Welcome to issue #88 of Tape Op.
Tape Op gets a certain kind of letter frequently, and they all basically say the same thing: "I'm young. I really like recording. Where do I go from here?" Part of me can empathize with and understand the situation, yet another part of me cannot. In most cases the writer's experience level, with clients and with equipment, is minimal. Yet I don't see them pushing themselves to go even further.
You have a few pieces of outboard gear? Then borrow and try out more. Do short term gear trades with friends. You don't have friends that have recording gear? Then find new friends. You've learned Pro Tools? Then learn Logic Pro... and then Reason, Live, Record, Studio One, Cakewalk, Cubase, Reaper, Tracktion, Digital Performer, Audacity, SAW, Nuendo and Sound Forge. There are no recording studios within 100 miles of where you live? Then move somewhere else and hit the pavement. And believe me, there are always people out there to record.
Look, you're young and hopefully have a long, interesting life ahead of you. You have to make these things happen for you. Compared to most other fields, education (whether trade school or college) is no guarantee that you will find any work or be a good recordist. To produce and engineer an album you need to know and understand a lot of different subjects — inside and out. You need to build up these personal experiences.
But first look inside yourself and make sure this is what you really want to do. Do you want to help other people work on their music? Or would you actually prefer to record your own music instead? Are you ready to listen to songs that you may not enjoy, for days on end, and still remain enthusiastic about the recordings while putting 100 percent of yourself into the project? Are you ready for the crippling self doubt that might accompany the start of a session that haunts you as you mix a song for a discerning, unrelenting and unsatisfied client?
Read the interviews in Tape Op. Every man and woman has a different story to tell about how they ended up making records. Yet they also have one thing in common — recording music wasn't something they could escape. It is their life.