Jack Joseph Puig: Logic And Romance In Production And Artistry

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Iconic producer/mixer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig has some invaluable advice for new producers and bands alike. Coming from a Grammy winning producer, this is something that should definitely be taken to heart. To sum it up, Jack Joseph says that an artist should never, under any circumstances, produce his or her own album – doing so, according to Mr. Puig’s extended metaphor would be … well, you do the math.


The Farmers’ Tale

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I met with the man. We talked of cows, farmers and delivery of milk products to market.

‘Cows?’ he said.

‘The cows are the artists; we, the industry infrastructure, are the farmers’, I replied and hoped the rest was pretty obvious.

The man scribbled boxed illustrations of the link between cows, farmers and the market on his paper, soon to be added to a pile I estimated to be around 13 cm thick to his right.

After an hour or so it was time for the man to go.

‘I must go and talk to some more cows!’ he said as he left.

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Auto-tune: A lesson to listen to your track as your listener and not from the point of view of your computer!

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It’s easy to get caught up in the cul-de-sacs that present themselves while seeking out recorded ‘perfection’.

Rather than relying on your producer to ‘fix up’ what you’ve done at home, utilise your producer resources to maximise what it is that you have to offer that is unique to you as an artist — that’s what will make you stand out and get noticed.

At the same time, don’t fool yourself that you can start your assault on the musical world without first perfecting what you can deliver as the artist — this may include, depending on your genre, singing to the best of your ability.

Losing sight of those goals could lead to the equivalent of musical plastic surgery, musical botox, perfectionism destroying authenticity — not so much from a lack of vision, but from the vision being mis-directed in the pursuit of pseudo-technical perfection above genuine artistic communication. A ‘bland’ sameness waters down your message and prevents it from cutting through perhaps…

A discussion on these issues with music critic Grant Smithies and producer Simon Holloway on Graeme Hill’s ‘Weekend Variety Wireless’ from Radio Live, Sunday March 6, 2011 is here:


Plan A or B

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OK, so you became a happy owner of a brand new computer and software, an audio interface and a shiny microphone. You feel like the lord of the sound and just mentioning ‘music career’ makes your heart pound and bursts your chest open. You even read your DAW’s (digital audio workstation) manual. Man, it was hard! Fortunately for you the modern technology allows you recording and mixing music yourself. No need for an expensive studio any more. What a cost cut!

Finally, the day comes to mix your first song, your baby. How exciting! It’s like sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time. And here comes the tough question – where to begin?

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Crisis of Cultural Capital

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From the Producers Chair 

Reflecting on the economic disaster of 2009 producer Simon Holloway suggests the current awards seasons focus on the music and other creative industries presents an opportunity for a revisionist look at  recent popular output. He argues the current economic collapse is in fact due to a crisis in cultural capital and explains what musicians collectively can do to alleviate the issue. 

If you look back beyond the collapsing banks, the furious swapping of mortgage derivatives, and the resulting strangulation of credit when the trading reached its inevitable zenith, then what is revealed is a generation of consumption fuelling an increasingly overvalued bubble of assets. To keep the bubble growing there had to be an ever more accessible credit line and with that came the expectation for many that a lifetime of indebtedness was the norm, and that capital appreciation meant that, somehow, sort-of, you were ahead on the ledger.  

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