Producer’s tips for Bands

Jagz Kooner is an iconic electronic/rock producer and remixer who has been dubbed a “sonic juggernaut” for his seminal recordings. He has worked his magic with the likes of Oasis, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, Soulwax, The Whip and Kate Moss, as well as being in bands such as The Aloof, Sabres of Paradise and RSS – Reverend Sound System. He was the inspiration for the remix show on London’s XFM radio, and has remixed for Massive Attack, Killing Joke, Rammstein, The Kills and many more. He loves working with new bands and has been recording with The Voyeurists and Velvet Audio on a Roundhouse Trust project.



Be Pro-Active – Knock On Doors, It Won’t Land In Your Lap

To get into music the most important thing is to be proactive. Set up your Facebook, Twitter, whatever, get talking to people on there, find out how things are done.

Get a knowledge of what it is that you actually want to do, rather than just going “well I made a song and here it is”. Unfortunately in this day and age with the X Factor generation, people think you can just wander into an X Factor audition and the next thing you know you’re a megastar. Well it doesn’t happen because each one of the auditions, there are 12,000-13,000 people and maybe three of them will get through. That whole mentality of ‘it can land on your lap’ is a complete joke and a myth.

You have to get good at what you’re doing and then just get out there and meet people. Go to gigs, go see what’s going on, listen to new music and see what your friends are posting up on Facebook or whatever as a cool song, and listen to it.

Find out how to do it. If you want to be involved in more of the music business side of it then find out how that’s done, find out where there’s seminars and stuff and go and speak to people, read up on things. You can find out anything you want on the Internet now. Just do a search ‘how to play an instrument’ or ‘how to work your song into a computer’, ‘how to make it sound good’, ‘how to go out and network’, and everything can be done by that. The most important thing is if you’ve got the passion it will happen, simple as that.

Just keep fighting, keep knocking on doors and it will happen.

Don’t Produce Yourself – Get Some Help

A lot of bands make the mistake of “we can produce it ourselves” and in all honesty you can’t. If you’re the artist you cannot produce it yourself, you have to have somebody there helping you. As a band more than as an electronic artist, but if you’re the artist how can you be objective as to whether it does sound good or not as you’re too close to it. You need someone there like a producer or a manager, or A&R person, or your girlfriend or your boyfriend. Somebody to come along with a valid opinion, not just to say “yeah” to impress you but that it is good or bad or what you need to change.

The one issue that troubles me is I hear all too many songs now and the bands have produced the song themselves and they’ve missed it by a long shot. You only get one chance to present to the world with that song, and then it’s gone. So you should get it right from the beginning otherwise you’re doing yourself a disservice. That’s the biggest issue I have at the moment.

Make Contact With Producers – It’s Easy Via Social Media, And Jagz Is Happy To Hear From You. Just Do It!

Send me a message on Facebook or Twitter it’s the modern way. Just follow someone or find them on Facebook, not Myspace so much now, just send them a message. Listen to your favourite albums, listen to what’s gong out there musically, see what inspires you, have a look at who made the tunes, get in touch with them. That’s all you have to do, it’s really easy.

It’s no longer the music industry it’s no longer the corporate machine any more, it’s proper punk, proper DIY, and you can just go and approach whoever you want to. Don’t ever be scared to go to big name producers or send them a message just say “look I’ve got this band would you be interested to listen to them?” And if they come back to you, just do it. And if they say “yes definitely”, you send it to them. All they’re going to say is “yes” or “no”, or they might offer you constructive criticism if they don’t like it, in which case you take that on board, develop your sound and once you’re a bit further down the road and feel you’ve made changes or improved, get in touch with them again. Or get in touch with another producer, just find the next person on Facebook, send them a message say “I’ve got this thing can I send it to you or play it to you and see what you think?” Easy as that.

Everybody is accessible. I might get a bit angry about this, but if you’re a producer you may be really busy, (in which case you have to send a message to their management company or something), but if you’re a producer you should be doing this for the love of the music and if you love what you do can you really afford to pass up the chance of finding the next Kasabian or the next Oasis or whoever because you don’t have the time to respond to a Facebook or Twitter message that someone sent you?

Be A People Person – Psychology Is Important When You’re Making An Album

With bands more than electronic artists, band members will learn to play their instruments really well and they’ll get good at that and a few of them will actually become really good producers as a result of them being able to understand their instruments but more importantly being able to liaise and delegate between a whole load of people who’ve got great ideas. Making an album, 50% of it is getting a great sound. The other 50% is the psychology of getting all the musicians and everybody in the band to be able to play what they want well, and feeling inspired to do it, and the role of a producer isn’t just about making a drum sound or your guitar riff sound amazing. It’s actually about getting all that together.

Be Clear About What You Want From Your Producer

Tell the producer what it is you want to do. Tell him or her what your vision is -vision for the song or project, or vision for band. Don’t ever feel intimidated because you’re a band that’s just starting out and this producer’s worked with some of the biggest bands on the planet. Always engage with them, communicate with them.

Never leave it to them to think they know better than you because ‘they’ve done this, they’ve done that, so I shouldn’t argue with them.’ Always put your point across because if it’s valid and it’s important the producer will take it on board. Don’t ever be scared. It’s your art form, it’s your passion, it’s you laying yourself bare in front of someone when you present them with a bit of music. And always make sure it’s as good as it can possibly be. When you work with a producer or other people communicate with them properly and get them engaged and on your side so everyone is aiming for a common goal. That’s the most important thing you can do really. Don’t ever get to the point where you’ve done it and finished it and a month down the line you go ‘oh well I really should have said that, I really should have done that, but I was a bit too scared to say it then’. It’s too late then.

There Are No Rules On Your Line-Up - Experiment

If you’re a band there shouldn’t ever actually be a pre-requisite of what you should have or shouldn’t have, you should just make it up as you go along. If you want to be a band where there are no drums, just one person plays guitar and the other’s got a washboard or something just do it. Why does it have to be the common three piece or four piece with drums, bass, guitar, keyboards or whatever. Do whatever you want to do, don’t go by what went before.

Experiment With Your Kit

There is no ideal piece of kit. The most important thing about whatever you do isn’t about how you got it to sound the way it is, it’s about what comes out of the speakers, what you hear as the finished thing. Whatever bit of equipment, kit, instrument, you need to do that, is what you should go for.

I’m never going to say to one person you should always form a band with drums, bass, guitar always have a Moog synth or keyboard in there. The important thing is just do what you want. The important thing is whatever comes out of the speakers is the best it can sound.

Take It Seriously, And Practice

Really learn your craft. If you’re going to be a guitarist learn to play it well, if you’re going to be a drummer practise, and just make sure that when you start doing stuff take it seriously. I know a lot of people who want to get into music and I’ve had people who’ve come and sat in the studio here with me who go “I’d love to hang out in the studio with you for a day just to see what you do”. And you’re like “yeah definitely I love what you’re doing come and hang out with me”, and you never hear from them again because they’re too busy doing something else or they don’t take it seriously. If it’s your passion and it’s really what you’re about just devote your time that you can to it, and that’s the important thing. You have to practice all the time

Ask Yourself Why You Are Doing It

You have to be thinking about music all the time. You should be hearing songs on the radio, watching films and go ‘that’s a cool sound’ or ‘that’s really inspired me’.

The whole clichéd thing of being in a band whatever was to get girls, to get money, that whole bullshit. The money aspect of it, forget that! Girls will only come running to you if you’re really good at what you do. So if you look at it from that end just get good at being in a band, and be a good musician.

Get Going Girls - The Business Needs More Female Producers

There’s no discrimination in it any more you know - we need more girls to be going into doing music production to hopefully become producers of the future. Get in touch with people “can I come and sit in on your session when you’re doing something, can you offer me some advice, can you tell me how you did that?” Approach people, don’t be scared. Even the big-name producers, all of them, just ask them things. If you show an interest in what it is that is your passion, they’ll take that on board. You never know they might just say “come and hang out at the studio for a day” or “learn your art and craft and when you’ve got something good then maybe we will work together on something”. Just make sure that you just stay proactive, that’s it.