I chose the term music producers carefully. Not only should record producers sleep around; I think artists should sleep around as well. Anyone involved in producing musical content needs to experience different music. If you’re a metal producer, spend some time with alternative rock or pop. Don’t tell me that working with pop artists will make you less metal. Machine produced Lamb Of God and Fallout Boy. If you’re a pop vocalist, try out some rock. Even Britney Spears loved rock and roll. You should get into bed with every genre of music you can for these 5 reasons:
1. Where’d you learn that from? When you work with different genres you pick up new tricks of the trade. You might find out that layering and spreading vocals on pop songs works great when you want ambient screams on a metal song. (It does. Try it out.) Different genres have different best practices. As you explore the genre, you’ll figure out what they are and how to use them. The next step is adapting them to your core genre.
2. I’m going to put this somewhere it’s never been. You know how to bring production elements. Now, it’s time to bring actual sounds. 808’s are used in everything from pop to metal. Where did they start? Pop … but that’s okay metal heads. You have made it your own.
3. Don’t knock it till you try it. You’ve heard this phrased different ways. My favorite version is a bit more descript. I once told a friend that I’d never date a smoker. Her response “Until you meet a smoker you want to date.” You may think a genre is terrible. Maybe you hate the simple progressions that have made pop punk a major musical genre. But one day, there will be a punk band you like (no matter how many cigarettes they smoke.) *I mentioned joining online communities in “How To Skip Audio Engineering School (Part 2)” Let me take a moment to acknowledge how a pop punk Facebook group has brought new music lovers to the scene lately. I’m a member of the “Defend Pop Punk Group” on Facebook. That community is all about having fun and being supportive. Participating in that group will teach you about musical psychology. Music is something we lean on, and in that group, people ask questions like “I need some songs to listen to. The guy I like just got a girlfriend. Suggestions?” I know some of you think that’s childish. But, listening to music during particular emotional states can help. They can get you ready to go out and have fun with your friends. They can also bring you back to the place you were when you first listened to it. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. I don’t consider myself hyper-emotional, but there are some songs I purposely skip because they bring back memories I rather not relive. I suggest my producer and musician friends join that group and learn from its members.
4. I’m sick of doing this missionary sweetie. Do something to impress me.Different genres have different structural staples. A music producer that sleeps around can bring these one-time structure and arrangement staples to new genres. One of my favorite is the whole step modulated chorus. This comes primarily from country, but it can be used in everything from metal to pop punk. It’s as easy as creating a quick pause, and then playing the final chorus up 2 frets on guitar and bass. It’s a little more complicated for keyboard players due to chord shapes. But, for those of us with a chromatic fret board in front of us, this is simple. It’s also very effective, and it shows some musical prowess.
5. Lets make a baby. I just scared every guy reading this! But, when you know your child is on the way, you hope it has the best genes. Which usually means that you hope the baby has her smile, her eyes, and if you’re in love, pretty much her everything. A child is given genes from its parents. Thousands of years of genetics go into making a new human. Do you do the same amount of research when creating new music? When we make a baby we want it to have all of the best genes. When making new music, you can afford it all the best genes by investing your time. Learning what makes great music in different genres will give you a sort of genetic edge.
If I haven’t convinced you to study new musical styles, please read “The Four Dimensional Record Producer.” It may take a different type of thinking to get you there, and this article explains producers should approach a song in order to get the best mix. The more you focus on how to get the best finished product, the more you’ll want to learn from other musical genres.
Please leave your comments and feel free to contact me directly at Anthony@myrecordinginternship.com or at my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AntSantoMusicProducer I’ll do my best to respond to you and answer any of your questions. Now, go out there and make great music!