With the support of iLok, here is another tip from this week’s submissions…
P Nigel Brown - I was engineering a recording session with some of the most talented musicians around. One of the musicians was just there in more of an advisory/producer role, so he was in the control room with me. At some point during the setup of the session, he said, “I know these guys. You’re not going to want to come out of record. You’re going to catch something. When they’re finished with a take, just mute the click in their headphones and let the tape roll.” He stuck around for a bit, but had to leave before the session finished.
I went through the session doing as he suggested mostly picking up banter. While it was funny, nothing really useful was printed. As we’re wrapping up the session, they went back into the live room to record one last take. The take was pretty good, and then guitar player discovered a riff and started exploring. The bass player picked up on it and jammed with it. Then the drummer joined in.
While the three of them are jamming, the keys player and the vocalist were in the control room listening to these musicians play this Miles Davis-esque piece. After a few minutes, the keys player left the control room to join the jam. In all, this unrehearsed song went on for about 10 minutes and it was amazing.
The bassist, drummer, and guitarist came back in to the control room not knowing we recorded what they were playing. As they walked in, I said, “MAN, that was AMAZING! Wouldn’t it have been great if we recorded that!?!” The musicians said, “Yeah, we were thinking the same thing.”
I told them to hold on and played it back for them. My credibility went up exponentially in the eyes of those musicians. And at the end of the day, they cared less about the song they came to record and more about the one they ended up recording. So that’s my tip. Don’t come out of record unless you’re absolutely sure the music is finished. I’ve even gone a step further now. On a lot of recording sessions, I’ll just set up a Zoom recorder in the live room. It guarantees that there will be at least a recording that exists of everything that happens that day and the musicians have something to review if they so choose.
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