Q&A: How do I kindly approach Know it all band mates that don’t know it all?

Hey just answered this question on Reddit.com, and then it hit me…This happens all the time in bands, groups, collectives and labels.  So here’s my ever so humble answer to “How do I kindly approach Know it all band mates that don’t know it all?”.  I hope you find meaning in it, but most importantly i hope you find application.

QUESTION

Looking for some input on this. Two of my band mates own all of our PA equipment, but they don’t really seem to know how to use it properly. We’ve played a few shows with the PA and were fine for the most part. We received some constructive criticism about vocals/keys being too quiet and other small things. Today, a few of us went to practice early to work on some of these problems. We have a digital mixer (X-Air for the iPad) which includes a nice suite of effects, equalizers, compressors, etc to make us sound great. Our keyboardist and I have a solid understanding of how these effects/EQs/etc work so we were asked to help set it up. Our guitarist, who owns part of the equipment, begins telling us how to use these effects but after listening to him I realize he has no idea what he’s talking about. When me and our keyboardist finished mixing everything it sounded much better than before.

After practice starts, our guitarist starts messing around with our settings between songs and just makes a mess of things. For example, when EQing the vocals we rolled off the boomy low end. Guitarist complained the vocals were too thin (they weren’t thin; he’s used to the vocals having a lot of bass in the PA) so he starts messing with random knobs (he turned off our HPF and messed up the compressor so it wasn’t compressing anything [our female singer isn’t the greatest at controlling her dynamic range; the compressor helps with that]). He plays his guitar through the PA (he uses Bias FX on his iPad). The low end from his guitar conflicts with the low end of the vocals causing the PA to distort. There’s a few other things but I don’t feel like explaining. The keyboardist and I fix the settings when he’s not looking lol.

How should I approach my guitarist, who owns the equipment, to stop messing with our settings? I don’t want to be a dick to him because I like the guy and everyone else in the band, but its pretty damn frustrating.

ANSWER

Hi, just came across this post. What i think the most logical thing for you to do is to first have an awesome conversation with him about his vision for the music. His role. What does he want to contribute to the band…By your question, and to an outsider that is very involved in developing artists, it seems like he’s going for a specific, dare i say unique sound? I think it would be best if the whole band got together and talked bout the sound that you are trying to produce on these records. I don’t have the answers. But i do have some solutions that might give you some possible insight into why he’s “fucking shit up”. It’s crazy because to him it seems like he feels like he’s making things “better”. Talk about the sound you are trying to create, the feelings you’re trying to convey, and after that conversation, your life will change. You might not want to continue working with him, because in all do respect, ownership over equipment isn’t a good reason to stay in a band that you are getting bad vibes from, it’s borderline…using? Option 2, you might come to a mutual understanding and start creating music that is a compromise of both sounds, which might even come out sounding very unique and different, all positives in todays music game. I hope you take my advice, to the extent that only you guys can take it and maybe one day, we could be looking at an epic band with a great fusing of sounds and energy. Maybe even a band to talkk about for EONS. haha. Best of luck bud. Ps. Shoot some links to your music, would love to check em out.

Thanks for reading.

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Author: IMTR0

Immitter - The Internet Music Transmitter