How can musicians feel connected while working remotely?
It's been a while since I've been in a studio with a couple of outstanding musicians to create new music. Even though I spend every weekday remotely producing new music with people, I recall and cherish the times when I worked with bands and artists in the same room.
This human connection should be something extraordinary. Of course, it depends on the people and how much time you want to spend with them. The ideal scenario would be to collaborate with your buddies in your studio and spend as much time as necessary there before coming up with something truly amazing.
Some days you wake up unable to do anything useful, so you decide to watch some live concert videos on YouTube for inspiration and motivation, but other days you wake up with a fantastic idea for the song you were working on the night before.
There are two separate memories that I always think about and wish I could go back to.
One was with an Izmir, Turkey-based alternative and experimental music band. They found me on the internet and approached me to talk about their music. I was touring throughout those years, and I was always performing in their towns.
We met in a coffee shop and discussed their thoughts on the album. I was interested in their plans because they wanted to record the whole album live and planned to practice almost every day for that. They were both young and hardworking men, something I don't see very frequently.
They prepared well and traveled to Istanbul to record their album. When we met, it was their first time in a large studio, and they had no previous experience.
We spent the first half of the day rigging up the instruments and microphones. We just had a day and a half to record the entire album! I had no idea it was feasible to record eight tracks in such a short amount of time. But I warned you. They did their homework. They were performing like rock stars.
I was thrilled after hearing them live for the first time. And I realized that everyone in that environment was open to any form of comment or criticism. We were discussing ideas with the recording engineer while the band was performing, and we were discussing ideas with the musicians while they were resting in between sessions.
I was too fatigued to talk or think after finishing the recordings at the end of the second day, but I was proud of what we had in our hands.
A few months later, I went back to Izmir to put the tracks together and produce a song from the album. For that song, we needed an electronic arrangement. We stayed in a standard apartment room for two or three days. I remember the moments when I was eating a bowl of Nutella with a spoon and giving some feedback to the frontman (Emre Akdeniz). He was experimenting with different ideas while considering my feedback.
When I listen to that album again, I sense those ties and bonds that we formed. I not only finished my task, but I also made new pals. I can tell that it wouldn’t be possible to email each other feedback and revisions.
I believe that many of the album's experimental moments would not be possible without this personal connection. Not because we don’t have enough tools to create that connection, but because we become more egoistic versions of ourselves when we work online.
We can't break down those barriers when we see each other's faces on the screen. When we're in the same room, working toward the same goal, we can easily listen to and comprehend each other. That lets individuals realize that their ideas may not be the ideal fit for the music.
I'm delighted I can produce and mix music online with people all over the world, and I’m appreciative of the people who hire me. But I have those feelings at the same time.
I utilize every tool available to me to create such moments, but now and then I find myself staring at a screen and asking, "Can you hear me?"
I don’t feel like you can be spontaneous like that. But isn't that the essence of living in the modern world?
It is not necessary to only work with producers and mixing engineers in your area because there are numerous benefits to working online. We must be aware of ourselves in order to make better online connections and, as a result, better songs together. Because it will not be available to us if we allow our egos to own our creations.
Here is the album that we made: