Dave Chang, Record Producer

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to bring our own gear?
Instruments and backline - best you can beg borrow or steal. Does make a difference to result. If you feel your gear is not worthy but gives you a sound you kind of like, bring it anyway, if only for reference. Phone studios to check for availability of backline.

How can I get to be a producer?
If you have sufficient determination to survive a long time on the breadline, and to shape your life etc around this goal, then you have a good chance.

Music schools do give you a good preparation for work in this field, or else self study - scour the net for info and books on the subject to learn stuff yourself. But they rarely lead straight into good jobs in the recording industry.

Record your friend's music on your/their recording gear to get into it. Write to all the studios that there are explaining your eagerness to make tea in sessions due to your ambitions. If you get the opportunity, relocate and make tea. Watch & learn, don't get in the way...

Or else be in a major band that has world-wide chart success, and then other people will ask you to produce their stuff.

Good luck!

How do you conduct a session?
Varies with the type of music and the band. This is the most common, but not the only, procedure:

Set up and tune drums. Get a decent drum sound through the mixing desk. Set up guide instruments. Record backing tracks - intending to keep only the drums. Take down drums (unless the studio is huge). Set up guitar with amp head, pedals and guitarist in control room, cab in live room. Record guitars. Set up bass in same way. Record bass. Record any keyboards, nose-flutes, percussion etc. Set up mic in live room. Record vocals. Record backing vocals. Trigger drums as necessary. Mix songs. Run off listening copies for label & band.

There are a lot of different ways to record, so if this doesn't suit you, we don't have to work this way.

I'm worried about my voice - is there anything I should bring?
Honey, lemons (not lemsip), 'vocalzone' loszenges (chemists/Boots) are pretty good. Chlorosceptic and other aneasthetics only stop the pain, they don't help your throat. Things that make your voice WORSE are: stress, tiredness, smoking, excessive alcohol, lots of shouting, so try to chill out & rest before recording! (easy!)

Is there anything else the singer should bring?
Lyric sheets including repeat choruses all written out. Enough copies for me, vocalists, backing vocalists etc.

Our drummer doesn't really need to buy new drum heads for the recording?
Makes a huge difference to sound & saves time (ie SAVES MONEY) in tuning the kit. Kick, snare and tom batter heads are VERY important.

We had our last EP mixed by a name producer, but he got his assistant to do most of the work. Do you rely on interns to do the mixes for smaller clients?
No - all work is carried out personally by Dave Chang and receives 100% of his attention.

We have already recorded our songs, do you offer mixing or mastering?
I offer both Mixing and Mastering services.

Please bare in mind that the final sound and power of a song also relies on the sounds of the original instruments, the quality and style of recording, techniques equipment and production during the recording. The best mix achievable will depend on the performances and recording quality. The finished mastering will be dependent on a great mix.

It is also quicker to mix material which has been recorded well, and even quicker for me to mix material I have recorded myself, so it may be a false economy to record cheaply and spend the money on the mix.

What about gtr strings?
New gtr/bass strings improves sound. Bring spare sets - time is lost if you have to go to a shop to get a replacement.

What about the drummer?
Tempo maps of songs can be useful. Spare sticks. A woolly hat to stop headphones falling off.

Practice to metronomes/click tracks in headphones to develop these skills: picking out a relatively quiet click over the sound of your drums, making sure you can maintain the groove/excitement of your normal drumming with the click.

Practice songs stripped down. Aim for being able to play brilliantly with just guitar & drums, or bass and drums. This may be a better way to record the drum tracks. If you need stick counts, try getting the guitarist or bassist to play the clicks instead (on their instruments of course, not with drum sticks!).

What preperation do we need to make regarding our keyboards and drum machines?
For mixing the sounds usually need to be seperated. You could make patches where each sound comes out of a different socket. If there are not enough outputs, you could write seperate sequences which play only some of the sounds at once.

Often studio effects are better than the in-built reverbs, delays & choruses of keyboards and drum machines - so make 'dry' versions of your sounds (no effects). Keep the original sounds though, both as examples, and because sometimes the in-built effects do sound better.

BRING ALL YOUR MANUALS AND INSTRUCTIONS!!! In the studio we may need to reprogram the things, synchronize them with other machines, trigger them with other keyboards and generally make them do new things, so bring the books!

Metal, Rock, Punk, Extreme Production
Copyright 2003-2014 Dave Chang