Production Tips: What’s The Best Way To Produce A Track?

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Production is a weird animal. There are lots of ways to do it, and no real “right” or “wrong” way to make the magic happen. So how do you know if you’re doing it the best way possible? I’ve been producing records for 10 years now, but still feel like I’m learning every day. Nonetheless, I wanted to begin to share some of the things I’ve learned and hopefully help you avoid the mistakes I made.

Figure Out The Song First

Everyone’s different, you’ll need to accept that. Some artists will come in with a killer song that you’ve got jack-squat to change and when that happens – consider yourself to be lucky. It won’t happen often, at least on the indie level. Unless you’re working with bands, most individual artists will have half-finished ideas that need to be completed. Do this first. Help them figure out when the song needs to do, what needs to change or be added or – send them home to do it first if you’re not a songwriter. Hell, don’t even schedule the session if you’re not a songwriter and adept enough at helping artists hone the song. It’s totally ok if you’re not – there are plenty of producers who don’t write but are wizards at ProTools, making sounds, beats, engineering, etc. But get the song nailed down first. Don’t even create a click track unless that song is done, and ready to be produced. You will find yourself in a world of uncomfortable situations and will potentially tick off a lot of clients if the song isn’t done. You will mess things up if the song is not done first. Finish the song first. Period.

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Horns horny horns horns.

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Recording Horns @ Audio Dallas

Had a great day today cutting some horns at Audio Dallas! My good friend and client Charles Collins needed some alto and tenor sax, bone, and trumpet on a tune today, so I got to arrange and cut horns on “People Make The World Go Round” a revised version of the classic hit for Charles’ new upcoming EP.

The song itself is pretty hairy. Lots of meter changes, and the horns play a very important role in the recording. Alto sax took the lead, and then tenor sax, bone and trumpet filled out the vibe. Thankfully I had Randy Lee on sax (whom I’d never worked with before – amazing player) Gaika James on trombone and Keith Jourdan on trumpet. I’ve worked with Gaika and Keith several times before and they’re really solid players; some of my favorite to work with in town. Being a horn player myself (I started on trombone) I’m pretty particular when I’m cutting horns. Although Charles is producing the EP himself, he’ll let me chime in when I hear something weird, not that I had to that often.
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Keys today for legendary drummer Charles Collins!

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Had a blast today working for Mr. Soul himself, Charles Collins! Charles is a legendary drummer from the 70’s, and he played on TONS of hit records including Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, The Temptations, and tons more of those old school pop and dance tunes. You can check out his credits here. It’s pretty insane. Thankfully for me, he moved to Dallas years ago, and now I’m his official “Pro Tools Bitch.” LOL…I help him realize his visions by bridging the gap between his old school techniques and flavors and the new school way of recording. And don’t get me wrong – Charles is a very hip musician who uses lots of new techniques to craft his records these days: it’s just easier with a guy like me to help him get it done faster. I’m very lucky to be working with him (thank you Bradley) and am thankful I can call him a friend and mentor in the business. We had the pleasure of working with Will Foraker today, who KILLED it on keys using his amazing Nord Stage2. I’m also producing Will’s first solo project, which should be done by the winter of this year.

Charles will be done with his upcoming EP when he’s damn good and ready. Hahahaha, but seriously when it’s done…watch out!!

– J

Josh Goode is a Dallas, TX based record producer specializing in pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects. Music is his passion, and tex mex is his muse.

Vocals with Hannah Claire @ Audio Dallas!

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Well, we’re at it again!

Just finished a few more vocal sessions with the lovely and talented Hannah Claire! The vocals we recorded were at one of my favorite studios to work at (Audio Dallas) and it went very smoothly, as always. Thankfully I had Bradley Prakope at the helm of the starship Neve VR this time around, so it was very easy to sit back, produce, and just watch the magic happen. I got to hear the newly polished versions of a few songs I wrote with Hannah months ago, and that was really exciting too. I know everyone says that their latest work is their best – but this really is her best work as of yet. I love the songs, they fit her perfectly. The style is even more zeroed in to her own artistic angle, and I think that when people hear the “New Hannah” theyre going to absolutely love her work even more! It’s indie, it’s pop, it’s earthy, it’s tender. She’s gonna be an incredible songwriter (not that she isn’t already) but just you watch…you’ll see. until then, please enjoy some of the songs off her album I produced last year.

Have a great day!

– J

Josh Goode is a Dallas, TX based record producer specializing in pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects. Music is his passion, and tex mex is his muse.

Session Player Spotlight: Curt Bisquera

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Well, when it comes to drummers – I’ve been a lucky guy. I’ve played and recorded some of the best, but there are few that can compare to Curt Bisquera.

I first met Curt on the first record I did with Bradley Prakope (Plee – Heirloom). We were introduced by a good friend (the equally legendary) Bob Parr. Bob knows just about everybody in the business, and was able to hook us up with Curt’s number. Since he loves doing cool indie records, and Bob was already hired to be on bass – Curt was in.

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Panhandling in Heaven…

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Man, I’m in heaven. Or at least floating down from it. :) I got to produce some records at one of my absolute FAVORITE studios in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area this week, Panhandle House. This place is absolutely incredible. To maybe illustrate how incredible it is, The Eagles just recorded their last record there. But then again, so has Zane Williams, Bowling For Soup, The Eli Young Band, and many many other people. It’s sick. And gorgeous, and comfortable, and….sigh. Heaven. I love the room, I love the people that work there, and I LOOOOOVE the vibe. They have an immaculately kept vintage Neve 8058 that sounds like you just got slammed with a velvet pillow across your face that had been sitting outside in the sun for three days by the California coast in a constant 70 degree breeze. “Great” doesn’t even begin to cover it. It makes me do my happy dance. :) I got to produce there this week as I have several times in the last 5 years, and I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. This time around it was for budding new singer/songwriter Alexi Hill. She has a very unique tone, and some very very cool songs. I can’t play it for you yet – but it’s coming down the pipeline so stay tuned! Until then…go find a velvet pillow that’s been in Cali to slap yourself in the face with. :)

– J

Josh Goode is a Dallas, TX based record producer specializing in pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects. Music is his passion, and tex mex is his muse.

Lose Control with Dezi 5!!!

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Get ready for it – this is a BANGING new dance track I just produced with Dallas’ newest pop and dance sensation, Dezi 5!! Dezi’s music is very high energy, and he is a great songwriter and an *amazing*, completely over-the-top live performer as well. The Dallas Observer recently called him one of Dallas’ best kept secrets and hottest R+B acts in town.

Dezi originally contacted me to record vocals for him, but when I heard this song in it’s raw form I HAD to get on it and help out with the production. I had been wanting to work with Dez for a while, so it was an honor and a treat to finally get to sit down and see what his artistic vision looked like and help him get the production to where he needed it to be. Dezi is VERY hands on, and he has a *very* specific vision for what he wants his music to sound like and that’s always great for me in a client.

I always prefer working with people that have a specific creative vision because ultimately I view my job as helping the artist SHINE, not find ways to create my own thing in leiu of what they might want. If I want to make music for myself, I’ll do it alone – it’s not my place to interrupt the creative flow of my artists. I’m your advisor, and I’m your aid to realize your artistic vision, but ultimately this is YOUR music and you have to LOVE it!! If you don’t love it, you can’t sell it. Also if you don’t love it – I didn’t do my job right. However, in Dezi’s case we did a great job and…he ended up loving it! Here’s the finished product and I hope you guys enjoy it too! Listen to it, and go ahead and let yourself “Lose Control.” (See what I did there? womp womp)

– J

Josh Goode is a Dallas, TX based record producer specializing in pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects. Music is his passion, and tex mex is his muse.

Robot Arms Depot – also known RAWWWWK!!!

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Check it out! New music from one of my favorite Dallas bands, Robot Arms Depot!! R.A.D. is a duo – which is crazy given how much noise they make – but also very cool. Jack sings and plays guitar, and Zack beats the shit out of some drums. They do all of their music with intensely detailed backing tracks, so their sound is still very, very full. When I met up with them to talk about recording, they played me their set (in it’s *entirety*, since all the songs are carefully crafted to seamlessly go together) and I was blown away! SO. MUCH . ROCK. I do a lot of pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects so it was a real treat to work with them on their music. We did three songs together, and it was a pleasure to work with them. We worked on recording the songs backwards (backing tracks first, then went into a big room studio to do the drums and guitars and it worked perfectly! Also, it made it easier for them to give their best performances, as they could perform like they do live, with all of the newly composed backing tracks ready to go for them. They both gave great energy, and did some fantastic work. I helped pick out the three songs we recorded, and loved the process of working with them. So go check out the songs NOW on my SoundCloud, and better yet – go support some great artists, and BUY their work!! It’s only $3 for music that you can enjoy a lifetime. So DO IT NOW! :)

– J

Josh Goode is a Dallas music producer specializing in pop, dance, country, and singer/songwriter projects. Music is his passion, and tex mex is his muse.