- Producing bands and solo artists
- Arranging and fleshing out demos
- Beats programming
- Pop & rock sound design
- Artist development
Finding the right music producer can be anything from slightly annoying to a full-blown nightmare. And it’s not that uncommon that you end up with a record the artist doesn’t fully stand behind. So the result is maximum frustration on all sides involved and the belief that you’re better off without a producer anyway. Does that sound familiar?
First of all, I strongly believe that it doesn’t have to be that way! But only if you establish a relationship built on mutual trust. If the producer goes out on a limb pushing the artist to deliver the best he or she can. Secondly, checking your ego at the door is the best starting point. And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about producing an indie band or a solo artist by the way. Similar to my approach to recording in general I strive to establish a great vibe that fosters creativity. You have to let your guard down to create something that truly touches people.
When I talk about producing, it can simply mean taking a demo and developing it to a fully fledge production. This demo could just be a guitar or piano and vocal, but of course there can be more to start with. The former was how I worked with Frau Karo, where I created the entire arrangement from scratch. But producing can also mean guiding a band through the process of an album production. In either case my responsibility is to never loose the overarching common thread. This is how it’s possible to ensure that your sonic vision is rendered in the most compelling way.
Particularly when producing bands I’ve noticed that they are often having a hard time nailing down their vision for their music. Something you can convey in just 20 seconds (elevator pitch anyone?). This is not really a surprise considering how much you can become consumed with songwriting. Sadly these bands then end up in a studio and don’t realize that they’re not going to create a cohesive record until it’s too late. It’s just not going to stick out. Major bummer!
Recap: my role as a music producer is to guide the entire production process, before, during, and after the recording. As such, I strive to help you create the best possible version of your music.
When working with solo artists there’s a lot of stuff to do before any bar has been recorded. Fleshing out the arrangement and selecting studio musicians, for example. If the record is carried out for a label, I’ll also work with the label A&R (artist & repertoire) manager to select the songs and develop the sonic vision. And sometimes it’s necessary to abandon the idea of making an album entirely in favor of cutting a single or EP first.
Regardless if we’re talking solo artists or band production: the starting point is to have a conversation about the sonic concept and how the final product is supposed to be marketed. It’s not about chasing the latest hype or anything like that. But you also can’t expect to be played on top 40 radio if all you do is eclectic post-colonial trance punk. Managing expectations and be realistic yet ambitious about your goals is pretty important to me.
By the way, being a producer doesn’t mean that you have to be able to do everything better than the musicians. More importantly it’s about being a sounding board and to judge every note, every sound by how it fits into the bigger picture. If possible, I actually try to avoid dictating specific ideas. I’d much rather let the musicians develop their own ideas and just guide the process to where it all comes together nicely. Knowing how to play the drums and keyboards, as well as having been in the shoes of a session musician, does help tremendously though.
What else do I need to know?
It’s not a secret: having success in the music industry is damn hard. Which is why it’s so important that we all work together in a team to make sure that our project is successful. Consequently, I’ll obviously be busting my ass to promote your music. I’m not just talking about social media and liking your posts. I shouldn’t even have to mention that! I’ll go much further than that and will pitch your music to appropriate contacts within my wide-reaching network. If your music goes big, that’ll be the best possible outcome for me too, right? So our relationship definitely doesn’t have to end with the release of the record, but can go much beyond that if you like.
So how much does this cost me?
Easy answer: it depends! Due to the fact that producing projects can be wildly different I don’t have set rates for my work as a music producer. Almost all of the records I produce I also record and mix (although that’s not a requirement). So I will typically quote a flat rate for the entire production for you or the label that you can budget with reliably. Nothing beats a personal conversation to discuss your goals and musical vision, which will then allow me to propose a budget.
I find it important to point out that I don’t automatically expect a writing credit as a producer. So you and the other songwriters will stay in control of your music! We’ll put a producer contract into writing that grants you all the rights required to sign a record or publishing deal if you don’t already have one. Only in the event that I get more involved in the songwriting than usual we’ll need to talk about my cut in the game.
Cool, so what’s next?
Hanging out and drinking coffee for a while is cool, but let’s kick this off for real. If we all feel like we could work together, I will usually suggest a trail session. The goal would be finding out if working together really strikes a chord with us (pun intended). Just like our initial meeting this trial session will be free. Finally and if all goes well during that session we will talk about your budget and the specific plan for the project.
You’ll find a selection of projects I’ve produced (and usually record and mixed) below. Dig in and check out some of those records. Do I have your attention and you’re ready to move forward? Great! Just send me an e-mail or get in touch via the social networks. I promise to get back to you ASAP! If you can send me some links to your music it will help me get a sense of what we’re talking about.