“I’m rocking the suburbs
I take the checks and face the facts
that some producer with computers
fixes all my shitty tracks”
I think Ben Folds summed up today’s recording process beautifully in the track “Rockin The Suburbs”:
Not all that long ago, when all we had was wonderful 24 track tape to record on, we had to go into a professional commercial recording studio to make a record.
These places were expensive, only the mega star bands could afford any extended length of time recording; the rest had to get in and out as quickly as possible, or have to sell body parts to afford extra studio time.
This process and the necessity to focus on capturing the performance, forced musicians to actually become proficient at their instruments. It was very difficult to “fix” poor performance, off key singing and general sloppy playing prior to the Mac and protools.
There’s a saying engineers once used; “You can’t polish a turd” often heard after someone else had uttered the phrase “We’ll fix it in the mix” after finally giving up on attempting to fix a poor performance, by actually having it, well, performed better.
Today you can cut and paste, edit, tune, quantize and sample your way to a polished recording (and dare I say turd?).
Now, I love and embrace all the tools available to today’s recording artist. There are amazing records being made in garages and bedrooms at a fraction of the price once required.
Just make sure that when it comes to playing live that you can actually reproduce the recorded “performance”. If you’re in a band trying to make your way in the world, you should be proficient at your chosen instrument. Practice the right things daily, take lessons, and learn to play accurately, with feeling and in time.
There’s no excuse for poor musicianship. Your band will sound better; the recording process will be more productive, as it will be all about capturing “that” performance, rather than some producer with computers, spending hours and hours, fixing all your shitty tracks!