Producer explains: How to know if what you are writing is actually good?

By Charlie Fenton

26 May 2024

Credit: Evan Martin

Writing a song can be hard, while others can come naturally. At Feedback, we’ve interviewed many artists about writing songs, and even they don’t have a nailed-down formula. We asked Evan Martin, producer at Private Regcords for his take.

“You can definitely know when what you are writing is good,” said Evan. “The first time I felt this was watching Eszter Vida at hype park book club. She was playing a small side room there.” Evan got this feeling when she performed her song called Kingdom. “Lyrically it was so elegant, alongside the way she sang it. Not just this the other elements of guitar combining with this, yeah just wow, it was really good.”

He’s had it in the studio with bands too: “I’ve had bands come in and write great stuff, I’ve also had them come in and together we’ve made something special.” He believes it came from one thing, not looking at things too logically.

“When you are working on your music full time, you can tend to overthink what you have written, and when you are stuck in this process, you tend to start to hate what you are writing you know.

“You forget you’re not a listener and can get out of touch with yourself, I’ve seen it before.  

“Sometimes artists can go along time without listening or doing anything they enjoyed; it can come across in their music.

“They lose that feeling they get when they are listening or doing things they enjoy the most, your music needs to have that feeling too.”

But, to what extent should you trust what the producer is suggesting? To Evan ‘the sign of a good producer is when they know how much to do and not to do’.

“You know sometimes people came into the studio with a plan for it sounding a certain way and I think it may work sometimes,” said Evan. “I’d say trust your producer, but at the end of the day they’ve come in with their vision already in their mind.” He also believes artists should have trust in the process. He said: “I’ve have had artists come in, typically newer bands, before which have felt alarmed when the song doesn’t sound the way it should, but then when I press a couple buttons it sounds a lot better.

“What I say to that is just have trust, it is a collaborative approach.”

Evan can normally tell if the song has potential through a simple audio recording from a phone. “It’s the worst quality, so it if it resonates it is doing well.” He says if listening to the song through recording is an “enjoyable experience”, not “melodically boring” you are doing something right. If it isn’t then ‘it’s back to the drawing board’.

Evan said: “Both the stripped-down version and the final produce version are built on the same blueprint, so it is an early opportunity to see if the song is good.”

For Evan, it’s “that 10/10 feeling” when you are listening to your favourite tunes which is what he thinks you should be looking for when writing. “You’ve just got to always be in touch with it and then you’ll know.”

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