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Producer's view - Gary Langan

A record producer's view of the recording process.


Gary Langan is a well respected engineer/producer, with credits including Paul McCartney, Public Image, Scritti Politti, Hothouse Flowers, Spandau Ballet and The Art of Noise.

Recording the band together

"If I was recording a band, I would like to have all the band playing in the studio and the vocalist singing. Without a vocalist you don't have anything. Then I'll work on that and see what, if anything, needs rearranging or repairing. If I am working with a band it is very important that I have all the information there all the time. Also, a musician in a band is getting off on what his mates are doing. You can't really get off on sitting in a bloody great room with a pair of headphones strapped to your head looking at nobody. To me, that just cannot be fun, and if you are not having fun and you're not enjoying yourself, then you are not going to give me the ultimate performance, which is what I need. I can get around every other problem but there is no substitute for the ultimate performance."

The guide vocal

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"If the performance is good enough and it is recorded well enough, then there is no reason why it can't stay. It may be that just bits of it may stay. I'll certainly hang onto it until the end. I won't erase it because there may be something that occurred while that was going on that might be useful when we come back later to redo the vocals. Even though the guide vocal might not be perfectly in tune or in time, maybe the sense of what the singer was trying to put across was right, so I can always go back and show him what he was giving as a performance when everyone was playing together."

How many takes of the basic tracks?

"I don't have a problem with putting a razor blade through the tape. On average I'll do somewhere around three or four takes and I'll edit from that. I much prefer to use an analogue machine and I enjoy editing tape. I recently recorded a track in four takes and portions of all four takes went to make the master. "

Matching tempi between takes

By David Mellor Tuesday February 1, 2000