Some engineers want the artist to feel a little pressure to get the best out of them. Others want a relaxing atmosphere where the artist can be their most creative. Which one is best?
I start by trying to make things relaxed and loose, and then turn up the pressure if needed.
I definitely don’t want artist to feel like they are having to slog through just to get something good recorded, so we start off pretty easy. Where a little pressure can make a difference is usually self-imposed by the artist when they feel they need a better take or get a part done.
For tracking, a little self-imposed pressure can be good to get the band together and get the best takes. But, I never want a singer doing final vocal tracks to feel pressured. One time I had a singer just sit quietly and focus on breathing. It saved the session and allowed him to get quite a lot of work done in the time we had scheduled. He also wore a brain stimulator (Alpha-Stim) to help get to the perfect relaxed but focused state. We did in 3 hours what would have taken 5 or 6 any other time.
So, “Your both right”… but I prefer the flow.