“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Welcome to the Rock And Roll Apocalypse. Indie is Mainstream, and the demo is dead. Artist development? “We don’t need a producer”…DIY (or DIfY) all the way! But it’s: where to record? and where to mix? and what’s mastering? and what’s publishing? and what’s a di? and do you have that multitrack we recorded 5 years ago? and do you know a rehearsal room open today in midtown? and where can I rent a guitar? why does the rough mix not sound loud like the radio? do you guys know what you’re doing at this studio? and what’s a lead sheet?
Luckily, hospitals aren’t run by interns (or doctors!)… But in the “Indie-Stry”, it’s fine for recording sessions to be coaching sessions for aspiring producers, you know in case the whole headline fame thing doesn’t work out. I talked with one colleague recently who was fired by the drummer on the next project, after dude had asked him a zillion questions along the way. Didn’t we engineer-producer types get the memo? “We don’t need a producer.” “Does this studio offer classes so I can record at home?”
So who is the Producer? Who is the Client? Artist? Engineer? Those were practical questions asked in the heyday when booking at studios. So what does it look like in Demoland?
Client: You mean, who’s paying for the session?
Artist: Yep, that’s me
Producer: Umm.. Me .. Well this guy did the track, but ya know he won’t be at the vocal session. So I’ll just work it out with the engineer.
Engineer: Well, you guys have one right?
A popular referral site for music production services (Studios, Songwriters, Musicians, etc..) has no category for “Recording Engineer”. Yet, there is a checkbox for ‘Fix-it-Mix-it-Make-it-hot-guy’. If it’s “you guys have one” and “we don’t need a producer”, why does it need fixing?
The Rock And Roll Apocalypse begins with the end of the Indie Era. The demo is not really dead, it’s just hiding on a harddrive somewhere. There used to be budgets for Artist Development, now artists are expected to deliver finished product to market to prove “viability”. And how to get there? “You guys have one right?”
Andrew Felluss is an engineer-producer based in New York City, and also instructor at MRS Music Recording School, a free workshop training program for New York City residents.
Manny’s Music Rocks
Artist X, 2018 Stone Sculpture
Series Zone-8, Felluss Gallery NYC