Today we’d like to introduce you to Pete Miller.
Pete, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. I’ve been in music nearly all of my life. Like most people in the business, I have been an instrumentalist, playing live and in the studio all of my adult career. It was early on, working for various producers as a side man – mainly as a bassist – that I was able to observe and learn the skills I deemed essential to being an effective and valuable part of the recording process. At a point I was called on to be session leader – helping the producer in arranging the other musicians for the upcoming sessions. Soon I was able to assume the role as producer and have been helping artists and songwriters achieve their vision for their music for the past 27 years. Composing has also become a passion of mine over the years.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? There nothing smooth in the music business, I think most would agree, except for – hopefully – the music itself. Like many industries, this business is constantly evolving, and at a quicker pace each passing day. The barrier of entry to record music at a fairly high-quality level, has definitely been lowered. Anyone with a laptop, or even a tablet can produce a marketable product if they have an idea what they are doing. Also, the revenue streams for the actual product have been diminished, unfortunately, with the vast ways to consume music these days. This leaves the record labels, artists, and songwriters with more budget limitations when it’s time to create more product. So, we need to keep reinventing ourselves in order to maintain value in the service and the product.
Please tell us about Pete Miller Music. The focus of my company is to provide music production services. This includes artist recording projects, where, most of the time, the artist has original material that they have composed. Writers who need help finishing an original idea often come for assistance. It can be a situation to co-write with them or write the music to lyrics they have written. This often leads to helping with the arrangements to make the song commercially viable, and also putting it to paper. Original or custom music is also a service offered; for example, a jingle for a business entity to promote a brand or product, or an organization that wants to convey a message or culture, all the way to being commissioned to write a custom song for a special occasion including weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. Offering an array of services maintains diversity in order to sustain the business.
I like to pride myself in making sure my client – the artist, songwriter – and the people on the journey with them, have a fun, inspiring, and meaningful experience while working on a project. I work with many different experience levels, from long-standing career pros to those who have never stepped foot in a recording studio before. The seasoned clients may be looking for a new collaborative relationship to freshen up their direction or might have had a bad experience in the past and need to make a change. The less experienced clients tend to be cautious and can be a bit intimidated with the whole process. I think it’s imperative to listen intently early on in the discovery phase, so to speak, to make sure we establish good communication in order to not get bogged down in any negative energy. That is why I stress to those I meet for the first time, that we need to come to a solid understanding of what their true vision is for their music. It’s essential to have this all worked out prior to the meters running – studio and session musician time. This is what is known as pre-production. I’m very thorough on this and think it is very important. Any misunderstanding that surfaces during a recording session is a waste of time, which is money, and, most importantly dampens the creative energy. I think it’s because of my strict attention to this part of the project that, as the project comes to conclusion, almost always I have gained a life-long friend. And we end up continuing to work together in the future.
When recording with an artist, it can start to get very exciting on the day scheduled for tracking the song. Clients are always encouraged to use as many “live” musicians as the budget allows and for what the arrangement calls for. Putting a group of musical minds in the same room creating together always generates an artistic synergy that comes across in the track. Many of the project studios, a.k.a. bedroom studios, that exist today don’t have the luxury of space to accommodate many players at once. That is why using a room (studio) specifically designed for this purpose and large enough to work with more players at a time is preferred. A professional looking and feeling environment is also conducive to the artist documenting the process through pictures and video, which is key in marketing the finished product, or the artist themselves. There are fewer of these facilities around these days due to factors I mention previously, but the ones that have weathered the shift are top notch, have great equipment, and are run by incredibly accomplished pros.
The north Texas area is a hot bed for incredibly skilled musicians. The list of session players from which to choose is plentiful and there is never a lack for those versed in any style. And since we have done our due diligence with the pre-production, the sessions run smoothly with minimal interruptions for non-detail matters. It’s critical to keep the energy level up, let ideas flow well, but maintain that the budgeted time stays within the parameters set forth.
The rest of the stages – mixing, mastering – fall into place since all of the pieces going in were put in proper order. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another vital player in the system. That is the engineer – someone who not only knows the technical side but also has their finger on the pulse of the emotional side of the art. A good solid rapport between engineer and producer again assures an energetic and creative process. My favorite in the DFW area, or anywhere for that matter is Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas. He is very astute, and the studio sounds and feels great.
The business of music – art in general – is very personal and emotional. However, it is still a business and I’ve always tried to make sure that attention is given to both the artistic side as well as the commercial side of the operation – challenging, but necessary.
Regarding budget, it’s important to manage a project’s expenses for the sake of efficiencies, and for the integrity of the final product. Generally, a proposal is submitted based on the direction, scope, and vision. The proposal is detailed enough – with line items for each phase – in order for the client to feel at ease with how the funds are being allocated. Integrity is key to establishing a solid and lasting relationship.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood? From an early age, I was influenced by my oldest brother, who is ten years older. He formed a band in junior high and kept that group together all the way into college years. I idolized him and wanted to do what he did. My parents were great. Even though I was going down a non-traditional career path, they not only supported that decision but strongly encouraged my choice.
In my adult years, I am very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive wife who understands my love for music and also encourages my pursuits. Together we have raised two beautiful kids and have shared the challenges and rewards the industry brings.
- Website: petemillermusic.com
- Phone: 972-489-4127
- Email: email@example.com
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