STUDIO RECORDING: A DYING ART?
I had to chuckle when I saw the cover of your January 2008 issue: “Live Sound Issue.” What Mix issue is not about live music anymore? I feel as though you have gotten away from your roots. The reason is simple: Music recording is dying.
iPod and Sirius/XM devices are ruining music daily. I've had it with the current crop of “musicians,” and I suspect that I'm joined by hundreds, if not thousands, of other engineers and producers. The “producer” nowadays is a kid making “beats” in his bedroom. Most of the companies who make high-end audio gear will be out of business by the end of this decade, unless they retool and start offering VST plug-ins for every piece of equipment they make. This is a nightmare for those of us who believe that there is such a thing as a signal chain that one needs to go through to achieve a good sound.
If we continue down this path, all music will be “live.” This is good for the paying customer who wants to go out for some entertainment. The problem is that most older listeners don't go to the kinds of venues that feature live music. Most kids can't appreciate the vagaries of “good” music or, at least, music that was created with an ear for the finer and subtler aspects of the art. This will result in a dumbing-down of music, the likes of which has not been seen since, well, the 1950s. And if you think that the ‘50s were the “golden age of crummy pop,” wait until the teens and ‘20s of the 2000s.
What happened to all of the great music that we all used to listen to and love? Who will carry on the mantle of this incredible art form?
ROY PRITTS TRIBUTE
I have enjoyed Mix magazine since my first issue, which may have been one of the very first issues published. The subscription was given to me by Dr. Roy Pritts, who brought me into the music business/recording/live sound/synthesizer program at the University of Colorado at Denver Auraria [campus]. He was a good friend and mentor, even after I graduated from the program.
Every issue reminds me of him, and I believe it was Mix that paid such a fitting tribute to Dr. Pritts after he passed away a short time ago (“Current,” August 2007). Thank you always for such a fine magazine! I read every issue cover to cover, and there is always good information that I use in my day-to-day audio pursuits.
The January editions of the MixLine e-newsletter asked readers who work in game audio production after beginning their careers in music and post-production to tell us why they made the switch, as well as name the title of the first videogame they worked on. Here are a few of the responses that we received.
I got my start in late 1993 to early 1994. I was playing in bands and was in my last year of college. I had a friend who was an occasional set-design artist and worked on a couple of movies, like Batman and Jurassic Park. He got a job through a friend at New World Computing as a 2-D animator for the company. I was working at Sam Goody's record store, and he came in to see if I would be interested in interviewing for the “sound guy” position. The only computer I owned at the time was an Atari 1040ST running Master Tracks Pro.
Two days prior to the interview, I purchased a ton of magazines current to the gaming industry and read like a madman so I knew a little about the current game biz. The thought of getting paid to be creative was just a wonderful thing to me, and I was determined to try it out.
Needless to say, I got the job and here I am roughly 15 years later with more than 100 game credits and my own sound company and recording studio. I have actually used my game experience to get into post-production and have done a feature film and TV spots for the movies 300, Pathfinder, We Are Marshall and, most recently, I Am Legend. I am thankful every day for the chance I got.
The first titles I worked on came out about the same time; they were Hammer of the Gods and Inherit the Earth, both for the PC. I think our audio budgets were about a hundreth of what they are now.
Green Street Studios
I'm a DJ/producer/MC getting into the game industry. My first game audio gig was doing sound for the THQ title Saints Row with Volition Inc. I chopped up a lot of voice, designed the ambience implementation and made some placeholder radio station ID/speech recordings.
I'm an old-school gamer and have a degree in computer science, so the transition was pretty natural for me. I actually got in the loop with the developers through my work organizing hip hop events in their area. Then a friend of mine who I DJ'd with got a job there and recommended me for another spot. My electronic music/networking skills were integral in being the right person [in the] right place [at the] right time. Before that, I didn't have much intention in going into game audio, but it turned out to be a great career path for me.
I plan to get further into sound design with Foley/synthesis and audio programming, then eventually branch into game design. I believe interactive multimedia is the medium of the future and we're just starting to see the beginning of next-level gaming.
My first title was The Playroom for Broderbund. I made the switch from full-time musician/composer to games because of the position that opened up at Broderbund. I found out about it as CD-ROMs were getting popular. I've been doing sound work in games about 80 percent [of the time] since then, the rest [in] TV, film and some live.
We'd like to hear from anyone who has worked in Nashville. Tell us about your most memorable Nashville session! And if you've worked in Nashville for several years, tell us about how the scene has changed. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.