There’s going to be a time when a studio or a producer need some extra talent on a track in the form of a session musician. Most producers have their go-to people. The reason is simple, they need the right results and they need them fast. Here’s our top 5 tips to getting hired and even more importantly re-hired.
Be Great, Average Won’t Cut It
We’re assuming you know how to play to a very high standard, if you don’t then it’s best not to call yourself a session player, or even offer yourself for gigs, you’re simply wasting your time and the producers. You either need to be top of your game at a particular genre or excellent at adaptation.
Investment In Great Gear Pays Off
Invest in great gear. Yes there are those guitarist who can make a cheap copy sound amazing and drummers who can make a pile of shoe boxes sound great, but when it comes to recording then you need instruments with great tone and electronics that are reliable. A decent drummer has several snares and a guitarist several guitars and a few amps. The more you can offer in terms of your own gear, then the less the studio has to hire in.
Keep Things In Working Order
Keep everything in top condition. Knackered drum skins and three year old bass strings may float your boat, but that kind of sound is not normally at the top of the list for a producer. Also make sure the electrics are not crackling or banging and take spare stuff like batteries, sticks and skins.
It’s Their Time Not Yours
Turn up in plenty of time and be ready to start. I still find it astounding how many drummers think a kit can set itself up in around 30 seconds after they arrive. As far as I’m concerned when the session starts the musicians should be ready to play.
Have a great attitude. You’re there to do a job in a certain way, it may not be the part you would play, or be the sound you would use, but if that’s what the client wants then give it to them. If you’re a session artist the client isn’t hiring your ego, so leave that at home.
The reality is that if you deliver then you’ll be invited back again and again and over time you’ll establish a relationship of trust. These days I have my go-to people who come into sessions and will advise me on how a riff could work, or offering different drum or vocal ideas, we’ve built that trust over time - they are top of my phone list, make sure you are top of the list for several producers.
So the things mentioned are what I look for, how about you?