Last night I was watching Pixar’s animated masterpiece ‘Up’, a stunning production which is not only visually breathtaking and heart-warming but brings about tears of comedy and sadness. When the credits rolled I realised just how many people were in involved in making this piece of art.
I started thinking about how we work as electronic music producers. We don’t need to go to studios any more, we don’t need to hire mix engineers, session musicians or even buy racks full of kit. We have everything at our fingertips in one shiny fold-up package.
This is a wonderful thing in many ways. We can make sounds that at one time could never have been imagined. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop would have probably soiled themselves and bolted down the job centre if they’d heard Skrillex in action. Music production has never been so democratised and accessible as it is today.
As a result of all this convenience it means that most of us often work in our own little bubble. We can write, record and publish a whole album without ever leaving our bedroom or speaking to another human being.
Don’t get me wrong, isolation can be great for an artist – Bon Iver created the album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ over one long winter alone in a cabin in Wisconsin. But when you take a closer look, an overwhelming amount of the greatest music and art in the world has emerged from collaboration. Even the most legendary solo artists don’t do it alone…
“Thriller was a combination of all my experience as an orchestrator and picking the songs and Michael’s — all the talents he had as a dancer, as a singer, as an amazing entertainer…It was like us throwing everything we’d accumulated as experience and putting it all together.”
This is why it is important for us as music producers to reach out and work with other people. Working together gives us a fresh perspective, new ideas and a palette of skills we don’t have on our own. It’s also really good fun, but don’t just take our word for it…