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“On the second day, we record the song, so you see that process, and then you see how overdubbing works, the thought process that someone like me might use to layer a track. And that can inspire some campers and wake them up. It’s happened with me – various aspects woke me up and resonated with me. Engineering was one of them. I’ve always engineered and produced my own songs. Mixing, EQ, mastering – we go through it all.
“And then we take this piece of music and upload it to a digital aggregate that makes it available around the world in virtually every distribution store there is. So now you’re independent and you have this song available. We also have people giving classes on marketing – what it meant yesterday and what it means today.
“You never can tell when the light bulb is going to go off for somebody. For some people, it’s production; for others, it’s publishing. Or maybe some people get the brain muscles going by understanding the role of a manager. You might come to this camp and discover that ‘I just love to play the guitar, and I don’t care about this other stuff, although it’s good to know.’ It’s good to see the process, because you’re not going to see it like this anyplace else.
“And then with people who are songwriters, they see this stuff and it’s like boom – songs just come out and come out and come out. They can’t help it. You can’t really turn somebody into a songwriter if they’re not, but you can at least expose them to things in the music business so that they understand how the infrastructure works. They shouldn’t feel inferior and intimidated or completely ignorant as to how these things work.”
It’s interesting that you’ll be teaching basics of recording, mixing and mastering. When you started out, you needed tons of gear to do it all yourself; nowadays, people can do it –
“They can do it on their laptops. You can make a world-class recording on your computer – easy. The rules have changed quite a bit. Back then, I bought cheap gear; the only good stuff I had was what Frank loaned me [laughs]. The technology and what people can do with it is going to continue to change, but I don’t think the infrastructure is going to change that much. The two things that you’re going to always need in the music business are: one) somebody who brings into the world some kind of musical inspiration; and two) somebody who knows how to get it to everybody else.”
It’s not just recording technology that’s changed since you started out – the internet has changed distribution in so many ways.
“Oh, tremendously. Drastically. Whether it’s good or bad is relative. The opportunities are the same for whoever has the vision to make it real. There are more opportunities, but to be able to embrace them and use them takes a specific kind of vision, enthusiasm and purpose. And what’s interesting is, before all of these opportunities were there, you still needed the same kind of enthusiasm.”