[Olesya Star is a 26-year-old UK singer, songwriter and record producer. In 2010, she co-founded the independent record label Graffiti Records, purely to release her own material. All work on Olesya Star has been done through Graffiti Records to date – including all self-produced videos, recordings, production, photography, artwork, social media and general music management.]
Perhaps it’s a lack of interest in the subject. To be perfectly honest, I got into all this “record and produce myself” affair because I couldn’t afford to pay good studios for all those hours, and pay their producers for every song I wrote. Besides, I wanted unlimited access to recording any crazy idea I got in the middle of the night, be it a song or a beat. I wanted to experiment with my sonic identity. But it is only now that I’m into record production, that I get excited discussing the benefits of a particular piece of gear. Speaking of gear… I must say, I still think that men get more irrationally excited about all the hardware, all the knobs and faders, and the look of a console with its industrial design and funky lights… I, personally get more excited about what it does to my vocals! I care more about the end result than all the reasons and logic behind third level harmonics that tape produces.
It also seems to me that most girls lack confidence, probably because of men, because of all the jokes that men make about women… Could that be one of the reasons why there are not more females in audio engineering? I read somewhere that many female scientists submit their works under a male pseudonym. Food for thought? Are they afraid of prejudice and being judged?
It could be a cultural thing too, as traditionally it’s a male-dominated field. And many girls think, “Oh god, I’m not going into all this technical wizardry…. boys ‘n their toys, etc.” Our society, unfortunately, still has many gender stereotypes, and it’s very slow to change. How many women are there as fighter pilots? Or train engineers?
Girls are highly capable of understanding sound engineering. They’re quite often better at math than guys. Us girls have a knack for multi-tasking. But then again, maybe, the male ability to concentrate on one thing solely, like the harsh frequencies around 2 kHz is a good thing. The smallest gain changes, harmonics and sub-bass frequencies that I hear often differ from the sounds a guy will hear, and vice versa, so I think that you need both sexes to make a truly awesome mix. Like most girls, I tune in to the top end easily—guys will always opt for more bass, often way too much in the mids, and then struggle to find ‘air’ in the mix. This is where you need the female ear!
I think, however, it’d be a good thing if more girls got into record production. Nice, clear mixes that aren’t over-compressed, lifeless and flat—that’s the goal! And girls really get that. I think educating people on the differences between being a producer and a sound engineer would help. Sometimes you don’t need to be the latter to be able to accomplish the former.
Capture 2 is now available for download for all registered StudioLive users! You’ll find the download links on the “My Hardware” page.
Capture 2.0 includes several workflow enhancements. Clicking the Record Now button on Capture’s Start page creates a new session and immediately starts recording. A new Prerecord feature captures audio on all tracks, starting up to a minute before you press Record. Even saving a session can be automated, with user-definable Auto-Save intervals. Capture also stores the active session automatically whenever the transport is stopped and the session is changed.
For more on Capture 2, check out this press release:
[This just in from Rob Seifert Gage, producer/engineer and owner of Audio Evidence Mobile.]
As an independent engineer/producer since the pre-DAW era, I had the opportunity to see the development of the modern-day DAWs. Some had all the bells and whistles but sounded terrible. I have learned so many through the sessions I’ve worked, and I am so excited about PreSonus Studio One 2.5 ! The sound of 64-bit processing and the extensive native plugins put a smile on my analog face every at session.
So, (Sound) check this out. Brad Zell had debuted his new vlog series, SoundCheck, over on YouTube. In it, he’ll be visiting PreSonus Artist studios, videocamera in hand, and grab tips, tricks, advice, and words of wisdom from some of today’s hottest professional producers, engineers and musicians.
This debut episode of SoundCheck features producer/keyboardist Kevin Randolph from his Los Angeles-based Studio. Kevin has worked with Keyshia Cole, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and many others. Check it out!
Join us as we welcome back legendary New Orleans drummers Terence Higgins, Eric Vogel, and Andrew Block, who will track killer drum, bass, and guitar loops in Studio One—all LIVE!
The loops will be made available as custom multitrack Soundsets for Studio One from thelooploft.com, allowing you to easily arrange and mix the grooves into your own songs—100% royalty-free.
Tune in to the live webcast and enter the chat room to request specific grooves and styles for the band to record, as the session is happening.
[With more than 20 years in the music industry, Cookie Marenco’s creative and technical skills have touched almost every aspect of the music and audio business. She is widely known for the quality of her audio engineering skills and for drawing out passionate performances from the artists she produces. Marenco is an advocate of using analog tape for recording while pioneering digital delivery to consumers using DSD digital audio.]
You know, it’s a question I never think about. I chose to be a recording engineer and producer because it was something I liked doing and people paid me to do. There are many other work areas dominated by men… notably entrepreneurship, auto racing, plumbing, construction, politics. Have you ever seen a female meat butcher? I did once. I stared at her it was so odd. She did a good job. 🙂
Then there are other fields dominated by women like nursing, fashion, elementary school teachers, publicists. I’m not an expert in those fields, but it seems that there are more women than men.
What could be an interesting study is the similarities of characteristics present in fields dominated by a gender. I don’t believe it’s a crime to have an industry dominated by a gender unless the opposite gender is willfully kept out and their contributions minimized.
I have never felt left out of engineering or producing because I was a woman. I read the article you’re linked to and am sad for the women who had so many problems getting into this field. My opinions and experiences more closely match those of Trina Shoemaker.
If you’ve worked at a lot of studios, you’ll notice a certain personality type being more successful than others in the recording environment. Producing has a little more variety of personalities depending on the producer’s background, skills, financial backing and ability to manage a budget and deadline.
My label, Blue Coast Records, has been well received by the audiophile community. I don’t announce the fact I’m a woman, but I don’t hide it. On the forums, many think I’m a man. I find it amusing when they meet me for the first time. 🙂
Good question… I started playing the piano at four, before I could read. Studied violin at ten(to get out of class), asked to play the oboe at 13, and at 14 was teaching piano. Up to that point, I wanted to be an astronaut. 🙂
My father loved his stereo and bought me a 4″ reel-to-reel tape deck from Sears when I was in 5th grade. We had a lot of fun with it. But I believe his greatest contribution was teaching me to play baseball and how to be competitive.
We all follow a path where we get the most positive reinforcement. Eventually, for me, that was music. Playing the oboe (and being competent) opened a lot of doors, along with having 60 piano students when I was 18. At 16, I changed my career focus to being a musician and composer.
At 19, I had a very influential teacher, Art Lande, who encouraged me follow my bliss. I left college (as a music student), joined several bands playing electronic keyboards. I was fascinated by sound, overtones and temperments used by various cultures—especially North Indian Classical—I studied the sitar for 3 years with Krishna Bhatt.
One of my band mates, Dino (JA Deane to those that know experimental music) suggested our rehearsal facility would make a great recording studio. He pointed to me as the ‘obvious’ choice of who’s going to learn to engineer (partly because I was out of town during the installation and this was his form of revenge for my absence—I say this lovingly.)
Formal training to be an engineer didn’t exist in the schools. We researched, bought gear and spent every day in the studio learning how to use the tools. Realistically, that’s 10% of the job. Understanding the needs of the artist is 90% of the job. A happy customer gives referrals.
The skills I attribute most to success was my history as a piano teacher/ entrepreneur. If people are going to spend their hard earned cash, you have to deliver confidence in what you do and deliver the best service you can offer. Being a musician myself, I could understand their needs. Give customers what they want, they’ll pay you. Pretty simple.
After 20 years, I was very skilled at recording but found the artists were more inclined to rely on protools and less on great performances performances. The job of engineer was like becoming a janitor and the music less exciting to me so, I took 3 years off in search of what to do next.
Eventually, I returned to analog tape and DSD (one bit recording that is the closest sound to analog tape.) I started Blue Coast Records and found a whole new set of customers—the end listener and music lover who appreciates high quality recording.
I still record and produce as a hired gun, have a crew of engineers, run an intern program with students from around the world and operate a commercial studio– all to analog tape and DSD. We also have a mastering facility to prep PCM and DSD masters—CD, DSD and WAV downloads, and Internet audio. To these, we’ve added a division for creating websites for musicians that cater to the unique needs of musicians and labels.
I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve had in all my businesses. While I’ve been founder in several, I couldn’t do it without the help of hundreds of women and men from interns and high powered advisers to the crew who works with me daily.
In 2010 my label, Blue Coast Records, became the first to deliver DSD downloads through the internet to customers around the world. These one bit files are 40x the size of .MP3s and now close to 100 companies supporting consumer playback. Our goal is to add value in quality, and give the consumer reason to pay more for a download.
This is a business of relationships. Don’t be afraid to contact people for advice both men and women. Seek those people you admire. Become friendly with your sales/equipment dealers. Hire people to learn from. You’ll keep these friendships for life as people change and move between companies.
Terri Winston’s WAM (Women’s Audio Mission) is a great resource for both women and men to learn from.
Rule of thumb: follow your success and the people that like what you do—forget the rest. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and that’s okay. If you’re a woman and don’t get ‘the’ gig, it’s more likely you didn’t get the gig because you weren’t the right person… not because you’re a woman. Learn from it and make yourself the right person for the next gig.
I’m not holding my breath for gender changing percentages in producing and engineering. The career path as an engineer is practically non-existent unless you’re an entrepreneur.
That being said, I do see more roles available for both genders in the web and internet audio fields. Even as a hobby, fewer women produce music at home, although, I see more women asking questions about recording in their home studio.
Organization, management, hearing, listening, nurturing, taking care of business, multi-tasking—I do think women are better suited for studio work as a gender. But, I believe that the money is such a struggle that people are moving away from recording as career choice. Large studio systems are going away. If you’re a risk taker, ready to invest and start your own business, there are opportunities.
Well, I have to say I’m torn. I’d prefer to talk about what I do other than being a woman. I’d prefer to set an example by doing, not talking about being a woman.
It’s interesting that men tend to want to write about what it’s like being a woman in the business… not women. I’d prefer my legacy be my work in the techniques and brands I’ve innovated… not a string of articles about being a woman and how hard it was to overcome. I find being a woman is an asset not a liability.
Ryan, what’s it like being a man in this industry? I’ve never been one, so I don’t know. 🙂 Thanks for contacting me. I’m eager to do more articles not on this subject.
[Ryan’s response: “I will hit you up for more articles for certain! Being a guy in this industry feels quite… one-sided.”]
[This just in from Paul Svenson, lifelong audio engineer, AV contractor extraordinaire, and mastermind behind Dad’s Songbook Music. Paul runs PS Audio Video in San Diego. He recently made the switch from Pro Tools to Studio One Professional 2.5—within three hours of using the software! I asked for more detail regarding the reason for his decision. His response follows.]
I’ve been recording since 1971, starting when I was 18—mostly projects where I was part of the production, engineering, mixing etc., although I also worked as a staff engineer in studios during the 80s. In 1990 I was a rep for one of the early hard disc recording systems, ProDisk. Our 8-track machine sold for $50,000. The other guys who were always around were the guys from Digidesign, with their very early version of Pro Tools. After all the rest of us vanished into irrelevance, Pro Tools kept growing to become the de facto standard. I made the switch from analog to Pro Tools around 1997 and had used it ever since.
Check out this incredible early footage of The Beach Boys that was just discovered. This early arrangement of “I Get Around” shows a few rough spots, but the genius of Brian Wilson’s songwriting was clearly there from the get-go. Happy Friday!