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Producer's view - Phil Fearon

An explanation of what it takes to become a record producer.

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Phil Fearon has developed from being a successful artist, and probably one of the first serious home studio owners, to being chairman of the Production House dance label, where he now sees his role as an 'executive producer' overseeing the work of others and making sure it is progressing satisfactorily towards a commercially successful release.

Assessing the demo

"So many records sound the same and I am straining to find a little bit of originality. Songwriting ability is the greatest thing I look for, and the creative element. We normally only take on writers who can produce and do some kind of engineering. The people we work with tend to have three or four talents all rolled into one."

Song structure

"I don't get much involved for the club version but when it comes to airplay, that's when I would give my opinion. If it is all beat and no music then that's cool, but if I think that it has to be a little more radio friendly or better for the video then I do get heavily involved to make sure that the main parts are featured in the four minutes. I may throw my weight around but when we are spending big money I want to make sure that it is absolutely correct."

Understanding the style

"Producers now often come from being DJs. They are out there and they just know what the kids like on the dance floor. It's very useful to know what this week's tempo is, and what it's going to be in a couple of weeks time. It's changing every fortnight, but it's a subtle change and only the DJs have got that on-the-button knowledge."

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By David Mellor Tuesday February 1, 2000
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