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Advice on Getting Into Studio Work

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by christianharger, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Hey Janek,

    First and foremost, thank you so much for writing your book. One of the best investments I've made. Every time I see it, I get a little more excited about my future and the things to come for me as a musician.

    I wanted to ask you about something that's been stewing in my mind since reading your book the first time. I know there's not going to be a simple, straightforward answer and that's okay. I'd just like to get your opinion (and anybody else's, for that matter).

    Something I would really love to do as a music is break into the studio scene, providing not only bass for albums but also musical advice as a whole, maybe from a sort of producer angle. The thing I'm wondering about is how to breaking into this scene. I want to be able to say "hey, I can offer is service," but am I really able to do so without being able to say I've done it extensively?

    What's getting to me is this: the best way to get studio sessions is to point to your resume and past work, but without having studio sessions, there's no exciting resume. It seems like this vicious cycle; to get X you need Y, but to get Y you need X.

    Any advice from you on how to go about this would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
  2. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://bassstudio.janekgwizdala.com
    Well the way I got into the small scene I've been in terms of recording over the past 15 years or so, was by starting small. Doing unpaid sessions, keeping my eyes and ears open as much as possible whenever I did get to go into the studio and work, and then building upon that experience.

    My resume never had anything to do with anything in the beginning, and although that's obviously grown over the years, I've never been asked directly for it...

    The most important thing these days I think, is creating your own scene. I got into producing not just because of my previous sideman experience in the studio, but because I got a Logic setup and started writing songs and producing tracks. Then when I was around other musicians and they mentioned needing songs, beats, or melodies for a project, I had a pretty extensive library of self produced material that I could use as a demo real to get a prospective gig.

    Every musician that's older than you will tell you that they were ".... there right at the end of the best scene..." etc etc... and that it's all dead and doesn't exist anymore. I'm actually not going to disagree with that as scenes change, and things end. If you're thinking about having a studio career like Pino Palladino, Nathan East, Lee Sklar, Marcus Miller etc etc... then I would say you're wasting your time.

    But that's where the good stuff starts. Although this dream career of playing on 100's of high profile pop albums for 30 or more years might not be available, there's something that is.


    You have a unique take on music, you have your own taste, your own style, and your own personality. And if you work on developing your unique ability to produce and play music, you'll create your own scene and not have to reply on other people for work.

    I can also tell you that having been a professional musician for over 17 years now, I'm completely cutting back on what I do as a sideman in the studio with other people. The more you record and promote other people's music, the more diluted your value in the market place becomes as an artist or leader. Now you might not ever want to be an artist or band leader of course, but it's something to consider as you're towards the beginning of your career. You have nothing but time right now, and you can make some pretty important decisions about how your career unfolds.

    There are definitely things I regret playing on as a sideman, and thins I wish had never seen the light of day. Looking back I could have been strong with my decisions and less motivated by the need to pay bills and eat...

    But looking back isn't healthy, and I'm happy where I am now, and with all the possibilities that lay ahead.

    Good luck with it all, and thanks for your support by buying the book!


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