Top Ten Ways to Make Better Records

1 10 2007

Nick Southall in Stylus Magazine

Having spent years watching bands I love make seemingly insane decisions regarding what goes on an album and what gets left as b-sides, about what gets picked as a single, about sleeve design, production values, and a thousand and one other things integral to the process of making a record, I’ve come to the inevitable, ineffable conclusion that musicians are often fumbling in the dark during the recording and production process. It’s a well-worn cliché, but many musicians don’t know what their best material is, and even if they do, they don’t know how to make the most of it half the time anyway, and so the ostensibly simple process of making good records gets repeatedly cocked-up by people who ought to know better, if they could only remember the things they loved about records when they were just fans themselves.

I’m not an engineer or a musician, so you could easily dismiss my armchair punditry as uninformed bleatings, but as a music journalist, and more importantly as a music fan, I’ve spent a lot of time paying a lot of attention to a lot of records, researching how they’re made and talking to the people who make them, and the same things crop up time and time again as obvious mistakes and flaws in peoples approach to making records. So I’m going to offer some theoretical advice about how to make better records, from the point of view of someone who loves records, rather than someone who makes them.

List is here.

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