The fact that Daryl and John went through re-recording their vision of the first hit single three times showed they were not afraid of a lot of hard work. Super hard work by everyone involved is one of the common denominators for all the great records I’ve worked on.
Great recordings of great performances come at the price of physical and mental labor—and for me anyway, there is not much luck involved except for my good fortune to be there and in record mode capturing it all.
A lot of the hard work does not pay off directly. Sometimes weeks of work go by on songs that end up being left off the album.
However, in the middle of all that seemingly waste of time and energy there was a take or a germ of an idea uncovered and recorded that ends up becoming something special.
Succeeding, at times, means frustration and digging a lot before you find a gem and sometimes, hard work is the only way you’ll do it.
Focus is the mental part of hard work. I have found the ability to focus for long time periods and avoiding distractions (that waste time) day after day on the pile of work in front of them is common amongst the successful people I’ve worked for.
Successful producers focus more on the most important parts of the recording process and a lot less on other areas. Delegation of less important jobs to others allows space and time for better focus by the core production team.
A good focusing ability is a real asset when doing final mixes. Good focus keeps the vision alive and on time and on budget.
Respect is easy. Treat everyone, from the studio gofer, the pizza man, the engineer, the producer, musicians, backing singers, the A&R guy, the manager, and the artist all the same—with the utmost of respect.
When I met Mick Jagger at the beginning of a tracking session I did for one of his solo albums, he repeated my first and last name as if to memorize it—at least for the duration of the day. I found him very respectful to me.
The whole level and vibe of the session was elevated from that point onward and we all had a great time.
Givers Not Takers
Another personality trait I’ve notice with a lot of successful people in the studio is that they are mostly givers and not takers. A giver gives of him/herself fully to the recording process and is willing to do and give almost anything to achieve his/hers and the artist’s vision.
So working long hours, being patient and helpful are all attributes of the giver. A giver contributes to the whole without necessarily expecting anything in return except a better record.
Givers love music and love working on it.
Barry Rudolph is a veteran L.A.-based recording engineer as well as a noted writer on recording topics. Be sure to visit his website
More Reviews & Articles By Barry Rudolph
The “Daryl Hall and John Oates” Album And The $300 Drum Sound
Five Creative Uses Of Loudspeakers That Can Enhance Recordings
The Tradecraft Of Recording Vocals, Part 3: Singer/Mic Positioning & Monitor Mixing
Studio Techniques To Get Great Sounding Vocals, Part 2: In The Control Room
Studio Techniques To Get Great Sounding Vocals
Studio Microphone Techniques To Get A Great Electric Guitar Sound
In-Depth Primer: A Wide Variety Of Microphone Techniques For Drums
Mounting The Insurmountable: The Tale Of A Project-Saving Monitoring Technique
Capturing The Right Feel & Sound: Rhythm Section Tracking In The Studio
Working At Success: Why Do Some - But Not Others - Rise Above In The Studio?
Working At Recording Success: Taking Elemental Steps Can Make All The Difference
Recording Tip: Successfully Dealing With A Dead Room