Skip to main content

Martin’s Audio Blah-Blah #5

By June 16, 2015March 13th, 2016Audio, Blog



Have you ever heard the expression “variety is the spice of life?”  It happens to be true in certain contexts.  For example, if you ate the same thing for dinner every night, the food consumption portion of your life would get pretty boring. And although you’d gain expert understanding of the complexities of Fettuccine Alfredo, you’d probably want to kill yourself (unless arterial sclerosis does the job for you).  On the other side of that coin, if you told your partner “variety is the spice of life so I think we should see other people,” it probably wouldn’t go so well.  As audio engineers, producers, musicians however, variety is essential to our growth and creativity.

As a recording engineer I have a specialty (most of us do).  Mine is recording acoustic music.  Not just purely singer/songwriters, but any melody/lyrical based song that can stand alone when played on just a piano or guitar or whatever but can also become more through arrangement performance and production.  In my ongoing pursuit of becoming better at this and learning more, I listen to a lot of acoustical based music.  This ranges from people like Gillian Welch and Richard Thompson to cool creative bands like The Shins and Avett Brothers.  I listen to these types of artists because I like the music and it gives me a sonic reference for recording and mixing.   But my musical world is not limited to this genre.  I also listen to a lot of prog rock, alt country, bluegrass, classic rock and older punk.  And the funny thing is,  I am more inspired by the musical styles that I’m not directly working in.  And I think it’s because I’m hearing such different things that it makes me want to try different things in the style I’m mostly working in.  This is where creativity and originality are really born.  When you throw away the menu and try something you would never have otherwise.  Hey maybe it won’t work; but it will take down a road that could lead to greatness and open the possibility for other ideas.

I don’t listen to top 40 radio pop, hip hop, EDM, boy bands or divas.  But if they should happen to find their way into my ear holes, I find myself listening to the recording rather than the content.  There’s always something you can take away from a variety.  So I encourage you to discover music that is new and fresh to you. Doesn’t matter if it was made this year or in the 60s.  Throw your ears a curve ball once in a while.  You may hit one out of the park.

Martin Shears, Audio Engineer @ TPH