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The Prince Production Thread
Old 29th September 2008
  #1
The Prince Production Thread

Mods, I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but since we've been discussing Prince's drum sounds here lately, I thought it might be good to start this discussion here.

At any rate, there seem to be a good number of folks hanging around GS who have some of the inside dope on Prince's recording practices. I'm a huge Prince fan (as in traveling across Europe hunting down live recordings kind of huge fan), and I've tried to learn as much as possible about his methods over the years. Since someone else mentioned that it might be a good idea to have a Prince production thread, I figured I'd go ahead and start one.

I'm obviously no Paisley Park insider or anything, and what I know may be old hat to many/most of you. Just to get the discussion started, I'm guessing that a lot of you have already heard the story behind the Camille voice? Apparently, Susan Rogers accidentally set the recording speed too slow during one of Prince's vox recording sessions. He was pissed at first (little perfectionist midget, he), but then decided he liked the sound that resulted.

Not a studio method story, but a funny one: a good friend of mine used to work with Wendy and Lisa on their soundtrack work and their Girl Brothers projects. He said that he was in the studio with them one day when Prince dropped by to chat. Wendy complimented Prince on how good he looked, how it didn't seem like he'd aged at all. He told her that in the Bible people lived to be hundreds of years old (I guess implying that his youthful good looks were partly a result of going all-out Jehova's Witness). Lisa's response: "I dunno, Prince, did you ever consider that maybe they just couldn't count very well back in biblical times?" Apparently, that shut him up for a few moments.
Old 30th September 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedilaw View Post
... the Camille voice? Apparently...
not too sure about the camille story.
i think more likely it was an attempt to re-create of one of george clinton characters Sir Nose D'void of Funk.

heard here on 'aqua boogie' :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFR_sWPBzWo

camille was maybe created with the eventide harmonizer which was knocking around at
the time .... and also used for some of the voices on '1999'

maybe someone who was there will chip in.
Old 30th September 2008
  #3
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

i love prince.
i have almost every prince record
i can find.
one bootleg of prince practicing mahalia jackson
at the piano

"the earth" was horrible - unlistenable
"fury" and "beautiful, loved and blessed" on saturday night live in
2006 were fantastic
"crystal ball" and "the truth" were the last real revelations
in my opinion

i recorded someone this week who has played several times with prince, we just
have not talked about it yet.........


be well

- jack
Old 30th September 2008
  #4
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Up until 1988 the man was god. Maybe after that he got a bit too close 'to god' or something, but to me the magic died......he's obviously still an instrumental genius, just doesn't goose me up anymore......will be checking this thread for info on the old magic stuff to appear.....
Old 30th September 2008
  #5
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Princes first sessions were recorded at Hollywood Sound in LA on the in house Audiotronics console.
I worked in there not long after recording the first Atlantic Starr album.

He later moved around the corner to Sunset Sound(the room in the rear) where he recorded on the API Dimedio modified console where he continued to record until and during the PP period..
Old 30th September 2008
  #6
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NoVi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Up until 1988 the man was god. Maybe after that he got a bit too close 'to god' or something, but to me the magic died......he's obviously still an instrumental genius, just doesn't goose me up anymore......will be checking this thread for info on the old magic stuff to appear.....
Agreed, the Batman CD was imho his last masterpiece, after that I could only connect to his music in sparse moments like Cream, Sexy MF, MBGITW and more recently Musicology..
Old 30th September 2008
  #7
I think he got thrown for a loop by the rise of Hip-Hop. He assumed that because he is a better musician than most Hip-Hop artists, he could do better Hip-Hop. Instead, every attempt he made at Hip Hop sucked nads. That was the biggest problem with the NPG era, too many tired-ass attempts to out-do the Hip-Hop folks.

His post-Lovesexy output has been remarkably uneven. For that time period, the only two albums that I will listen to all the way through are The Rainbow Children and Musicology. Other albums have good songs, as 3121 does, but don't gel as complete works.
Old 30th September 2008
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Princes first sessions were recorded at Hollywood Sound in LA on the in house Audiotronics console.
Just to be clear: it's Auditronics, not Audi -O- tronics. It's a common mistake, and it makes searching for info on Google and such a real pain in the ass.

Anyway, I've got two channels of Auditronics EQ; they're inductor-based, and sound really friggin' good. If you ever happen on one, grab it. There very nice, and very inexpensive.
Old 1st October 2008
  #9
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Synthy08's Avatar
 

what ever you do...NEVER sample prince. he'll sue you if you sample dead air before the record starts.......he sued his own fan sites, you know how greedy u got to be to sue u own fan sites,, think about that for a second.
Old 1st October 2008
  #10
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthy08 View Post
what ever you do...NEVER sample prince. he'll sue you if you sample dead air before the record starts.......he sued his own fan sites, you know how greedy u got to be to sue u own fan sites,, think about that for a second.
i don't think it's greed - from what i understand the man is a philanthropist and from
the one player i met who was in the npg for a year or so - prince pays double the
best gig you have ever had.

i think it was conceptual
prince was right
copyright infringement and sampling stole the value of
other people's work
record stores are gone
the music business has been destroyed


be well


- jack
Old 1st October 2008
  #11
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Just to be clear: it's Auditronics, not Audi -O- tronics. It's a common mistake, and it makes searching for info on Google and such a real pain in the ass.

Anyway, I've got two channels of Auditronics EQ; they're inductor-based, and sound really friggin' good. If you ever happen on one, grab it. There very nice, and very inexpensive.
Thanks for the correction.
Must be a case of "oldtimers disease"
Old 1st October 2008
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Thanks for the correction.
Must be a case of "oldtimers disease"
Must be...I just found this picture of you:



hehhehheh

On your way to a hip hop tracking session, are you..?
Old 1st October 2008
  #13
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Synthy08's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom View Post
i don't think it's greed - from what i understand the man is a philanthropist and from
the one player i met who was in the npg for a year or so - prince pays double the
best gig you have ever had.

i think it was conceptual
prince was right
copyright infringement and sampling stole the value of
other people's work
record stores are gone
the music business has been destroyed


be well


- jack
Oh, prince is a genius, but everyone knows he's greedy. Great men have great faults.tutt
Old 1st October 2008
  #14
I think it's closer to the mark to say that he is obsessed about control over his music and his image.

If he was greedy, he would have just shut up and taken Warner Bros' money when they gave him that $100mil deal back in the early 90s...
Old 2nd October 2008
  #15
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Justice's Avatar
 

There not a damn thing wrong with being greedy....

Its a great motivator!
Old 2nd October 2008
  #16
ddp
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ddp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justice View Post
There not a damn thing wrong with being greedy....
Dude don't you read the news!!
Old 2nd October 2008
  #17
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wubbzy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddp View Post
Dude don't you read the news!!
LMAO!!!! I had to respond to this one. Well put!

In regards to Prince suing people out of greed, I think I remember listening to an interview he did on the subject a while ago. It was more about him proving a point and not to simply cash in on it. His whole thing was that it's not ok to just up and use an artist's work without their permission/consent.
I dont remember, but did he end up suing MC Hammer for using the "When Doves Cry" sample, or did he give him permission?
Old 2nd October 2008
  #18
Wow, it seems like i will actually hear doves cry before anyone responds to the original
premise of this thread.

don't get me wrong i am as curious as the next person about the purple ones position
on economics and the distribution of intellectual property,
but i more interested in some Production goodies as pertains to his royal badassness!

so, if anybody can or will share some, that would be great.

carry on
Old 2nd October 2008
  #19
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EspionageWHW's Avatar
 

I have no insight to his recording techniques, but I would like to say this:

I got big respect for Prince when I learned that he was awarded as the most versatile artist of 2006 in the Guiness book of world records for fluently playing something like 106 different instruments.

I also heard that he is inhumanly prolific and has recorded tens of thousands (I want to say it was one hundred thousand, but I'm not sure) of songs over the years that he just hoards to himself and doesn't let anyone hear.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #20
JDN
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JDN's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedilaw View Post
I'm guessing that a lot of you have already heard the story behind the Camille voice? Apparently, Susan Rogers accidentally set the recording speed too slow during one of Prince's vox recording sessions. He was pissed at first (little perfectionist midget, he), but then decided he liked the sound that resulted.
.
Not really true. I worked with him on musicology...but anyway, the camille story wasn't about the speed and the pitch, he's always been a fan of varispeed with tape and knows what it does.

What you're thinkig of is a song with the "camille" voice on Sign of the times...yes, it's pitched up to sound like the chipmunks, but the issue was it's distorted, level was set to hot, but he decided he liked it. Tape distortion was a lot more forgiving than digital distortion
Old 2nd October 2008
  #21
cheers!
now thats what i'm talking about.

keep em comming folks!
Old 2nd October 2008
  #22
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wubbzy's Avatar
 

Not sure if you guys heard this yet, but if anyone is interested, here is a track that Prince played guitar on in 1977. http://www.pepemusic.com/web2002/1015.mp3

You're right Jenkzy. Sorry for going off topic (again).
Old 2nd October 2008
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDN View Post
Not really true. I worked with him on musicology...but anyway, the camille story wasn't about the speed and the pitch, he's always been a fan of varispeed with tape and knows what it does.

What you're thinkig of is a song with the "camille" voice on Sign of the times...yes, it's pitched up to sound like the chipmunks, but the issue was it's distorted, level was set to hot, but he decided he liked it. Tape distortion was a lot more forgiving than digital distortion
Cool, thanks for that. I know I've seen interviews with Susan Rogers talking about the voice coming froma "rare technical mistake" of hers, didn't know it was a leveling issue.

Musicology is one of his best recent albums. What did you do on it?
Old 4th October 2008
  #24
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Justice's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddp View Post
Dude don't you read the news!!
yea I get a good laugh everyday....

FOX is the best.....

Bill O'reilly is awesome!!!!!
Old 7th October 2008
  #25
Gear Addict
 

from the drums sub forum

from the drums sub forum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
That is snare is without question an old Linn LM-1 drum machine snare(NOT THE LINNDRUM) being triggered.Tuned Down.I know this because I own one and I worked on a record with Susan Rogers who engineered alot of Prince records.During my work with Susan,I asked alot of prince questions and even took a visit with her over to Sunset Sound and walked through a room filled with all of his gear while he was working on what was to be the "sign of the times" album.He wasn't around so we walked around the(smaller)B studio checkin out all his stuff....Their was a LINN DRUM on this particular album.Keyboards....OBXAor sx..cant remember/ENSONIQ mirage/DX-7/...guitar stuff...boss pedals/GR-700/jc-120.....Percussion stuff/Yamaha drum kit.....ohh yeah...a bench press.All of it going into a Demidio/API 32x24/Studer 800.U-87 for Vocals.
Old 7th October 2008
  #26
OK, here's a question: what were those keys he used in the Ballad of Dorothy Parker? They sound slightly detuned, with some kind of tremolo effect on them (or maybe a Leslie). Very cool stuff, I'd love to know what he was doing.
Old 7th October 2008
  #27
cpu
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cpu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wubbzy View Post
Not sure if you guys heard this yet, but if anyone is interested, here is a track that Prince played guitar on in 1977. http://www.pepemusic.com/web2002/1015.mp3

You're right Jenkzy. Sorry for going off topic (again).
Wow...man...thanks for that!
Made my day.
Old 26th November 2008
  #28
CLP
Here for the gear
 

Jedilaw,

I'm pretty sure that the piano sound you hear on The Ballad of Dorothy Parker is one of the electric piano patches (probably Rhodes) from the DX7. I picked up a TX81z the other day ultra cheap and when I was fooling with it I came across a patch that sounded remarkably similar. I just turned up the mod wheel and voila! Sounded pretty much the same.

Of course the reason I think it was a dx7 is because the TX81z was not released until 1988, a year after SOTT was released.

Again, it's only a guess, but I think it's the right one.
Old 3rd January 2009
  #29
Gear Addict
 

working with prince

couple of interesting direct quotes from wendy and lisa..

Biggest regret in 2008: Not publishing this Wendy and Lisa interview
Old 4th January 2009
  #30
Gear Addict
 

prince video interview 2004 - tavis smiley

plus an acoustic performance with wendy m.

Tavis Smiley . Archives . Prince . February 19, 2004 | PBS

on a mac - if it does n't play in safari you may need to download real player and open the link in there

http://www.real.com/mac/realplayer
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