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Recording Etiquette: Overreaction?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by lildrgn, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I've been in my current band for about a year now. I went in today to record bass on two tracks. I took the day off and recorded.

    Things went pretty well musically; what bothered me is how things went down.

    In my band, I just play bass and sing vox. I don't write. All the songs we've done up to now have already been recorded so I've been playing the original bassist's parts (and he played a mix of his own and what he was told/shown to play).

    The past few weeks, I was given the two tracks, one with a scratch bass track to go off of, one with no bass track. I learned off the scratch track and kind of came up with my own for the other song.

    The guitarist/songwriter and I worked a few times on arrangements and came up with some parts. Most everything was his. In other words, there was very little room for my creativity or input. I can't say I had much of a problem with it as they are his songs and I'm all about playing for the song.

    So, fast forward to today. I got there at 10:00. My guitarist and the engineer were on a Starbucks run and didn't show until 10:20 or so (the studio is a the engineer's house). We finally get started and things go pretty well. Overall, we took about 1.75 hours on bass tracks. As I finish up, Chris (guitarist) says to me that he wants to do some hand-claps and that he'll pick up the bill for that. :meh:

    It was understood that I'd pay for my time (and at $15/hr, it's not a bad deal at all), but I just feel like that if he's telling me what to play (almost down to the note!), that he should pay for the session. Either that, or play it himself.

    I don't know why it bothered me as much as it did, but it does. Now, I'm no session guy and by no means am I expecting to get paid on this, but the amount of micro-management I received for my money was a bit high. Add to the fact that it's a 40 mile round tripper to the studio AND I took a day off to do it, well, maybe I am justified in being a little miffed.

    /rant off
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    If you had issues about the parts you were going to play, you should have addressed them before you got into the studio. I am on your side but think you need to step up on a daily basis, not in the studio. Also, in regard to paying, if you are part of the project then it could be assumed that you'd pay for a share of it. I kind of like the idea of paying for your own time, especially if you can knock it out fast... if the guitarist wants 5 layers of guitars or the drummer can't play with a metronome, let them pay for it. =)
  3. Chaos said it right...you should have said something before going into the studio...was there any opportunity to tell him about the bass part before you went into the studio?
    Did he know about your problem with him? Because if he doesn't know that there is a problem, he will assume everything is fine...
  4. Communication break-down... it's always the same... having a nervous break-down... drive you insane!

    Yeah, talk. That is the key. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

    As for the pay for your own part thing - yep to that too. Let the unprepared realize the cost for their lack of vision.
  5. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, I did have opportunity to voice my opinion, but, alas, I didn't. :(

    Generally, I play what I play live. And even though he had pretty specific ideas for the song, I thought there would be a *little* room for me to put some flava onto it. As it is, the song works well. I think it could've used a little more personality, though. For my own ego's sake, I guess. ;)

    Speaking my mind would've just made it a weird situation. I'm very laid back, he's pretty type-A. I guess you could say I took one for the team.

    As long as the tune rocks, who cares, right? :hyper:
  6. One thing I use as a 'presonal rule of thumb' is; The minute you lose your cool, you lose, period. So if you always present your case facts-first, without emotion or attitude, you put the ball in their court to respond accordingly. If they freak, so be it. You just learned about all you need to know about them in a very short time. Then you can choose if you want to continue to be a part of that scene or not. You'd be amazed how simply removing yourself from the situation with a pleasant, "Thanks, see ya round" will make them realize they need to get their 'Type A' in check. Enabling the 'Type A'ers' does not necessarily make the project go any smoother.

    State it actually, factually and without ego or emotion, and more often then not, the really good ones out there get it and do the same for you. There is undeniably an emotional component to any artistic pursuit. But I think that real pros know when to be emotional and when to be pragmatic.

    There's a band name for ya... the 'Emo Pragmatics' :bassist:
  7. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If someone else is footing the bill, which is my norm, they get whatever they want.

    If I'm footing the bill which is like, never, I'd play what I liked.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I think the issue is more about where you stand in the band, than whether it's his part or your part. It seems odd to me to think (in a band someone's been in for a year) if I record what I want, I'll pay, what you want, you pay. That isn't really saying much about playing for the song, or more importantly - for the band. Like people already said it probably should have been communicated before going into the studio. I don't think the guy did anything wrong, and my guess is he isn't thinking he did anything wrong, yet I understand your feeling of resentment and think it should be ironed out fer sure.
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I wouldn't sweat it. Look at it this way, you get to record and gain experience recording. You can use the recordings as a audio resume. I think the guy should have given you a little more freedom to record your own parts.
    I recently recorded some songs for a band. I was given guitar and scratch vocal tracks and the guitar player asked me to come up with bass parts. I told him that I would work something out and he could decide if he liked the parts or not. He pretty much loved everything I came up with and made a few suggestions along the way. It was very easy to work with this guy and I was happy to come up with something he liked. I could have played what he wanted but he wasn't sure what he wanted.
    I think the songwriter in your case could have benefited from you input. I always find it makes songs more interesting when you get more input. I mean the song is still basically the song but how cool it is can be is all in the details.

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