Notes from an Independent Record Producer, Pt. 3: “No, Your Record Doesn’t Have To Sound Like Your Live Show!”

Your albums do NOT have to sound like your live showsToday I’m going to go on a mini-rant for a moment. Thanks for bearing with me…

More times than I can remember, I’ve been talking with an aspiring artist about the process of recording, and they’ll assert that their vision and priority for their record is that “it has to sound like my live show.”

I just want to take a moment to say: that’s totally not true. Who said that? There isn’t a rule anywhere about that. Especially because your live show is probably just you and an acoustic guitar. And that would be a boring-ass record. Second most boring: you and your acoustic guitar at the center of a minimal guitar-bass-drums arrangement. I’m sure you know great players. But everyone’s heard that record about a thousand times. And we don’t need to hear it yet again.

Unless you’re making a live record, “I want my record to sound like my live show” is an apples-to-oranges comparison. A recording is an opportunity to write your feelings on a large screen. It’s a chance to use a much bigger and more ambitious sonic palette than you would have access to in a typical live situation (see my previous post on differentiating yourself in the marketplace via sonic adventuresomeness). And, most importantly, it’s a chance to make a statement.

And, really, do you want that statement to be, “I have such a low opinion of my audience that I want to make sure they can connect the dots between my live performance and my recorded output in the most reductive, literal, obvious way possible?” Geez, I’d hope not.

Give your audience a little credit. And give them a treat when they take your record home. Take them on an adventure. Give them something special to form a bond with, not a reconstruction of what they just heard you do on stage. Take the conversation to the next level.

Rant over. If you have a recording you’ve made recently that has adventurous leanings, share it with us in the comments!

[Fore more music production advice, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 of this series].

Author Bio: Jamie Hill is an independent record producer, music engineer, and author. He was nominated for Best Producer in the 2014 Independent Music Awards. Hill works across a variety of genres, mostly in the independent and alternative music spaces, with bands such as ArnoCorps, Shannon Curtis, and many more. He has had chart success internationally with Swedish indie-pop favorite Jens Lekman, whose record An Argument With Myself debuted in the Billboard Heatseekers Top 10 in multiple countries.

Originally published at Pyragraph.com.

[Apple image from Shutterstock.]



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