In a recent interview, Audiofanzine spoke with Alan Parsons about his book The Art & Science of Sound Recording:
Audiofanzine: Great book. It’s really comprehensive, but doesn’t go into ridiculous detail. Were you trying to make a desktop reference for recording musicians?
Basically, both the DVD series and the book were really intended to have a wide audience, not only existing engineers, budding engineers, but basically just laymen who had an interest in recording, because the recording studio has an air of mystery to most people. Everybody loves music, but very few people actually know how people achieve recording. It’s just an attempt to lift the lid on that, and at the same time get the views of other artists and engineers.
Audiofanzine: It’s cool that you included quotes in the book from a number of other well-known engineers, producers and musicians. An example is this one you got from Jack Joseph Puig about click tracks: “A real experienced musician understands the click track is his friend, and he knows how to play around it, and he knows how to play ball with it. The inexperienced musician hears a click track and goes, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s Hitler, and if I make a mistake I’ll be shot in the head,’ and so they’re focused just on making sure that they’re nailing the click, nailing the click, which means the creative part of the brain is turned off.” Great quote. I always find a click to be helpful, but I’ve run into a lot of musicians who feel uncomfortable tracking to one. Do you prefer playing to a click?
I generally feel more comfortable with a click. I don’t think the music necessarily suffers.
Audiofanzine: Do you think it hinders the push and pull of the tempo that happens naturally?
You’ve got a point there. If I feel that is happening, then I’ll take the click away. It’s often so useful later for sequencing and referring to bar numbers and all that kind of stuff.
Audiofanzine: You offer a good tip in the book, to use a drum loop instead of a click, because it might be more comfortable to work with for a lot of people, since click sounds are often harsh.
I find the cowbell is always a nice click sound, rather than something that sounds like a click. It just feels more real that maybe somebody was actually playing it, than a click.
Audiofanzine: How did you decide what to include and what not to include in the book. You could have written it five times as long, if you wanted to.
It was designed to be a companion to the video series, so we didn’t want to deviate too far from the content of the DVD, perhaps because of the fear that one product might be considered as a superior product to the other.
Audiofanzine: How is the video version available?
It’s available as a complete series. It’s a physical 3-DVD set. You can also download the whole thing. You can download individual chapters. There’s another way of doing it where you get it on a USB stick, which currently is limited to educational licenses, but we’re contemplating putting that as being available to the public as well. It’s on an 8GB stick. It becomes a lot more interactive that way. You can jump to a particular subject and find all the references to a particular subject that you’re interested in.
Check out the rest of Audiofanzine’s interview with Alan Parsons about his book The Art & Science of Sound Recording here: http://en.audiofanzine.com/recording-mixing/editorial/articles/alan-parsons-talks-recording.html