The Art Of Record Production
What Kind Of Producer Do You Want To Be?
Richard James Burgess
Richard James Burgess' book The Art Of Record Production is a must-read for anyone aspiring to be a record producer. It is also a must-read for artists, because it provides sound advice and an excellent analysis of the art (and business) of producing a recording. In this excerpt, Richard describes the different types of producers who are out there by asking the aspiring producer the basic question, "What Kind of A Producer Do You Want To Be?"
A) The All-Singing-All-Dancing-King-Of-The-Heap
These guys could easily be artists in their own right. In the movies and theatre, someone who sings, dances and acts is known as a triple threat. This type of producer is a triple, quadruple, or quintuple threat. They will most likely write the songs, play the instruments, sing the demos, and may even engineer and program the computers into the bargain. They are blessed with a natural, diverse musical talent, and rock-solid sense of direction. Their songs, arrangements, orchestrations, sounds and vocal stylings are instantly recognizable even though the vocalists themselves may be unfamiliar. That's not to say their records are "samey", just that they have an identity that shines through no matter what. They're not a good choice for a band that writes its own material and intends to play everything on the record, but they're perfect for the solo artist who either does not write, needs a co-writer or is short of hit singles. Artists who will choose the All-Singing-All-Dancing producer usually fall into one of two categories: the all-time great singers who do not write their own singles but can deliver someone else's song with conviction and great power; or the puppets who are often not even from the music business. Les Paul pioneered the concept of overdubbing in the late forties and early fifties on the revolutionary 'How High The Moon'. Les Paul did it in a way that was like sound-on-sound. On that record, he played all the guitar parts and Mary Ford sang all the vocals. This apparently simple recording technique would change forever the way records were to be made. Previously, artists performed live in the studio. Suddenly, with the technique of overdubbing, it was possible to create an entirely artificial sound picture.