Many of my friends are musicians. Some have their own studios. In my quest to learn more about the music industry I decided to ask one of them for an interview. Here Ryan “Yay” Slorence
discusses what it is like to be an engineer.
What do you do?
I mix music giving it radio quality sound.
How long have you been an engineer?
Where did you learn your craft?
Pro Media in Nashville TN.
What made you want become an engineer?
To further my craft as an artist, learning all aspects of music.
Oh, you are an artist? What genre?
Hip hop, rap, whatever you wanna call it. I do pop also.
Here is a video from his group Prettidope called “Unthinkable Freestyle.” This shows the type of music he masters.
Do you enjoy working as an engineer?
No, it is stressing.
What is stressful about being an engineer?
Sometimes when I listen to people’s music it is not good. At all. I’m talking about the sound quality.
Listening to people telling you what to do none stop. We are talked to any kind of way and shitted on and treated like robots.
What tools do you use?
Protools, Waves plug-ins, Digi 008, and various other plug-ins.
What can artists do to make your job less stressful?
Artists should take more care when recording their vocals.
What are some of the obstacles you face as engineer?
It all starts in recording. If it starts off bad it is difficult to fix it.
Step one: Record it well.
How would you suggest that?
For home recording invest in a good microphone. Neumann 87 is an industry standard. Listen to the engineers work before you decide to pay him or her money.
What are the red flags you are working with an incompetent engineer?
If he or she cannot get the sound quality up to your standards you are working with a bad engineer. Fire him!
How long should a mix take?
Depending on the mix, it takes about a day or two per song.
How do you test the mix?
Listen to the mix in different systems. Check it out in your car, which is one of the best ways to listen. Also, try home stereo, computer.
Can you relate an experience you had as an engineer?
My First Paid Project
I was paid to do a whole mixtape. I spent weeks doing it. The pay was good. I worked hard. I enjoyed the money.
What I learned from this interview is musicians are particular people. Our demand for perfection creates headaches along the way. But, the beauty that results is worth the effort. Just make sure you pay your engineer well. If you have a qualified professional let him or her do what he or she does best and trust you will get good results. They appreciate feedback but no one likes a micro-manager.
If you would like to appear on this blog please, email me here.