I have been fielding this question a fair amount lately so I figured what better use of the Blah-g than to attempt a mass answer to a relevant question.
The short answer to this question is honestly that I hope to not have a specific production style. And I don’t mean that in the dick-ish non answer type of way. I mean it in that A) I hope to not be so narrowly defined by certain veins of production and B) YOU define my production style as much as I do. Sessions here are often a pretty organic thing. Noises happen, we respond to them. Ideas create new ideas. Things change. We adjust to new inspirations. You get the idea.
But in the spirit of questions asked / question answered, I am going to try and map out a few key components of my “production DNA”.
- Don’t f— with people’s songs. Pretty straightforward. I have too much respect for the work being brought in here to think I know it any better than its creators. My skin still crawls at the thought of saying, “What if we rewrote the bridge?” Yuck.
- Production by Discussion. I am all about the alchemy that exists between your ideas and mine. What happens when we talk through an idea? What do you think it should or could sound like? What happens when our ideas collide?
- Let’s try it. I hate talking about sound. Just kidding, I LOVE talking about sound -but I realize how useless of an exercise it can be during a recording session. Do we think its a good idea? Great, let’s do it. We can debate it when it’s more than just a theory. (See #7).
- Technology ages poorly, honesty doesn’t. In the end, I trust the noises that you are making more than I trust autotune, pitch shifting, etc. Plenty of scenarios where those might make sense, but overall, I believe there is more originality in you than in software.
- Depth in multiple listens. Is there a sense of rediscovery when you listen to it again? Is there a sense of newness when you get it into headphones? I gravitate towards mixes that aren’t totally understood upon first listen.
- Frequency —> Panning —-> Volume. More on the technical end of the spectrum, but still such a valuable component of putting together records. There is such value in the shape and placement of sound. Volume is a pretty easy choice from there.
- There is definitely such thing as bad ideas. Just make sure they don’t take long. This is where I’m supposed to say there are no bad ideas in the studio- but no, there are plenty of bad ideas in the studio. The key is to realize that its not going to contribute to your overall vision of the record and move on quickly. I have a pretty economical approach to making records. Sometimes saying no is just as creative as saying yes.