TovH Exclusive – ‘The Producer Series’: Pt.1 – Tech-Death
Want to record that perfect take? Write the riff to crush all genitalia? Get that perfect drum tone? Need album direction ideas? Well today we have something extra special for all you aspiring musicians, the Producer Series. This exclusive to TovH will put you in touch with one of the leading names in metal production today, helping you get the edge over the endless stream of new bands/artists all seeking those sweet yet ever-dwindling record deal dollars. This first installment will cross all your weedlies and dot all your deedlies. You guessed it, up first is Tech-Death!
Now due to contractual obligations and other such legal restrictions imposed by those pesky record labels and other suit-wearing corporate scum, we’re not allowed to officially name the producer we’ve been in contact with. So for the purposes of this series, they’ll be referred to by their initials, B.S. I’m sure some of you more knowledgeable in the music industry have already worked out who it is, but for those who haven’t, let’s just say they’re a pretty big deal, having worked across a couple of decades, covered a plethora of sub-genres and gathered information from all parts of the music industry. What matters here for us though is that we’ve got exclusive access to their insights and tips on how to get noticed and achieve success through music. Without further ado I’ll hand over to the master.
1. Use Guitar-Pro.
I can’t tell you how many bands I’ve come across entering the studio who have merely practised their shredding to the point of perfection without actually using Guitar Pro. It’s baffling. In the modern-age where electronics are king, it is nigh on complete lunacy to sit in your bedroom learning scales and modes like some kind of prehistoric virtuoso, becoming fluent in all manner of finger exercise regimes just to be able to nail the riff perfectly, when all you really need is Guitar Pro. The only muscle-memory I’ll be expecting from young bands is that which allows them to type-out riffs on a keyboard faster than R.L. Stine on a meth-binge.
2. Know When To Sweep-Pick.
Learning to accurately rake your pick across the strings to get a nice clean sweep is something that takes a shitload of practice. Once you’ve learned it though, when do you use it? Now most of you will know that sweeping is an integral part of any tech-death guitarist’s lead repertoire. It’s in practically every solo ever recorded in the genre. Hell, even that dinosaur Yngwie Malmsteen can chuck a few diminished arpegggio sweeps into a lead. So what can you do to impress the audience, talent scouts and record company execs? The answer lies in the frequency of sweeps. You’ve spent all those countless hours learning to do this technique, don’t be constrained by what others call “tasteful”. Use them as much as possible. Interludes, fills, drop them in mid-riff, even transpose your licks to keyboard and get your synth player on board to truly sweep your audience off their feet.
3. Choose Your Cover-Art Wisely.
Now I know what you might be thinking, “We’re a tech-death band, everyone has done purple space aliens to the death, we need to branch out to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.” While this might seem like the logical step to take for your artwork, it is, sadly, a fallacy. People know what they want. The industry knows what works. If you try and go against these two things, you’re destined for failure. Why spend all the time putting in the hard yards doing all the riff-gymnastics if when your album sits on the shelf, it doesn’t scream TECH-DEATH to the consumer? It makes no sense. Sure, not every album can be adorned with a killer Par Olofsson original, but if you look around online it’s actually quite easy to find what you’re looking for. Using the key words – nebula, spiky, and alien – alone can net some pretty impressive results. After you’ve made your draft arrangement on photoshop, just filter it with various shades of purple and you’re good to go.
4. BPM Bragging.
This tip is a combination of the Guitar Pro and sweep-picking concepts. By now, your group is almost certainly using a metronome wherever possible, especially the drummer. It’s probably a sure bet that they’ve now realised that not only should you practise with a metronome, but if you actually begin to sound like one, the whole band benefits. Playing at blistering speeds of over 300BPM for any decent period of time is no mean feat. Your audience needs to know this. It’s simply not enough for the fans to say “That track is so fucking quick.” They need numbers. Contrary to what the old-guard will tell you, statistics do matter in music. This is where BPM bragging can be used to your advantage. Every drum playthrough video or studio update you post on social media should be titled with the exact BPM; simply writing 300+ every now and then is not going to cut it. Your fans want to be able to feel superior to the competition, and BPM bragging allows them to accurately burn the opposition on YouTube comments sections, effectively doing your work for you in climbing the ladder to tech-death supremacy.
5. Dismiss Other Genres/Bands
Pretty self-explanatory here, simply show disrespect for all other genres of music (even metal) at all times. Standard death metal is for those who can’t keep up with the pace, and OSDM, what a joke! You’ve put in the hard yards to be able to shred, sweep, tap, blast, shred-sweep-tap and blast, so why pretend that any other musician is worthy of any kind of adoration? Every person/band who influenced you in the past did it for you and you only. You’re carrying the torch now. Do you think your fans want to hear about how great some other fucking band is? No-one gives a shit about The Faceless or Spawn Of Possession anymore anyway, and Necrophagist can’t even record another album, so why mention them? Talking about other bands in interviews might make people think you’re insecure or something anyway, and you wouldn’t want to damage that image you’ve spent years cultivating, would you?