@ingolee Not always. It depends on the song as well as the brainstorm of the producer. Look at guys like Desmond Child, Beau Hill, or Mutt Lange. There are times when they take what the artist has done to a new level. Sometimes they even write and add to the song.
You start with getting the best out of the artist as well as what they have presented to you. You usually have your ducks in a row by listening to the pre-production before you even start recording. As you listen and gather ideas, you know what you’re going to try and how you are going to approach it.
From there you convey your ideas to the artist and get their take and sometimes you record it to further paint the idea picture. Sometimes they love it, sometimes they don’t, other times you both collaborate on the idea and magic can happen.
The only way I can truly explain it is to share something with you. Where is the producer thread you guys are talking in? I don’t want to clog up Paul’s thread with what I want to share.
Paul, thanks for the clearance. I’d feel disrespectful to post here when it’s all about your song. But the producer thing ingolee mentioned is really a great topic too. As long as you don’t mind. Thanks.
Haha yeah I do lots of light weight and high rep work outs as well as martial arts. I feel pretty great for an old guy. Still got all my teefers and hair! I don’t know for how much longer, but I just thank God each day.
OK, will come back and post an example of what I’m talking about a little later on the producer thing. I’d rather post the songs here instead of dropbox links.
Actually it wasn’t a producer thread, it was @ColdRoomStudio latest BTR song and producers were just mentioned in passing so I’m not sure he would want to branch off there so I guess if @feaker doesn’t mind here is probably a better place, none of these are my thread to offer
@ingolee OK, here’s an idea of what I’m talking about. Unfortunately (fortunately if you’re me lol) Wednesday is date night for my fiance and I and she talked me out of going back to work. Lol! Ah the power of a wonderful woman.
Anyway, the reason I mention that, I only have one example which is in drop box. I have others but they are on the studio computer.
OK, so a client sends me this song of he and his son singing and playing and asks my opinion of it.
He tells me he’s not married to it and it really didn’t come out the way he had hoped. Now, it doesn’t matter which version you enjoy better. The idea is to realize the producer take on this whilst presenting the client with a totally different approach. I had to take the chance because I really believed in my vision for this song.
I instantly heard something very different than what he gave me. I recorded a draft of it to see if it would be something he would be interested in. He totally loved it to the point where he asked me to just go full out and record it and perform all the instruments. So I did and this is how it turned out.
Of course each version has its own pros and cons. However, I sincerely believe what I did to the song improved it ten fold as far as pop goes…which is what he was going for.
Now, what would have made this cooler would have been to see how he and his son would have sounded on this version of it. Neither are really singers and do music together for the love and togetherness it brings them. But I still would have loved to have heard them do the version I came up with instead of me.
The issue with something like this is, I as the producer have to keep the style in mind that is given to me. I just happened to have heard this rock ballad type thing and figured I’d throw it at him. If he would have hated it, I had 3 more ideas to present to him.
So in this particular situation, whether or not you listen to the producer depends on style and performance ability. I don’t know if they could have performed it like I did as my style is very different. But keep in mind, my draft of this was super simplistic and was at a point where I believe they could have done something along the lines of what I did.
That said, I really believe I turned a fair song into a really good song. Was I wrong in presenting them with something so different? Probably, but I heard so much potential I just had to pitch it. The end result THIS time is also a song I’ve been given permission to perform and use for myself if I ever wanted to. This is a bit light considering what I play and write these days, but I’d have no problems playing this song live if people liked it. I never really let anyone hear it. So, I’m sort of vulnerable putting this out here.
Anyway, I hope this explains things a little better even though I’m a bit off the mark from what the client did originally. I have a better example of something on the studio computer, but at least this gives you an idea of what can be done.
Thank you @Danny_Danzi for sharing this with us. It is certainly a tribute to your skills and talent what you’ve done here, your version is radio ready whereas the original most likely wouldn’t get far in that direction. And if the client is happy that’s the bottom line certainly.
As you say it would be interesting to work with the original because it is charming in its own style. The most obvious problem to my ear is the drum machiney rhythm track which is easily fixed. But you offered the client choices which is important.
Thank you for the reviews! Now your song: just be glad you were not living in Fiji recently. A friend of mine (since I was around 4 years old) moved to Fiji about a year ago. A month or two ago, he was hit with a hurricane/cyclone that had 140 mph winds, yet he did not have significant damage. He considered it a miracle. Which brings me to the topic of interesting spiritual/religious experiences. I’ve had a number of them in the last 32 years, but I won’t get into that here. You can send me a private message if you want to explore that topic. Since none of us lives forever in this “mortal sphere”, maybe your experience was not just a product of your imagination. Your song does start out in somewhat of a bizarre fashion (fine by me), and then settles into something more conventional for an acoustic guitar song (also fine by me). I think your vocal delivery is appropriate and quite good regarding the lyrical topic. I like the wind sound effects. Audio quality is very good. Nice guitar playing. Nice song, I like it!
I really loved the vocal sound. I’d love to know what your processing was there. This isn’t weird at all. This is cool. A couple of times where the guitars slip out of synch but it’s not an issue with the feel you have going.
My only real criticism was that I felt the vocals and “song start” kinda burst on over the top of the intro. It didn’t slide into the song as I expected it would. That said, that is not an issue either and I really liked this track! Nicely done.
Hi aaron Just a quick story. When I was a freshman in college 1966, I never missed a class and had good grades. One morning I got up and was very troubled, but did not know why. I skipped my morning class and was pacing back in forth in my room when my brother walked in the room saying my dad died last night. (47) Something very strange happened and I think of it often. Dropped out for a year. Thanks for the review.
Hi Daniel I really didn’t do any vox processing. Once in a while I will use a studio one analog delay called sweet the vocal. haha Not even sure what it does, but when isolated it sound like a touch of reverb.
I hear you on that into and yes that transition is not smooth. Gives me something to play around with. Thanks much for taking the time
Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve heard stories similar to that in that past, from other people. I think it is no coincidence. I also have had prophetic dreams that come true, and I have an interest in near-death experiences (I have not had one of those, but know several people that have).
Just read your story, I have heard of similar stories. I think science today is close to reaching an explanation for such things. They may not be as baffling as we may think afterall. We were just talkin at work about the possibility of using quantum antennas to analyse dreams and possibly the phenomena of death. Not in terms of conquering it, but in terms of analysing the nano EM waves transmitted by the brain during such events. The possibility of genetically related people to be able to communicate with each other over long distances using body’s natural quantum entanglement phenomena. It maybe the explanation we have long sought. We are not quite there yet… but there is a ray of hope! With that said, I hope to not derail this thread but the sheer coincidence of reading your story and its timing was staggering.
That’s some producer stuff, Danny! I like your version better, and if were Philip, I would have loved it. This is like the Songland TV show. These songwriters go in with a song, which they perform themselves usually with marginal backing studio musicians. Then they go to a producer who invariably changes everything, almost all for the better, but the final demo may not even have the same words or melody or even title. They try to salvage some hook that was there as a rule.
Now the way I see it, most songwriters aren’t singers or guitarists, much less arrangers and producers. But they have the snippet ideas that may or may not translate into a radio friendly song. And that radio friendly song might be one of several potential formats, say rock, country, R&B, folk, whatever. I consider what you did here as perform an original song now co-written by you and him as I don’t think Philip and son sang or played at all on the new version.
And if they did sing or play, as happens a lot I suppose, anything at all, then I would consider them entitled to call the new version their song featuring you. Songwriters can be members of a band, if they write a lot of words or melodies, but not as a one off.
But also, your role as producer, Danny, might technically be to produce the best demo that the songwriter now can present to a popular signed artist to cover, and it will be that artist’s version that will be on the radio that everyone will identify with as the original.
I think there is a purpose for the producer who does it all and one who does not. Seriously, if you produced a Metallica CD you probably wouldn’t be redoing the music, just the rest- mixing, etc. Maybe some arranging. So it is a wide spectrum you do, custom to the client.
Sorry to go on in your thread, @feaker! So I think we have a lot more underproduced or better described high quality demo produced music music out there, it’s advantage is it is more artist driven with all sorts of desktop technology and often complemented by producers and studio musicians getting the songs out relatively fast. So @ingolee’s concern about preserving the artist’s original song idea is not an issue since it is the artist who is paying, so they should get what they pay for.
But I did enter 3 songs in The American Songwriters Contest this year, I believe it was. The deal was they would make a demo with professional Nashville studio musicians of your song if they accepted your song for I want to say $700, something like that. Not $50. And then they would promote your song among their contacts at big name acts. Blake Shelton was their poster boy. I didn’t pay because I thought the versions of the songs I submitted were good enough as they are to serve as the demo. And that might not be an out of line price, but I would have felt like I was relinquishing all artistic control in this intermediary step.
Hi Steban, thanks for that! Much appreciated. This guy is actually more of a rap guy, believe it or not. So when he came to me with this, I was a bit surprised. You should hear our rock/rap stuff. Hahaha, it’s VERY different.
You’re exactly right…sometimes, the producer gets a hold of an idea and totally changes it. In my situation with Philip, I just wasn’t hearing his version and just offered what I had heard in a VERY scaled down demo at first just to show him where I was going and what I was thinking. After he said he liked it and wasn’t interested in actually performing it, it sort of evolved a bit more because THEN, it was sort of like MY baby once he gave the go ahead. But normally, I don’t try to totally change things unless there’s something I’m feeling. I figure, if I don’t say something to an artist that has trusted in me, I do them a disservice. I’d rather have them say “no, I don’t think I’m feeling that” or “oh man, that’s perfect!”
I took part in a thread here where I showed a better example of before and after from an artist where things changed, but I didn’t have to rewrite anything. Check it out when you get a minute.
Totally agree there. Like I said though, I don’t normally change things this drastically for anyone. I just had that idea pop into my head and felt it wouldn’t hurt to pitch it. Heck man, quite a few people I get in here at times just have words and a melody, so I DO have to create from the ground up. That’s fun at times, but a lot of work because then I’m playing every instrument and writing the song for them. It’s cool to be on both sides though. It’s sort of like mastering. Sometimes I add a little polish to a song, other times, you have to really do some work on it especially if it has to be cohesive with other songs on the album. Producing is like that in many ways. Sometimes you go nuts, sometimes you polish, other times you rewrite the whole thing.
Well ultimately, I think it depends on what you sign on for as the producer. Normally when someone comes to me to do an entire album, we get together as the songs are being written or demo’d. This way I can be a part of the arrangement process as well as the melodic value, magical lyrics etc. Some people have words that are too wordy that just don’t phrase right. Sort of like the shred guitarist or the drummer that over plays and tries to get every beat/lick in there.
Other times, I just help enhance the ideas and experiment like I did in that thread link I posted to you. Sal was a great guy to work with and we just bonded like Elton John and Bernie Taupin with our work ethics and being on the same page. It’s like “what if we did this?” Oh wow, and what if we took that and did THIS to it?" And the next thing you know, we’re doing things we didn’t even expect. When you get in that position with someone, it’s an exhilarating experience that I can’t describe. It’s happened a few times with people and man, each time it happens, it makes you thank God for people like them that come into your world.
But yeah, sometimes you do the best demo you can, other times, it’s for keeps and makes it to the actual album. Other times, you may just lend a helping hand with a guitar sound, a delivery of a certain drum or bass guitar sound. There’s quite a pallet to work from.
Totally agree on all counts here too! I think certain bands need certain producers. For example, the old 80’s band Ratt, needed Beau Hill so bad, they couldn’t finish a good album without him. All the albums they did with him went platinum. They hated him. But, he kept them on schedule, he ran a tight ship, and he got things done so they weren’t over budget. Guys like Metallica…they just have this “thing” that needs to be left alone. I feel Bob Rock ruined them with St. Anger. It was just totally the wrong direction for them in MY opinion. When you do something a certain way, people expect it. They gravitate towards it because you sold them on what you do.
If you look at all the bands that have done this, it’s easy to see why they stayed successful. As soon as you try to reinvent the wheel, and try to do it using the same style you always use, you’re doomed. If you are going for a change, it has to be a big change in everything. Sort of like how Aerosmith went from being so classic rock to more of a classic rock with modern sounds and enormous hooks like Permanent Vacation. I dig old Smith, but the hooks in the newer stuff just totally won me over. Infectious and huge enough to land an Orca. But then again, when you have songwriters and producers, you have less of a chance at failing. All the bands that used guys like Mutt Lange, Desmond Child and had song writers other than themselves did pretty well too. So it all depends on the band and where you hope to end up really. At the end of the day, as long as you get the desired results and everyone is happy, you’re where you need to be.