Chris Garner : Music Producer

Chris Garner: Music Producer

Welcome to my online home. My name is Chris Garner and through out the years I have done many things with music, however all my experiences have led me to this point in my career, where I will be focusing my efforts on producing.

What is a Music Producer, what exactly do they do, and how can one benefit a musician/band? Its not just a clever name, a music producer quite literally produces music for an artist. The process starts when the artist will either have written a song, or hired a song writer and decides they would like it professionally recorded. One of the very first things I recommend is to research and seek out a producer. A producer generally has experience with entire recording projects from start to finish and will help guide you in your decisions. The most important part to remember when hiring a producer is that you are hiring them for their experience. Its not a very smart idea to pick a producer because of their accomplishments if those accomplishments do not line up with your goals. A great example was a project I worked on. I had approached an artist with the idea to do a professional recording, and made my suggestions as a producer as far as which studio and recording team would produce the best results that most accurately align with the artists goals. In this case the artist was hoping to break out of the indie scene and more onto the National music scene, with an eye on the Juno’s, so my suggestion was to track at an associate of mine’s studio in Toronto where they record some of the industry’s top artists in their prime. We met with the studio owner, toured the facility and was given a professional recording quote for 1 song. The artist ended up asking about a more local studio, that had a well known producer that had accomplishments that lined up with the artists goals, in that as an artist this studio owner/producer had been nominated for a Juno. This happened to also be an associate of mine so I arranged a meeting, tour of the studio and was given a semi-pro quote for 5 songs. This producer had a sound that did not match up with the artist, even though his accomplishments were in line with the artists goals. As a result the project was a train wreck. The end result took way to long to complete, and the artist felt the producer steam rolled the project. Now keeping in mind that the producer produced songs that sounded exactly what you would anticipate from him, yet the artist was upset with the end product. Not only that but in the end the artist has only promoted 1 of the 6 songs they recorded (5 plus 1 with another studio), and the project did not go any further than any other accomplishment for the artist. The artist has also spend over 2 years promoting this recording with out having announced any plans to record new material that they would be satisfied with.

So the point to that story is how important choosing the right producer is. You can hire someone who on paper has the credentials that you are looking for, but may not align with your goals as an artist. The most important part of that story that I want to point out is Quality versus Quantity. This artist chose to record and release 6 songs that had a semi-pro feel to them and release them locally, instead of recording 1 highly professional song, with a studio that has the ability to expose the music onto the National Music scene and releasing it nationally. As the story ended, the artist ended up promoting only the one song that stood out as closest to how he wanted to sound. The main point here is that a record company, radio station or big name producer wont waste their time with you, if you don’t show them you are willing to do what it takes to get there. They can hear the difference between a $1000 track and a $10,000 track and the reason they would sign the artist that drops $10k on one track is because that artist believes in themselves to the point of investing properly into their business. It doesn’t make sense to open 6 business with $10,000, because none of them will succeed, and if one does happen to succeed, it just comes across as amateur.

How does this information help you, and why would Chris Garner be the right producer for you? Well I may be, and I may not be. I am always honest with my artists, if I feel that my input can not assist or help grow the artist in the direction they have set out, then I will tell them. If an EDM or Hip Hop artist comes to me asking to produce, I would decline.

My motto is “Your Final Sound is only as good as the Weakest Link”. What I mean by that, is that from start to finish in a recording every single time the sound is touched, its my goal to only use professional applications. High end microphones, pre-amps, converters, compressors etc…… My equipment has been selected specifically for solo and duo acoustic artists, and is geared toward being used on a pre-production basis. What that means, is that with my gear, we will not release your music, and studio time is essential in any release. When you hire me as a producer, we will spend more time before getting into the studio than we do once there. The pre-production recordings will sound as good or better than a majority of semi-pro recordings that are released today and in that process I will teach you HOW to record in a major studio. From strumming techniques, to microphone positioning, to vocal phrasing and much more. I will help work on lyrics when things are not sounding quite right. Arrangement of the song, additional tracks, percussion sounds and so much more are all things that are established in the pre-production phase of the project. Once we have recorded a pre-pro track that we are happy with, then we practice it several times before hitting the studio. From that point, we will have a good idea of the direction of the track(s) and can research the best professional studio to record in.

I am very proud to be a part of the Aston Microphones family. I own an Aston Spirit as well as a pair of Aston Starlight Condensers. Aston Microphones is a relatively new company that currently have 3 microphones in their line. They are widely becoming one of the most sought after microphones in the world having been used by some serious talent including Liam Gallagher, Steevie Wonder, and more. Aside from the Astons, I have a Steinberg UR44 audio interface, M-Audio Oxygen 25MKiv Midi controller, and several bells and whistles to tie things together nicely (eg. Custom Portable Isolation Vocal Diffuser booth)

I have established contacts in many areas of the music scene, and have the ability to encourage a variety of FM radio stations both Canadian and American to play the tracks. The radio stations know when they receive a track based on how it sounds, and where it was recorded weather or not it has the ability to hold its own on regular air time, or on indie shows.

If anything that I am talking about interests you, I am more than happy to set up a consultation with you to discuss how my expertise can benefit your career. You can reach me by e-mailing chris@chrisgarner.ca and subject line “Producer Enquiry”.

 ***Side Note: Unless requested by the artist specifically, I do not discuss which artists I have worked with in the past out of respect for their privacy. I will frequently cite my experiences with the artists I have worked with, but do not associate with or promote any artist(s)***