Music Insight Series // Corey Pavlosky
Before you think about marketing your music, the most important part is actually creating it!! With that, finding the right producer for your music project can affect, well, everything. In addition to hearing & understanding your vision, this person has the unique opportunity to help bring your music to life.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to work with artists from a producer's perspective, you can learn a lot from Corey Pavlosky. The driving force behind VA-based Pipe Dream Studios, he has worked with a host of bands & has a few honest insights for what can make (or break!) your in-studio experience.
SO you're in the music industry -- what do you do?
I’m an audio engineer & record producer at Pipe Dream Studios. I help people write/produce/record their songs. I also put together & produce live shows for artists & their bands.
How'd you get into production & this whole career path in general?
I never anticipated getting into production. I’ve played in bands the majority of my life and inevitably had some experiences in a recording studio here and there. I fell in love with the song writing process at first, and I was given an audio interface for Christmas one year that help me begin to dabble in producing/recording songs I had written. It honestly just snowballed from there. I started approaching friends about recording their music, and after a couple of projects I realized that it was my passion. It incorporated everything I loved about music along with the ability to form close relationships with musicians over the process.
And you happen to be a songwriter, too. What are your sources of inspiration?
I grew up on A lot of Christian rock, skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, Switchfoot. As I got older however, I began to really expand, listening to a lot of jazz, hip hop, 90’s pop rock. As far as personal inspirations Stephen Jenkins from Third Eye Blind, Jon Bellion, and Ed Sheeran probably my top three songwriting inspirations.
What are some artists or bands you’ve produced to date?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with quite a few incredibly talented artist over the years, Lane Rice, SØREN, Maria Rose, Soldiers & Sons, Jordan Powell, Troy Breslow, and Christian Grech to name a few.
An artist/band comes to you with a song idea... what happens next? Share your process.
I tell them to give me the most fully realized version of their idea they have. Whether that be just lyrics, a Phone recording with them playing guitar, or produced demo with every instrument they want. I always spend the first 30 to 45 minutes of a session with an artist just talking about what they want, because if I’m able to get as much information about what they want, where they were coming from and they wrote this piece, and what they want changed it’ll make the process much smoother because we will both be coming from the same place. The next step is to put down a rough track on whatever instrument they wrote the song on. So that way we get the arrangement recorded & can start filling out the instrumentation & exploring the different sounds that can help the track come to life.
Describe 3 ways an artist/band can make a recording session with you really good.
Every small decision impacts the end result. So don’t be on your phone when your producer is cycling through synths, drums samples, etc. Be writing & brainstorming constantly while working in the studio. Write lyrics & melodies while your guitarist is throwing around lead lines. Utilize the time you have to the fullest extent
Be open minded.
Your song is important to you. It’s your baby, but be open to the creative process. If you trust your producer, which you should if you’re paying to work with them, let them add their flair. Be open to ideas that don’t necessarily line up with what you think it should be, cause the idea could make the song. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Be a good hang.
Have fun. Joke around. Relax. Music is fun. Create a positive connection with everyone in the room. If everyone’s having a good time, the product will be better. The most important thing to remember in a session is that everyone should be doing this because they’re passionate about it and they enjoy it. Don’t be the person in the room who’s bringing everyone down.
List 3 no-no’s or ways an artist/band can set themselves up for a rough studio day...
Show up REALLY late for no good reason.
Life happens. I get it. However if you’re booking studio time be respectful and show up on time ready to work. Especially if you’re planning on working on multiple projects with a producer you don’t want to be known as the person who never shows up on time.
Don’t bring your girlfriend/friends.
You should be excited about being in the studio, and it’s OK to want to have your friends there. But don’t bring them unless your producer gives you the green light. Speaking from personal experience there’s nothing more frustrating than preparing for a one on one session to dive into lyric writing when all of the sudden you and your five friends show up with a 12 pack ready to party. there are situations where having more people there can be fun, but make sure you get it approved by the person running the session.
Not Communicating what you want as best as you can prior to the session.
If you want to write a song in the studio, make sure your producer knows that. Make sure you’ve given them as much information And that you have at least a rough idea of what you want at the end of your experience. Have several conversations if necessary with your producer before booking the session, that way you can have the most efficient & stress free experience.
What have you seen bands do really well to market or promote their new music?
Bands that do the best when they release their music are consistent, active, and engaging. You don’t have to throw a massive release show, but make sure you were making steps to have your release as public as possible. Define your goals before you finish the song. Do you want to tour? Do you want to play bars? Do you wanna have a strong online presence? Make sure that whatever you want, you are taking steps to put yourself in that position.
Best advice you’ve been given as it relates to your music career journey, in general?
Know your strengths and even more importantly, know your weaknesses. if you’re a great guitar player, but you’re not the greatest drummer, don’t try to record/play drums until you’ve put a little more time into it. Find somebody else who can bring the same level of expertise but just in a different area. Always strive to improve your weaknesses but be honest with yourself and be prepared to outsource if you need to.
What advice do you have for musicians in search of the right producer for their music?
Listen to their previous projects. Do you like the sound? And then try to sit down and talk with them, whether it be via phone or in person and get a feel for their personality. Just because a producer was great for your friends band doesn’t mean they’re great for you, so just do your best to make an educated decision and move forward with it. Finding somebody who is invested in your project will bring it to the next level over somebody who is just taking a paycheck.
How can folks hear your production work to explore if you’re a right fit for them?
Check out our website www.pipedreamstudios.co then shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule a meeting with us. We would love to take your project to the next level.