This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Having a band member as an all-in-one audio engineer

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by MaellaJohn, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. MaellaJohn

    MaellaJohn Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Florida, United States
    This is something that I've been thinking about for a while now.

    I'm seriously considering devoting a lot more time to refining my engineering skills [if I could call them that] for the purpose of being the sole engineer on my band's music.

    The first thing that comes to mind is the massive amount of money that can be saved and I don't mind doing the work at all.
    The second thing is that the sound from what's being heard will ALL come from the band. Not having to rely on other people to make us sound better would make me very proud.

    Some obvious cons would be that I'm nowhere near experienced enough to make pure gold. But what do you guys think about this kind of thing?

    Are there any more cons that come to mind when doing all the production within the band?

    Also, what about business-wise and with labels? I'm not exactly sure how record deals work, but would labels enjoy a good band who can get a good sounding record by themselves since the label's budget could be then focused on promotion and distro, or whatever else, or what?
     
  2. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    One con is that you can lose perspective more easily, since you're so in the songs. It can also be a benefit, if you can balance between being the "objective producer" and the musician as you know the songs inside and out and know what the band should sound like.

    If you feel inadequate to bring the project to it's best outcome, at least give the finished recording to someone else for a test mix and see (hear!) what they have to offer.

    If you can get something off the labels, then it's all good in these times!! :p
     
  3. MaellaJohn

    MaellaJohn Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Florida, United States
    This is definitely a big con.
    Whether or not my own songs are recorded by someone else, I can never accurately judge the song because it's mine. I'm not sure to what degree that affects other musicians, but it makes it hard to decide what would really sound best in the end!
     
  4. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    But then again.. are you doing it for others or for yourself? ;)
     
  5. MaellaJohn

    MaellaJohn Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Florida, United States
    Well, I'm a vocalist so that puts me in a better position than a guitarist, I think, in terms of losing perspective. But it would be for my bandmates and I.
     
  6. BrettT

    BrettT Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,759
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    THIS! I've sort of taken on this role in my band with our upcoming full length, and all my creative energy has been going into the engineering aspect of the music. My songwriting input has certainly taken a backseat.

    It's also put more of a strain on my relationships with some of the band members due to the stresses of recording and mixing.

    Don't know if I'm ever going to do it again, honestly. We've saved tons of money, but I just don't know if I want to go through the hassle again unless it's for my own solo project.
     
  7. scorpio01169

    scorpio01169 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    I was kicked out of a band because the other members felt that all of the recording gear I worked my ass off to get should be for "The Band" to use anytime they wanted.
     
  8. crillemannen

    crillemannen Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,317
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I would like to produce my band (if i ever get into one) of course you can lose the perspective but that is somewhat related to how involved you are in the writing process.
    I could think of getting a producer involved to get some perspective and adding some fresh ideas. but i would most likely be mixing and recording the music myself, because i have developed my own taste when it comes to how a mix should sound so i wouldn't like anyone else to fiddle with that :)
     
  9. otop

    otop New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The best part about doing everything within the band = Complete control over every aspect of the music.

    The worst part is that things take much longer because its really hard to reach a finishing point when the project is at your fingertips every day.

    My band has a pretty good system going where 3/5 members play a big part in the recording/ mixing process. One focuses on vocal production, the other tracks a majority of the guitars, and someone else does all the mixing/tones.

    With all the free software and information out there, every band should be able to at least produce their own material.

    But honestly, set deadlines for everything.. Any good musician will wake up, listen to what they thought was complete and realize that there's much more work to be done.

    As for the record label question.. Yes labels love self sufficient bands, and the cool part is most labels will provide advances for each album released meaning the band can use the 1 to 5 grand advance for other things like touring equip. All the label wants usually is the master, and the copyrights to the master.
     
  10. crillemannen

    crillemannen Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,317
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Btw.. i would never do a full length album without being signed or having some sort of budget because it would take to much time and effort. I would never be putting me or the band in a situation where we end up spending a year and a half on recording because we have to do it on weekends and such.
     
  11. MaellaJohn

    MaellaJohn Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Florida, United States
    I really enjoy having complete control over everything.

    Also, I'm really keen on deadlines. With a project I had been in for over a year with my buddy, I was always trying to set deadlines and session dates for getting recording done. He was the guitarist, but he never wanted to get together to do it. He always just wanted to record it when he felt like it, and that was incredibly frustrating.

    I think to do this successfully I need to put myself in the band AND outside the band at the same time. Keep everything professional and formal like when booking dates in any other studio. Otherwise, I'm sure things will turn out sloppy, people will get frustrating, and things like that..

    Another thing I've thought about were reamps.
    As of right now, I don't have the equipment I want to get the tones I want.

    So even though we're doing everything, I'd probably go to somebody else for tonezzz until I get a nice collection of amps [which could take a very long time, heh].
     
  12. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    lreland
    Having been an engineer for my own band, engineer for other bands, having someone else in my band engineer us and been recorded by a third party I've experienced alot of the different angles with this.

    I don't know if I'd like someone in a band I'm in to be in charge past the pre production anymore, even if they are capable of making a good end product, even myself. It's too stressful and there's things you can say to a producer you're hiring that you can't to a band member without their feelings getting hurt. Especially when they're not doing it for money as you suggest. How do you tell someone you play with that you don't like what they're doing with the recording? How would you feel if your guitarist said it to you. A third party guy will stand back and take a fresh look at it. Someone as involved as a band member recording the whole thing with their own idea of what it's like who's put months into the cd already for free isn't going to respond so well.

    I think the best thing to do is make use of your skills and do a really thorough pre prod. You can save alot of money by doing a good, long pre production. Get all your click tracks down perfectly and record a full demo version of the release so you know what to expect when tracking and any problem parts you might run into that you can work on before hitting a paid studio. Have perfect guide guitar tracks laid down for drum tracking and have all your band knowing exactly what they're doing. This will shave days off your recording time and what may have taken you 2+ weeks could take 8 days. You don't have to be completely absent for the mixing either, request to sit in towards the end and work with them to get a sound you both like.

    Also, working with another engineer/producer lets you pick someone who's work you also love and treat it as a learning experience and a chance to pick up a new level of understanding of the recording process from another angle.
     
  13. nwright

    nwright Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,096
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    New Castle, Indiana
    I'm the "recording guy" for our band, and I like the total control it allows a band to have. I feel I have a thick skin, and the band is MUCH more relaxed about the sound of the recordings more so than I am, so they have yet to offer any criticisms I don't already hear myself, or I am usually much harder on the final outcome than they are, by a LONG shot. It does take up more time, our last full length took 9 months from the first day of tracking until release day, but it was rewarding for all of us. There is no doubt that my mixes do NOT reach a fully professional level, as I am not a pro, but IMO (and others, including national press) give it as much praise as most of the metal releases these days, so we're not complaining, and we know it surpasses what we'd get with local studios (as metal isn't a big thing around here).

    It may not work for all bands, but our band is pretty much 100% DIY in EVERY aspect of being in a band, and we really like that aspect of what/who we are as a group.
     
  14. drew_drummer

    drew_drummer Dancefap

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    6,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    London, UK
    It works for me. But we've done all the writing before we've even thought about recording - once we start recording, 99% of the writing is done. You're asking for trouble if you're gonna write and produce at the same time as tracking and mixing.
     
  15. nwright

    nwright Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,096
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    New Castle, Indiana
    This, this, this.

    We demo/pre-prod everything, too.

    And I also try to seperate tracking from tone seeking to try to keep the right "hats" on my head at the right time. Recording DI's and then reamping allows me to seperate the "tone seeking engineer" side of me from the "well performing musician" side.
     
  16. guitarguru777

    guitarguru777 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Messages:
    8,495
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    +1000 on what Drew said.

    I have the advantage in my band of having a gf / wife that is just as objective about shit as I am. So if I start to lose focus or start to delve too deeply into something she usually comes in and says ... let me listen then tells me if what I am doing from a listeners perspective is working. She is an INVALUABLE tool to me cause she understands the process, the sound I am going for and shes NOT a musician, so that little lick i played where the one note was a G instead of an F# to her sounds good and its not noticeable from a listeners standpoint.

    On the other hand with that she doesnt know technical terms so sometimes I have to decipher things. Like yesterday I was working on a basic drum mix and she came in and said its too "low", I was like what is? she said the whole thing .. its just too low... No other instruments are in how can it be low?? She then said its shaking the walls ... OH YOU MEAN TOO MUCH LOW END??

    Things like that happen all the time ...lol
     
  17. Scott Horner

    Scott Horner Scottimus Maximus

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Decatur/DFW, Texas
    That's some horseshit.
     
  18. zirkonflex

    zirkonflex You name it

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Northern Germany
    I'm lead guitarist and producer/engineer/roadie in my local alternative band, no other member knows a shit about the technical stuff.
    It works, even though I usually listen/play/produce different music.

    Important is probably that we are all bros from the old times and can tell eachother all the shit in the world, blatantly flaming eachothers playing and loling afterwards.
    I think thats how it's supposed to be in a band, nobody should be pissed if you critique his playing/singing whatever, we're all humans after all.

    /We write/record/get drunk at my studio in real time btw., with me doing the majority of tracking, we'll also change seats if somebody wants to try something and mostly not everybody is there (I'll probably write one song with the other guitarist and the next day arrange drum patterns with the base player).
    Just not be an ego dick.
     
  19. greyskull

    greyskull Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    6,069
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Mate that's how I got into this game...
     
  20. drope934

    drope934 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Geneva, Switzerland
    I'm actually beginning to record my band so I can give you my 2 cents: It can be hard.

    The other members of the band know shit about recording/mixing and think that it's easy/quick to record a song (the other guitarist wants to record our 14 songs by recording "a bit" during our rehearsal, max 2h per week!) and some of them don't want to get "orders" from me (it's different if you're working with a pro, since you pay him, you'll listen to him more I think).

    Don't forget that you'll not necessary have to do the all production by yourself! If your recordings are good ("sonically" speaking) , you could give 2-3 songs to a pro for a good/better mixing or mastering.

    As said before, if your songs are already written, it's kinda easy to focus on the recording.

    And well, don't forget that some people here will me pleased to mix one of your song for free and give you advices about their mixes to help you out ;)
     

Share This Page