Brian Eno taught us how to use the Recording Studio as an instrument.
But when you're beginning, you should try to focus on something you love and your own way of doing things.
I think being eclectic is bad when you're just starting out.
Most bands have a sound that they're already identified with, so for the producer it becomes a process of helping them find their muse in the studio to make a record that will not only satisfy them artistically, but will also do something in the marketplace.
For a young band about to make a record, make sure you get the vocals right.
I think we could have done a lot more great music, so I was disappointed that we didn't continue making records and touring, but it's hard to argue with 10 good years.
My other advice is to start writing songs and singing right away.
What's nice about being a producer is you get to roll the dice more often, and you get to be involved with lots of different kinds of music.
The vocals are what immediately draw people in and sell the song.
Some artists want a producer to be a kind of svengali - someone who actually creates a sound for them.
I had previously been in the band the Modern Lovers with Jonathan Richman.
Music has become a bigger business, and with that there is more pressure to succeed; I think that it creates a negative pressure for being creative.
I've become increasingly confidant in following intuitions ahead of thoughts as I produce more records.
It's really exciting working with a new band when you feel like you hit something that's great, and you helped them bring something out.
I think that technology has both introduced new sounds but also allowed an increasingly painterly approach to recording music as you can now paint over what you've done and more and more refine an existing performance.
I think my voice worked out fine, but it was a lot of work for me. And I was very self-conscious about it. I was a bit self-conscious about writing lyrics too.
I see myself as the buffer between the band and the record company.
Normally when I work with bands I'm trying to refine and improve what's already there.
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