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what is the motivation?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Chappy, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Chappy

    Chappy Guest

    Ok, this might come across as pretty negative or whinny, but that is not my intent.

    I recently scored a job producing and recording a band for a decently major label (albums in Wal-mart and stuff like that.) Anyways, everything was great because they were going to take a chance on an unknown (me) and they were going to put the rest of the budget to get mixed by a very well know mixer in Nashville. This was all very exciting until very recently I lost the job due to the mixer dropping out. Long story short, they wanted to make the most incredible sounding album for the less than 10K. I don't know if it's because they don't really believe in the band or what... but it was going to cost more than 10K just to use the mixer.

    So basically, they can't market an album around me and they don't have the mixer guy anymore so they (of course) go elsewhere, leaving me twiddling my thumbs and hoping for the next (first) big opportunity to advance in this industry.

    So what I'm getting at is that i don't know how to make it in this industry. I don't even know what the motivation is to get better. An industry focused on marketing more than music isn't going to give anyone else a shot. Let's be honest, if a record company has it in the budget to go to a Lord-Alge, than they're going to go to a Lord-Alge.

    So maybe I'll continue to focus more on becoming the best engineer that I can, except every big mixer in the world is more than likely going to trigger all of your drum sounds that you obsess about getting for forever.

    None of this is to say that I don't need to learn anymore because I won't be able to go anywhere anyways. It's just that I spend A LOT of freaking time on this forum and others, I read book after book, and magazine after magazine, because this just isn't something that you do. Engineering/Production is something that rules a good part of your life. I can't count how many nights I have a hard time sleeping because I can't stop thinking about how I'm going to mix the song the next day, what reverbs to use, what direction can I take this, how can I make this more interesting? This is our life.

    So how do you deal with the current state of the record industry? How does everyone else compete with these (easily marketable) names? How does everyone else stay motivated to find the always allusive killer snare drum without breaking down and just using samples?

    Sorry this seems so negative, I really don't mean for it to be. I'm just looking for the motivation to know that the obcessing will pay off.

  2. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I'll whine for a second and then tell you why I do this:

    I bust my ass at what I do and I've had studio owners tell me to eat $*^t and die when asking if I can scrub their toilets for free 24 hours a day. I've spent thousands upon thousands of dollars that I don't have to build a home studio in a rented house and have been told my sound quality sucks ass. I've isolated myself from the world for weeks on end to record no-name bands for $5/hr only to be stiffed by them (I'm too trusting). I've recorded countless bands for free and when lunch time came they didn't even offer to buy me a burger from McDonalds. I took a week off of work (before I got laid off) to record a band for an indie label and the band never showed up.....rent didn't get out that month because my work already had my replacement scheduled.

    Where is my motivation?

    -Working like hell for weeks just for the couple minutes of satisfaction when I play back a completed mix. Knowing that I created that is insane...like having a baby! hahah
    -Having a band come in that treats you with respect, is open to suggestions, and when the mix is complete....we both have a smile on our faces.
    -Having clients soo happy with what you do that they schedule their next sessions before they completed their first sessions and are willing to pay up front.

    With all of the bad $*^t that has happened there has been a LOT more good. I'd have to say that this is the best time of my life. Of course there will be set backs, but you have to roll with the punches and do your best.

    To me recording isn't about money. If I wanted to do something for money I would've gone to medical school like previously planned. When you die you can't take your money with you, and you could die tomorrow.....so I do what makes me happy now. People have told me that is the attitude of a future bum....but they can kiss my ass!

  3. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    I dropped out of music for all the reasons you mentioned and then some and pursued broadcast. My thrills are different, but just as motivating:

    - 5 minutes to air and the feed from across the country goes black, and reappears at 20 seconds to air, followed by a flawlessly mixed show. THAT'S a freakin' rush, man.

    - Watching talent panic before they hit air because of a last minute "technical difficulty" and fixing it at the last possible second to their relief and that of the producer.

    - Knowing that when I'm mixing, at that very moment there are lots and lots of people watching, most of whom take what I do for granted, all of whom would NOT take me for granted if anything went wrong. Being invisible and unkown is fun.

    - Learning something new every day. There is no end to the knowledge one should possess in this world. I get better with every show I do, and I thrive on making every show better than the last.

    - Knowing that my job won't disappear into someone's basement or bedroom. There's a long road ahead of me that'll never go away.

    I absolutely love my gig, too. Wouldn't trade it for anything.
  4. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Too much now, it seems like the Music Business is interfering with the business of music. Getting shafted by labels, producers and bands is not fun.

    For me, a lot of the motivation is self improvement. I really like engineering and want to be as good at it as I can be.

    I had a friend who was in a similar situation...here is his story.

    He had worked for about a month and a half recording and mixing for this band/label and ended up getting hosed out of most of his payment. Because of this he had to shut down his studio for a period of time to work another job just to pay the bills. He felt the same way you do.

    What he did was contact a buddy who was in a band and asked him if he wanted to work on a recording project. Anyone in a band loves free recording time so he agreed.

    What my friend did was spend the next three months just working on this band sort of like an experimental project. He would go into the studio at night and on the weekends and just experiment with all sorts of different stuff with this band. He would try out all kinds of neat and crazy things in the studio. He just took his time with it. Since there was no pressure to make money he was able to enjoy the time.

    When it was over, he was rejuvenated. Without the stress of deadlines or having to make money he was able to rekindle whatever it was that he lost.

    Eventually he got the studio back up and running full time.
  5. cheer up chappy

    if its makes you feel any better chappy i will publicly admit it took me four days to route my soundcard thro my desk then a further four days to put a hard drive in my pc..... also having read a few posts from the recordingart i think we should move to have an 'audio agony aunt' page up and running.... i know i would be a regular..........

    best wishes with your motivation pal.......
  6. Chappy

    Chappy Guest

    Thanks guys for the encouragement. It goes a long way in the business. I do count my blessing every day. I am a full time composer and post production engineer for a huge production company, I just record on the side. I absolutely love what I do, but I don't think that there's a bigger rush for me to help a band or just a solo artist to create something that they're proud of, something new! For some wierd reason, someday I plan on leaving this dream job and persuing my own studio. It scares the hell out of me but I know it's my passion. I think this weekend was a great step in the right direction for me. I've decided that I don't want to try and get a Lord-Alge sound. Although i love that sound, I want to be know for my own sound, something unique. Wheather it's my unique drum sound or the way bass guitar fits in the mix. I want people to come to me for a reason, not just because of cheap engineering rates. Oh well, sorry for rambling and pushing my personal crap of everyone.
  7. mjatas

    mjatas Guest

    This is my opinion. Keep on doing what you are doing even if it really doesn't get you anywhere. If that's what you really love to do. Music industry and recording then do it and do not listen to anyone and keep persueing it. Firstly, get any kind of regular full time job and for evenings and weekends do your music. That way some of the money made during weekdays could be spent doing music what you love. I thought the same thing about motivation, buit I always tell myself f**k the rest of the people what they say if my music is crap or good or whatever and do it. And some opportunity will come along. Start by forming your own group and you as the recording engineer. Do both underground music and commercial music talk to people, get connections send out demos. Keep reading, sign up for every recording/music forum out there. Keep posting messages, emailing, get your own site up and going. Do it all and one of these days someone will contact you. I have done it for almost 3 years now and it's tuff. I am starting to record now. I am a DJ, producer and promoter and tell you it's real hard, but keep doing what you love and later in the future who knows maybe you might get a contract with someone. Good Luck buddy!
  8. T-mac

    T-mac Guest

    Try doing it yourself

    After 31 year of owning a studio I can tell you one thing that can make you, or break you. Stop waiting on other people. Do it yourself. The record lables are not going to help you. I doudt if they will use you now or in the future. I know this maybe hard to hear but it is the truth. So why keep working at it??? Because you can do it everything with out them. If you can Record a 10 Song CD, Mix it . Master it. make 30 copies... with full color are artwork. you can release it to the world just like the big boys do... get it listed in the catalogs, and now sell at walmart, samgoods ect... just like the big boys ..... Thank God for the internet... I just release my first CD and I will be releasing 6 more by the end of March. My first one is "Sammy Dee - Redheaded Stepchild" it has be out for 4 months. it took 3 year for me to put together all the parts of CD distributions. If this is something you think you may want to try just. Let me know. Terry McMurtry
  9. BigTrey

    BigTrey Active Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    Grandville, Michigan
    Home Page:

    I would say to keep on keepin on with what you are doing. I have only been in this business for about a year now and I agree with T-mac, you can do everything the big boys do and you shouldn't depend on other people just depend on yourself. Just don't lose the motivation. I know it's hard to stay motivated when you've got people who stiff you in this business. I remember doing my very first project with a group of guys and when the Cd was finished I got stiffed on payment from the Cd's that I produced. I decided that I wouldn't work with those guys anymore as their producer, because they weren'y motivated enough to get the work done. Well I wouldn't say that thay weren't motivated because they were when we were recording and putting the music together, but after we finished the album they just stopped coming around. I learned from that and that's what you have to do because it's all a learning curve from the music to the music business. Now I make sure that I have a contract signed for any work that I do to make sure that I get paid what im supposed to and when I'm supposed to. The best advice that I can give to you is to stick with it and don't give up because there is a great satisfaction that you get when you hear that finished song or whatever you are working on, that's well worth it. Just keep doing what you are doing because you learn more as time goes by, I know I learn something everyday that I am in my studio working.
  10. eddiesound

    eddiesound Guest

    Like the big boys.......

    Hey T-Mac, very interested in what your doing! Have a neice who did something similar and made about thirty grand in a few months singing old torch songs. Love to hear about the wal-mart thing. The internet may well be the next record company. :D
  11. SPLstudio

    SPLstudio Guest

    z'up dudes????
    i'm alone at home my wife went out thinking that i would be recording that singer with his guitar....after all the rushed day i had.....finish at 3 o'clock rush to the music store to pick a mic stand i was missing and by the way improve my studio buying a Bass POD in a deal...then rush to my house and wait and nobody show at, neither let a call...... ohh and by the way that's the same old story since i started.....
    and like you all were saying.... i'm doing this for free......i go to bed every night at 11 and ending asleep by 2-3 in the morning thinking how could i get better tracks, mixes, equipement and this leds to nowhere.....

    peace to all of us...
  12. redbort

    redbort Active Member

    Jun 15, 2005
    considering some of the best advice i've read from this board
    "don't charge anyone and embaress real engineers"
    i'll be still at the learning stage untill i can decree myself the best
    till then, practice, practice, and don't quit your day job
    if you love it, sleep and eat can wait on the sidelines
  13. BigTrey

    BigTrey Active Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    Grandville, Michigan
    Home Page:
    Couldn't have said it any better myself, rocl on dude!!
  14. T-mac

    T-mac Guest

    it will happen

    One more thing guys, wait till you hear a song you recorded on the radio as you are driving somewhere for the first time. Then ask “was it all worth it”. Or you go to a bar and playing on the juke box is a song you did and people are dancing to it. Then ask “was it all worth it”. It took me 10 years of crap before it happen. But it happened. And I believe it will happen for you too if you work hard at it, don’t lie to people, don’t cut other studios down, don’t try to be something your not. And pay your taxes. Those are the biggest pit fall studios and engineers make. Learn to work with other studios and engineers in your area. This will make your market place stronger and you will learn new tricks. There is an old saying at CBS studios “it takes 10 years be hide a console to make an engineer.”
    By the whey I just released a new CD "Sammy Dee - Redheaded Stepchild" you may want to check it out.

    my Email is imdi-music@sbcglobal.net

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