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Please help a thicko out by explaining - as you would to a nine year old child. Thanks.
In that a film producer doesn't direct the film; the director does that.
I'm on your ship, Mirri.
to demonstrate i don't know. I wasn't giving a smart-arse, typical 'DiS' answer.
For example, you sometimes hear 'oh that album was totally over-produced', but what does that actually MEAN?
I imagine they sit behind those massive decks fiddling with knobs, but doing what??
so that it sounds alright. I don't know about the over-production thing, but i can definitely tell when an album sounds tinny and wrong.
it's a very confusing thing this producing, mixing, mastering process.
there is not such thing as over production.
There is 'bad production' but that is never 'over produced'.
When peopel say overproduced it simply means the sound does not match the band's 'aesthetic' so it may be too clean for a a scuzzy band say.
hoever one can call the habit in mainstream studios to makes things really loud 'overproduced' . But I would argue against that, because it doesn't take much to raise all the faders to the max and compress the shit out of things.
so is in charge of the music and the recording in the way that a director is in film.
What a producer ACTUALLY does depends very much on the individual producer in question.
Some try to capture the sound of the band as the band create it. Some put their own sound all over what the band have come up with themselves.
Some are complete sound geeks and spend an age over each individual note or nuance and some don't even know how to operate a mixing desk at all and just order the engineer and the band to do what sounds right to their ears.
One thing a lot of producers have to do (whether they like it or not) is to deal with the whole psychology of the individuals and the collective of the band + A&R guy/girl + manager(s) + whoever else is part of the 'team'.
When something is 'over-produced' it usually means that it has had all the life taken out of the song and performance by make it too precise or in any case sound 'not real'. This is easy to do as in life we are used to perceiving many imperfections and if we're presented with something that doesn't have any imperfections it generally sounds 'flat' - this is especially true with digital recording and production techniques being so prevalent and the same problems exists with digital photography (IMO).
I think the best producers are the ones that develop a relationship with the artist that allows them to get that little bit extra out of the performance and so not have to sweat over the mixing desk at the end of the process.
I think that should be a satisfactory answer.
it's beginning to make more sense now.
Oversee recording of all the parts...decide the best way to record them, suggest how to improve them as you're going along, keeps the artists focussed and gets enough takes until every part is nailed...chops and edits parts on the fly if something's out of time, gets a working mix...
He basically gets the song onto tape. The artist will come sometimes with neat WAV files of all the parts, pretty much complete except for some overdubs, sometimes they'll come with a vague idea of a melody that they whistle at the producer..either way it's his job to oversee getting the thing recorded.
Tough job - I know a producer who once had to spend 3 days just auto-tuning vocals on two tracks...nudging tiny bars up and down on a computer for hours on end while 3 seconds of music loops again and again and again.
the producer is the guy/gal to help you decide everything else based on discussions with you and the demos you already have. He then takes on the role of objective adviser to the band including keeping labels off their backs.
so the producer will advise on timescales, studios to use, engineers to use, mastering dudes, etc. As they have done many records they will have experience the artist doesnt, eg. david botril is great at bringing orchestras to rock as he know what works when and who to work with. How many engineers or artists would have this experience?
Most often they have come from an artist or engineer background and you tell this from the type of records they make. The best are generalists though with a bit of experience in each area but not so much they start to allow that part to dominate the proceedings.
if you listen to a mark trombino record the drums will always sound awesome cos he was a drummer but the guitars can be lacking.
if you listen to a don gilmore record it will sound very over produced and perfect cos hes from an engineering background.
So what am i saying, there job is to advise organise and help the artist present the concept in most cohersive form. They will often have alot of pre production input into the songs arrangement also.
Nowt if it's a Moldy Peaches rekkid. Arf.
The KLFs book 'The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way)' is a darn fine read and covers the role of the producer (as well as just about everyone else in the hitmaking process).
"...the traditional producer casts his spells without being hindered by the traditional musicians’ paranoid presence."
"Singers have historically made the worst producers of their own work. The reason for this is simply that singers have to become so emotionally involved in their performance it cancels out any sort of over view. At the very least they need a musical partner that can give them some direction."
And who are we to argue with The Timelords?
Fulll text here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/4437075/The-Manual-How-to-Have-a-Number-One-the-Easy-Way
or here: http://freshonthenet.co.uk/?page_id=52
it could simply mean a sound engineer whose job it is to record the bands according to the band's wishes...this may involve mixing duties although this is usually split between two engineers with one called the 'producer' and the other the 'mixer'.
Or traditionally the 'producer' can be viewed like a film producer: He is in charge of creating a record to the record label's spec so is responsible for artistic direction, sometimes funding and general project management. In this case the producer could own the mechanical repoduction rights of the the record, eif not wiring credit too.
'producer' in a the european (German/scandinavian) sense could simply mean a someone who makes music
Get PJ Harvey up on spotify and you'll get 4-Track Demos and then the album Rid of Me right after it. If you've a spare hour or so listen to them consecutively. This is quite a good example of how the demos took LP shape with Steve Albini recording them.
depending on the producer.