Producers that make (or break) the band
by Princess Stomper
Band-members are like the ingredients of a cake: get it wrong, and the result is bland or sickly. It’s about getting people together who make each other feel comfortable, who can inspire the audience, and who can deflate the ego of an overindulgent songwriter. The producer is the mould. If you pour cake mix onto a baking tray, you’ll end up with a flat, sticky mess. Some producers are like old-fashioned round cake tins, providing a strong but subtle structure that simply allows the flavours to emerge. Others make fancy shapes, so vibrant and daring that its cakeness comes second to its art-form. Like the line-up, the right producer for your band is the one that fits your personal dynamic, and brings out the best in what you, uniquely, have to offer.
The most obvious impact of producer on band is the cake-as-art mould of Andrew Weatherall on Primal Scream’s Screamadelica. They were very much a vanilla sponge kind of band – Stones riffs and attitude and not much else – and Weatherall transformed it into a sky-castle of psychedelia, with shimmering-turret saxophones and deep moats of sub-bass.
Not to denigrate the Primals – ‘Rocks’ was infectious and charming, for one – but a great producer can spin gold out of straw.
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Princess Stomper is a former magazine contributor and music researcher, who now works in a marketing department for an academic organisation. She lives in the English countryside and runs the Reinspired blog.