I have heard from almost every record producer or engineer I have ever worked with that the hardest part of the job was the technical difficulties and I experienced that first hand all week. The basic recording functions came easy to me because I have in fact sat next to a producer using protools in a recording studio for the better part of my life. When taking on the project of recording and releasing a song per week for 5 weeks I was already VERY aware it would be a time crunch. I did not account for technical difficulties. I have already decided that instead of wining about the BIZAAR crap that interfered with many good hours of recording time this week like sudden loud construction, the mic catching insane monsoon rain downpour that would ultimately leave me with no electricity, not being able to send out a collaboration in protools, etc. I will instead reflect on what I learned about preventing unnecessary anguish over them in 3 parts.
1) Think about the instruments you are going to be recording and make sure you have everything that is necessary ahead of time. There’s nothing that kills a vibe like not having one stupid cable converter or 9V battery. This happened to me about a hundred times and to be honest I didn’t prepare much outside of making sure I could get sound into protools because I was too scared I wouldn’t do it if I waited to be prepared. I’m of the opinion that anytime you are setting out to do something new there is an ideal place in between feeling like you need to have everything perfectly in order and being totally unprepared. Perfection will do murder on progress. I have been guilty of both sides of the coin in different aspects of my career and through learning protools and producing my own record I have found a lot of success in pacing myself. Meaning, I am working 5 days a week with breaks whenever I want them as long as I get back to work and work a full day.
2) You are totally allowed to call for reinforcements. I have zero shame asking for help. I think I speak for all women in music when I say I am really tired of being expected to not want help getting better at music from men in a male dominated field. F that. Help me dudes! I am only now realizing that I’ve been conditioned by this industry to think I couldn’t be an engineer/producer and I really didn’t until a few months ago. Growing up, seeing a female in a Fender ad, let alone a recording gear ad was like seeing a unicorn. I am OWED a few shortcuts like calling a friend or using a lifeline in a desperate Instagram plea. Sorry not sorry.
3) When technical difficulties happen you have to be ready to spend some time working them out. Expect that you may only end the day with adding handclaps to something because your mic mysteriously refused to give sound until you realize your XLR cable died. It takes going through things one button and google search at a time to really learn your way through. It isn’t easy but either was anything else I am obsessed with like learning to play Appetite for Destruction. So obviously giving myself a deadline like the one for the Heavy Petals EP isn’t exactly conducive to patience but when these things happen I just talked to myself in a gentle and encouraging voice, as if there were no emergency, and it seems to be the ticket. Don't give up. Do whatever you have to do to get the job done even if it means finding a hack.
I guess the wrap of this week is that I did in fact make the deadline. I did in fact send it out to be shaped up in mixing and get it back this morning. I did, despite all the technical difficulties, make something sound really really freaking great in exactly all the ways I wanted to and when I listened for the first time today I did not cry sentimentally. I hollered and cheered with joy because this time when I was listening it was like being handed a degree for something that doesn’t really exist in my industry, being a self producing artist. Honestly, knowing I was going to get to graduate this level in front of all of you made it an actual dream realized.
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