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Sound Advice

Jimmy Shaw Defi nes “Emotional Accuracy”

02 JimmyShawAt a Universal Audio users event hosted by HHB Communications Canada, Metric guitarist and producer Jimmy Shaw spoke to Professional Sound about a phrase that guides his work in the studio. Here’s what he had to say…

I’ve been talking with other producers about recording techniques, and about
being a musician and engineering, producing, and all the things that make up being a creative person. One of the things that came up is a phrase that I got  from a producer I worked with called “emotional accuracy.”

There are so many things that you can do in music at this point and there are so many options with this tool or that tool. There’s digital delay, analog delay, reverb, plate reverb, compression, and so on. You can put 25 of these things on one channel if you want. One of the only ways, for me, that I know what to use and what not to use is by using the phrase “emotionally accurate.” It is whether the tool itself becomes a greater version of executing the original intention of the song itself – what the artist is trying to say with the song and the emotion they’re trying to get across.

If those tools are aiding that, then you’re doing the right thing. If they’re taking away from that, then they’re most likely not doing the right thing. I don’t think it is about much more than that; there is just getting the song across in the way that the artist wants, and I think that is most important.

Jimmy Shaw is a guitarist, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, and a founding member of indie rock bands Metric and Broken Social Scene. He is also a partial owner of Giant Studios in Toronto and the winner of the 2013 JUNO Award for Producer of the Year.

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