North Texas Daily

‘Recording in the Age of Everything’ panel answers questions about producing industry

‘Recording in the Age of Everything’ panel answers questions about producing industry

March 14
22:08 2016

Victoria Baghaei | Staff Writer

@chorizotacoss

At 35 Denton, a panel for record producers at UNT on the Square was filled with people eager to gain advice and learn about being a record producer in an age of advanced technologies. But the crowd also came with questions that were challenging for the panel to answer.

The panel included six local record producers: Justin Lemons, Michael Briggs, Erik Herbst, Brack Cantrell, McKenzie Smith and Justin Collins. The panel was excited to use their knowledge and experience to educate the crowd on what it means to work in the age of “everything.” The extent of everything, they said, entails recording a song in the bathroom as opposed to in a studio, where engineers can mold the song to make it sound the best it can be on any sound system.

The panel easily answered questions the crowd had about things like mastering and what programs the panelists used, and they joked about Denton’s trademark train noise in the background of all their recordings.

But the panel was momentarily speechless after a 21-year-old musician from Ottowa, Elsa Marinara, asked a question addressing race and gender issues in both the record-producing world and in Denton. One panel member, Erik Herbst, finally spoke up.

“It’s probably more easy and affordable to record now because there’s so many different ways you can do it,” he said.

Justin Collins, another panel member, took a lighter tone, saying, “It’s just a job that nerdy white guys gravitate toward.”

Marinara and the crowd seemed unpleased with the panelist’s succinct answers. Aspiring record producer Chelsea Beeson followed up Marinara’s question by asking the panel if they think the record industry is dominated by one race and gender.

The panel members had weak responses, one saying something about “white hairy guys.”

The crowd laughed it off. A brief moment of strained silence followed before the next question.

After the panel ended, Collins elaborated on his statement and feelings about the question.

“I thought it was a curveball, but it was a valid point,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s what we came here to talk about today, but it’s obvious that the trade is dominated by a very specific gender and race and class. It’s an inarguable point. A very valuable point.”

Despite the issues answering her question, Marinara said the event was educational and she learned a lot of new things about the producing industry. But she also expressed some concerns.

“There is a definitely a lack of presentation in terms of diversity, and they definitely didn’t answer that question at all,” she said. “I feel like there needs to be some sort of change in Denton. The music scene is predominately white male, and I want to [produce] music too. So, maybe I can be that person.”

Christopher Walker, who is in charge of setting up the panels for the events, commented on the all-white, all-male panel.

“By the time I realized that I could have made it differently, it was too late and I had ran out of time,” he said.

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