I’m not a huge fan of the Sound City documentary
Others have disagreed with me as I have a pretty unpopular opinion about the Sound City documentary.
When it comes to performing and writing music there is no doubt that Dave Grohl is a bad ass! I love the Foo Fighters and think that his versatility and love for rock and roll is unparalleled.
But I don’t agree with him about recording. And I certainly don’t like some of the content of Sound City.
First, I will say what I like about Sound City documentary. I love seeing giant studios, things about recording, and all of the great musicians in the movie. I love seeing Rupert Neve talk about his console and all that he has done for the industry. I even like some of Dave’s opinions on music.
However, I completely disagree with Dave’s stance on analog recording.
Dave speaks of digital recording as if it is a lifeless smear on music when in reality it is a liberating tool for every musician alive. I would respect it if he said at the time he didn’t feel that digital could accurately recreate analog characteristics in 2013. But he didn’t, he just praised analog as the only way.
In the movie, Dave took a vicious stance against digital recording. He spoke of how analog gear was the only way and even put down digital recording as being lazy.
This shows a severe disconnect with the recording industry and to those making music as a whole. We don’t all have millions of dollars to afford a giant Neve console or to hire assistants to cut tape for us.
I will also say that Dave’s opinion doesn’t have any merit because I would be shocked if he knew how to calibrate a tape machine.
An engineer I worked with one time made the point that if he cared about Sound City he would have donated to save the studio or turn it into a museum. Instead, the outcome was more along the lines of “I won’t save your legendary studio but let me buy your cool console as a toy for my house.”
My Beliefs About Digital Recording – The New Age
Obviously, I’m a big fan of digital recording. Hell, I built Digital Recording School. I come from the analog world of 4-track tape recorders, having to commit to bouncing stems out, and giant consoles. Analog has some real special mojo and feel to it. What gives analog its character is in simple terms voltage being pushed through a circuit.
But nowadays… guys like Slate, UAD, and countless others have proven that you can recreate those analog harmonic artifacts in the digital realm. I would never say that analog isn’t great. But I would never say that digital wasn’t great either.
Digital recording has balanced the scales of giving the power back to the individual musician that does not need to rely on a record label budget, investor, or recording engineer. The average musician can simply create. And that is the most beautiful thing to happen to our industry.
Check out the video of me mixing a full song for some cool tips using Slate Digital and my Apple earbuds that I had on hand here.
Do you agree with me? Or did you love the Sound City documentary and think I’m completely wrong? Let me know.