RSR009 – Michael Beinhorn – Unlocking Creativity - Recording Studio Rockstars

RSR009 – Michael Beinhorn – Unlocking Creativity

Michael Beinhorn
RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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RSR009 - Michael Beinhorn - Unlocking Creativity

My guest today is the extraordinary producer, programmer, performer, songwriter, arranger, mixer, engineer, and author, Michael Beinhorn. He began his career as a keyboard player with Bill Laswell in the band Material and had a major breakthrough in the 80's as co-writer of the seminal hip hop classic “Rockit” with Herbie Hancock.

He went on to produce an impressive discography that includes Soundgarden Superunknown, The Red Hot Chili Peppers Uplift Mofo Party Plan & Mother’s Milk , Soul Asylum Grave Dancer’s Union, and Korn Untouchables among many others.

Michael developed a reputation for producing artists’ “career records” and was ultimately Nominated for a Grammy in 1998 as Producer of the year for his work with Celebrity Skin by Hole and Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson.

And if that wasn’t enough Michael has also gone on to create new technology as well. Looking for the best way to capture a broad frequency range during the recording process he commissioned John French of JRF Magnetics to develop the “Ultra-Analog” recording format in 1994. This format featured the first 2” 8 track tape machine with unequalled bass and transient response.

(Basically think of the fattest drum sound you can possibly put onto analog tape)

And Michael is a prolific author. He has an ongoing blog called How To Save Popular Music where he comments on the state of music today. And In 2015, Beinhorn wrote a book called "Unlocking Creativity" which outlines his personal experience with the creative process as a record producer.

Order his book Unlocking Creativity here!

Unlocking Creativity by Michael Beinhorn - A Producer's Guide To Making Music And Art

Talent is often nothing other than being far more dedicated, focused, patient, and intent driven, than anyone else who does the same job as you."

Michael Beinhorn
Producer - Author

Q: Any tips for recording at home?

A: Have a profound knowledge of what it is that you do. While passion alone is one of the most important aspects, having knowledge and skills to master is most important. You have to look at every piece of equipment as an extension of yourself. Know all your equipment and the room.

“Being flexible may be the single most difficult—and important—aspect of producing records.” @michaelbeinhorn

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Q: How do you contribute to the artist's vision?

A: Know what you like and don’t like. It’s easy to get swayed by other opinions. Know when you're allowing your point of view to be swayed and be able to sense what you feel really strongly about in life and music alike.

“Music is the most proficient delivery system of emotion” @michaelbeinhorn

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Q: What’s your opinion on the loudness wars?

A: If people want to make records louder it’s none of my business. I’ve had to deal with people applying compression to boost gain and squash peaks. When you affect peaks it changes the overall sound. If that’s acceptable to them, fine. I don’t enjoy that. I prefer to have a direct conversation with my mastering engineer.

Where music is concerned, the now is all that matters. Now is when you are hearing it, now is when you find it exciting, now is when you are tired of it. @michaelbeinhorn

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Jam Session

Q: What was something holding you back at the beginning of your career?

A: Self esteem, insecurity. Don’t be afraid of sharing a vision. Go out and do it. I was insecure going out alone when I’d stopped working with a team (Material). I doubted myself alone.

If You Withhold Your Brilliance From The World You Will Suffer For It Later.” @michaelbeinhorn

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Q: What is a great recording tip, hack, or secret sauce you can share?

A: Use your ears, and find best way to optimize space. And here is one for drums: you can screw thick sheets of plywood together, connect with 2x4's, drill the bass drum pedal and a board to hold the bass drum in place.The plywood now acts as an amplifier.

RSR009 - Michael Beinhorn - Unlocking Creativity - Drum Platform Design

Q: What’s your favorite hardware tool?

A:Telefunken 251, Neve Germanium, Check out the Sonoma DSD recorder.

Q: Favorite software tool?

A: Reason, Pro Tools, Blackface 1176 plugin from Ik Multimedia

Q: What’s a great resource for the business side of things?

A: Cover your ass - be clear about what you’re doing. If you do favors make sure they're recognized. Know your contracts and rights. Check out these music business books.

Q: If you were dropped into a strange city and you could only take a simple setup for recording, what would you choose, how would you find people to record, and how would you make ends meet right away to continue recording?

A: I would go to shows, watch performances, make inroads into communities where musicians are rehearsing. Get your name out there, reference forums where artists are looking for help recording a record. 

“You only get one shot, it’s best if you take it while not aiming at your feet” @michaelbeinhorn

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Q: What’s the single most important thing you can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A: Be great, be patient, be intent driven. Make it known you’re willing to go all the way and prove to yourself and to them that you have what it takes.

Unlocking Creativity by Michael Beinhorn - A Producer's Guide To Making Music And Art

Order Michael's book Unlocking Creativity here!

Follow Michael on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

If you have any or questions about recording you would like me to answer on the show or suggestions for the show please email me:

If you dig the show and find it helpful I would be honored if you would subscribe, and leave a rating, & review in iTunes.

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Credits: Thanks so much to Merissa Marx and Hunter Hansen for assisting with editing audio and show notes. You guys totally rock!






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