Friday, January 9, 2015

It's Not All Fun and Games in the Studio

I enjoy recording.  If I didn't, I wouldn't bother spending the time or the money on it.  But like the gigging musician humping all his gear home and into his basement at 4:00 am after a gig in the middle of winter, being a recording nerd is not all fun and games.  Oh, sure, it's funny after the fact, but when you're sitting there muttering, "Kill me now!" it's hard to see the humour at the moment of incidence.  

To be clear, this is not a gripe-fest.  It's just a light-hearted stab at some real experience so that you can get a cheap laugh at my expense... I mean... so that we can laugh together, because let's face it - life can be funny.  haha.  Onwards....

If I was a pessimist, I would have considered my very first paid gig ever an omen.  A kindly sounding gentleman calls me up and asks if I can transfer from cassette to CD.  Of course, I can.  So, at the expected time, he arrives with a small pile of cassettes ready to drop off.  He's really excited to have them on CD.  Off we go!

Very first track - a yodelling cowboy a la Gene Autrey drawling out in a forced country twang "There's a love knot in my lariat, and I'm waiting for my blue-eyed prairie pet...."  Seriously.  I'll never forget it.  That said, he was delighted with the product, and I was glad he was happy.  All's well that ends well, so they say.  

Then there are the people who just aren't prepared to record.  To add insult to injury, even when you explain it to them that they can do two or three takes, pick the best parts of each of those, and then fix anything that still isn't quite right (a process called "comping" - as in a composite track), they'll have none of it.  It doesn't matter that you are trying to save them time, and thus, money.  For whatever reason, the person just doesn't want to comp anything.  It has to be right from start to finish.  It's an admirable goal, and frankly, it's the ideal, but when you're not ready to do that, well.... 

"Can I do that again?"  
"Of course, you can."  
"Can I do that again?" 
"Sure, why not?"
"Can I do that again?"
"Fire when ready."
"Can I do that....

  at least 200 times.  F**k me.   Ooops.  I mean, "Kill me now."

But sometimes, life takes care of you.  You know, the jack@ss who books time and doesn't show up without calling?  The same one you accommodated to come "in just a little bit" because it was so urgent to him that he get this down tonight, so you didn't make him pay a deposit, because, well, he was coming right away?   You probably didn't want to record him anyways.

"But dude, can we reschedule?"
"Sure, as soon as you pay a deposit."
"Nah, bro.  I want to come tonight.  For realz, bro.  Can't get you a deposit before then, but I can pay cash when I get there."
"I take e-transfers and PayPal.  You can send me the deposit now and I'll have it in three minutes."
"Bro, trust me.  This one's a banger."
"Of course it is.  They're all bangers.  Do you need my email address for the e-transfer?"