Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Get Better At Your Skill By Listening To Others

Just as a book author must read and read and read to be a better writer, it is the same thing with writing and recording music.
There are a few ways to go about this, let me explain;

1. Who do you sound like?
2.Who do others say you sound like?
3. Application;

To learn recording tricks, how someone recorded a sound you must listen to it over and over. Modern day , practical music appreciation. I have meet many in music that simply do not have this skill, critical listening. Let me give a real world example.

Many of my songs are like a full production, rich, full, use of stereo placing and effects. My music has a lot of orchestra sounds, film music elements. Many years ago, I combined classical sounds with rock or pop elements, I have never looked back. I would listen to a couple quality recordings to analyze, listening careful to intro's outro's breaks, pad sounds, stereo sounds , effects, vocal tricks, and always over all, song composition.

I have always been a composer more than anything else, so this was a strong appeal to me and I found it very easy to analyze a song, learn the " How did they do that, get the sound, effect".

If your strength is in composing many tracks and producing, this is not as hard as a solo musician that plays, records four or eight tracks. I am talking about recording 25-60 tracks. In the old days most I would listen to recorded the max of 16 tracks on 2 inch recording tape, now days with PC music recorders you can record endless tracks. In my opinion the most unique and different sound I ever heard was 'Supertramp Crime of the Century". What a different sound, all producers agree, do you hear of any Supertamp Tribute bands? No, why? they were that different, amazing classical piano and amazing composition. I spent many hours, years listening to such bands.

Pink Floyd, not as hard and there are tribute bands that do theri covers, the synth sound and vocal tricks was my main lesson from them, 'Dark Side of The Moon', I would say these two recordings are the best that have been recorded, but that is my opinion. 'Welcome to the Machine' if you love effects and synths that is the one to listen to and learn.

AS a minister I do not listen to that kind of music anymore. I have been so busy in ministry work, I do not listen to a lot of anything.

I am teaching by past experience.

The song ' Rudy' was a song I had to listen over and over, how much effects were added to the sweet piano. Super tramp did not use heavy effects like Pink Floyd, they did not need to, reverb and top quality production skills.

One last example, U2-Joshua Tree, I do not know if I have ever liked a recording as much as that one. Before they became commercial, and yes readers from Europe, I know, I know, they were a rip off of radio head 100% but savvy commercial, and a great Irish sound. The Edge has a different way of playing guitar, a very rhythm based and different strumming sound from most. He is not the worlds greatest guitar player but he is one of the worlds most unique sounding guitarists.

U2 has many tribute bands, as well as some Pink Floyd, but never Super tramp, again that says something.

We do this, not to be a copy of another sound or artist. The only different, quality music comes out of the Indy camp, no matter what your style is. Learn by listening, very close, over and over, not to be that carbon copy, but incorporate the 'how did they do that' stuff into your own unique sound.

We are all influenced by music we love, I care not what anyone says, we all were influenced by someone.

In doing this, you will be a better arranger, you will have a better production, and hoepfully a new sound, a different thing, all you like no one else, you can do this and become a better radio ready band, solo artists if you try this, it works I have seen it do wonders when I was producing other bands.

We saw this basic principle in the movie, 'School of Rock', he had the kids listen to other bands and sounds, it is a basic principle, practical, but now days I simply do not see enough musicians be a critical analyst of a sound. Try it today.

Always be yourself and see if maybe you can be the next person that comes up with a new sound that will sale and people will like, most of all, play and record what you like, we should make music for us and not always with a recording in mind.

I can not tell you how many times I read in the 'Musicians Market book', Publishers saying, send us what songs move you the most, the ones you like the most and not what you think others will like.