Ep.2 Doctorboss | LevelsFM Music Production Podcast

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 Ep.2 Doctorboss | LevelsFM Music Production Podcast -

what's your name and or your alias my name is shawn cole i go by dr boss on the socials i know you are a record producer an educator you've taught music production and you

dabble in podcasts these days so when people if if i met you in an elevator for the first time how would you describe your what you do it's always hard because i have always because of my curiosity for uh all things audio i've always worked on all the things i mean i owned a recording studio and i loved engineering uh and then producing records uh but i also there's a car driving by i'm sorry about that i also uh oh perfect i also uh have designed studios from acoustic standpoints i've done live sound i've done live audio installations i've now worked on vr and video and cartoons and all sorts of things so

when i'm on an airplane way back in the great before and someone says what do you do i usually just say i work with sound it's a good answer i think i might start saying that too i might start saying i'm dr boss and i work with sound see how that goes for me yeah uh you ready for the lightning round oh yeah what's the best song of all time at last out of dreams maybe this answers question number two who has the best voice of all time oh darn it i don't think it's out of dreams no offense edda yeah or we could just say what's one of the best voices of all time yeah i would have to say

welcome back adam who's the best musical group or band of all time ah measurably the beatles i guess but the best is a hard thing to define why would you say that they're the best i think they showed the most natural evolution in their musical expression and they grabbed the world by the hand from bubble gum pop into psychedelic uh experiments and helped open i mean the product of their time too but they the breadth of their you could say that you know cold play has been around for a long time and ac dc has survived decades and all that stuff but they've all just done what they do whereas the

beatles uh started by doing what everyone else did really extraordinarily well and then helped everyone see that there were different creative ways to make sales sorry that's okay what's your dream collaboration well today it's wilco i listened to yankee hotel foxtrot yesterday after a long boy and i thought man i wish i could have been there for that and i wish that they could make another album like that good choice thanks laptop or recording studio yes great answer what's your favorite audio effect

the roland re201 behind you space echo right there why um because it's predictable and unpredictable it does a thing called delay with a spring reverb if you want but the physical medium that's inside of it and how often you clean the tape heads and how well how long the tape has existed will give you its own character i mean i love delay but that's the kind of delay that that i yearn i agree uh what's your favorite plugin i use the universal audio fairchild uh 670 on lead vocals all the time

like i have for a decade now it feels like but soothe 2 has knocked my socks off recently not replacing the fairchild but as a new innovative way to look at how eq and dynamics can be handled it's blown my mind well then have you met the my favorite plugin of all time golfos same type of idea yeah it does it tames the bad stuff but it also brings up the underrepresented stuff to equal flat in real time it's amazing i just put it on the mix bus it's i couldn't i couldn't live without it anymore i've heard about it but it's funny the description you just gave is really what a producer should be a person who tames the bad stuff yes but it does it in real time all we can do is

set the best setting at a static level unless we're going to ride our eqs with automation and now that i'm saying that it's not a bad idea but that's a lot of work i know this doesn't interfere um what is a song that sounds great i'll have to default to my soundcheck song that i i think you probably know the witness dub by roots maneuver i've used it as my i've had a number of different songs that have come and gone as my like room calibration music but that one has been consistent from the day that i heard it first i love dub music and it just the british engineers with the thickness and beautiful control on the bottom end all the way through all the effects and the stereo goodness means that i don't know what a room or a set of speakers

sounds like until i play that song i think it helps it just showcases every frequency beautifully that's so cool shout out roots maneuver um all right let's go way back in time well maybe not too far back in time depending on your relative position in time uh where are you where are you located now and where are you originally from i am currently located in a picturesque town called mahon bay in nova scotia my wife has told me that it uh reminds her of a town called sleepy hollow i think from a show called the gilmore girls which i've never watched and that's why we moved here well we it is a nice town uh after living in the vancouver area for the 20 years prior

so i was in vancouver for about 13 years and then the scenic bowen island a 20-minute ferry ride away for seven and then uh was chased all the way to the east coast in search of secured housing good good plan thanks and where where were you born originally i was born in a tiny town called sackville new brunswick actually i was born in toronto and it's like one of those things that really bothers me my mom was pregnant she was on her own she had a sister in ontario and she went to visit her while she's pregnant with me and ended up you know giving birth to me in in toronto and then moved back to went back to sackville it was really just a visit but now i have to live with that on my birth suit my whole life i thought you would have liked that hello have you been to onscario like

yes smells bad and the people are mean like i went to toronto once after thinking that that would be the case my whole life and i loved it i thought it was amazing shout out toronto yeah lots of people there that i love and there are good parts i realized that uh you could get on the lake and that would be a nice way to enjoy it from a distance right okay so how's it going so far this is great feeling good i love this yeah i love you and i love this how are you feeling yeah i'm feeling good awesome just wanted to check in you know we know each other everybody um how did you come up with the name dr boss who came up with that the very first band i produced uh i was

an engineer in a recording studio [Music] uh that was owned by a composer and he had decided he wanted it to be commercial studio but he didn't like working with bands so he found me uh to be the like in-house engineer it was in his parents basement uh and then eventually in a house his parents bought for him in cairsdale but that was great so for about three years i was the engineer there the only engineer people would uh respond to the ad in the classified section of the georgia strait and come in and i would have to deal with whoever came in and just be the engineer which was great and i thought i could focus on nothing more than engineering and everything would be awesome and eventually i realized that it didn't matter how well i could place mics in front of things and capture sounds that i would need to [Music] be a producer if i wanted to make great

records so a band that i had mixed live who i really liked they were a porno funk band called slow nerve action uh they came to the studio and in two days we recorded and mixed i think like a 12 song album um on a tape based system so it was mostly live with some overdubs and i was mixing it it was you know the end of day two i'm mixing like it was insane to do that much in two days but as i'm mixing i'm trying to work out delay times to throw to delay machines and i picked up the uh i had a boss dr beat in the studio with me which was a little metronome machine made by boss and you could tap it it would tell you the bpms it would tell you also the delay times to go for

so i would constantly be tapping it it would give me the quarter note delays i would pop that into the yamaha o2r that we were using um and all the while the band is cheering me on and they were calling each other boss and when i pulled out the boss dr beat the singer said doctor boss and then uh i ended up going on tour with them they're great friends of mine but they called me dr boss that whole time and then stuck i think some crusty professional audio person from greenhouse at that point in my career said you should have a nickname for when you're mixing uh [Music] and which kind of made sense to me because i'm you know i recorded the record i produced the record i mixed the record do you want it just to be recorded by sean cole mixed by sean cool so i started saying mixed by dr boss and when i was mixing something i would give dr

boss the credit everything else was sean cole that's really cool dr boss stuck that's great i love that shout out boss dr beat tell us about an early musical memory how early we going way way back yeah like what's one of the first you know musical discoveries or memories you have i'm old so my parents were playing uh 70s and 80s music for all of my childhood uh i think what stands out is when i realized that i had a like portable stereo getter ghetto blaster thing that had a cassette deck that could record and so

i could record myself it had a little mic on it and i would record myself doing like radio plays essentially i was grade six i think at the time so um and it was super fun because you you get one shot and i would bring a bunch of stuff from the house to try to do sound effects and things while i'm doing it um uh and that evolved into remixing uh with a tape deck so my first summer job i bought a big bad stereo system with a dual cassette deck separate from the receiver and the cd player and i had a heavy-d single cassette single that i had scored from the record shop and it had those cassette singles were a thing so it had like six different remixes on it you know because they

didn't want you weren't paying for the cassette just for one song they would fill it up with all these remixes and i didn't love the remixes but the breakdown on the remixes was super cool so i took the original song and recorded that up to the breakdown and then uh you know it's like i'm pause on this tape play on that tape record pause over here or whatever and then i would rewind or fast forward it to the breakdown for each and every remix i'd hit go wait until the breakdown came unpause the record deck and record the breakdown and then pause queue it up again go to the next breakdown version remix version and created a song that was the normal song except the breakdown happened like six times in a row with all the different remixed versions of uh the breakdown because i thought it was so cool and that was my first remixing experience i guess and it made me super curious about like because it was my first time being

exposed to reinterpreting a song in so many different ways um which was and sometimes and song structure too right you're thinking about bars and beats and sequence yeah did you know that that hip-hop early hip- hop producers and djs were doing a similar thing in new york i don't know maybe 10 years before that or five years before i don't know when you were doing that but you did you just did it naturally yeah i love that so cool and that was that's inspired me to i mean to do more in that realm and that grade i think i was still in eighth grade i started djing like the high school dances wow that's really cool were you that kid with the headphones that said here listen to this were you like the dj for your group

yes and no i was i was all about pop music like it was i wasn't discovering new weird obscure music i was just a 100 pop guy so wow uh and that you know if you're djing high school dances you gotta play what the people want and that so that was my first exposure and i did that from grade 8 all the way through grade 12 got a radio show at the university campus radio in my town i lied and told them i went to the university so i started that when i was in grade 11. i'm just like hey can i get a show and i got saturday nights because all the university kids nobody wanted to do saturday nights but i right with a buddy of mine uh darren gilmore i got to do i did saturday nights for i think it was two years where we would do an all request like extravaganza and we hustled and called every floor of every residence in the entire university like on the phone to promote it and it

became the like uh pre-party all-request pop you know dance radio show for all the university students so i was i was 100 all about pop at that point that's so cool uh not darren gilmore from watchdog entertain management right no see that's a weird one shout out to watchdog both both there and gilmore's and watchdog um how did that how did that experience influence you as a producer like you you're early out of the gate knowing what people want and keeping the crowd happy yeah that's a really interesting question because i went from so in grade 12 i'm still doing the high school dances djing at the radio station and at christmas time i remember um and i was only 16 at this point but i was doing the radio show and the manager of

the campus pub at the university campus pub which is like the only place with the dance floor in town basically was in this it's the pubs in the same building as the campus radio station i'm in the attic doing the radio show the student pub is in the basement and i popped down there to see if we could get in of course uh and you know it was christmas the students were gone most of the students it was maybe new year's eve so i'm having to run up four flights of stairs to change the song every few minutes uh because it's pretty chill and the manager was like i've been looking for a dj who plays more than just like spirit of the west and the tragically hip how about you dj at the club and and so that's what i did and so and i went to that university so for seven years i was the dj at the club wow

and when i switched when i went to school for audio engineering record production i stopped djing at that point like 100 stopped and switched to the recording side and somewhere along that line too i became less enamored with pop music and more interested in interesting music well a weird music how about so that by the time and i don't know you know how it is when you at a recording school you can't be like i love all the pop music pop music is the best like everyone's super cool and they have great taste in music very different styles so i didn't take that passion for pop from my dj years and turn it into working on pop music in on the professional side in recording and producing bands

um i took the sensibilities of that i've fought forever with bands when i'm producing i've been fighting to like i've taught i can't even tell you how many bands i've taught what a chorus is like you know i pro prog rock band that i got and i'm like hey guys this part that you play right here that's super catchy and really cool what if just stay with me what if you played that a second time in the song and then maybe one more time at the end and i i don't know maybe we'll call it a chorus and they're just like ah okay we'll try it i don't know it's not my favorite part of the song but yeah so the pop influence certainly informed the choices as i struggled with uh with cbc bands to try to convince them to play music that was more accessible to humanity

i think that's part of the fun of being a music producer is is tricking the artist into making it more commercially viable because that's not a discussion that most artists want to have so just don't have it with them and just do it like butch vig you know hey let's just do that vocal again you're not doubling my vocal are you no i didn't keep that one let's just do it again and then you hear the mixes and you got the double vocal everybody sorry it's too late the world loves it i love it um do you remember the first album that you bought with your own money like when you were a kid or even not with your own money but the first album you went out and purchased uh i'm not sure if it was me or not they were mine but like some 80s 80s stuff including styx and mr mister were up there but then i jumped on the columbia house

vinyl bandwagon and so and the pretty early ones that really blew me away were soundtracks to be honest it was uh the stand by me soundtrack the la bamba soundtrack and the good morning vietnam soundtrack those were the first that i was super into because they were kind of greatest hits records yeah right and hearing especially like well stand by me and and uh good morning vietnam there's so much amazing motown in there and i mean stand by me was more the older 50s pop but the motown stuff that i heard in good morning vietnam definitely blew me away i have a hard time getting away from motown like i just yeah it's just like if i just want to feel good i just put i'm with you and and i i mean i heard it a bit growing up but i i missed it and i didn't get into it until until well [Music]

oh [Music] this is going to be on the outtakes that was uh motown just dropping the mic that was a mic drop moment is my mic still work yeah okay robust the sure mv7 ladies and gentlemen versatile usb mic a dynamic usb mic that also has an xlr output so you can treat it nice in your own audio interface as you can tell there's some handling noise well just from you screwing it in getting that c clamp on there all right sorry about that people um a little bit about microphones um

i i missed the i missed motown the first time through really but i got into it when i was uh after i got into music production and now i feel the same way if i just want to hear something that is uplifting and and awesome and my favorite thing about it is the levels are all wrong they it sounds like it's mixed by a three-year-old in the best way like the tambourine is 10 db louder than the vocals the vocals are mostly clipping sometimes like i just imagine the the engineer just smoking a cigarette and somebody's going should we fix that and i'm going ah like and i think part of it was on purpose and part of it wasn't i watched a documentary on youtube done by reverb the the ebay of the music business um about how to create the motown sound and and the beginning part of it it talks about how barry gordy

worked at a assembly line in detroit and started making the music in the same way that he saw the assembly line working for the cars and i just saw that last week and i just went it would track two songs a day sometimes three songs a day top to bottom and then isn't that the studio where they nailed the drums to the floor they're like that's where the drums go that's that's the drum sound it's like drum sound check it off the list that's so cool i love that so much um what's the okay so let's talk about some of your uh early influences so you're buying those soundtracks what was the first do you play any instruments what do you play i think i play them all poorly i was uh good answer i was uh i played piano the most growing up um had a keyboard that was an early

moment for me when i realized that i could plug my cheap yamaha keyboard into my stereo hand-me-down stereo that i could like rca can go into rca and so then all of a sudden i think it was grade five that i did that i had in my room it's like i'm playing my keyboard out of the big speakers of the stereo i remember i remember doing that with an electric guitar we just plugged it into the mic input of the stereo and blue the speaker yeah oh yeah and i'm like headphones as mike like what if i plug this in the mic thing instead of the headphone thing hello um so cool i played drums uh i've tried bass for a while at this point and i was in uh choirs in musical theater when i was growing up um cool at this point most of what i play on a record would be hand percussion because uh

the first time i recorded a drummer playing the shaker i had to edit it it took me four hours to edit the performance and then i was like maybe i should learn how to play the shaker so that i never have to do this again and that was a good idea and it's funny because you brought up the tambourine that's one of the things i love i mean i play tambourine on stuff and hand percussion is my jam so the song that i could have answered with greatest song of all time would be stevie wonder signed sealed and delivered i'm yours because it has the best tambourine part in the history of tambourine starting in verse 2. um i i often answer the same way you did with i play all the instruments none of them well and i i got that from brian eno like that's what he says i'm not you know i don't really play anything well but i'm not really afraid to play anything and i thought that's what i'm gonna do too because

you know like when you plunk out an idea on a piano you say to your artist hey why don't you sit at the piano and try and hammer out some melody and they go oh i don't play the piano it's like well neither do i but watch this if i press my my fingers on the keys it makes sound and then it don't play the ones that are bad sounding play the ones that are good sounding you know it's like it's not really you don't have to have like a certificate to play an instrument oh yeah um so what were some of your first musical with midi like for crying out loud just something into the computer and then you can figure it out totally you can separate all the notes later what were some of your first musical musical influences well i should probably say singing in choir was a musical influence uh and then furthering that into musical theater so but like artists that that shaped your

style that that would be um musical theater wow cool well it's the cheesiest and poppiest of all music really that's where you got that pop stuff sensibility from yeah um yeah musical influences that's hard because i feel like i i like i love bluegrass i love funk and soul i love dub music i love indie rock i love uh and have all the while and i mean i had a period where i was listening to jam bands a lot like fish and pre-sewage dump dave matthews band and and that kind of thing so but i don't i wouldn't i can't say that they influenced me necessarily i think i was more influenced by

the stuff early on like when i when i got the stand by me soundtrack i went down a rabbit hole of all of 50s pop like i just went cool for it i loved 50s pop for a solid year and then and then i went through a 80s hair metal phase you know right after that which is ridiculous um and i've i guess i've always been a i've been influenced by i never had a huge record collection but i always lived with people who did so i was always observ absorbing their perspectives on music too that's awesome um do you remember the moment when you realized that you were going to get into music production you were going to start producing

other people because that's kind of a big deal right so i remember it let's let's hear about it well uh like i said i was djing and i don't know if you noticed but i said i dj'd at that university for seven years most people don't go to university for seven years unless they're becoming a doctor not dr boz so um i wasn't exactly doing well in that university and i went for two years and then took a year off but dj worked at the bar that whole time in the same town went back for a year studying i started in math physics computer science engineering by the time i had taken a year off and gone back i was trying like geology information systems spanish like i was doing whatever i'm just like i don't know anything is anything cool uh and that didn't work so then yet another year

uh where i was just living in the town and hanging out with all my university friends but not going to university and working at the bar djing and bartending and i went on a vacation with a girlfriend i had at the time to marguerita island venezuela to hunt down someone who i had hung out with who lived in that town the year prior but then he disappeared this is pre-internet basically so i had an old home address in venezuela i'm like i'm gonna see if i can find and i did like i went to the address from the student directory phone book in venezuela and i knocked on the door and the door opens and an old older lady says hello and i said is is christian here she said yes just a second and out comes my old friend christian who i hadn't seen in quite some time and we had hung out on one of my previous years off partying mostly and i really

loved him and he had decided to leave university like i did to pursue his passion though and he was in the middle of studying architecture and brought me into like what i had interrupted him doing when i knocked on that door was he had a big drafting table and he was designing like a beautiful spectacular beachside uh restaurant resort and it was just like oh my god this is amazing i went back to my resort and was floating in the pool like back float looking up at this sun and i thought to myself i had an epiphany maybe i could go to school for something to do with audio like why am i trying to learn geology which i'm not that into i mean it's interesting don't get me wrong studying rocks but i had a serious epiphany it was just

like ding maybe there's a school that teaches audio stuff and uh you know i flew back home and the internet kind of worked at that point and i you know whatever it was netscape searched or alta vista or whatever uh audio recording schools and it turns out they did have them they did exist and there was one i you know could choose between vancouver toronto or montreal and uh i decided to go to vancouver because it was the nicest city in my mind um shout out toronto was again to just skip that part uh yeah so i went to school uh at that point and everything changed because all of a sudden i was learning what i was truly passionate about and it went really well and never looked back that's so cool great story i love it and seem like i've heard that before

um i've got a i was wearing a different shirt at that point i got a question for you what is music production it's a lot of things maybe in the most general sense it's the art of translating a musical idea into a auditory experience love it do you remember can you hear that sound okay good can you remember the first demo you record little things in yeah maybe yeah yeah keeps us honest uh this the sun where the sun is right

now but no i think it's good it's focusing on the gold chains you know it's i think it's good wood but oh no it's

sparkly first demo i ever recorded yeah do you remember like the first you know demo yeah when i was a
student when i'd gone to recording school it seemed like i was the only one there who was only interested in engineering like everyone else was maybe they're a musician they want to figure out how to record themselves but they weren't like i want to be an engineer in a studio or they were well that was it for most of them they were musicians who wanted to do better at what they were doing which meant when we had all the free studio time they all wanted to be on that side of the glass and i wanted to be in the room so everyone was allocated a certain amount of studio time there's
about 10 of us or probably more like five of us who got together and pooled all of our studio time and they all were performing and then i was got to have all that engineering experience which was amazing uh so in that process they put a band together and and i recorded some demos for them in there and then and then the real thing i did another memorable demo after that was uh at a band's house that i had worked with and i had to bring like a mackie console and and i think i brought a dap machine uh and set up all the mics and it was like you know 24 track console that i set up in the kitchen uh everything's coming to the console and going to a two-track dat machine to record the demo shout out 16 bit shout out um i never used uh

eight track like one of those the clowns no like too many deaths in my life like the like an old four track or whatever the with the cassette ones the suspects and that kind of thing i remember a few times people bringing them into the studio like hey and i'm just like i don't know how that works man that doesn't make any sense to me they're pretty complicated because they they had so many overlapping functions you know that you'd have to press a lot of buttons just to bust stuff over yeah um tell us about the first time you walked into a recording studio like a real one real nice one oh the first time that's really hard to pinpoint or one of the first times yeah it's probably um i had done after working at the the first studio

that i worked out as an engineer when i decided to pursue production after building that studio for a couple steak dinners uh working there for four years i'm like hey i want to produce bands now i'm going to bring bands in to produce is that cool and they're like yeah you just have to pay what the bands pay and i'm just like wait a minute i built this place i've worked here for like food and and fifty dollars a day tops for four years now i gotta pay what everyone else pays so i quit and started recording people in my my house uh and one of the first records that i did in my house uh the artist had a connection to someone at the warehouse studio and that meant that we could that we could get it mixed at the warehouse cool so the first time walking into that place blew my mind

was it was and is a mecca of all things recording except for the sound of the live room but maybe we shouldn't go down that hole um but it's a beautiful space the my collection is you know top-notch it seems like a very fancy starbucks with all the all the lounges and stuff yeah impressive the brick the vintage brick that they had to remove the really nice walls and stuff um in your music production career what what are you best known for um best known for according to me yeah i think i would think the thing that i've experienced the most is uh working on early records with bands typically like full bands and helping

them get signed so doing the first album and then they get picked up from that and then i don't get hired again i mean sometimes i did but uh often especially when they're young and impressionable then uh once they get the record deal and the the label will say okay now you're gonna go work with this super fancy person in la or whatever so i experienced that a lot of times where i worked hard on the demo or the first ep or the first record and helped help them find their voice and then it got the attention that they wanted and then i also i don't excel at the schmoozing and business side of things so often that would translate into see you guys good luck i think that happens a lot i think

that's kind of a natural progression and and i was that guy too although i had friends like you that it happened to a lot more um and more like you know heartbreaking fashion and then i realized that those are the albums i like the best i like those albums the best the the the first album where they're finding themselves and when the band scales although they can be really great albums those aren't my favorite ones my favorite ones are the the the dirty early ones absolutely me too there's a band uh and i bet i don't know how i got this gig but i did a demo full record demo for a band from east fan called pride tiger and they were just amazing chock full of raw rock and roll energy and that was one that i basically just

engineered like i didn't do any pre-production i was just tapped to like hey we need someone to record these guys for for uh you know the label submission or whatever and so i did it and no pre-production makes me feel like i didn't produce it it was more like i engineered it i captured it i mixed it uh it sounded awesome and so raw and full of emotion and they got signed and they went to la and they worked with a big name producer doing those same songs so this was a rare one where because normally if i get it all the way to a record and they get signed then the next thing that happens is another record or another thing but this was where i did like it was a demo record so what they did with the fancy la guy was the same songs again and i wasn't i wasn't pissed or anything i wasn't angry i was excited to hear what was going to happen i'm like

oh sweet now this is a great great perspective for me i know exactly where the songs are with the band and now they're going to go get the la treatment and i have to say i was shocked because the fancy record ended up being uh like not much had changed they didn't like to my ear at least it didn't sound like the producer did any work with them on fleshing out any ideas they like added some tambourines in parts they basically just re-recorded it the way that i had done it or the way that they had done it i don't want to take credit for how the demo uh was recorded necessarily structurally song structure but uh it didn't it was like the same kind of the same songs done the same way maybe a flashier solo here too here and there or fancy tambourine parts uh

but it didn't sound it lacked that raw emotion of the demos too and it didn't unfortunately they didn't really have even though it was a super major label it was a really big deal they didn't it didn't really go anywhere unfortunately that's what i like is the the rawness of the emotion and the takes i i love that more than something that sounds finished or full or any of all the any of those words i love the raw human emotion but then it's tragic because we teach people to hyper edit to you know make sure every kick and snare and hi-hat is exactly on the grid and so often in doing that we lose any bit of emotion that's there i mean we you and i both motown resonates with us they're not playing to a clique they're not singing in tune they're not like there's so much more than than that and

yet especially at recording schools people are typically taught like oh make a record this is what you do you record everything you put it in the box you make sure it's all gridded you edit everything to be perfect you tune it and then it sounds great but it's like and that it that is a great method i love that method too it's fun it's like it's like you're creating this not synthetic synthetics wrong word but you're creating this perfectly gritted quantized beast and that in itself is a feat and it's fun and it sounds great but it's not that other thing yeah yeah and if i had to choose i'd choose that other thing every time that motown thing i am just fighting trying to get this sun out of my face i can't do anything thanks pal i'm just gonna no that's even worse i even planned for this but clearly i didn't plan well enough

so let me just try and move forward a bit oh you know what bathroom break let's do just a little bathroom break oh i love it i love it bathroom break and we're back i figured out it was it was uh the reflection coming off my open door that was casting the light into me um we're back with less light people we were just talking about what you are probably best known for wait a minute okay because we talked about uh the over editing of things and how nice it sounds how great it sounds when everything is precise um but i think that even so one thing that i always worry about is that people would associate my hatred of

precise quantization as being anti-electronic music and i think electronic music and hip-hop especially can teach us a lot about why it matters to have swing to have subtle timing inaccuracies planned inaccuracies perhaps that make something feel good so hip hop was born from sampling and they were sampling records from the 70s and so yeah the 808s were on the beat but the samples that filled the spaces in between often had elements swing or swung elements and out-of-tune elements that that helped it feel good and then if you move into you know house music house music that that just is regimented and and only on the beat that doesn't have

any swing isn't what i think is successful in the grand scheme of things subtle groove shifts uh quantization manipulation if you want to call it that in in the hi-hat track in the you know how late the sloppy claps are in in other elements or what make electronic songs really resonate with people i think i mean one of my favorite things to do helping young producers out when they're making electronic music is to be like hey what if you shifted those hi-hats by 10 milliseconds to the right what if you you know played with whether or not everything hit the beat exactly and what if you just go and move this one that way and that one this way and and move things around a little bit to give it some some groove some pocket some swing and i think uh

you know it's still that's it's still the answer it might not be humanity at that point it might be your own manipulation of it but but having something that gives a push and pull within those eight bars is super important and subconscious and makes people not understand why they love it so totally agree that's great i love that um what are you the most proud of in your music production accomplishments uh i think it's hard to separate you know when you listen to a record that you that you worked on that you did it's hard to separate the feeling of the time and the experience

of being in the studio from the actual quality of the recording yeah uh that said i think the yukon blonde record we did is probably what i'm most proud of um and a big part of that is because they're one of the bands that i helped go from uh you know a little scrappy ambitious and talented to more focused and and well executed while still having that that uh don't know human groovy feel uh i mean this is a band they came to me when they came to me they hadn't even settled on that name but they knew they wanted to make a record and they had liked something i'd done previously that had a ton of harmonies and i heard they showed me the demo

and they were trying these harmonies three-part harmonies and they just they weren't nailing it they weren't really good enough to do what they wanted to do and i said to them that i was pretty busy at that point and i was like i would love to work on this record but you guys need to take vocal lessons like what you're trying to do is amazing and you have great ideas and it will be awesome but you need some help to get there you need to do training and they at that point they're pretty young they're all long-haired dudes from kelowna and i didn't hear from them for a bit and i thought okay well i guess that's not happening but then they came back and they said okay we did it i'm like you did what well we we got vocal lessons and they didn't just get vocal lessons they went back to kemona and they went to a vocal coach and they said

we don't have much money but we were told to get voice lessons uh what can you do and the vocal coach happened to run a men's choir or i don't know if it was a men's choir but a choir at a german orthodox church and she said to them if you guys come sing in the choir at the german orthodox church i will give you vocal lessons for free so like ripped jeans long hair bearded dirt bags committed that fall and winter to go to church this orthodox german church and sing in the choir in exchange for free vocal lessons they came back to me i heard them singing i'm like yeah okay let's yes yes i would love to make this record with you now and it was it was awesome it was really like that showed their level of commitment to the to the project to their craft and

and they're great humans great individuals and the songs were awesome and they were open i knew they were open to outside input we did pre-production we worked on making choruses choruses and uh putting things where they belonged and it was some of the most magical performances that we captured live off the floor as well so that that helped uh and yeah it's one of those things they they got signed after or around that time as well and and have done extraordinarily well they're awesome did they do the did they sing the harmonies together did they do it overdub do they overdo it uh that is a great question they did some of them together because that i'm not even sure they had played acoustic guitar at that point and then it was like okay in order to nail these

harmonies we need to play acoustic and just sing them together right um cool so they did and uh to be honest the they didn't have a ton of money uh and a friend of mine uh sven who brought them to me in the first place wonderful engineer uh and live sound human and all-around great person um was involved and i knew to stretch the budget like to get the most out of it i had him doing i think i had he was friends with the bands too so i had him doing the overdub uh harmony sessions after we had sorted them all out so i wasn't even there for it i can't remember if they were seeing them together or not at that point though i think that was a time when i was enamored with how queen had done their harmonies where in order so if they did three part harmonies they would have all three in

normally three of them would sing three different parts but when tracking they would get all three people to sing in unison the first part and then they'd sing the second part in unison and the third part in unison so you'd have three tracks that were three humans deep each uh and i'm pretty sure that's how we approached it because that's what i wanted that's cool so they would sing the three notes of the chord so they'd sing the root note all together and unison them then sing the third or whatever it was in unison and then the fifth or whatever after that that's great yeah and that's the magic like if you do two you get bad if the pitch is off you get you know but if you do three then it's all of a sudden nice chorusing so if you triple track each harmony uh i and i think at that point i was pushing to get them we would double it so it'd be they do

all three of them singing the first part twice and then all three of them sing the second part twice and all three of them singing the third part twice so that effectively we have 18 voices on six tracks doing the three-part harmony great i love it and then you know this is a real musical learning thing a music production learning thing when you do that the quality of those takes can literally some of them can be at 35 and it will sound glorious i call it the smear campaign the sweer campaign strike the numbers man you know there's there's a couple of them that are out of tune it's fine don't worry that it just makes it sound better in my opinion yeah and then you send it to reverb a reverb but then you put a chorus before the reverb and you're like oh this is perfect too easy it's too easy um the next question comes from a dear friend of ours uh from tamara edelman

she said when you start your podcast i want you to ask this question so her question is what has been your biggest career high and your biggest career challenge so far hmm well played tamara my biggest career high uh well that's tough i don't think my career isn't limited to music production so i don't think uh i think i might have to go deep here um my biggest career high was that an old friend of mine approached me to ask me to to work on a project that i ended up doing for two years straight and that was recording testimony for the

uh families in the national inquiry for into missing and murdered into indigenous women and girls so i traveled all over canada i recorded hundreds and hundreds of hours of family testimony recorded and live stream from remote locations and cities and uh it was the first time i felt like what i was doing was was sacred and was like had the most impact of everything that i've done and it took all of the knowledge and skills of what i had learned up to that point for me to to do it well from recording live sound streaming but also the empathy that i learned throughout my career in order to be able to um help set you know i'm like i'm handing microphone to someone who's about to tell their

story about a missing or murdered family member for the first time in public in their lives and i have one interaction with them to tell them how to speak into the microphone like that's you know all of my training and experience up to that point put me in a place where i could try to help them feel as comfortable as possible stepping up to the microphone and it was devastating and very difficult but i would say that's my career high um amazing it's probably my biggest challenge too because i it's uh it was uh it was eye-opening to say the least and devastating um from yeah from uh from a music production perspective uh my biggest challenge would be that i mean it's

con helping a band understand what it why they need to be open to all possibilities if they want to put the best version of themselves on record uh continuous challenge because they're working on their art that they've spent their whole lives nurturing and it's so personal to them as it as it should be uh and in those situations whenever as a producer i'm the one asking them to change trying to convince them to do it differently and do it uh in a way that didn't come naturally to them uh that's super super difficult and challenging great answers amazing um

[Music] describe your process when you produce music where do you start so i generally am producing bands or singer songwriters and where i start is by getting each member of the band or the singer-songwriter to make me a mix tape so you know initial discussions before we're even in the studio for pre-production when we're talking about what kind of record we want to make i will hear all of the words that they want to throw my way about what kind of record they want to make but i also am super interested in in what it is that that makes them that inspires them what you know i tell them to make me a spotify playlist at this point of

you know 10 songs that that they're in love with now that make them feel something emotionally that they like it doesn't i don't need make my snare drum sound like this or i want the record to sound like this it's not about examples for production it's because in order for me to do my best with them i need to meet them where they are and i need to understand what's going on inside their heart and their brain so uh that to me is the easiest easiest way to get there is to say make me a mixtape let me let me hear what's inside your mind right now what's what's rattling around what are you listening to what inspires you what what makes you happy um so that i can be in that in that world emotionally uh while i think about how this record should be that's great it's it's a good learning process for

them too because for them just to pick the songs to go on the mixtape they've got to do some searching themselves and you know think about what's important to them what they love crossed with what's applicable for what they're giving you because they might love something that doesn't apply to what they're going to play for to you or does it you know they've got a decision to make right but that's it if it has like an impact on their soul if you know what i mean if it's important enough for them to even if it's a totally different genre it's a totally different era then that's what i want to know like i that's how i can get to know a human is by hearing what affects them emotionally and really as a producer what i need to do is is understand what it's going to take to inspire them or not inspire them but to

help them have their best performance of their life so in order to do that i do need to know what makes tick one of the questions i have sort of in mind is pick your favorite topic and give us three tips on that topic so songwriting mixing drumming singing i'll let you answer that question but i'd like to make a suggestion yes why don't you answer that question first what would your topic be probably that you want production because i'm so in love with it so three tips yeah um do pre-production first of all great tip amazingly it's not something i've

realized that it's not something that everybody does and it just blows my mind especially these days especially if you're working on a laptop the pre-production is the production there's no there's kind of a test drive holds into it yeah um yeah so do it and then so often i'm i'm you know i'm doing stuff that is humans playing music not not in the box necessarily so uh if it's a full band then i'm getting the band in the in the pre- pro in the rehearsal studio and doing things if it's a singer-songwriter then i'm still doing pre-production even though it it is challenging because i'm going to hire session musicians to play and i always was like on the fence about this ooh they're expensive like how are they going to feel about are they going to be okay with coming in for a rehearsal like these are the top players in town are they going to scoff at this but they love it of course they love it

like they want to sound good as well so uh they're like oh yeah cool sweet that sounds amazing so bring everyone into the studio i hit record on an iphone i don't care what i'm recording on at that point um and make sure that you go into pre-production saying like everything is on the table we can do anything where you can try anything any idea not just any idea from me but any idea from from anyone else it's like the the boardroom brainstorming of of uh music making because if you don't have that that attitude going in if you don't have everyone buying into that concept of just being able to try whatever no risk free then you're not going to be able to help them walk down certain paths that might give delightful results so

make sure everyone goes in with an open mind i guess if i were to distill that that kind of willingness to experiment into tip number two on pre-production uh and i don't know record that because it's amazing how many times like when i'm in pre-production i am concerned about three things song structure is a big one of course so we're going to work out usually with paper or white board i remember nal sound in north van rehearsal studio they had cheesy uh movie posters on the walls and i would flip the movie poster over and pin it that way and then write the song structure down so then eventually i got to the point where all like i would flip them back when i left but i would get to the point where i'd be like what room are we in oh i've already used all those movie posters [Music] but yeah write down so song structure is a huge thing but because i know that uh

the first day of tracking is really about drums and bass then i am you know so i'm focusing on song structures so that we know that we have that the way we want how many times we do in the chorus how many bars into the breakdown but that i am going to focus on drums and bass and the like the kick pattern and the bass and how they go together and try different beats but recording it is so important because i made assumptions early on that like we'd spend all this time i'd work it out and be like okay yeah that's amazing we got it and then i get to the studio and the drummer forgets what we talked about and the kick pattern's in the wrong spot and i'm just like uh it doesn't feel right i don't are you sure this is what we were playing [Music] yeah and sometimes they're they're kind of lying to you because they like the old version but the old version is no good yeah yeah that's great i love it so so what were you gonna suggest then what i what i wanna hear from you and i just thought it would fit in there well is i wanna hear about your

double drum tracking thing that i think you got from motown too but you do that a lot where you do two drum takes right so tell you you can't just have two drummers going full on in one song at the same time so how do you negotiate the parts and the sounds of those two drummers playing like just describe that whole process because i love it yeah so it's uh i got it from motown and jam bands like uh the allman brothers for example they that was a moment when i first discovered i was wearing headphones listening to the almond brothers as i went to sleep at one point and i was like wait a minute there's a drummer here and a totally different drummer over here um yeah in order to pull that off they can't be playing the same thing they can't be like you'll have flams if they're just trying to play the same

pattern so um when i do that uh mostly so that the things that need to be different they need to be different drum patterns for sure but also that they need to be different totally different drum sounds otherwise they're fighting for the same real estate frequency wise and and ambient wise and everything else so um best example would be on a couple of records where i would have i would set up in in a bigger studio a rock kit excuse me a rock kit the usual suspects the normal way miking too many too many mics you know ludicrously long tubes sticking out of the kick drum with six mics on it or whatever and uh normal stereo everything for for how things are supposed to sound sometimes with a pa beside it just blaring kick snare and and toms which i

would only do if uh if the drummer because if the if the drummer doesn't have the finesse to hit the cymbals quietly and the circles below them really loudly huge then you don't get what you need from that recording as much so i have gone to the length excuse me with a symbol basher who would have set up a pa beside them and fed kick snare and tom's live in the room while they're playing to get the room excited more by the drums and less by the symbols um so the standard rock kit and then i would do a dead kit like a motown kit so i'd build a hut around a drum kit and i would have them all set up the same time hot around the drum kit with uh you know baffles all around baffles across the top super dead tuning on the drums wallet on

the snare drum or whatever just very meaty nothing much going on and usually a mono overhead kick snare like just a mono kit that's really dead um and then a third option would often be especially at this one particular studio formerly mushroom studios where they had reverb chambers uh i would set up a big open kit in front of the reverb chamber super compressed really juicy with like a kick drum beater that has like a sock and probably a towel wrapped around it so it's just this big hunk of fabric that just goes cool and then everything the the chamber is so compressed that basically they could play the snare drum with a chopstick and it would just go for describe describe for our listeners the chamber what's a chain yeah reverb chamber

in this case there were two two closets um that were cinder block walls freshly white painted reflectively painted that went up with ceilings about 20 feet high so it's basically just a super reverberant closet and you know back in the day all the classic motown there's chambers in the capital records building in in la that was the original way to get studio reverb so normally you would have a speaker in the chamber and then a microphone that was maybe on a pulley that you could pull up further from the from the speaker in order to get different reverb times uh i would just stick mics in the chamber and then have a big honkin drum kit in front of the doors um to record it like that so in that case uh the in order to get more than one drum thing

happening at the same time in the same space we've got three totally different sounds the motown kit would probably be stuttered fallen off my drum stools drum fills but it's really in between spots the chambered drums would just be super open slow you know half or quarter time kicks and snares that just went and then the normal rock kit would be doing the normal rock thing except if i were planning on this i would just tell them not to do fills not to do right uh the things that the other drums were going to do that's great just play like charlie watts um i love the chamber the big explosive chamber sound that's so great um [Music] what's your favorite part starting or finishing productions oh those are my two favorite parts

it's the middle that i hate me too like overdubs can just go i don't like i try to put so much work into pre- production that that first day the bed tracks the big day of tracking like most of the decisions have been made yeah now we're in the studio it's about execution i love i love that first day so much i guess i like it more than mixing so i will have to say that because me too by doing pre-production you're not struggling with like oh should is this the right number of bars here should this part be that way you've made all those decisions so i mean for me when i'm in the studio it's like roll out bring in i tell the band bring like do you have a carpet that you like do you have a stuffy that you that means something to you do you have some like tapestries bring them bring all of that in let's turn the whole studio into your own space that makes you feel warm and welcome

and like your jam space because i don't want you to think about the big red light on i don't want you to think about me i want you to think about the music we've made the decisions now it's time to just execute and so my job in that situation is to be the cheerleader the task master to figure out like to know when we have it so that i can keep the ball rolling and say we're moving on um to help relieve them of that decision oh was it good enough i don't know should we do it again i don't know are we are we good so i'm the one i'm like we got it that's amazing that's awesome they're relieved and we're moving on and everything all the stress is taken away yup but helping set the stage for them to all be super comfortable is huge and it comes down to vibe and lighting and and food like i i think it's as important for me to make sure catering's on the ball and it's funny i say catering like oh yeah every studio session has catering no they

don't but i make it happen because like i don't the worst thing in the world is a guitar player who is hungry like you or anyone you can't expect them to perform at their best if they have distractions whatever those distractions may be so uh so i yeah the runners out getting to the grocery store we're getting like deli trays i get them to chop things up we do snack buffet style for them to graze all day long so that nobody's ever hungry and we never have to be like i don't know should we order food now i think that's as important as everything else i do on that day of tracking that's so great i love it um what advice do you have for up and coming music producers what could be general for any kind of producer

uh well trust your instincts would be a huge one it's so hard when you're starting to be confident in your opinions your ideas your your interpretation of what is good the fact that you're going down the path to become a music producer means you care more and listen more than most people and that probably means that your instincts are going to work to your benefit it's just really hard to get over that initial uh insecurity of i don't know is this good so believing that it is good convincing yourself that your your ideas are valid that your your opinion is sound uh is a huge one and then experimentation is everything

don't do things the same way every time because you can grow so much more with learning from happy accidents from experimenting that it's crucial and i know it's easy sometimes to fall into the like oh this thing works i guess i guess i'll just do it this way um i mean and for me uh i've to the point where you know those uh cards the uh oblique strategies yeah like i adopted those 15 years ago when i was feeling like i was doing the same thing too much and it was i found out they existed and was like paul beckler bought the actual deck because you can do you know there's online versions there's an app but that was huge because anything to help me just change my perspective to look at something in a different way uh will will breed the best results

otherwise i'll keep doing the same thing and that's not exciting innovative or doesn't promote growth right uh shout out brian eno shout out paul beckler um what should we master us up and coming music producers we should never master the music that we produce or mix i agree with that too well that's what what we should not master it's like cutting your own hair what should we master uh it's hard because you like i come from the producing bands realm and uh and i think at this point that's not something that is happening as often there are a lot of producers coming up who are going to be producing their own music so but i guess often they are

looking for collaborators part of me wants to say master humility so that you don't suffer from putting too much emotional attachment in your ideas so that when they do get tossed whether it's from by you or by someone else or by a realization that you're not that doesn't hurt your soul throwing out the babies like you know um which means you just yeah knowing that you're always learning knowing that uh making mistakes is part of the process i mean you don't see them as mistakes at that point the other thing you should master i think is empathy because it is truly or emotional intelligence but the best way to connect with someone

uh and if you want to make a great record for someone with someone then that means you have to connect with them on a pretty deep level and the best way to do that is is by being able to put yourself in their shoes by being able to understand where they're coming from by being able to uh empathize with the journey that they've had in their life to get them to this point so that you can truly connect with them to help them uh achieve their best it's great i love it so much um [Music] is there an audio book or a book we should uh listen to or read it's funny i'm looking up there because i have all my old books and the one that uh really catches my attention is not mixing with your mind but the sas survival handbook uh mixing with your mind is so good

yeah i might say well that's a dangerous one i don't know the only thing you've said that i don't agree with no i say give it to him day one we've we've had differing opinions on that since day one um yeah i don't really have a recommendation on that let's go with mixing with your mind that's a good one because people don't know that it's a really great book it's kind of hard to get it's by a guy named stav you can get it from australia there's also carol's still available book about mindset which is pretty great the growth mindset versus the um whatever the other one is yeah the uh the yeah i i have that on my audible list today the fixed mindset fixed mindset yeah

yeah versus growth it's called mindset by carol yeah that's a great one okay so i asked you to come up with uh an answer for my fast track question and that is name something you do extremely well and tell us how some steps that we some simple steps we can take so that we can achieve greatness in that area too well my answer was what i what i had talked about about setting the stage setting the environment for uh the artist to achieve their best so it's not i mean it doesn't have to just be about the bed track recording session but any time that the artist is coming in to

do their part uh i mean vocals especially it's just so important that performance is everything the vocal performance is what's going to make or break the record whether like it doesn't i don't know doesn't matter how fancy and great your drum pattern is or or how brilliant the arrangement is if the vocal performance isn't uh earth shattering if it doesn't make people feel the emotions that the artist felt when writing the song then i don't think it's going to move that many people so now we're faced with the challenge of helping an artist a singer who has sung a song if it's the first record you've made with them they might have singer songwriter first real record you're making like they probably have sung that song for a decade like it's not it's not

out of the question that they might have it might have been one of the first songs that they wrote that they love um so finding a way for it not to just be muscle memory for it not to just be a you know a performance that is technically correct because i know how to sing the song i know the words i know the notes i'm going to sing it the way that i've thought about singing it forever and the way that i have sung it forever isn't that kind of performance isn't necessarily going to be connecting to what inspired the artist to write the song in the first place what inspired them to write those words in the first place so we talked about lighting we talked about um you know vibe and that's still important when it's just the singer of course in the in the booth and it's super tough like some people yeah i made a closet over in the corner and you're gonna get in the closet and you're gonna stand up against this mic and it's gonna

be black in there and just sing it and it's like that's not it's not really going to work if you've got to pull them out and put them in the control room and throw some headphones on uh if you've got a you know i had a very early on an artist that i worked with who was super subconscious self-conscious about her voice not confident whatsoever i took a baby monitor and i strapped it to the mic and had the other end of the baby monitor away from the mic in this in the studio but i put a mic up to it so that i could feed that into her headphones so that she could hear a crunchy distorted cool sounding punk rock version of herself instead of a pristine beautiful sounding version of herself so that she could just relax like you're not scream at me like give me the raw this was kind of a punky

band and i needed her to forget about the fact that we're recording and lean into the raw energy of what she's singing about um so whatever it takes often with songs that one of my the easiest tricks is with songs that are emotional oh i wrote the song about a girl whatever old girlfriend what's she doing now i don't know it's not like there's no emotional attachment to them whatsoever uh and now we need to find that emotion again before i have them sing it that's exactly what i have to do so in those situations very often i feel like i'm gonna get called out for this being my old the old bag of tricks but you know i've set it up i've got the vibe we had a good chat to kind of let them vent about life and how their day was and all that stuff on the studio couch before they went in they're at the mic we got levels

shout out levels and i will say tell me and i won't i'll make sure i don't ask them this before this point in the process in pre-production i will not broach the subject tell me where you were when you wrote this song i've got the lyrics i've had them for weeks i know what it's about and it's dark in there and they say well this is about a girl and we had this thing going on it was like four years ago i lived in coquitlam uh shout out they uh it went well and then we broke whatever the story is right but they basically they'll they'll it's like the confession booth right they'll tell me the whole story and when i feel like they've hit the end i don't respond i hit record so they finish the story they've put

themselves where they were when they were when they wrote the song when they felt the emotions that inspired them to write the song and then the intro plays and then they sing that's great and it's worked extraordinarily well that's great that's a power move i love that that's great all right let's end on that can you tell us uh where we can find out more about you this is the self-promotion part of the uh yeah do you want us to go to your instagram to your website what do you want what do you want new fans of dr bob where do you want new fans of dr boss to go that's a good question you can find at dr boss on twitter instagram clubhouse green room uh all the things

uh i don't have a website i don't actually promote myself i work with people i like so far everything's okay i'm super busy uh but i love talking about things especially music so an audio i guess those are the places that instagram's mostly like my kids though i'm like right yeah it's public it's fine but it's like if you go to instagram for fresh content from dr boz you're going to be like you see some woodworking and like there's this kid again thanks man that was great that was awesome i knew it would go over an hour but i didn't think it would go uh this long we'll see how long it ends up on the editing room floor um thanks for having me anything else you'd like to add any last words of advice or any parting words yeah my

uh thanks for having me and thanks for for doing this i think it's really awesome that you're putting together putting the work in to provide something that will that i know i've known you for ever and i've taught with you forever and to think that um it's going to be the middleman will be removed and it's going to be a direct line from you to the people who you can and will inspire so much is really awesome and um i will leave you with my favorite foot quote which is options enslave limitations liberate true thank you for that dr boss [Music] you

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