working with music producers

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Mixerman, Aug 19, 2001.

  1. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Now, I realize that for many of you this scenario would not apply as you are, shall we say, entreprenuers. But imagine, if you will, that it's the beginning of your career...

    You're working for a major recording studio as an assistant to Independent Engineers and Producers that come to use the room. You're working on a big project, and the engineer can't finish the job. There's quite a bit of work left to go on it, and it gives you an opportunity to engineer rather than assist on a rather well known group, with a well known Producer.

    So, the (multi-multi millionaire) name Producer asks you to step in. You've actually been recording for some time, and know what you're doing, so you aren't in over your head here, but you haven't been able to make that leap from assisting to being an independent engineer. This could be a good opportunity.

    You're making $15 an hour for assisting. The engineer that was working on the project was making $1000 a day, and you know it. What do you do? Do you record, and shut up, and be glad to have the opportunity? Or do you point out the fact that you're being paid as an assistant to the Producer, and commence negotiations? Do you do the project, then send in an invoice after you're done?

    Without limiting yourself to the above examples, tell me what YOU would do if you were in this situation.

  2. miketholen

    miketholen Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    ask questions later. :p
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Traditionaly, you should jump in and crawl so far up that producers ass that the outgoing engineer would need to put on a mining helmet to find you in there to give you a smack in the mouth for stealing a gig he was too stupid or too unfortunate to have to leave.
    Very often, despite working hard on the project the outgoing engineer, can, to his horror, discover that the assistant and the producer 'finaly working together' is like one of those scenes in romantic movies where two lovers run towards each other on a beach, true love is discovered! At LAST! Sigh!
    No matter what the cause, a double booking, trip to the dentist, even family death, one who turns their back on the session only briefly sometimes, is from that day forward not part of the team quite as much as those who stayed the course. Such is life on sessions.
    The assistant from his observational vantage point has the IDEAL perspective to see what 'is needed' in the sessions 'hour of need', and if his brilliant 'save the day attitude' comended by all is slightly stepping on the absent engineers head, well so be it. Stomp!
    Answer, too busy trying to grab a foothold in the sphicter zone to lose grip by trying to grab for cash at the same time. Secure base camp up producers ass, then re-asess situation from there. If producer has to leave for any time at all, make temporary base camp up artists ass till he returns.
    The good thing is that this sort of $*^t doesn't really happen when you are the producer. (other fun and games occurr) You can get away with murder! It's good to be the king!


    P.S. re money? On this first break, accept whatever they suggest themselves, say that you would 'really dig/appreciate' a credit on the record as engineer if they could see their way clear (to do the right thing). Ask around very (very) privately to get a handle on what you should charge should they ask you to occupy the hot seat agagin or'move with them to work away from your home base studio. Have this answer ready to hand.
  4. bluebass

    bluebass Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    I would step up, take the chair, and work my balls of to do the right thing!

    If an oportunity like this fell into my lap the only thing I'd worry about is doing the absolute best I could do and not ^#$% up! Hopefully "Big Daddy Warbucks" (Name Producer) will dig what I did and take notice for his next project.

    I'd be more than happy to get the album credit which, with any luck at all, would develop into job offers that would put *me* in the drivers seat and allow me to hire an assistant rather than be to follow.

    Tim L
  5. warlock

    warlock Member

    Jul 17, 2001
    Since $15 is almost twice as much what I'm making now in myown studio this really isn't an issue for me :) .

    But to answer the question: I'd be willing to do such a project even for almost free (as I have done with some bands I really like) but only if I get the credit.

  6. Teacher

    Teacher Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    Since everyone in the Music Indus is sheisty and tries to rape someone at every step...i would have to display my competency then attempt to negotiate
  7. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    I agree with Jules. Two hands needed to guarantee friction on opposing sides of the producer's sphincter. Can't afford the one hand to try and grab some cash.

    The tricky part is how to bring this up to the studio manager/owner. He/she may be interested in managing you and bringing up your rate, or they might get paranoid you're gonna go indy on em without notice and beat you to the punch. "Sorry, we can't use you anymore." Each must guage that for him/herself.
  8. MMazurek

    MMazurek Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    I agree with DO THE MIX. And the best damned job you can. People pay big cash for a name, so until you have one...don't take yourself too seriously.

    And if it happens AGAIN...DO IT AGAIN.

    An easy question for me as I am open for business about a year and haven't charged anyone a dime yet. I'll talk money when someone asks for me. (or have a bunch of stuff to play with by myself)
  9. MicrophoneMan

    MicrophoneMan Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    I would jump at the opportunity - yet try my best to maintain my normal technique, and if it is meant to be with this "producer", then thing will turn for the better.

    I would like to think of myself as an artist when it comes to getting/placing/tweaking sounds, and altering them in relation/contrast to the vibe/emotional path of the song. I feel that perhaps I think of things more so than most do, and if this "producer" has any of that ear, he might sense it and find my presence useful.

    In my own experience, when I work with others that have a great ear - I can sense it like a 3630 being used to limit a DJ rig. Some might feel threatened when they encounter someone else with great talent and vision - yet I like to think of other golder ear-holders as people to learn from, people to tilt your head and look at things from a different view, and perhaps you might teach them something as well.

    basically - I feel that If you do your thing with the "producer" - and he vibes off it, he's going to want to work with you more, or again - and then you talk money, and worse case scenario you have some credit to put on the resume - and you may have learned a few things along the way.

    again- this all depends on what the drug of choice in the room is, and if the "producer" is an ecentric or head-bobbing stoner.
  10. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    I would start be doing what was asked of me, and jump into the "hot seat." As the assistant, I would have been paying attention to how the producer, engineer, and artist have been working and interacting. I would try to decide if the first guy left because things weren't working, and I would try to alter the vibe and make things work better. If it seemed like things were going well, I'd try to continue along the same path. I would also try to consult the producer to see which he wanted.

    I would give it a couple sessions and if things were going well, I'd ask the producer if we could talk, away from the sessions. I would tell him/her how much I appreciate the opportunity, and that I was flattered that he/she thought I could do it. I would point out that I am doing a job different from the job I was originally hired to do, and ask if they were satisfied with my performance. Hoping the answer was yes, I would then bring up compensation for the job I was doing. I would NOT bring up the fee of the engineer who left, nor would I mention a fee I thought I should be getting as a relative nobody. I would then react to what the producer had to say. I would also imply that I was in the project for the long haul, whatever that entails.
  11. reversedimage

    reversedimage Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    I was in a similar situation when I first started doing writing and production (music tracks) for the rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. I was 18-19 and I had been working with them as an engineer for a year or two. All of the stuff I did for them (writing wise) early on was "work for hire" (including the top 10 first single and title cut from Krayzie Bone's first solo album which went platinum in two weeks). I got an ok lump of cash up front and I made sure my name was on the record. I would have made a LOT more money if I had held out... *IF* they would have gone for that. Point is... it's not a risk worth taking if you don't have a lot of big label work under your belt. You need to take it as it comes. I might not have made a tenth of what I should have made for that track, but my name's on the record, on the web sites, in the magazines, on BET, etc. etc. and I can call a label and they'll know the song. Not a bad business card! I say take whatever you can early on and don't get a big head about it.. I still work for way less than I should be making if I think it'll do me some good (or if I'm learning something in the process).
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Sortly after the release of such a 'big break' album, sure is a damn fine time to:

    Negotiate a raise from the studio & discuss going freelance:
    Look for management:
    Get a business card done:
    Put yourself around more in places where you could pick up work:
    Feel proud of yourself and vow to continue to kick serious ass at all times in the future.
    Bone up on stuff you feel you need to:


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