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Subjective questions on production

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Bertrand Batz, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    Hey guys. I've got a question about musical production, arrangements in terms of making a song more marketable. It should be simple, like not making a song sound like it's a versus-chorus-versus-chorus- end, but it's a vastly different project than the others I'm supposed to work with.

    The main difference is that it's not just sound like the marjority of bands. They have a strong message to pass ahead, and the guy who wrote lyrics is very concerned about it. I mean, in structure the songs are monsters...

    Intro - Versus - variation of the versus - bridge - chorus - variation of the chorus - small intro - ctrl c + ctrl v of everything above - and then a chorus just a little different.

    What I try to do, as band member AND producer, is to try and make it more polished, like we should really think about the message, but we should try not to make it fatiguing for a listener, and just repeating the same structure without anything new, turns out to be silly for me, but the lyirics writer just disagrees, he wants to maintain the concreted structure because for the message this repeating just makes sense. I'm thinking about a person who listens to it for the first time, or a bigger producer who could hire us, or venues and places and bars where they could turn on the cd.

    I try to get a mid term, but it's just difficult for someone who is used to that structure and thinks only about it's message. For him, it's no problem to just repeat it because the lyrics have some different content between each parts, but it just sounds like we got the parts and glued it together without showing anything new. It sounds too polluted.

    For a Industrial type, MM-NIN-Rammstein conceptual band, there's not really a cookbook, the songs don't really need to be max 3 - 4 minutes, it's not going to be in radio, etc, so the conservative approach just doesn't work.

    I know the songs very well and I know what could be polished, but how to persuade people? When producing something, you also deal with ego and unflexibility. It's harder when you've got a close friendship with the guy who rote the lyrics, and it's harder when you are the band's guitarist.

    All I could do was to argue about the fatiguing thing and the 'nothing new' feeling it brings, and just got as answer an 'no, it's ok for me, a listener wouldn't be fatigued by this, and the repeating makes sense in the lyrics'

    and after 2 hours of fruitless discussion I ended up saying 'ok **** it, it' gonna be your way'. It's not good for someone who wants to work with production(of course I wouldnt lose my patience if they were another band), do I ended up saying to myself 'how the **** you can't persuade them to see your point? are you such an idiot?'

    Well, guys, I need some advices here. We fought hard in the first sond. There are 4 more conceptual stuff coming in... Need some ammo LMAO
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    There is no formula that is right and none that is wrong. To serve the song is the purpose of an arrangement. Highlighting the lyric with the sound that is the group as a whole. In a democratic group it requires that everyone gives up a little, perhaps, to get a larger scheme on the recording.

    In one statement to declare the lyric to have a clear and important message yet you want to enhance the arrangement around it with a different sound and this is your part of the focus. Realize that this is only how YOU feel about musical structure and at some point YOU have to decide to serve the music or serve the message in the lyric.

    When a song is copywrited, the only thing that gets the benefit of a basic copywrite is the MELODY and the LYRIC. There can be an infinate number of arrangemnts yet the song remains the same.....

    When co-writing and co-arranging, someone has to check their ego at the door or you get the "two fruitless hours of discussion....." everytime.

    Remember this. No one in the world has heard your stuff. You are the only audience at this time.

    Who can say what is or is not "fatiguing" to a general listener.

    When you try and anticipate this sort of thing you are creating nothing but chaff for the wind.......its a deadend street to try and predict what is right and what is wrong with a song. It cannot be done.
  3. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    Yea, your approach is right.

    Part of my point is that this is #1 song in the band's demo, and maybe shouldn't last longer than say...4 minutes, assuming it should be sent to music bizz people...

    But generally, I agree with you... The name of the thread already suggests this =]

    Today after the last post above I've got a better picture, some members worked out that question of excessive ctrl c ctrl v, then some1 suggested another scheme for that song that worked well, it's nice now...when we finish mixing it I'll get them uploaded in the mix part of the forum

    thanks buddy
  4. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Vashon Island, Washington
    Home Page:
    The study of song structure and facility therewith is vital for a producer, IMO. In popular music, a guiding principle is to create a structure which provides easy accessibility to the listener. One of the human responses which leads to accessibility is anticipation... the ability of the listener to anticipate what may come next. This anticipation can be lyrically, structurally, melodically, harmonically or rhythmically. This anticipation can be created by the writer or arranger by use of repetition... the listener anticipates where we are going next because the last time we were where we are now we went to "X'.
    This structural device, however, must be balanced by another guiding principle, which is to create a structure/lyric/melody/etc. which retains newness and freshness and interest in the listener.
    The structure you have described above could have some accessibility issues surrounding 1. The unconventional overall arrangement of verses, choruses and bridge. I know of few if any popular songs where the bridge occurs before the first chorus. It's not "wrong" mind you, its just that listener's ears have been trained by popular usage and structure to anticipate a bridge after the verse-chorus couplets have been established. It is most frequently used as a short relief before the second of two consecutive final choruses. 2. The "variations" on both the verses and choruses could prove frustrating to the listener who wants to be able to anticipate where we're going next. On the otherhand, perhaps the variations provide just enough freshness to be helpful.
    The biggest hinderance to great songwriting, however, is for the writer to be closed to suggestion and improvement and to think that his or her work cannot be further improved. In the songwriting community we have a saying... "Great songs aren't written... they're re-written".
    Mind you, I have couched the above discussion under the assumption of "popular" music... music aimed at broad consumption. I assume that if the writer considers the message to be important that he/she would want to reach the broadest audience possible.
    For reading, you may wish to direct the writer to "The Craft of Lyric Writing" by Shiela Davis, considered to be the Bible of songwriting by many. She gives excellent discussion of these topics with numerous popular song illustrations of the principles.
    Hope you find this helpful,
  5. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    Yeah. Our task is somewhat hard, I mean, the band's objective is to thread the needle between conceptual(maybe elitist) music, and popular stuff that glues in your mind with a catchy chorus, etc...The message is very conceptual, but the sound should balance this.

    I mean, if we wanted a coneptual work only, it would be easy. We could go for a Darker-Darksideofthemoon lmao...
    If we wanted 'pop' only, it would also be easy. We'd go for something marketable-no more than 3 minutes song

    The difficult part is to find the optimum point between both. Something with a strong, intellectual message that still catchy and could be played on a goth alterna club/whatsoever without boring them into never-end industrial chaos

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