I used to fight this battle on an almost daily basis. Usually the thought is something like this “If I had a…. then I could….” It almost always pertains to some sort of recording gear, or instrument that I don’t have. Some software I can’t afford, some imaginary record deal, or a recording budget that wish I had. Anything really, all I know is that everything I do have isn’t good enough! Can any of you relate to this thought process? So and so used this, I’ll never sound like that if I don’t have that same signal chain! XYZ went to ABC, so for me DEF is impossible!
It took me a long time before I realized I was doing this to myself, in fact I still catch myself doing it. What a backwards way to think, it’s completely crippling! There are almost a million examples to pull from in the music world, of people who had nothing, and I mean nothing, worked hard, and became legends. Quincy Jones is the first to come to mind, in his autobiography he talks about how he ate rats growing up because his family was so poor. Quincy Jones! THE MAN. If you’re able to read this blog you have more than he did!
I’m not sure how many of you read Tape-Op magazine (if you don’t you should subscribe ASAP). The guys who produced Becks first album were talking about what they used. The mic on the single Looser? A Radio Shack PZM straight to a Tascam 8 track. Done. Why? “Thats what we had at the time”.
Over the past two years, to write and mix music for national commercials, I’ve been using… a Motu Ultralight. That’s it. The mics? An AKG451 (pretty fancy) and an sm58. I would constantly beat myself up over the sate of my “professional” studio. Then one day I realized, f-it! I’m actually doing it, what’s the problem? The only thing lacking in my studio is a positive outlook! This solved a lot of issues for me, and also increased my productivity tenfold. I stopped worrying about quality and started focusing on ideas, songs, and creativity. This of course leads to more success, which leads to more money, which (drum roll) leads you to the door of Guitar Center
As cheesy and self helpy as it sounds, the most important piece of gear in the studio is you. Work hard, write good songs, record them the best you can, get them out there, and everything else will follow. I still get excited when the Sweetwater catalogue shows up, but I no longer waste my time staring at some pre amp, dreaming of a better tomorrow..
I always find stories like this inspiring, so please share if you have any!