When I get tired of wasting time with social media, I like to waste time reading interviews with famous producers and musicians. It always makes me feel like I’m learning new things, when my time is probably better spent honing my craft in the studio. Still, I have to think that I’m picking up some tricks.
Who better to learn from than Paul Epworth? The man has a ridiculously long list of credentials, including a handful of Grammys. He’s recorded with Adele, Florence + the Machine, BlocParty, the Rapture, Foster the People, and Bruno Mars, to name a few. Throughout these productions, he displays a commitment to timeless production techniques, rather than productions that are of the moment.
This interview on Music Tech gives a quick glimpse into the mind and production approach of Epworth, who maintains some pretty old school ideas,even while making some of the most vital modern recordings of the past decade.Here, he talks about his studio, which is just one room where engineers and musicians work together.
“I love the communication of it and that you get to feel what the artist is experiencing in the same room. It feels like a musician’s environment, not a technical studio environment. When it comes to my regard for technical excellence, I would much rather create a record that’s exciting, that feels good to listen to and also make, than strive for technical excellence or superiority with a need to use talk back systems or walking back and forth through a set of doors to communicate.”
Unorthodox ideas like this might be born out of necessity, but they can lead to great results. I often ask myself how I can turn the limitations of my current setup into a way to make something special. If you’re recording in the room with your musicians, is there a way to harness that energy and pour it into your productions?
My favorite part of this interview is where he talks about setting up parameters. The limitlessness of modern home recording lets us engage in flights of fancy and projects can really get out of hand. Making a few ground rules might seem hampering as you begin a project, but with the right mindset, they open possibilities. Operating around these rules is often the fuel for greater artistic insight, rather than limitation.
It’s ideas like this and ample production skills put Epworth where he is today.
(Image: David Yeo via standard.co.uk)