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Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Starfields76, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. Starfields76

    Starfields76 Guest

    I'm currently recovering from a session I engineered this past weekend. I'm wondering what some of you think about how it went down and what you would have done in the same situation.

    This record label books time for the band to come in and track some songs. The band shows up and immediately lets me know that they want creative control over the project. Two record label people show up shortly after that and put on this front that they are making all the calls on the artistic end of the session. Then, an hour later, another engineer/producer who is a friend of one of the record label guys shows up and starts putting his input into what's going on. I HADN'T EVEN STARTED GETTING SOUNDS YET!!!

    What do you do when there are "too many cooks in the kitchen"? How do you know your role when no roles have been established? I got through it okay but the band was looking to kick the crap out of someone by the end of the session.

    Kevin Bruchert
    Producer / Engineer
     
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Golden Rule applies here, whoever is giving you the gold for the studio time rules the session, unless it is a case where the artists or producer contractually have creative control. Don't trust that they do unless you see it in writing if you want to keep getting business from the label. Damn, it's bad enough when just the band does the "more me" thing at mixdown. Hope you were able to take many beers internally after that.

    Bear
     
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I've done that session more than a few times...it's about as much fun as root canal. The first time I just sort of sat there and watched and took direction from the person who was paying me. Needless to say, the product turned out like $*^t, but that's the way it goes.

    One of the next times it happened I shut it down fairly quickly. I just turned around and yelled "Hey" rather loudly to get everyone's attention, then followed it up with something along the lines of:

    "Lookit-I'm here to engineer this record, not to get involved with your internal power struggles...so, if you'd like to continue with me at the helm, go outside, elect a ^#$%ing leader, and that's the only person I want to hear from unless I have a question for you. I'm not dealing with this BS for the next several hours, it's draining and the work comes out like $*^t. Frankly, I'm here to try an make this sound as good as the tones I'm given to record...so $*^t like arrangements and the sounds of the instruments are your problem...I can't do any magic or voodoo with this thing [point to desk], I can only translate what I'm given...so if y'all don't work this out, I'm off like a prom dress...you're not paying me nearly enough to sit here and listen to you motherfuckers play power struggle games, either pick someone to interact with me, or fire me, but I can't listen to the audio and 4 sets of mouths all jawing at me at the same time".

    A couple of times I was fired on the spot, which was fine and ^#$%ing dandy with me [and my assistant was more than happy to jump right into the chair...of course when I saw the assistant later on in the week he suddenly understood why the little tirade].

    A couple of other times they actually chose a 'leader' who was the only one I would talk to (unless I had a direct question for someone else involved with the project). You could cut the tension in the control room with a knife, but at least it wasn't my ^#$%ing problem. The records still turned out like crap, but at least I didn't have to be on the defensive the entire time I was engineering.

    Sometimes the good lord deals a shitty hand...you can bluff or you can fold...but your odds of winning are seriously diminished.
     
  4. hathabr

    hathabr Guest

    Man, that speech could be used at several jobs - I love it!
     
  5. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Fletcher, you can mediate for me anytime. There is a colorful, diverse, and emotional world of clients out there. How many times did they go off to select a spokesman, and come back selecting you?
    In the total absence of leadership, leadership emerges.
    --Rick
     
  6. Starfields76

    Starfields76 Guest

    Thanks for all your input. It was a hellish coarse of events but I got through and tried to stay out of it as much as possible. Unfortunately they booked more time with me in a few weeks :(

    Make the bad man stop!!!

    Kevin
     

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