Tag Archives: MP&E

Midterm終了間近!

yoshieYoshie Nakayama, from Tokyo, is a 4th semester Contemporary Writing and Production major, trombone principal student. She also studies jazz vocals, and vocal ensemble. She graduated Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo with bachelor of music from music education major. She has license of teaching music in japanese Junior high/high schools.

こんにちは。
ボストンでは11月1日の深夜にサマータイムが終わって、iPhoneやMacBookの時計は午前1:59の1分後に午前1時になりました。これで日本との時差は14時間差です。

さて、私は中間試験のプロジェクトが一つ残っているのですが、昨日レコーディングが全て終わったので、これからミックスをしてウェブサイトにアップロードをしたら中間試験は終了です!
このプロジェクトはCWP major必須のWriting for Small Ensembleという授業のもので、Smallと言ってもLead vocal, Backup vocals(男女2人ずつ), 5horns, rhythm section, percussionという編成でポップス曲を自分で編曲して録音する、というプロジェクトです。
少ない楽器編成ではないのにスモールと名前がつくのは、CWPはこの後Big bandのアレンジを習う授業があるからだと思われます。

私は、リズムセクション、パーカッション、ホーンセクションを一度に呼んで、Music Production and Engineering(MP&E)という大きな録音スタジオが使える専攻の友達に録音をお願いしました。

スタジオは12am-4amの4時間予約し、準備に30分、録音に1時間、と簡単に考えていたのですが、実際には録音の準備だけで2時間弱かかり、録音自体は1時間半ほどで6.5回通して、片付けの時間を考慮してスタジオ利用終了時間の30分前に録音終了をして解散しました。

下の写真は、私がいたブースからの眺めです。
よりクリアな音を録音するため、5人の管楽器奏者とリズムセクションとの間を可動式の壁で仕切っていました。

後日、CWPのスタジオを4時間予約し、3人のボーカリストを呼んで、リードボーカル&バッキングソプラノ、バッキングテナー1、バッキングテナー2を歌ってもらい、最後に自分でバッキングアルトを録音しました。

演奏者の人数が多いと録音にも時間がかかりますが、その後ミックスするのにも時間がかかります。
こうして録音した音源から全パートそれぞれ使う部分を決めて、必要に応じて手を加えるのですが、自分のノートパソコンで作業をすると画面が小さくて不便なので、学校に行って大きな画面のパソコンで作業をします。ただ、あまり遅くまで学校にいたくないので、自分の部屋に大きなスクリーンが欲しいところです。。。
それから、ミックス作業はヘッドフォンとスピーカーでは全く違うバランスになってしまいます。ミックスをするためだけでも学校のスタジオを利用できますが、一日2時間までという決まりがあり、2時間ではとても足りないので、結局スピーカーも自分の部屋に欲しくなります。。。
そろそろブラックフライデーといって国中が大幅値下げセールを行うので、スピーカーはその時期を狙います!ハードディスクドライヴも買わないといけないので、大きなスクリーンは我慢です。。。
自宅録音用のマイク、ヘッドフォンもグレードアップしたいので、お金が心配ですが、必要なので仕方ないですね。

そんなわけで、物欲と戦いながら仕上げ中のプロジェクトは、来週のブログで共有したいと思います。

ボストンでは昨日11月2日初雪が降りました。初雪というか、初ストームというか・・・
はい、吹雪いていました。
日本もそろそろ寒くなる時期ですね。体に気をつけて、早くも残り2ヶ月となった2014年を駆け抜けてまいりましょう!

Sound Collage Contest 2012: Creativity Has No Box!

I am here to tell you all that the art of imagination has not died—it has simply reinvented itself. For the novice and professional musician alike, the use of creativity and imagination has solely depended on some source of inspiration and when there is a lack of inspiration, you hit a brick wall. But what if you were given an entire catalog of inspirational sources to choose from, where could the possibilities take you? Some of the most creative electronic sound designers were given the chance to test the limits of where their minds could take them. It forces them to think outside of the box, experience the moments of too many musical ideas or the agony of a lack thereof, and produce something unique and special.

Sound Collage Contest 2012

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Gary Lazzara: Interview with Keith Harris pt. 2

Berklee intern Gary Lazzara asks the question “How does music education translate into the reality of life in the industry?” Gary interviewed Keith Harris- producer, songwriter, musician and performer with The Black Eyed Peas for answers. Read Gary’s story behind the interview here.

In October of 2011, I had the utmost pleasure in meeting Producer/Performer Keith Harris, current performer with the Black Eyed Peas and former Berklee MP&E (Music Production & Engineering) graduate of ‘99. As part of a stop at Berklee, Keith decided to give back to his alma mater by hosting a master class titled “L.A.B., Life after Berklee” where he shared his  experiences after Berklee. Beforehand, I had the privilege of sitting down with Keith for an interview on the differences between college and working in the music industry. As a preface to the interview, I described my story and had an extremely valuable conversation with Keith. This is how it went:

Gary Lazzara: So Keith, what was your biggest challenge leaving Berklee and what are the challenges you see Berklee students having today starting their professional careers?

Keith: The biggest challenge was [realizing] that real world situations aren’t like the text-books. But you think that they are. What I mean by that is, you can’t apply basic knowledge that you learn in school and apply it to all situations that you go through. Whether it’s publishing, whether it’s a writing split, whether its getting paid for a record, all of these things are variables depending on your relationship with the person you’re dealing with–the budgets, all types of things. [Also] we have so much information that we feel like we need to shoot everything out all at once. But the average person doesn’t understand all that information. But we, in this world of Berklee, understand because we all speak the same language. So it takes a little bit of transitioning out of that to be able to communicate properly to people that are not at our level musically, and then to find a nice medium of that.

GL: What is a job-search like in your line of work? For example, is there a traditional hiring process? If not, how do you recommend someone entering the industry to market themselves?

Keith: Its tough. There’s not really a hiring process. Sometimes they do have a hiring process where they have auditions for different things. You know, they’ll have a, “Hey we need a guitarist.” You Audition. If you get the gig, then you stay. If you don’t, you don’t.

Then 90% of it is just “who do you know?” If you play around the city, you’ll know a lot of cats. They know how you play. They know what you sound like. You’re more likely to get a gig that way than the audition process where they really treat you like you’re just hired to do the job. But when you’re in there with some people that you know, it feels like you’re playing with your friends.

GL: Right.

Keith: So, I would suggest that anybody that wants to get a gig outside of Berklee, they have to establish an extended network of people that they know. If you want to tour, you have to be in the state where all the touring is happening. So, if all the tours are coming out of Los Angeles, you can’t be in Connecticut trying to get on tour.

For me, back in the day, it was New York because it was the 90s, you know… Diddy. A lot of stuff was coming out of New York. So I had to move to New York. I think right now a lot of artists are coming out of Los Angeles and Atlanta, more so LA now. So I would suggest that a lot of people try and get west because that’s where a lot of the gigs are coming from.

GL: Does that same advice apply to engineers who don’t perform? Is there an alternative way engineers are selected for work other than word of mouth referrals?

Keith: Like I said, you just have to go where they’re cutting records. Including engineers. Atlanta is big now. Tyler Perry has a studio down there so they’re doing a lot of film stuff in Atlanta now. So, I would just say you just got to go where people are recording. That’s the best bet.

And then they have to work their way up the ranks. Unless they’re coming out of Berklee blazing and they already have mixed like 16 records in Berklee while they are students, you got to be a runner. For me, it was playing cover gigs, and doing all of these things until I got the big gig. With engineering, you got to be a runner, and then probably become an assistant, and then you move yourself up. So that’s what you got to do.

GL: Alright. What would you say is the most sought after personality trait in the studio?

Keith: Being non-confrontational and just being cool. One thing I pride myself is just being able to adapt to any situation. For example, if there’s a situation where people are drinking and smoking, I’m not about to do that. But I know how to still be cool and not be the weirdo in a room.

Like I said, most of the time people get the gig because they know somebody, or people like him. There’s a lot of people that get gigs that aren’t the best. But, they know the MD. They know the artist. So they’re like “Hey that’s my boy. Put him on.”

GL: What are common business considerations in the studio that students are not familiar with and might find difficult to deal with?

Keith: For me, it’s the pressure of always just trying to be better than myself. Its like a pressure that you really don’t think about when you’re here at Berklee because everything is just fun.

What it really comes down to is when you’re working for a label and they have to make money, it turns into a job. Like you said, its numbers, it’s the quotas… the things that you really got to do. And if you’re really not turning that around its like, “Okay, why are you here?” And you know, that pressure is like, “Okay, I have to produce good work all the time” and that’ll really get your head a little screwy sometimes. So just remember that if you’re having a bad day, keep it moving and try and stay on that constant level of greatness all the time.

GL: What would you say is the most common mistake a new hire makes when entering the music industry?

Keith: I would think the biggest mistake is thinking that everything works like the textbooks. You know, school is good for giving you a good foundation of knowledge on all things and you learn how things basically run. And that’s what you should take from your experience at Berklee. This is a good base, a good foundation for you to adapt to any musical or business situation in music.

People that really think that everything they learn in the book is: “That’s what it is. It’s black and white. I get out, I write a song and because I did this its going to be like that; and I’m gonna get this; and I’ve learned that producers should get paid this amount of money; and this is what it should be… Nah” [laughs]. Everything is subject to change. You just got to accept those facts going in and I think you’ll be all right.

GL: In the music industry, there are professionals who are non-musicians or don’t know the same amount of information that we know. What percentage of the people would you say have been formally trained musically versus those that, you know, you tell them to play the e-minor scale and they have no idea what you’re talking about?

Keith: I would say a lot of the musicians I know are knowledgeable. But as for the producers, a lot of them have no clue. They can’t tell you what any of the black keys are. [laughs] That’s why they hire us. We know what we’re doing. So, I mean, there are very few musicians that I’ve met that don’t really know their instrument, but not really. Maybe there’s a couple that don’t know the names of the scales like we know them‚ like harmonic minors and all of that, but they know their instrument. They’re very proficient, they can hear things and they can play it the way it needs to be played. But like I said, a lot of producers aren’t producers they are beat makers. So when you’re doing beats you don’t necessarily need to know chords and scales and stuff like that. You’re just putting sounds together. So, in that case if they need to do some strings, that’s when they’re like “oh… I don’t know how to do strings.” That’s when they get people like us, who have knowledge, that can adapt to any type of situation.

GL: What’s the best advice you could give to a student leaving Berklee who has to work with one of these professionals?

Keith: I think it’s all about staying humble. That [producer or musician] is in a place because they are good at something that you’re not. You learn from that person and then you give to them. So its like a back and forth exchange. You know, me and Will (Will.I.Am); Will doesn’t know everything that I know musically. But there are a lot of things that he does, like song writing, the way he uses his plugins, and the way he uses Pro Tools as an instrument that I have never done before until I started watching him.

He comes to me or he’ll call me up and “Hey man, what key is this song in?’ I’m not even in the studio and he’ll call me up with “What key is this in?” [laughs]. So alright, its in G. “Alright thanks, bye.” You know, he’ll use me for certain things and I’ll use him for certain things. It’s just a good working relationship- you can’t come out, guns blazin’. Like I said, everybody has something to offer even if they’re not the most knowledgeable as a musician or on the technical things.

GL: Keith, I know you have a busy day today so I don’t want to take up more of your time but I just wanted to say it’s been a pleasure and again thank you for this interview and your time.

Keith: Oh, no problem. Thank you.


More on Keith at: http://hpmusic.net/bio-keith-harris
Follow Keith at: http://twitter.com/kharris2047

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Read Gary’s Other Posts

Interview with Keith Harris pt. 1

High Tech vs. High Touch in Recording Studios

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Bio

Born and raised in Southern California, Gary Lazzara started his music career at a young age. Whether through playing the guitar, piano, marching trombone, percussion, drum set, or working in the analog/digital music production domain, Gary has immersed himself in many different aspects of the music creation and performance process. Gary currently is enrolled at Berklee College of Music as a dual major in Music Production and Engineering and Electronic Production and Design. Gary hopes to someday own his own music studio and travel around the world collaborating with artists to create hybrids in music genres by fusing new and old local styles of music with the popular music of today.

Say “Hey!” to Gary and continue the conversation on Facebook.

Gary Lazzara: Interview with Keith Harris pt. 1

Berklee intern Gary Lazzara asks the question “How does music education translate into the realities of life in the industry?” Gary interviewed Keith Harris- producer, songwriter, musician and performer with The Black Eyed Peas for answers and will post his interview on Thursday.

There was a time in my life when I used to think there were only two types of income possibilities in the music industry. One was as a super-star artist making millions of dollars, like the artists I saw on MTV, and the other was the musician dressed in a funny costume playing the Dixieland combo-band at Disneyland. As a result, I felt pressured to follow a career in business and to keep my music interest as a hobby. Becoming a super-star felt as far fetched as winning the lottery and I felt the odds of being successful with a business degree were more realistic.

After a few semesters as a business major and a partnership with an internet startup, an offer came my way to work in the mortgage industry during the height of the mortgage boom. Like many others, I rode the mortgage wave until its collapse in 2007.
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High Touch vs. High Tech in Recording Studios

Gary Lazzara learned that people skills can be just as important as technical ability while interning at Dirty Water Sound & Music

As an aspiring music producer, mix engineer and sound designer in the world today, I decided prior to beginning my studies at Berklee that I would expose myself to as many opportunities related to my career as I could.  I knew before enrolling that Berklee provided many avenues for someone like myself to take so once I arrived, I began searching for things related to production, engineering and sound design.  As a result, I was introduced to the internship program through the Office of Experiencial Learning and decided to pursue an internship.

At the same time I was learning about the internship program at Berklee, through a contact, I met Jared Mooney, Owner/Producer/Engineer of Dirty Water Sound and Music (DWSM) in Charleston.  He informed me that he had an internship program through Berklee at his studio and invited me to come down. So I contacted the Office of Experiencial Learning to get more information about the internship program and how to register. The following day I visited the office, registered, and so officially began my internship.

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