Recording Artist Advocate: Life's not fair. But it's still pretty good...

You can do everything right and still not get ahead. So give up.


(No, really long pause)

(Are you still here?)

(Wait just a little longer. They're almost all gone.)

Good. You're the one I wanted to talk to anyway... 

Or you can try again. Learn from that experience and go for it - again. You may change things a little as you learn. Babies don't just start out walking. They fall down a lot. You will to.       You didn't just start playing your instrument well. You sucked at first. You know a lot of people who still do.     

Learn about the most successful people and you will see failure after failure… Then Success!     I'm not saying two failures and then a success. You may fail a lot more than that. You will have little successes along the way too. You're never down till you're in the ground. So keep getting back up. 

Gigging regularly is success in itself. It can pay the bills. But don't get complacent. Keep at it and you can have the life you want. 

Just being the last man standing can get you a level of success. But you can still do more than that.

When you have a good song, well rehearsed and ready to put out there, call me.  





Recording Artist Advocate: Work Harder and Smarter - than them...

You've heard of the 80 - 20 rule, right? Or is it the 20 - 80 rule?

It's called the Pareto Principal. (Thanks Wikipedia) It's also called the "rule of the vital few".

In a nutshell, and for our purposes, l it just means 20 percent of bands will get 80 percent of the success. The most "vital" get the success. That should be you.

Before you say, "That's not fair." Then the universe isn't fair you crybaby. 

20 percent of salespeople get 80 percent of the business because they aren't afraid to ask for it and they ask more than anyone else. 20 percent of trees get 80 percent of the light because they grow higher and they get more water with deeper roots.

Rise above the rest the same way.

Write more songs so the 20 percent that are good make up for the 80 percent that suck. You know it's true. Some runts just need to be taken behind the barn.  Bam!

Ask for more gigs, and when you get a no - ask more venues. If you don't ask you don't get. And you'll ask a lot of times to get anything. A good booker is worth their weight in gold.

The more you play the more you make. Just don't get overexposed in one area. Be willing to move around - and book every venue that will pay you along the road there and back.

Lazy people will tell you it's not fair. People with less talent will tell you the system is rigged against them. Busy, successfull people will tell you there are opportunities everywhere.  In fact, the more you work and get known - the more opportunities come your way. Eventually you have to be more selective. There just isn't enough time in the day.  

Work harder and work smarter. Put your energies into the stuff that pays you back the most. What's your profit margin on merch? Downloads? CD's? Heck, know what it costs to drive to your gigs. If you play in a far away town, book another gig on the way there or back to make it profitable. DO more of the profitable stuff and ditch/curtail the rest. 

80 percent of bands are just going through the motions.  Let them fight over the scraps while you get better - and more successfull.








Recording Artist Advocate: Watch the movie...

Everyone in a band needs to watch "Rock Star" with Mark Wahlberg. It's from 2001 and it's about a rock band in the 80's up to the 90's, but there is so much you will recognize in your band.  Of course… it's based on real bands. (Mainly Judas Priest, but others also.)

OK, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Don't read the Google or Wikipedia stuff - just watch it. You'll laugh out loud, maybe at stuff you have said or done. Thorough the movie I thought about things said during recording and practice sessions from people I know. You will to.

Besides a call to be humble and thankful, you'll see the machine that springs up around a successful band and how the people in that system can end up slaves to it.

But, watch it for fun. Think about the deeper stuff later.

I don't want to build it up too much. Just enjoy it.

Next time we get together we'll have that to talk about. 

But not too much. You'll want to make the most of your time in the studio - you know, actually recording music.






Recording Artist Advocate: Artistry and Craftmanship...

These are my opinions. Yours may differ.

I know artist who are not great craftsmen. They write great songs but don’t play well – or need help moving things around to make the song flow better.

I know great craftsmen who have honed their skills to near perfection, but they don’t have the creative side down.

Both are necessary and even a great artist who plays well and sequences a song well can benefit from a craftsman who helps realize their vision. I’ve been there when an artist changed the way they performed a song because a studio musician offered an improvement. Good songs have become hits because of a small changes.  

You should always be trying to improve. Part of that is a willingness to take advice. Yes you are the artist, but a craftsman may improve your project. You don’t have to do what they suggest, but at least listen.

Artist and craftsmen. Working together.

That’s the good side. An artist who pays attention to the world around them.

The bad side, or the sad side, is the artist who is so locked into their original vision that they won’t. You may know someone like this.

One word or overused phrase can turn off the audience when another would connect with them. Be willing to find those things you could improve.

The distance between success and not even being invited back may hang on a single word.

Recording Artist Advocate: Making the most of the time you have.

You need to make hay while the sun shines, or is it cut hay – Well, you know what it means.

There are only so many hours in the day and you still need to take time to practice and write and sleep somewhere in there.

How do you make the most of your time?

One thing I found was that we were taking too long to get the mix right. Everything down to 200Hz or so was right, but the very low stuff was still hit-or-miss. The kick drum and bass relationship is critical.

It meant seeking out professional help. It also meant admitting I needed the help – and being willing to pay for it.

Are you willing to accept that you may need help?

For me it was admitting that the things I had built just weren’t enough to handle those low frequencies. I put a lot of work in and it was hard to tear out and start over.

Are you hanging on to something?

I’m glad to say mixing goes much faster now and everyone in the room hears the same thing. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap to get here.

There will always be one more thing – that’s the nature of things. When you reach a new level you see the next level to achieve.

Another thing I’m realizing is that there’s just too much going on to keep posting weekly. It feels like I’m starting to repeat myself and there just isn’t enough time. I've been holding onto the idea that quantity is important when it's really quality that matters more.

Here at Rough Wood “good enough” isn’t good enough. It’s worth it to dig in and find that better vocal phrase - move those late bass notes or drum hits – or the other small things that would eventually drive clients crazy. Our work still depends on the artistry and craftsmanship of the writers and musicians, but we have a part to play too.

Look at your life and career and see if you're holding onto something you could get rid of to focus on more important things.

I decided to start my own studio after hearing several artist tell horror stories about the shady studios they had to record in. Vibe killing engineers - never delivered projects – missed opportunities. I set out to build Rough Wood with those artist experiences in mind.

So, less blogging for me means more time working on your project.

I'll still add posts, but much less frequently.

Come see us at Rough Wood Recording Studio. Lets make something great together.