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What is your definition of a "producer"?


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This may sound corny but my personal definition of a producer is Sir George Martin ... the 5th Beatle certainly. It seems a producer can be many things to many people but for me Mr Martin exemplifies it all. He took songs by the band and redirected them entirely sometimes ... not that I'm a hits type of guy but he played a major role in directing and interpreting/translating the music into finished product.

I think in many ways a producer is like an orchestral conductor ... a conductor can hear a piece of music and it is his or her interpretation of HOW that music should be played and translated is what makes them valuable or unique. It's the quality of translation and interpretation. You could argue producers who have a passive role vs an active role in the production of that music but I think any good producer will bring something to the table of the finished product - if they don't they're just an engineer.

The music of the Beatles would be entirely different without George Martin - it wasn't all John and Paul writing the songs.

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yeah, that "flutter" is annoying, and it sounding too thin overall and having no power to it like nevermind did. course it is kind of hard to beat andy wallace at that game. sonic youths dirty sounded killer that same year. most of what he was mixing in the early 90's was incredible.

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This may sound corny but my personal definition of a producer is Sir George Martin ... the 5th Beatle certainly. It seems a producer can be many things to many people but for me Mr Martin exemplifies it all. He took songs by the band and redirected them entirely sometimes ... not that I'm a hits type of guy but he played a major role in directing and interpreting/translating the music into finished product.


I think in many ways a producer is like an orchestral conductor ... a conductor can hear a piece of music and it is his or her interpretation of HOW that music should be played and translated is what makes them valuable or unique. It's the quality of translation and interpretation. You could argue producers who have a passive role vs an active role in the production of that music but I think any good producer will bring something to the table of the finished product - if they don't they're just an engineer.


The music of the Beatles would be entirely different without George Martin - it wasn't all John and Paul writing the songs.

 

 

If there's one producer who I look to as a role model moreso than any other, it's Sir George. :phil:

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Did no one read my post at all? It's like everyone decided to turn this whole thread into a debate Nirvana's production thread. I responded to the ORIGINAL TOPIC with several paragraphs worth of insight and people just went right on arguing about Nirvana like I had not written anything.

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When dealing with people like Andy Wallace and Steve Albini its a matter of taste/style. they're totally different but equally as good imo..

 

 

definately IYO... steve isnt even CLOSE to the talent in Wallaces ass crack hair.

 

if nevermind was done by albini, nobody would really know who nirvana ever was really.... it was so big and powerful when it came out it took over the ENTIRE music world. in utero is thin and weak like a vegan. fwiw, when nevermind came out, i was listening to and owned many of albinis recordings. they just didnt sound that good. its almost like he makes things lo-fi on purpose, sometimes [most times] to the demise of the album.

 

at least when the stooges and VU sounded that way you knew it was because they were smacked and coked out... they couldnt really help it.

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Did no one read my post at all? It's like everyone decided to turn this whole thread into a debate Nirvana's production thread. I responded to the ORIGINAL TOPIC with several paragraphs worth of insight and people just went right on arguing about Nirvana like I had not written anything.

 

 

Eh, that's what happens when people start debating/arguing, unfortunately.

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Did no one read my post at all? It's like everyone decided to turn this whole thread into a debate Nirvana's production thread. I responded to the ORIGINAL TOPIC with several paragraphs worth of insight and people just went right on arguing about Nirvana like I had not written anything.

 

 

yeah, because it was dave fortman. i heard a suplecs album he did as well and the {censored} was over the top. so {censored}ing fat sounding. definately their best album to date.

 

look at dave fridmanns whole discography... bands might not be huge commercial successes but it sounds the tits and some AMAZING ALBUMS, not 'singles' or 'filler'... but ALBUMS. want to hear a killer drum sound tho, put on flaming lips 'clouds taste metallic' if you want that killer room drum tone. sparklehorse 'its a wonderful life' is amazing as well late at night.

 

look at joe barresi and pretty much defining the stone rock genre. clutch has an album coming out with him this month i cant WAIT to hear what he did with them. last QOTSA was amazing.... so was their first.

 

brian eno is another cool, not necessarily 'producer' but visionary, guy who can put together very interesting sets of musicians.

 

dust brothers on beastie boys pauls boutique... that album was SADISTIC when it came out and left behind the runDMCwannabe sound rick rubin had them do.

 

bill laswell is another great minded guy who is now exploring the world musical styles with what he does.... oddly he started with brian eno.

 

there are loads of great producers... there are also con-producers [who take nothing and turn it into crass commercialism], who while i dont particularily like their style, nor do i like their flash in the pan approach... i guess if they keep lighting up those flashes, they string together several entertainers rather than a few artists careers.

 

 

i have more to add im sure but dont feel like typing about this anymore right now. didnt mean to hijack the thread for a dead guy and an anti-producer.

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wait, ill mention a few others since i had a smoke and thought about it:

andrew weiss: amazing job he does with ween totally "getting" their cynicism, satire... and can play a mean bass too. albums he does with ween SOUNDS like ween. the white album they did to what im assuming appease the major they were on sounded so NOT ween [white album].

then butch walker [who seems to be getting a good bit of press recently] i heard an album he did of this band i know and totally KILLED everything that was good about this band and made them into some watered down BS... i so wish they didnt do that album with him. BAD MATCH.


a producer definately has to be a good match with the band... and the engineer. personally, i like producers who also engineer. i find there is more purity to that than having a seperate producer and engineer.

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i prefer to have a single person who shares the vision and can add to that vision of the band do it.... of course it heavily varies for the project, the band, the other factors.... some projects i have mixed because the people were SICK of hearing it by that point so fresh ears were welcomed. other times things could go so smoothly that its not necessary. most albums i love though and guys whose work i dig the most is all done by them.

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I had an interesting thing happen that pointed out what a producer is this weekend. I saw a punk band that just kicked my ass Saturday night. Kind of a Dead Kennedys meets Bad Religion with real live guitar solos. Great rhythm section. All good, good players. Tight, but definately punk. Funny but rocking singer with a cool swagger and a very black sense of humor.

So I start spewing how great they were and how they should consider tracking at my place with me as producer...

They hand me a CD they just finished and I go out to my car to listen. Everything good about the band was gone. You could hear they were competent but the fun and excitment were gone. Flat...

That would not happen if I were producing. How could it happen if you knew what was good about the band? You'd constantly be bringing the band back to where they should be. So a good producer needs to be a fan too. Then be able to get then back to that place and not be distracted about what really matters...

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are you A&R somewhere? i ask because they love to speculate on hypothetical bull{censored} like this.

 

 

not a difficult thing to speculate...

 

 

so what if drum samples WERE used? it sounds WAY better**... cant tell they are drum samples as an overall feel. i have heard that wallaces signature snare verb is a sample ADDITION, i dont know if he fully replaces*. then again, THAT is what i producer IS. someone smart enough to make the call to hire Wallace and make it sound great rather than sell it short with idiotic "anti-production" ideology which they ended up having to do anyway***.

 

 

*

Speaking of ambience, there's another interesting difference between you and other mixers. You use samples in virtually all of your mixes, but unlike other mixers who use samples either to replace a drum or to repair a deficiency in a drum sound, you tend to use your samples as drives to ambience.

Right. Exactly.


I find that very interesting. On the Seventeen Days album, you only used a snare sample, but I'm told that you also used a kick sample.

I have a similar thing I do with kick drum, sometimes.


But just to drive ambience? Then do you design the drum sound to fit into that ambience?

No, not exactly. I use the samples more to drive reverbs. If you killed the reverb, you'd still hear the sample. And the thing I like is that I can EQ them so that I can really tune the ambience and where it sits in the whole frequency response.

 

 

 

**

[nevermind]

Wallace brought to the album a completely different mindset, adding layers of reverb and studio trickery to give the album a glossy polish. A few months after the album's release, Cobain complained in the press that Wallace had made Nevermind sound too slick, even though Wallace had been his own choice and the band themselves had been involved in the mixing process. Even if the band was disappointed at the sound of the album,
Wallace had successfully tempered the band's indie rock leanings and created a mainstream-ready rock sound that others would attempt to duplicate for the next decade.

 

 

***

[in utero]

However, Cobain insisted that Albini's sound was simply the one he had always wanted Nirvana to have: a "natural" recording without layers and layers of studio trickery.


Prior to the album's release, controversy erupted. Stories ran in several magazines suggesting that DGC was unhappy with the completed album and that it might be shelved. As a result, fans began to believe that the band's creative vision might be compromised by their label. While the stories about DGC shelving the album were untrue,
the band was actually unhappy with certain aspects of Albini's mixes
. Specifically, they thought the bass levels were too low, and Cobain felt that "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies" didn't sound "perfect".
Longtime R.E.M. producer Scott Litt was called in to help remix those two songs, with Cobain adding additional instrumentation and backing vocals
. Litt also remixed "Pennyroyal Tea," but Albini's version was used on the album. (DGC later planned to release Litt's remix as a single.)


 

 

Nevermind has sold 25 million copies to date. In Utero, 5 million.

 

its a shame they didnt have ed stasium mix in utero. i have been listening to his stuff from reverend horton heat and its amazing sounding.

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dont be a dick... you know damn well what im talking about. you are comparing apples and oranges above, two albums from the same band is apples and apples.

Nevermind has achieved sales of 13.4 million in the United States alone, and 25 million copies total worldwide. thats a FACT

maybe in utero should have used samples. and im not realyl sure why you are criticizing wallace for BLENDING samples [for the verb sends no less]. something sounding better isnt necessarily opinion... it CAN actually sound better and be a FACT. whether it conveys the emotion is probably where you get more into subjective opinion.

so tell me, how DOES this conclude any lesson? kurt cobain THOUGHT he picked someone for in utero but it ALSO was a disappointment...

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as for drum samples, i feel they are useless if you know how to record a drumkit. if you dont know how, they can be useful, but blended or not they still sound like samples to me. I can make a snare sound good without samples thank you.

 

 

pointless to reply to that.

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I don't see wallace's use of samples as a weakness, in fact I think that's a pretty nifty idea, the way he used them. Sure some people take it too far, like a guy in my area who these days only mic's drums to replace them with samples later and doesn't use the real thing at all. Completely different to my style.

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I think it's a tool, like a lot of other things, especially in the way that Andy used it, I mean, using a sample to drive a reverb unit? That IS cool. I wouldn't have thought of that, but I'm certainly going to try it. But I suppose you'd record a 2nd snare track and use that eh? Another cool idea (provided you have a second snare, which I and most of the people I record, don't)

 

Anyway, who cares if Cobain liked in utero or not, I didn't like it as much as nevermind. But then again I think the songwriting wasn't as good either. There's a lot of booooring tracks on In Utero in my opinion, less so on Nevermind. Though it really is that bit more punky.

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