NIMBUS: real world recording school?
by, 12-12-2010 at 06:51 PM (5112 Views)
I finally found time to drop by Nimbus.They sent out an invite to an open house for the school that they run there. This is a working studio mind you. Bands go there to record. Recently Lillix finished Tigerlily there. Garth Richardson was at the door to greet guests. Bob Ezrin wasn't about or if he was, I didn't get to meet him. Seeing Kevin again was really cool. This is a guy who is just made for inspiring people.
The thing about these guys and all of the staff there that stood out is their lack of ego. There was nothing to prove here. They don't need to prove anything. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. But, more than that. They seemed to show a respect for everyone in that we have a common desire. To produce music. To be involved with music and the creative process in some way. The air is charged with a drive to reach for something better. Something that has yet to be achieved.
Kevin took the time to personally show myself and a few other guys around. We got as far as their Studio A sound room when Kevin's drive took over. Talking openly about why they put this school together. I'm sure there is the financial proponent. That goes without saying. But, there was something else. Something that they were striving for that goes ignored at most schools. Not just media schools but schools in general.
There is something missing in recording schools that has been resulting in a loss in the music industry all together: a desire to produce a high quality product. To capture the moment as it happens. To entice the listener to join in on the groove as it happened there in the studio.
There were many analogies. One that stands out for me is this: Imagine you find a band with a great vocalist. The next Freddy Mercury and a band as tight as Queen had ever been. Imagine them going to record an album and nailing every cut. Now imagine that the engineer beatmaps and autotunes the whole project. That is the state of the music industry. People are so bought into the technology that they wouldn't know a good thing if they heard it. Even if they did hear it, they would "fix" it beyond all recognition.
The drive is toward something else. Something that we have yet to see. The music industry is changing. Power is in the hands of the musicians again but where do you take it? How do you control that power? How do you focus that energy so that it doesn't burn out before it has a chance to start a fire?
No one made claims to have an answer. Their goal was not to provide one. The goal is give tools so that a person could "hit the ground running". Not just a head start but a resume and a plan. There were no claims to have anyone in a job by the time they were finished. Only that they would have the tools to be prepared to work. Credit on a project. An understanding of the laws involved. Experience taught by Award winning producers and industry professionals.
Most of these "schools" are run by former students. Unfortunately it's true. Do they work in the industry? Sure they do. They teach at Full Sale.
The format is also different. A maximum of 6 students. No classrooms. They are always either in the studio or on a music workstation. The goal being to teach real world skills. The purpose being not to teach you how to plan your strategy but to have your business strategy plotted and your promotion material ready, complete with a resume and recording credits.
When I first started learning from Kevin he was fighting for this same ideal. At that time fifteen years ago it was already obvious where the music industry was headed. He talked about it at length but still nobody seemed to see it coming until it hit us. The degradation of these schools into nothing more than cash flow generators was a large part of that. Suddenly people were being processed and given certificates regardless of whether they learned anything or not. The technology has made cheaters of most people. There's no longer a standard to be measured against. If you can't get it right, fix it in the mix. Atotune, beatmap, sample and assemble the best notes into something resembling a song.
They're striving for something better than that. Maybe, they're on to something. Normally, I like to bash recording schools. There might be something different here. Maybe there is hope for music. Maybe there is something better than what we're hearing on the radio yet to come.