Why the Transparency?
on February 11, 2009
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After discussions over the past few days over whether webcasting our day in Nashville was a mistake, we have come to a conclusion that regardless of the problems, it was still a good thing. It did make me rethink my current belief that I am going to be as open as possible about this process--including the bad things that happen.
I grew up listening to Dino. I never dreamed that I would record later in life in the same studio he did with many of the same musicians and engineers. But if I had of dreamed about recording, I would have wanted to know as much about the process as possible. Unfortunately, there was no Internet or easy way for Dino to provide that information.
But I don't have that excuse today and I hear from many young students and others who are hungry to learn about music and recording music. Some day, I hope that some of you will record in these same studios with the same musicians. And if you plan to be one of those people, it is good to know as much as possible.
So, if you watched, you may have been exposed to a few things you did not know. For example, you definitely saw that even the best musicians make mistakes, especially when they are sight reading music through numerous tempo changes, time signature changes, and tricky rhythmic patterns. Even though it seemed like they had to fix a lot of mistakes, they were remarkable.
You also probably saw how woefully bad I can be in the studio. I was successful only in that I did what I needed to do, which was establish tempos and overall feeling in the songs. Beyond that, I played horribly. Fortunately, I have time to fix that.
And if you stayed up late with us, you may have gotten a feeling for the reality that there are real financial concerns involved in the process. Musicians of that caliber charge about $80/hour. During the afternoon session, we used close to 30 musicians, so just that cost was roughly $2400/hour. When you look at it that way, it is easier to see why there was a lot of urgency to stay on schedule. Not finishing songs as fast as planned can be devastating to a budget.
On top of the musician costs, there are costs for the studio (roughly $2000/day), engineers, producers, and incidentals. As much as I would like to say that money is not a factor in recording, it is a big factor. There is a good reason why almost all recording projects lose money even though a typical CD only costs $1 or so to actually duplicate.
Over the next few days, I am going to really get transparent and post some rough mixes. If you can overlook my bad notes, you are probably going to like what you hear. I have been listening today and am astounded at the emotional depth we got out of the string section. It is breathtaking and I can't wait for everyone to hear it. The vocalists we used are absolutely stunning too.