when the producer is the superstar

“I am the music.” We randomly open a page of ‘The song factory. How hits are made’, by John Seabrook, and there it is, standing out like a newly released neon, a phrase by Timothy Zachery Mosley. Yeah man Timbaland. Not? Nothing? Well, at the beginning of the 21st century, there was no one who would cough on him: Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Nelly Furtado… Even Madonna was bewitched by the magician from Norfolk and signed him up for the ‘Hard’ sessions Candy’, his 2008 album. «In the world of hip hop, producers receive the same recognition as artists. dr dre it is more important than any of its rappers, “Seabrook sums up.

It’s clear that Timbaland stopped being a musician a long time ago, but what he achieved with ‘Cry Me A River’, ‘Get Ur Freak On’ or Aaliyah’s ‘One in a Million’ is more or less the same as what Gonzalo Julián achieves. Count, better known as Bizarre, every time he opens the doors of his studio and turns everything he touches into viral gold. Session 49 with Resident? A bombshell. The 52 with Quevedo? Pulverized listening records. The 53 with Shakira? Nor is it necessary to insist, since it saw the light there is almost no talk of anything else.

At 24 years old, the Argentine with the cap and sunglasses, an early A&R for Warner and a graduate in Marketing, is the penultimate to join that lineage of star Producers, Highly valued sound alchemists, who make their name synonymous with immediate success. People who, like Rick Rubin, Brian Eno, Max Martin, Quincy Jones, Bob Ezrin, Sylvia Massy, ​​Tony Visconti, Manuel Lara or Catherine Marks, have written from the shadows and at the mixing desk a good part of the history of music. popular music.

A job that, if we pay attention to Nigel Goldrich, architect of Radiohead’s sound, invented sir George Martin while the Beatles were entertaining turning around pop and that, despite the technological revolutions and stylistic tsunamis, continues to respond to the same nature. «The music producer can be equated to the film director. He decides at all times where the recording is going », sums up Javier Limón, producer of, among others, Andrés Calamaro, Estopa, Joan Manuel Serrat, Bebo Valdés and Dieg El Cigala in his memoirs. «The producer is the ideologue, the director of the creative process involved in making a song. He is responsible for the final result,” said Alejo Stivel, singer of Tequila and producer of M Clan and La Oreja de Van Gogh.

But what exactly does a producer do? Let’s see: when he wasn’t harassing women or chasing the Ramones or Leonard Cohen revolver in hand, phil spector he invented his famous Wagnerian wall of sound; steve albini he locked the Pixies in a tiny bathroom to record ‘Where Is My Mind?’; George Martin doubled the speed of ‘Please Please Me’ for the Beatles to get their first number one; david fridmann he invented a sound that neopsychedelics of the early 21st century were crazy about; Paco Loco has built a small French indie village here in Puerto de Santa María; Together with C Tangana, Alizzz has created the new way of Spanish pop…

Martin, King Midas of Pop

In Sweden, Max Martin has become the King Midas of 21st century pop thanks to his productions for The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Coldplay. And Bizarre? «I make the ‘beats’ of the songs, I show them to the artists. First we think which side we want to go. If a trap, a rap, a reggaeton… The lyrics are things of the artists, I help, but they are almost 100% theirs, “explained the Buenos Aires native in an interview. It seems easy, right?

In Spain, and after years wandering from here to there trying to squeeze minutes out of the always very busy schedules of Kramer, Steve Albini or Brad Jones, a generation of first-rate producers stands out: from Castelldefels, Cristian Quirante, Alizzz for those who deliver the Grammys, he is making history together with C Tangana; Sergio Pérez has become the best ally of indie today thanks to his work for Mujeres, La Bien Querida, Joe Crepúsculo or Maria Rodés; Y Raul Fernandez he has changed his own records under the name of Refree for a frenetic activity in the fishbowl that goes from Rosalía to Kiko Veneno and from Silvia Pérez Cruz to Guitarricadelafuente or Amaia.

«The work of a producer is bidirectional: I offer, but I also receive things and I learn a lot», summed up the Catalan. «I have never believed that producers ‘sell’ records. Those who do it are the artists”, demystifies Francisco Martínez, crazy paco when he puts on the producer cape of Nacho Vegas, Lori Meyers, Triángulo de Amor Bizarro or La Habitación Roja, in the documentary ”Paco Loco: viva el noise’. “In fact, George Martin is the most emblematic producer in history and he only really sold records with the Beatles”, adds a guy who can boast of having recorded, produced and, depending on how you look at it, also advised, more than 800 records.

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