What's Your Production Vision?

Music Production Essentials

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Tommi Kalenius
Artist Development Manager
June 11, 2021

Music producers use the voices of people and objects to tell a story. We take a look at the song tracks we listen to—and the creators who bring them alive as they do.

Songs aren’t just ‘songs’ any more. They’re sonic events mapped out wide on computer screens, playing their sounds at the press of a button. With voices on layers, and mics, and big keyboards, we can make tracks to be listened to lifetimes away—as long as the internet’s out there. Want rip-roaring rock tunes, or string quartet pop songs, or low-key acoustics with whispery vocals and steel-string guitars? Never simpler.

Yet, releasing a ‘good’ track on Spotify, one that gets high likes and thumbs-ups and playlisted, can still seem quite rare, an experience only for Gaga and Perry, or just a few fortunate indies. “If only I had that studio, that session player, that classical diploma, that engineer, that Neumann U87, that 1957 Gretsch Duo JET—it’d all come together,” creators might think. Hearing Elton John play out The Circle of Life on his customized Yamaha CFX.

We all feel terrified sometimes. Production means songs for the public, now a huge global audience who might just not listen, or hear a few lines then move on. Considering that can make anyone tremble. The more you do by yourself, the more you may rush to ensure you have ‘untouchable’ quality. To make sounds so ‘GRADE **A-1,’ they’re listened to all the time, liked and hot-branded a HIT SONG forever.

If that’s you, don’t panic. You’re braver than you may know. No-one’s hunting you down as we speak, eyes wild to tell you, ‘You’re terrible.’ Mostly, the someone in your way is you.

For a listener, it’s personal too—just not how you may think. As listeners, we all want to hear a song story, swallowed up in its twists and turns. And, though we experience it in our own minds, we want you **as producer to bring us inside and to keep us there. We want the track that you want to hear. The one that you’d make for close friends. So what do you want to say?

Take the guitar in The Beatles’ track Revolution. It has a terrible, frightening tone. Objectively, it sounds like machine guns blasting or bombs exploding—a calculated risk at the time, to provoke listeners getting over the soundscapes of war. Turning their fears into something more positive.

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Some production decisions can seem **lo-fi, but hide incredible choices that made the track a pioneer. The lesson? Make the song tracks that you want to hear. Don’t be the next George Martin or Quincy Jones. Instead, be the very first you.

If you’ve read all of this and feel overwhelmed, here’s our advice. Before you read anything else, start one more track, or watch one more podcast on mixing, find a mirror. Really look at your face: that brave nose. Those deep eyes. Ask yourself, ‘Who are you? What’s your vision?’ And wait for the answers to come.

Industry Debunked

“I’ve met so many producers with overwhelming ideas for connecting to listeners, but who don’t distil their visions, and don’t look to the core of what they want. Instead, they get lost in genre ideas that reflect the stories of other producers.”

Do this now

  1. Find just one production style that feels familiar to you. What ‘sounds’ do you like? Organic? Electronic? Acoustic? How might you add to or change those sounds in the future?

PRODUCTION IDENTITY ARTICLE, CORE LOOP

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