I was born one.
Toni Visconti, David Bowie (The Producer), Steve Lillywhite, Eno
I would assume they had heard some of my work, so they know what they are getting into. For the most part I think they expect me to get the best out of their performance, and represent their current songs in a way that will hopefully get through to people out there in big wide world, I think they also expect me to add a certain amount of the unexpected Audio madness.
The guy how comes in with a fresh perspective on the artists material, listens to the artists ideas in direction, helps to arrange the songs in a more focused way, captures the best performance the artist is capable off at that time in their life (without using outside musicians as replacements) Represent the sum of our combined talents in the most interesting, and original way possible on a CD, for the "kids on the street" to enjoy, All of the while keeping those who pay the bills: The record company Smiling. In short: Supreme Juggler of the Arts and commerce! \
Most off the time, I try and go into the (sometimes expensive) Recording Studio having selected the songs and having rearranged them with the band in a cheaper Rehearsal Studio. Sometimes If the Band is more established and can afford to take risks, we will go in deliberately unprepared, and let the inspiration flow... Some of the most interesting LP's I have made were done this may i.e: Red Sails, Flowers of romance, Half of the Swing, Some off Semisonic and GVSB
Very much so. I am mere entertainment for the Musician!
By making sure they stay focused, un-stressed, and give them a lot of encouragement. It also helps to give them great sounds that inspire great playing, and make sure their Headphones sound good, Another thing I think is important is to get any Ego problems out in the open and deal with them, rather than let them fester.
After years of working on other people's stuff do you have any aspirations
I have already: Fuzz Face EP with Jim Moginie, recorded in his basement, released by the only record company with guts: John O'donnell's Mumur.
Yes, Quite often a band will have done a demo at home using cheap equipment, and due to the relaxed circumstances they will have captured a unique performance, or through lack of knowledge of recording they will accidentally record an instrument in a strange way that sounds really cool and hard to re-create, i.e: they might record the drums in their bathroom. Or inadvertently distorted the bass guitar with their portastudio. One that stands out in my mind was a Vocal performance by Nick Disbray from Big Pig. He had recorded it on his cassette at 4 am just after writing the song. He sang it very softly because he didn't want to wake up his flatmates, The result was Angelic but eerie.
I get very involved, The more you can do to get prepared before going into the proper studio the better. I usually get sent the bands demos, and once we have decided we will work together. I will listen to their songs over and over again and try and work out the most concise way of getting the point through, They are usually too long or meander a bit so I will work out ways of chopping out bits that are boring without loosing all the good bits, basically I write down my ideas or some times do trial edits. I Then go into rehearsal with the band and try them out. We only use the rearrangements if we all agree its an improvement. I am always aware That I am messing with their Art so it is a sensitive procedure that needs a lot of care.
Yes, If I'm mixing it myself, I like to be awake! And mix in a studio that works and has good monitoring! Mixing is all about focus, it is the last stage of the "Creative process" and can some times make all the difference. If someone else is mixing for me, I just make sure I explain all my Ideas and the bands thoughts as clearly as possible.
The short answer is to make sure you EQ the instruments in a way that gives the Vocal it's own "Frequency" space. Also, The vocal is usually panned centre, so you can make space for it by keeping your Guitars, and Keyboards, etc, panned wider Left or right
I don't "carry" as much as most other Producer/Engineer, because I travel internationally so much. I have a black "Batman" like suitcase full of unusual stuff that is hard to find, or rent elsewhere, like": MXR flangers, A Modified Distortion Boxes (Sans Amp) Multi Amp Distribution switchers, Modified AKAI MPC 60 SRC Synchronizer. I could go on and on, But basically, most thing are rentable especially in America, so I only travel with the oddball stuff.
NO, I have successfully avoided that temptation.
Silverchair, Midnight Oil.
Probably because I've done more than two LP's with both these bands, There is a good artistic chemistry there, and we are all good friends.
With Silverchair I would need about six pages... Ben mooned the Sydney philharmonic orchestra, you can imagine the rest...
Yes, the first LP I Officially Produced: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 by Midnight Oil.
When I've just finished an album I usually don't listen to it for a few months because, especially if it has taken a long time to make. I do get a big kick out of hearing songs I've produced on the Radio. I usually start to evaluate whether I think it works, once it comes out and I hear public reaction, and I don't mean record sales! For instance I did an album with Girls against Boys recently which is extremely successful, but it did not sell.
I sometimes will listen to an LP I did say 8 years ago, and often be surprised by It. Fashion, Trends and peer pressure can so often influence "Your Art". And pop music does goes in cycles, so it can be very amusing. .
I find that the LP's that I have made with artists who ware very definite about their direction, always stand the test of time, I have been very luck to work with many of these bands. "The pleasure of your company" by Models for instance was very early 80's Sounding, yet it sounds really cool today.
I think my style has remained the same, But I notice a difference in the way I get there. When I started It was all based on gut instinct, then in the late 80's I had a more knowledge about record making and over thought things a bit. I think a lot of people did over produce in the late 80's, due to the new possibilities opened up with the invention of "DIGITAL" and sampling.