I, for one, have never been a supporter of musicians doing everything themselves. Recording, mixing and mastering ought to be done by a professional producer, as individuals like me are much more versed in the nuances that come with it. You don’t see me telling a plumber how to install complicated water heaters, I stay in my lane and leave that to the likes of Tanklesscenter.
But, seeing as we’re all on lockdown due to the coronavirus, the trend of home recording will surely only rise. Creativity has no brakes. I won’t get into a technical rant this time around, but rather present you with what’s at stake and what we stand to lose.
First, let’s get down to the basics, lest I sound elitist. Musicians are able to record music in the comfort of their homes due to the now very advanced DAWs, or digital audio workstations, that are much more accessible than recording equipment in the 70s or 80s. These workstations can encompass a variety of devices, but are based on a regular computer and audio editing software, such as Cubase.
With such software accessible to everyone, should you have a decent enough computer, the line between professional music producers and musicians is as blurred as ever. I completely understand the audacity of a performing musician who has written their own music to decide and mix it – I mean look at what Billie Eilish and her brother did. I can’t argue with success. But, more often than not, artists end up shooting themselves in the knee by undertaking a task they’re not fit for. The sole loss here is the lesser quality of the final product because of arrogance; due respect to musicians who understand the complexity of the art of production and study it accordingly.
You could argue that the whole issue here is the haughtiness of the artist, and you would be right. I can’t go after kids that decide to try their hand at producing music by digital means, even though they’ll never end up experiencing the whole adventure of going to the studio for weeks on end. The atmosphere therein has a great deal to do with how some of the most legendary musicians of the 20th century made the music we still listen to nowadays. Your bedroom will never give you the same effect in sound as a professional studio, but I’ll stop myself there since I promised not to get too technical, if you don’t get it by now, I don’t think you ever will.