Recording - March 2017 - 72

FadeOut
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING OUTSIDE
Guest Editorial by Aaron J. Trumm

I

was talking to a friend on Twitter and he sent me a picture
of a beautiful lake. We got to talking about that lake, and
how his habit was to take long walks around it. I said I
thought it was important to go outside as much as possible,
and he agreed. I told him there was a similar (former) lake
outside my department in grad school, and that I'd head out
there whenever I wasn't in the studio, but back then, that wasn't
very often. He shared that a certain recent song production had
been finished while walking around that lake with a friend,
and it occurred to me that there's more than one reason to get
out of the chair and hit the fresh air.
As engineers, producers and musicians, most of us spend
the majority of our time squirreled away in dark clubs and
darker studios. Night is the preferred (or necessary) time of
work for most musicians, and isolation
from the world is necessary, both acoustically and emotionally. This isn't bad, but
we spend our energy mercilessly in the
studio-people who have never mixed
a record have no idea how much physical
energy it takes. That's reason one to
get outside. It can kill a person to sit in
front of a mix desk or a computer all the
time and never see the light. Sitting has
even been called the new smoking. So,
it's important to get up, leave the room,
leave the building, and go outside. Take
a walk, get some more serious exercise, or just look at
something natural.
My Twitter friend pointed out reason two with his story
about the song. Inspiration comes from "refilling the well" (to
paraphrase Julia Cameron), and if you sit too long in your
own production, you can run out of perspective and ideas.
Personally, I'll probably never write a lyric about a pristine
lake; that would be boring to me. But refilling the well is more
about replenishing energy than direct and literal inspiration.
Sometimes a walk around the lake just causes that last, elusive
idea to come.
In this case, getting outside is both literal and metaphorical.
We need to get outside of our heads, outside of the room, and
outside of our own thinking. We need an outside perspective.
That's why there are mix notes. That's why great mixers clear
out the control room. There needs to be someone who wasn't
there the whole time to come in toward the end and give an
outside perspective. Sometimes it may even behoove us to
hire an outside mixer, producer or player, or take a project to
an outside studio.

Reason three: Ears need breaks. Listening fatigue causes
poor sonic judgment and especially if things are loud, ears
can get damaged over time. Getting away from the sound at
regular intervals is as important as keeping volumes reasonable
and wearing ear protection. If you live in Manhattan, going
outside may not help you here, but as I recall, it's not that bad
a walk from Hell's Kitchen to Central Park, so maybe all is not
lost for you New Yorkers!
If health isn't your bag, and inspiration is coming out
your pores at all times no matter what, maybe reason four
is enough to get you outside: You can't get famous if you
never meet anybody. One could argue that you can use the
Internet for that, but we all know that meeting people face to
face is so much more powerful. Getting outside in this case
just means getting out of your house. You
may still end up constantly in dark clubs,
or once you achieve this fame, deep in
penthouse suites drinking chardonnay
and eating thousand-dollar fish guts...
but if you want that to last, I refer you to
previous paragraphs regarding health.
I for one have changed the way I do
business and make music. I get up in the
morning now, I keep the windows and
doors open 95% of the time, and I built
my new office/studio in the sunniest room
in the house. I never book a session
longer than four hours (usually it's two) and I stand up
and walk out the front door repeatedly throughout the day.
All-nighters are a thing of the past now, as is the romance
of the dungeon studio.
For me, it's more than just nature, sunshine and lakes, and it's
more than literally going outdoors. For me, it's about work/life
balance, something that people in other professions enjoy, but
that musicians seemingly don't. For me, it's about treating my
dream job as work, and not a hobby, which means I get to have
a life outside of work/music. I don't have to be squirreled away
all the time and miss the beautiful, varied, colorful things that live
outside my studio, just because I make music for a living.
I may not ever meet my Twitter friend by the lake, but I'm
glad he reminded me to take it outside. If you need me the rest
of today, that's where I'll be.

Get out of that
chair and hit the
fresh air! It's good
for you, for lots
of reasons.

72

RECORDING MARCH 2017

Aaron J. Trumm (trumm@recordingmag.com) is a vocalist,
pianist, producer, engineer and head of NQuit Music. He's
currently outside, but when he comes in, you can find him at
@AaronJTrumm on Twitter or at www.aarontrumm.com.


http://www.aarontrumm.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - March 2017

Contents
Recording - March 2017 - Intro
Recording - March 2017 - Cover1
Recording - March 2017 - Cover2
Recording - March 2017 - 1
Recording - March 2017 - 2
Recording - March 2017 - 3
Recording - March 2017 - 4
Recording - March 2017 - 5
Recording - March 2017 - Contents
Recording - March 2017 - 7
Recording - March 2017 - 8
Recording - March 2017 - 9
Recording - March 2017 - 10
Recording - March 2017 - 11
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Recording - March 2017 - Cover4
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