With music production becoming so easily accessible to almost everybody,
there has been a rise in the number of music producers in the world.
Usually when you’re working on an album or EP, you’ll want to get some details about the producer that you may encounter at any time,
this is to establish that you can form a working relationship with them whilst being able to make the music that you generally want to make.
so how do you establish this?
well don’t worry, this post has you covered and will set you on your way to working with some of the best audio guys out there.
so, what questions should you ask a music producer?
1. How do you describe your working Style?
2. What genre of music do you produce?
3. what is your musical back ground?
4. How’s your schedule like?
5. do you have a favourite piece of music that you worked on?
6. How much is your charge?
Typically these are the questions I would ask if I were the musician approaching the artist.
I know you’re thinking about the big “WHY?” behind all these questions and I’ll provide clarity for you.
As a musician it’s always helpful to have a general idea when it comes to your work.
Simply put, you need to know what you want your music to sound like.
so let me break down why you’d ask your producer these questions.
How do you describe your working Style?
Producers are different that’s why it’s always best to establish how they describe their working style.
This will guide you in your decision making.
They have to tell you the specific hours that they feel they work best with,
some people find it difficult to gather all their concentration during the day, while others find it easier to work as hard as they can during the day and leave night time for rest.
Details like this are important because you need to know whether your most productive hours coincide.
Other times the producer will want the artist to have a practice session before they even get into the studio to record, will you agree to this?
or are you a person that would rather practice in your own space at your own time and then get to the studio when it’s time to record.
People are different and recording music takes energy for both the producer and the artist,
therefore you’ll have to find a way to work with the producer in this area,
because while you might be about energy preservation and getting to the studio to only record and get it over with,
some producers may feel it best to have you practice in order for them to have a smooth recording session with fewer errors and corrections.
Other times a producer may want to take breaks during your session, and have you record multiple takes over a period of time.
If this not favorable for you then it’s best you discuss this with the producer and figure out a way you can both help each other.
You’ll also have to figure out how “hands on” a producer is,
will they guide you through the recording process and offer their expertise? or will they leave it entirely up to you?
In my experience it’s always best for me to work with the musician and guide them as much as they guide me,
in order for us to make something we both like and are proud of.
This may not be the case for everyone, other musicians have a specific vision for their song and will not detour or deviate from that vision at any moment, therefore it’s always good to establish little details like this.
You asking the question of their working style is trying to figure out how they work and whether they are open to compromise or not.
What genre of music do you produce?
This is another important question to ask, you’ll definitely need to know the musical strong point of the producer you intend to work with.
For example my working style has always been more accustomed to hip-hop music production.
I thrive in that area, and some other immediate genres like RnB.
but hiphop is my strength.
These details offer my clients perspective because they know exactly what they can expect from me,
and I know the exact skill set I bring to the table.
Which is very important because genre always matters,
you can’t live under the assumption that every producer should be able to handle all and any genres.
It may be true in some cases but not always.
So as a courtesy its always good to ask,
in some cases the producer will tell you the genre they feel comfortable working with without you even needing to ask.
Those are the ones that are the best to work with,
in some cases you’ll find multi genre music producers that can help you in a number of ways with the sonic direction you wish to achieve,
this may be useful for artists that do more than one genre or are simply in the mood to experiment or trying to broaden their horizons.
In other cases the producer is limited to a few genres,
which would mean, either you or the music producer having to compromise.
It’s always good to have an understanding in order for you to create a good working relationship.
Sometimes the producer may feel they lack the decent expertise to work on your project and may refer you to somebody better suited,
this is what a good relationship means.
Music producers that are signed to labels may have an advantage here and may offer you better options,
labels at best are run by managers that work with artists, producers and other content creators signed to them,
therefore if you have access to the label managers or the producer in question, they can speak on your behalf,
you may get access to a different number of producers all signed to that label.
This would greatly help you and give you options to work with.
Great communication is often more effective that non communication,
you need to establish a level of trust with your producer from the get go to avoid any mistakes or mishaps in the future.
what is your musical back ground?
Asking the producer about their particular background in music will be of great help to you.
Not all producers are the same.
These days all you need to become a music producer is purchase some music making software,
in many cases a beginner is bound to look for a free option like cracked software and get started right away,
plus, the rise of youtube has especially made it easier for anyone to pursue any interest and learn through the use of youtube material.
This is not a bad thing at all, and details like this will make you as the artist ask the right questions.
My background in music is deeply rooted in hiphop because I grew up around uncles and older cousins that listened to alot of hiphop.
Which inspired me to get into the industry as a producer.
I later on learnt how to play the piano and a few years down the line I got introduced to FL Studio and synth programming,
from there on I developed a deeper understanding of the genre and carried on to learn how to produce.
Now that you understand my background in hip-hop you know why it’s my strong point.
This is exactly the kind of information you need to get from a producer you’re looking to work with.
Details like this give you an understanding as to how well oriented a person is with the music they prefer doing,
therefore if you have genre in mind that you wish to pursue
you’ll be in a better position to know if the particular producer is right for you or not.
I pointed out that it’s easy for anyone to start their music production journey these days,
this doesnt necessarily mean they’ll not thrive at it,
most new age producers are also very talented and may even exhibit better performance than guys that have been around since the time when youtube didn’t exist.
Therefore you have to take musical background into consideration but you have to be careful because a great background doesn’t assure great performance.
So take your time to study the music being made by the producer you intend to work with and see if that’s the kind of sonic direction you would wish to take.
From my explanations here you can see that its matter of assessing both the work and the worker,
rather than solely relying on the work experience of the worker.
Show is always better than tell.
How is your schedule like?
This is pretty self explanatory but for the purposes of offering clarity let’s dig deep.
We all have lives that require us to be present and away when we need to be.
Therefore its important that you establish the producers schedule,
this will either help you figure out how best you can work with them,
For example a producer may have back to back studio sessions for weeks, and may not be taking on new clients,
this is good to know because this would help you to find another producer.
Sometimes you’re in a hurry to get a song out because you’re operating on a schedule,
if a producer is too busy then you’d either have to reschedule or go for another producer.
Other times a producer with a busy schedule is willing to give you a few hours of studio time,
therefore knowing that would help you prepare in advance in order for you to do everything to finish the song,
rather than being unable to finish and having to book another session which costs more money.
Knowing how busy a producer gets can also be a good metric to assess how well they work under pressure.
You can easily assess this by asking to sit in, in one of their sessions.
Do you have a favorite piece of music that you worked on?
This is a great question and it’s to further assess the producer.
Once they play you their favorite piece of work, you now know what kind of music they enjoy making.
This would further give you insight into knowing how to approach a session or what kind of music you would make best with the producer.
Therefore take your time to listen to their favorite tracks,
if possible carry these tracks home and listen until you develop an understanding of their art.
Famous rapper Drake has managed to maintain the relationship with his producer Noah “40” shebib, because they are sonically in sync.
Drake can work with other producers but 40 will always be a part of the production crew,
because of the level trust between the artist and the producer.
Therefore studying your producers favorite music is a great way to know if you can work with them on a level that makes both of you happy with the art you make.
How much is your charge?
This is another key question because you’ll obviously have to pay the producer at some point.
Knowing how much you’ll be charged is better than going into a session blindly.
Once they tell you their rate, you can then find a way to make that reconcile with your budget.
Most of the time well established producers will have a higher rate and their work will suit this high rate.
For example a music producer on Fiverr may offer you a low rate, which may seem like a good deal at first, but once you listen to the work,
you would know why a lower rate is justifiable.
Therefore don’t be tempted to go for a cheaper option, get a good producer with the right rate.
Any form questions that you form should be geared to give you information about the producer.
Therefore take your time to tailor your questions towards correct assessment.
The questions I have discussed here should give some insight about how you can go about inquiring into a producer.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
leave a comment and add on to what I may have left out!
Articles You Should Read
How Do I Approach A Mastering Engineer?
What Happens During A Recording Session?
How To Prepare For A Recording Session
Record Producer Interview Questions – Betterteam
10 Questions for Music Producers Stargate – LiveAbout