Is Anybody LISTENING?
Hey folks, thanks for reading again, sorry for the delay! let me say going forward I will be posting a new blog entry weekly! Make sure you sign up for my mailing list to get notified when I post something new or offer a deal or some free resources.
WOW, what a few months it has been. It's been busy and there's lots of cool stuff going on. As the awareness of myself and my site grows I'm actually starting to get legit questions sen to me via DM, or on my Instagram posts and the main one was:
"what advice would you give to someone just starting out?"
First off, let me say I'm humbled and flattered that someone would ask me, a dude from a small town in Canada, how they too can get into the music business. My story is like yours! I worked a bunch of crappy jobs and I'll be completely transparent, Sometimes I do work a job along with doing this. You have to pay the bills, and this is a tough business to crack. But I started years ago for fun and now do this to make money. I was in your shoes, starting out not really knowing how to get better. And back then, there wasn't the internet resources we have now!!! I just had to practice and do as much work as possible, So when I get this question it forced me to think and take stock in my own situation, I reflected on some positive comments I have gotten from clients and I came to a few realizations and my overall answer may shock you:
I don't have AMAZING gear. It's better than average but by no means THE BEST.
I don't have an acoustically perfect room. Far from it! I mix in my living room! In an apartment! Yes, sometimes I work in a studio, but MY mix rig is in my home., and I use headphones....quite a bit!
I have basic Studio monitors. Yep, no $30,000 barefoot monitors here. Awesome stuff for sure , but I don't have them, can't afford them, and quite frankly don't need them.
What do I have!? ......all I could think of was this!!! A musical Ear!
That's right, you heard me, I know how to LISTEN to music and I know what music SHOULD sound like. Based on years and thousands of hours listening to music I have subconsciously developed an ear for what music should sound like! So you're right now going "I listen oIa lot of music too!!! so therefore I should be good at mixing/producing!"
Well, kinda you're halfway there!! (ooooooo living on a prayer!!!) sorry had to do that....
See it's not just listening to music that matters, thats part of it, but my advice to these people was to learn HOW to listen. Listen from the perspective of the producer ASWELL as the consumer.
LEARN HOW TO LISTEN TO MUSIC
It's really quite simple and I guarantee all producers and engineers do it. Listen to your favourite albums and focus on one instrument the entire song. Yep, pop in your favourite SOUNDING albums, or for you producers , the most interesting and moving albums in your collections and ....listen....to ONE part.
Now that can be Vocal, a great place to start! It's the focal point for pretty well all non musical consumers and I say non musical in that a guitar player may focus more on the guitar as it's his/her favourite part of a song whereas a non musical consumer just takes it all in as a whole. So listen to just the vocal. Listen for pitch, timing, clarity, effects (try to listen to the revere and it's relationship to the song).
Next time try listening to just the Drums, then work down to each drum. I have actually sat and listened to songs just to hear the Toms. Pathetic I know. No consumer listens to the Toms on their own. They don't care, but if it sounds too loud or too boomy, or too quiet they may notice either physically or emotionally.
If you already do this, I can assure you you're on the right track! It takes a long time to develop this skill but think of it like this, If you don't know what it's supposed to sound like then how will you get it to sound that way!? One of the biggest examples is getting a vocal to sit in a mix and not be too loud or quiet. Yes EQ and compression play a part in this, but you'll never know when its right if you don't have the ear to be able to tell you.
I have more advice to give on this topic so I think I will post this in separate chunks. But for now go and start listening, drill down to each part and listen. This will develop your ear, it won't cost you any money and your work WILL improve.
Keep an eye on the site for some FREE resources I'm going to be mailing out that will cover in depth things like this topic here today as well as a few others!!
Leave me some comments and let me know what else you'd like to see here and any advice on what you do to train your ears!
Thanks for reading