Shhhh-It! What Would You Ask Joe The Engineer?

Nov 5th, 2008 // 10 Comments

Last week, as part of the Shhhh-It! AnonIMous Interview Series, I interviewed an engineer about recording hip-hop and pop records. Y’all seemed to like the peek inside the studio, so I figured I would continue our conversation. So… what questions do you have about the studio, recording, etc? Put ‘em in the comments, and Joe will answer them for you! Now’s your chance to look behind the curtain!


  1. Lucas Jensen

    I guess there are no more questions.

  2. Anonymous

    Why is there such a fetish for recording on tape? Don’t we end up having to digitize everything anyway?

  3. Al Shipley

    A couple questions:

    1. Do you EQ a lot of the pre-programmed backing tracks, or make any major editorial decisions as far as the sound of the beat, or is that all pretty much set by the producer beforehand and/or by a mixer later on?

    2. Do many of the rappers or singers you work with express preferences or knowledge as far as what kind of microphones they want to use?

    3. Has you ever seen an artist attempt to use Autotune and end up completely unable to work well with it? Did they scrap that track or end up putting it out Aututuned anyway? Because a lot of the major artists out there using it these days (coughLilWaynecough50CentcoughKanyecough) sound absolutely awful, and it’s amazing that there’s noone in the studio stopping them from using it or offering any constructive criticism.

  4. Al Shipley

    @Al Shipley: apologies for the lolcat grammar on #3

  5. Anonymous

    Can you tell us about the mixing process and over-compression? Any entertaining anecdotes about an artist or producer (against all logic and common sense) insisting on participating in the process mixing?

  6. spankyjoe

    How much input do most rappers or singers have once they come into the studio? Have they already worked with the producer to get beats/backing tracks to their liking, or are they simply there to get in, do their thing, and get out? Presumably, bigger artists have more pull and thus more creative control, or is this all dictated from on high at the record companies?

  7. janine

    “JoeTheEngineer: especially now that hip hop has lost its hunger
    StumpyPete1975: lost its hunger?
    JoeTheEngineer: yeah, you know, doesn’t have the urgency that it once did
    JoeTheEngineer: of course, thats not really in the past 5 years” …more on this…

  8. MayhemintheHood

    How is Steve Albini so awesome?

  9. Al Shipley

    @janine: I still don’t understand what’s so intriguing about that part of the conversation, it seems like a pretty garden variety observation.

  10. janine

    @Al Shipley: Sure, we all sense the common sense in that statement, but anecdotes would be juicy to me.

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