Forrester Savell is an ARIA nominated producer hailing from Australia. He has worked with such bands as Karnivool, Animals As Leaders, Sikth, Birds of Tokyo, Dead Letter Circus, I Am Giant, Twelve Foot Ninja, The Butterfly Effect, Day Of Contempt and many more. He also collaborated with Toontrack to create the Progressive EZX, Progressive Foundry SDX & Forrester Savell EZMix Pack. We reached Forrester and we talked about how he got into Music production, why the end result matters more than the process, why the song matters the most, why he would appreciate fool-proof cables and much more.
1. What was the thing that got you into Music Production?
When I was first discovering music as a teenager, I had what was called a Tracker program on my PC, which could play 4 samples at a time, controlling the pitch and tempo etc. This fascinated me in regards to the recording and programming side of music, as opposed to simply playing an instrument. In addition to that I had a drum kit and crappy guitar & amp and would dub them onto cassette and play along to the Tracker songs I created. I also ended up building a kit microphone because I couldn’t afford to buy a proper one. I then started experimenting where to place the single microphone so as to pick up the whole drum kit in best way possible so that gave me further interest in the technical side of production. From there I studied a broad sound engineering course which gave me access to all the professional tools and blew my mind wide open to the whole concept of production in music.
2. What’s your stance on the digital vs analog battle?
It used to be a battle, but not in this decade. I use a mixture of both, I see them just as different tools which allow me to get different results. Definitely in the past when amp modelling and plugin emulations weren’t as detailed as they are now, there was cause for derision of digital, but these days anyone who’s creating music is probably relying heavily on digital tools. In the end it about making music that conjures emotion and moves the listener. The end result, not the process, is what is important.
3. Do you think one day software, emulation-hardware etc will surpass the real thing?
I think it already has, in some ways. I’ve done my own testing on plugins like UAD vs my analog gear and my conclusions are that mostly I can’t tell the difference between digital and the hardware, in the thick of a mix, or if I can, its simply just another flavour, not better or worse. Moving beyond the direct comparisons, there’s plenty of digital emulations and software that offer greater flexibility and more possibilities than what analog hardware could achieve.
4. How do you see the current Music Production scene? The pros the cons, what we might be missing/what we could improve?
When I engage in the “scene”, there seems to be a strong focus on equipment and production techniques. But I guess the thing I always come back to first and foremost is the song. Production, while important, has to serve the song, be a vessel for the music, not become the focus instead of the music. I find that whenever I’m enjoying the production on a particular piece of music, I’ve already been enjoying it because the song itself was great. So while I strive everyday to make my productions sound amazing, I try to always hear the song first, work to improve that firstly and then work on the production to serve the music. Its not always about getting the most amazing snare sound or guitar tone etc. I’ve definitely come to realise over my career working on different styles of music, that there is such a broad palette of tastes and opinions out there that what listeners are actually connecting with is the music, not so much the production.
5. What’s the latest piece of gear (hardware/software) that made you go bananas?
UAD & Protools 12 have really hit the nail on the head for me.
6. Let’s say we could get the brightest of the brightest and smartest of the smartest to come up with a piece of gear (software/hardware) and it could eliminate one annoying thing, what would it be (could be audio or anything, physically impossible or possible)?
Cables. I would love to come up with a fool proof, interference-free wireless system of routing an entire studio or live environment.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to a young starting home-studio producer, what would it be?
Find great local musicians and bands, expose yourself to their music and offer to work with them, or in a work-experience context. Focus on networking, showing passion and eagerness as they will open more doors than pulling off a killer mix. That will come with time and experience.