Focus On Starting A Fulltime Band Or Engineering Career?
Q: I am 23 yo living in nyc. I have a bachelor's in electrical engineering, amateur pro-tools experience, and band experience. I consider myself a songwriter/performer but at the same time, I am fascinated with the recording process. I am just starting to contact studios for internships and look for band members. The thing is, these are both full time projects and I will probably end up doing both, but I feel like I need a better idea of the pros and cons of these two fields, performer/musician vs engineer/producer. I have always been more into the creative side of music than the technical side. I much prefer writing and recording my own material, but I can see myself becoming involved in another musician's/band's recording process, provided i have respect for that artist. I have always felt that i have an exceptional ear for music and I listen to just about every genre of music, dead or alive, as long as its sincere. I have tremendous appreciation for the textures and mood that are nessessary for a recording. I am not, however, an audiophile who can hear the difference between one type of microphone or another, or is obsessed with perfect tone. Most of the time, I cannot hear the differences between certain microphones or preamps. Nor do I want to. Most of that side does not interest me. I would rather hear an interesting band play with awful equipment than hear a uninteresting band play with the best gear out there. Some questions I have are, do all of you out there think it is easier to earn a living as a band/musician or as an engineer? which one do you think is a better way to push the envelope and make history? i keep thinking of people like brian eno, phil spector, and alan parsons. thats kind of the level i'd be aiming for. but if i want to, say, make a dark side of the moon, i suppose i would go about that not by becoming an alan parsons, but rather by becoming a pink floyd. I guess thats my dilemma, in order to make that landmark album that I am itching to make, should I do it by becoming an engineer/producer or by starting a band with people who I see eye to eye with? also, considering one is moderately successful, is it equally as easy to cross over into the other field, ie which is easier to accomplish: being a good engineer/producer with some clout finding the right musicians to play out and generate a buzz and get signed OR being in a moderately successful band with a decent following and signed to an indie label and getting into engineering//producing from that point? I have tried using my engineering education to work for stomp box companies and just found myself way over my head. I have very little interest in op amps, darlington transistor configurations or the schematics of fender amps. I am not a very technical person and its a wonder that I managed to get a BSEE, but I did learn a few things, especially regarding filters and feedback. If I was going to go full force into recording, I'd want to get to a point where I could pick my clients and work with bands and musicians who I respect. I want to experiment with recording, for example try combining strange instruments and just focus on the texture of the music. I would not enjoy recording a top 40 hit or some uninteresting band. for example I would enjoy a band coming up to me and asking "we want this certain type of feeling for this song, how can we get that feeling?" or "we want this song to sound like phil spector's wall of sound". I am afraid that in reality, studio engineering is not like this and is in fact a by-the-rules, uncreative process that will leave me feeling unfulfilled. please say it ain't so. does anyone identify with this or has some insight into my dilemma?
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