- How do you charge and what are your rates?
- Some people charge by the hour, some by the day, others charge per
tune or per project. Many times an engineer or studio will customize
a deal for you depending on the amount of work you will be doing.
Find out exactly what is included in the rate and what are considered
“extra” charges. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Make sure, if they
are charging per tune or project, what they believe the time limits
are. What might seem like a great deal could turn into a big headache
if their idea of how long a song or album takes to record and your
ideas are different. People can cut an album in a day or it may take
months. Neither approach is right or wrong. It is all dependent on
your budget and expectations. Let these be know right off the bat
and your project will have the best chance of turning out the way
you want it.
- Who have you worked for and what did you do?
- Ask specifically what the engineer has done with their particular
clients. Some people may have engineered a tambourine or a guitar
overdub on a platinum album and have a RIAA award on their wall for
it. Or they played an instrument on it [many musicians today moonlight
as “engineers”]. Although they get an award for working on the project
it doesn’t mean they are a good engineer. Generally, if they cut the
rhythm track, recorded the main vocals or mixed the project and the
sound is good you can assume they have the chops needed to do quality
work. Ask for referrals and call their clients to find out how
happy they were with the engineers work and what duties the engineer
performed. Listen to copies of work the engineer has done in the genre
of music you will be performing.
- What is your approach to recording projects?
- There are many different approaches to engineering today. Traditional
boundaries between engineers and producers have blurred. Ask your
potential engineer what his recording philosophy is. How does he get
his sound and what sounds does he personally like? What medium does
he record to? [this could become and issue if you plan on working
with different people in different studios] How does he like to track?
Everyone at once, or drums and scratch instruments recorded direct
with those being replaced later? Is he willing to listen to your input?
[you are paying for his services after all] If need be, can he help
direct your project in a production sense?