Welcome to issue #80 of Tape Op.
I recently did three one-day sessions in a row with three different artists whom I had minimal contact beforehand. I thought of these as "cold call" sessions, as we hadn't done preproduction or much chatting before recording, and in two cases I had no real idea of what the music would sound like. For at least four years I hadn't been working in this fashion, as I'd been busy with moving to a new home, moving my studio to a new building, working on Tape Op and some of our books, doing archive work and attending to multiple overwhelming personal events in my life. The recording sessions I'd done were either with repeat, long-time clients or on jobs lasting at least several days or more. But this time in Portland I picked up some of these "shifts," and it was enlightening. In all cases I felt that I learned something about myself.
Working with several artists who were studio neophytes and a band that was very young, I felt that my patience and steadiness in the studio was my biggest asset. Sure, I can always get great sounds and coach a good performance out of someone, but the ability to negotiate a question like, "What is mixing?" without coming off like a know-it-all jerk is real talent.
I feel like in my recording past I may have been curt with clients at times, impatient of folks that didn't understand the process or dismissive of what I thought were useless ideas. I find as I get older and more experienced that I'm more patient and secure in my own work, and it is reflected in how I work with others. Maybe these are the hardest skills to attain.
Larry Crane, Editor