Your band needs a producer, straight up. I’m not trying to be an asshole here and I understand that you have all the equipment to make a good sounding record yourself, but that’s not what you are really lacking. So many bands have been able to craft great sounding work from their home studios, the thing that they don’t have is someone guiding them along and helping to expand what they hewed, refining it and creating something truly great. It’s very easy to get into your head about music that has been worked on by you and your friends for over a year, but there is also something to be said for trimming the fat, growing the songs and ensuring that they are something that will get traction. If you want to just create art for arts sake and have it be a pure expression then by all means skip this article. But if you want someone who can give you meaningful feedback, help your art grow and maybe even make people want to y’know, buy it, then maybe read on.

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that when you are hiring a producer you are not trying to get a mixing engineer. It’s important to have a mixing engineer and they bring a lot of value too, but they are not doing what a producer does. If you want a producer who operates more as a mixing guy that’s fine, but be aware of what you are getting into. If you want a producer who is going to help tweak your work and grow your songwriting the best way to start is to ask around. Once you find someone who seems to understand your vision then you need to really sit down and figure out what you can do to lock it in and develop something special. Here’s a little piece of advice as you delve into it, while you shouldn’t consider your producer to be another band member you definitely should consider them to have an equally important voice and you should even elevate their opinion as they go over your tracks with you.

It’s insane to me the amount of musicians who will drop a mint on a producer and then not listen to anything they have to say. I’m not saying you should expect your producer to write all your songs for you, but if you’re going to pay someone a ton of money, then at least be receptive to trying to find out what their approach is. I know that this is really hard to do for a lot of people and I know that opening up your songs which are like your babies to someone else to help you with can be tricky, but it’s what can turn a good song into a great one. Again, it’s all about having the humility and self awareness that are needed if you want to grow. Remember that you write a record once every two years or so whereas a quality producer is cranking one out every couple of weeks. That’s a huge difference in experience and again, while you should be willing stand up to them, don’t think that a producer is going to totally ruin your sound.

There is an insane value brought by having a second set of ears on your music. Hell, even once you get you producer to sign off on everything, or if you can’t afford a producer then I would just hit up some knowledgeable friends and folks in the local scene who could help you to trim stuff down. Any way that you can work with others in order to make sure that all the possible tweaks are made is going to make your record better. You want the outside opinions of people who you really know and respect working with you to improve your tracks. Hell, having those extra ears is great even if your material has already been recorded because you can still modify the songs for a live setting, or maybe even be set up for a re-recording down the line. I know that this isn’t ideal, but still, you need to grow from feedback and work with outside people in order to ensure that your songs are as good as they possibly can be. This isn’t just for marketability, but also to use the power of the community to get your artistic vision to be as well executed as possible.

As a quick aside, I just want to remind you that you can get any producer you want in the world literally tomorrow. You just need to be able to pay them. You might not get the full benefit of working with that producer, that is to say, if you are just someone they take on for money they probably won’t be out there bending over backwards to introduce you to their friends and stuff, but you can get them to work on your record. If they just take you on for money then they probably don’t even care that much about your band and while they might do a good job it’s not going to be especially in depth or thought out or really just the true value for your money. This is a big part of why it’s important to make sure that any producer you hire truly gets it and wants to be there. This doesn’t mean you should shun big producers if you’re a small band, but rather work to make sure that the producer really understands where you are coming from and is going to be as dedicated as you are.

That’s it. Simple enough right? I know it’s an added cost to an already expensive venture, but this whole band thing is about working your fucking face off in order to ensure that you have the maximum possible growth and that that growth is done in a way that is actually productive leading to future sales. Considering the music is, at the end of the day, the actual product that defines this whole thing, why not invest money in order to make sure that that actual product is the best that it can possibly be so that when a potential fan digs into the rest, people are working off something that totally rules. The investment may be steep but in the long run if you choose a good producer and work with them effectively it will more than pay for itself.

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