The Job Title: Recording Engineer or Music Producer

The Job Title: Recording Engineer or Music Producer

Becoming a music producer has never had any appeal to me. Who am I to decide what is right and what is wrong in someone else's music? Certainly not me. I have been a musician for nearly twenty-five years. I've produced several cd's for my own bands. But I definitely do not have any bragging rights when it comes to studio work. I've been struggling with all the other aspiring musicians. However, I have learned a thing or eight along the way. And sometimes my opinion is requested. But other times it is not. I have to remind myself that my only job as a #recording #engineer is to successfully document the tracks that musicians create and bring in to my recording studio. There have been many situations where it has been extremely difficult to keep my tongue-biting in check. These situations are only when I clearly know what is best. And fortunately people usually trust my judgement. But still, there is a line that can be crossed very easily when it comes to my role. At what point should I stop making suggestions? After all, it's not my music. I'm just another #instrument in the studio.

However, my name will be linked to the project. And when it comes to business, I really do not want to put out a product that negatively represents me in any way. Having other career options makes this less of an issue. If audio recording was my main income, I'd have to be more assertive in my opinions.

As a recording engineer, I would very much enjoy the luxury of choosing the musical acts I record. By working with select musicians based on the quality of musicianship, I would be much more comfortable being just a recording engineer. Even if there was a disagreement about an issue, the resulting product would still be acceptable. Having to cringe at a vocal line, guitar riff, or an off-tempo drum fill are obvious warning signs that I need to move on to something different. However, a business cannot be successfully built this way. Starting at the top is not an option. So in the end, I think it comes down to compromise and choosing my battles. Sometimes I will not battle at all. I'll just correct the problem later when nobody is around. Often the issue is not noticeable to anybody else anyway, but at least I can come away from the situation feeling satisfied with the resolution.

I have confidence in my abilities, so I just have to make sure my faith in myself will always overcome the issues that are out of my control. Then maybe, just maybe, one day I can weed out the amateurish frustrations and only work in circumstances that I choose. Or maybe I'll just move on to another career with a completely different set of frustrations. At least that way #music will remain fun.

So I will never call myself a music producer. I do not have the credentials, and I will not pretend to. That's why I need a brand new title to describe my role in the audio recording process. I'm not sure what though. Maybe something like Production Master... or Engineering Dictator. Yeah, I think the latter is perfect.

Ronnie Pistons is a punk musician and recording engineer who lives his life searching for DIY and cost effective solutions in the daunting field of audio recording. Not claiming to be an audiophile, he aims to keep his mentality at the same level of those just starting out. It can be scary in the beginning, but it doesn't have to.

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