Over this weekend I enjoyed working with my son on recording a song of his. I put myself to work with all seriousness as a technician and “producer” with my home studio set up; focusing on him and his song in the same way that the good producers from my past have with me and mine.
And though I knew it already, producing and arranging a recording session is a completely independent art form. It is separate from the skill of arranging the music itself, or being a songwriter.
Now sure, it helps as a producer to understand, and to be able to hear the music not only as it is, but as it can become, etc. Sure, it helps to be able to know each instrument and its dynamic range. And I suppose in many ways the truly great producers are likely closet songwriters. But beyond all of that comes many other aspects to helping someone record.
In effect you must also channel your inner:
– coach – preacher – teacher – fan – critic – passerby – and more
And the exhaustion that ensues as you work in such a way with someone is utterly different than the spending of energy associated with being they guy performing and being recorded. I truly enjoyed doing it with my son and look forward to next week when we go at it again. In addition, I am happy to report how working with my ears, and the +s and -s of the digital arena, and the cables and the mics, and the art of finding the sweet spot for a mic placement in a wood room all helped re-inspire me as a songwriter. I’m not sure how it will sound when it finds its way back into my muse, but briefly being a producer helped my inner songwriter.