Punk Production - adding excitement to professionalism

Punk Production - adding excitement to professionalism

With many home recording enthusiasts setting their sights on making their productions sound professional, somehow *excitement* seems to be taking a back seat. Wouldn't it be great if your recordings could be both professional AND exciting?

Audio Masterclass

I'm all for professionalism in audio. In fact, I teach it, and have done so for many years. You can't get a job or win clients without having the ability to produce work of professional quality - clean, clear, crisp and having no faults.

In the course of my work I hear many recordings of all levels of professionalism from raw to polished - sometimes very highly polished indeed. But what is rare is hearing something that makes me want to put it on my iPod, or burn a CD to play in the car. In other words, I rarely hear music that excites me. And I include both home studio and commercially released music here.

Of course, some might say that at my advanced age (I've been around this business for a long time) I should be looking for something more soothing and relaxed...

"To hell with that!" is my response :-)

I wrote an article recently that touched on the topic of excitement in production. In my closing paragraphs a phrase popped into my mind that seemed to me to sum up what I am looking for...

'Punk production'

I don't want to confuse punk production with punk music. There's a lot of punk, or new-wave, music from the 1970s and early 1980s that I love. And there's some that is a lot more recent. However, it is the punk attitude that I am interested in, putting excitement first and foremost. And if the overall sound of the recording and production doesn't make you want to pogo, then it doesn't matter how professional it is.

So punk production does not have to mean punk music. It can be any music, classical music even. From the selection of microphones, positioning, preamp choice and settings, all the way through the production process to mixing and mastering, excitement should be key. And if any stage of the process doesn't add excitement, then it needs rethinking so that it does.

In my previous article on this topic, I asked for examples. So what do you think about this one? Are there lessons to be learned that could be applied to other styles of music?

It's called Roaming The Halls by a band called Fletcher Christian Mutiny from the Isle of Man...

Roaming The Halls


Lead Guitar - Nell Kneale
Drums - Stephen Quinn
Bass Guitar - Liam Birchall
Vocals - Keef Lawler
Rhythm Guitar - Justine Lewis

Recorded and Produced by Gypo Buggane for Ballagroove Records 2012 in Port St Mary, Isle of Man


Fletcher Christian Mutiny's debut Mini-LP is now available on Ballagroove Records from fletcherchristianmutiny.bandcamp.com/album/the-hill-of-difficulty

Publication date: Saturday April 28, 2012
Author: David Mellor



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Earlier discussion on this topic...

Samson Manohar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Respected Sir/ Madam

Hello!! I am Samson from India. Since I am a Audio Master Class online student the year of 2008-2012. I red this Topic, it's thrill me to c, I am very interesting in the same. Pls send more topics about Sound engineering Production notes for me. Thanks.


Tuesday May 01, 2012

Jacobo Aguirre-fiestas, Madrid, Spain

I could not agree more with Francois. First the feeling and then the facts. Are we missing the emotional feeling in todays productions. Is music just blending in the noisy background? Is technology to blame or are we managing technology the wrong way when it comes to producing records?

The analogue world made you think and work in a different way, people listened to music instead of watching it go by on screen. You also had to make decisions and be sharp and radical in the studio. Are producers missing the point in many respects? Are we lacking in quality material or are we lacking the skills to develop the material that is available?

Maybe the emotional content is the key to peoples brains, and an endless repetition of cliches followed by a dose of predictable marketing won´t do
On the other hand, you could say that music is a reflection on society.

PUNK was above all an attitude, at a time of social crisis in the UK.

What about now?

Perhaps some will forget the screens and concentrate on providing genuine emotions for the listener.

Or Maybe Video DID kill the radio star!
Monday April 30, 2012

Billy Christ, Topeka, United States

I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I'm a fan of all types of aggressive music.

When I listened to this song the first time (yes, multiple listens) all that I could think about was how good this band must be live and how much that I would enjoy seeing them when they came around to my town.

Aside from this simply being a great song, I believe the production of it all is what really sucked me in. This track sounds freakin' EXCITING!!! It flew out of my monitors and put itself directly IN MY FACE! It felt like the band had set up across from me in my living room and were tearing the walls down.

I know that I could have heard this song recorded and produced differently and it would've made it alot easier to dismiss.
Monday April 30, 2012

Francois, Montreal, Canada

Definitively, production always need an extra something to be special. With the amount of music and crappy stuff throw to our hears everyday, with the lower resolution and extra compression, we need to find new trick to make our way through the mind of the listener and don't fall in the spam box of their brain... But I'll be clear, I don't mean it only for the pecuniary side of the busyness,but primary for the entertaining and cultural side of music. Music production this day don't have the extra "physical" feeling of the analogue format (I don't tell the numeric is crap and etc... it's not the point here...) The numeric format is a cold media, like TV versus movie, color picture versus black and white...(Marshall McLuhan)

So the internal process to "enjoy" numeric music rely more on the "memories" instead of "feeling" produce by the analogue ones...

Just try this at home, buy a vinyl and a CD from totally unknown and never heard bands, listen to them in the same condition and be aware of how you feel and to the way you discover those new musics. If you are sensible enough, You will notice that it's not the same kind of "immersion" you experience with the different formats.

(the style or the quality of the composition is not the main point in this experience, just try to focus on how you "enter" the music, does your brain is more involve (see pictures, start thinking about this, remember stuff) or it is more your heart involve (physical feeling (heart beat, muscle relaxation or contraction), start to move, headbanging, being more in the "instant", less in your head) I'll don't go further with this now, but I think it's something we have to keep in mind in music production for the benefits of all, mostly and first of all for the most important person : the listeners!!!
Monday April 30, 2012