent, it guarantees great results. I suppose my credo would be; be great, forebear and greatness will follow. It has worked for me always and I'm still learning. *I can't recommend this approach to every person who has a small studio- it may be impractical (or just completely insane)- but I also can't recommend any alternatives.
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Old 16th March 2013
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
. I suppose my credo would be; be great, forebear and greatness will follow. It has worked for me always and I'm still learning. *I can't recommend this approach to every person who has a small studio- it may be impractical (or just completely insane)- but I also can't recommend any alternatives.
Very good advice, anyways... There is no warranty of greatness will come but it´s sure that if you are concerned by any other things (money, succes, etc...) than be really great things will never work.

From this perspective i think do you find more useful cultivate your skills and taste trying to work in different places and scenarios as possible rather than be stuck at your small studio... Right?
Old 17th March 2013
  #4
Gear Head
 

Very inspiring!
We all have to pay rent, but this should be the core of what we do; art.
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