How To Be A Better Producer With Ulrich Wild

Ulrich Wild is a Grammy nominated, multi-platinum producer and mixer. He’s known for his work with notable metal acts Dethklok, Pantera, Static-x, White Zombie, Deftones, and Breaking Benjamin. Here are Ulrich's top 6 tips for becoming a better producer and engineer.

1. Listen To Music You Hate

 

Everyone enjoys listening to different styles of music, but very few people listen to stuff they don’t enjoy. I blame the iPod (and all other mp3 players). People fill them with their favorite tracks and are rarely exposed to songs they dislike. Having to listen to music you hate causes a visceral reaction which in turn pushes your creativity in a new direction.

Applying production techniques from different genres often leads to interesting and unique results.

2. Failure Is Encouraged

 

Sometimes ‘failure’ leads to an unexpected sound, or a ‘wrong’ note turns a stale melody into a hit song. I call them happy accidents. If you don’t occasionally fail you’re not learning or doing anything new. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to recognize happy accidents while pursuing a vision, and you have to be open minded.

Accidently squashed the life out of your drums? Don't worry, it sounds great!

3. Try Something New With Every Project

 

In order to avoid my productions becoming too similar I insist on trying something new on every session. Changing mics, or trying new amps is always fun. Experimenting with tunings on drums or guitars, etc. can change things up. It’ll keep you on your toes.

4. Don’t Obsess Over Gear

 

I always get asked what the best mic or mic preamp is. Or the best EQ and compressor. The truth is you shouldn’t obsess over gear.

 

Focus on writing great songs and start recording with what you have. The best gear is what’s available when creativity strikes. A lot of great music has been recorded on mediocre equipment. It’s the song that counts.

We know which you'd rather have, but where are you going to be most concentrated?

5. Learn To Trust Your Ears

 

It takes some time to gain confidence in your hearing abilities. Listen to how sounds interact with each other. How do the cymbals, the fizz of the guitars, and sizzle of the snare interact with the sibilance of the vocals?

 

How do the mids of the guitar affect the snare and the vocals and the attack of the bass? Pay attention to how different mixers treat these elements to make them fit together in various musical styles.

 

Knowing what to listen for truly is the most important thing in the studio.

What do you want the listener to pay most attention to?

6. Focus Your Mix

 

The brain can only handle so much information. I usually limit my mixes to three main parts at any time. Naturally, there are many more elements in a mix, but I treat them as secondary parts. It forces me figure out the most important elements for each part of the song/mix.

What do you want the listener to pay most attention to?

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