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Cheaper, Faster, Louder, Worse
Old 17th February 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Cheaper, Faster, Louder, Worse

My last question for you is not technical, necessarily, but one of philosophy and circumstance.

I was wondering if the music industry's ongoing crisis (steadily declining cd sales, public disinterest/distraction, etc.) has directly impacted your work and life? I imagine that it has, but I'm curious how you feel about it.

You've worked on some of my favorite lushly appointed, mature, sophisticated (and sometimes groundbreaking) records ("So", "Spike," "Kiko," etc.) and I imagine that these records cost a fair amount of money to make. I presume that many of the sounds were the result of extensive studio experimentation, skilled labor (yours! and also the other personnel, etc.) and of course the gifted, developed artists at the core of the operation.

Your discography includes very tasteful, very refined, well-produced records. I know talent has a lot to do with that but I imagine the budget and process for works such as these was quite high by today's standards.

So what's it like for someone like Kevin Killen to face the 21st century?

It seems to me that the age of production values such as the one that yielded the masterpiece of "So," are becoming rarer and rarer. Months in a large room w/ an SSL or Neve or API, surrounded by excellent musicians, terrific equipment, experimentation to your heart's content. I mean, does that kind of thing happen anymore?

It seems that the age of the expensive, exploratory, lushly appointed record may be over.

I wonder how someone with the life experience and skill set (and humble disposition) of Kevin Killen adapts to the music industry's new world of - do cheaper, do it faster, make it louder.

--- Chad
Old 21st February 2007
  #2
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
My last question for you is not technical, necessarily, but one of philosophy and circumstance.

I was wondering if the music industry's ongoing crisis (steadily declining cd sales, public disinterest/distraction, etc.) has directly impacted your work and life? I imagine that it has, but I'm curious how you feel about it.

You've worked on some of my favorite lushly appointed, mature, sophisticated (and sometimes groundbreaking) records ("So", "Spike," "Kiko," etc.) and I imagine that these records cost a fair amount of money to make. I presume that many of the sounds were the result of extensive studio experimentation, skilled labor (yours! and also the other personnel, etc.) and of course the gifted, developed artists at the core of the operation.

Your discography includes very tasteful, very refined, well-produced records. I know talent has a lot to do with that but I imagine the budget and process for works such as these was quite high by today's standards.

So what's it like for someone like Kevin Killen to face the 21st century?

It seems to me that the age of production values such as the one that yielded the masterpiece of "So," are becoming rarer and rarer. Months in a large room w/ an SSL or Neve or API, surrounded by excellent musicians, terrific equipment, experimentation to your heart's content. I mean, does that kind of thing happen anymore?

It seems that the age of the expensive, exploratory, lushly appointed record may be over.

I wonder how someone with the life experience and skill set (and humble disposition) of Kevin Killen adapts to the music industry's new world of - do cheaper, do it faster, make it louder.

--- Chad
Chad,

First I feel very fortunate to have made the records in the manner that I have with incredible artists , musicians and studios. It has informed my development from lowly assistant to now. The accumulated experience has made this current paradigm both frustrating and challenging and yet somewhat hopeful. I have always maintained that getting a deal at a major label does not make economic sense. Anybody can get much more favorable terms from a high street bank, however its the distribution chain that has always made labels attractive to artists. Added to that a labels clout in the radio and print markets and you begin to see the allure.

The one promising thing is that the current state of the business is opening up opportunities for artists, musicians and producers alike. Sure it will not be the old model and you will have to work leaner and more efficiently but does not necessarily mean a bad product. One has to be more selective these days in how you manage a budget and project. So if you wasted a week 20 years ago getting the kick drum sound from doom on a ballad, who cared. Now you will be expected to deliver the whole album in that week!

The discovery process of a songs development depends on time. That use to occur in studios. Now with very affordable, great sounding DAW hardware and software, that process can and is occuring outside of the traditional studio environment. From bedroom to project to privately held studios, more and more of todays productions are being overdubbed and mixed in a non traditional room. Major rooms are still necessary of course and lets hope for all or our sakes that they continue to florish. But everybody is getting squeezed and typical budgets for new artists are in the 40-70K range.

That is still a considerable amount of money, but in a city like NYC , with top players , you could go through half of your budget in one week !

Its hard to imagine nobody been affected by this climate. For me its certainly periods of time where there is no work , followed by periods where the budgets are so stringent that it is difficult to justify all the time necessary to bring the project up to the standards that I expect from my work.

In essence its , adapt, adapt, then adapt some more. I have embraced the DAW world not only because its an industry standard but it helps facillitate a working process that maximises my experience but also allows for sessions where the client is 5000 miles away ! More and more of my mixing sessions are non attended. I do miss the instant gratification of the interaction with the artist / client but the new reality does not allow for that so much.

Over two years ago my good friend Gina Fant Saez , who has been an artist, songwriter, studio owner and PT whiz called me about an idea- building a community based on talent and the web where clients could access the talent, audition projects, negotiate create their songs on a digital "reel of tape" , create an electronic music chart, interact from your DAW regardless of platform with a plug in, and do live streaming from one computer to another regardless of geography ! The company is called eSession and can be viewed at www.esession.com. We have spent thousands of hours designing an intuitive workflow that hopefully people will delight in using and hire some of the worlds premier talent ( including myself heh ) through the service.

All the members of the database have 15 major label credits or more to their name and I think that this is the way of the future. Significant portions of projects will be done this way, but the days of spending six months or more in a studio are long gone. eSession will be fully live in April 2007. Now one has think of projects weekly, and also expand your horizons to markets yet untapped. Peter Gabriel's Real World Records has certainly proved there is a market out there.

It really comes to down to this, are you willing to modify all that you have learned over the years and adapt it to a new paradigm where you can still have an impact on an artists career while still extracting substantial joy and pride in a job well done? You may not get rich anymore but it sure beats being unemployed !

And I am still blown away when some stranger approaches me and tells me how "such and such" a record had this huge impact on their lives. To me that is a legacy still worth embracing.

kevin.


Old 21st February 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
andyspiller's Avatar
 

Hi Kevin

As a recently approved member to esession.com I would like to say thanks for a fantastic idea and helping it to come to fruition. May I also say what a privelege it has been to see your many comments on such a vast array of subjects. When you next speak to Ryan,Gina and all the team at esession, please thank them for their collaborative effort. I agree with you that this is the future and you will definitely be my first on my list for whatever the budget will allow, just as soon as the gigs come in!!!!

best regards

Andy
Old 22nd February 2007
  #4
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Andy,

Go Andy Go.

I will pass on your regards to them. They are gems.

KK
Old 26th February 2007
  #5
I'm so happy to read you and that you give the sound community useful information through the "e-session" web-site such as tips to record traditional celtic music . Indeed, from my roots and passion for celtic music, I became proficient in playing scottich highland bagpipes (piano and organ) and recording bagad and pipebands.
I'll see Marco Migliari next monday in Bath. I actually found many answers to the questions I wanted to ask Marco about music industry.

Thanks for allheh
Old 3rd March 2007
  #6
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierrele breton View Post
I'm so happy to read you and that you give the sound community useful information through the "e-session" web-site such as tips to record traditional celtic music . Indeed, from my roots and passion for celtic music, I became proficient in playing scottich highland bagpipes (piano and organ) and recording bagad and pipebands.
I'll see Marco Migliari next monday in Bath. I actually found many answers to the questions I wanted to ask Marco about music industry.

Thanks for allheh
Pierre,

happy to oblige. Say hi to marco from me !!
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