Dave Grohl On Grammys And Going Analog

Dave Grohl's Grammy speech for Best Album brought the audience to a standing ovation when he championed making music from the heart.

Dave Grohl On Grammys And Going Analog
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Dave Grohl's Grammy speech for Best Album brought the audience to a standing ovation when he championed making music from the heart. It was a discreet attack on computer production culture, which can leave modern music feeling over-polished and lifeless. "It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer," he told the Grammy audience. "It's about what goes on in [your heart] and what goes on in [your head]." Grohl thinks more bands should try analog recording, because the freedom of computer production can distract musicians from the real creative process. "To me the biggest advantage of going analog is the restrictions that it implies, which gets you to perform in a way that you're actually being a human being," Grohl said to Rolling Stone. "We thought about heart and performance. And I would rather people not tune their vocals, I would rather people not grid their drums." Will younger bands really take on the analog challenge when the equipment or studio rentals can cost so much, compared to affordable laptops and audio interfaces? "Wasting Light" mastering engineer Emily Lazar hopes so. "I think that would be a phenomenal response because there's nothing like real organic old-school rock and roll," she said. "I think a lot of bands can do it," she says. "They might not be able to achieve the mass appeal that Foo Fighters did, but I think there are a lot of bands that can do it, I'd love to hear them try." Grohl agrees: "I would rather that bands sound like bands and when you go analog that's kind of what you get." Watch his acceptance speech here, but note that the Grammy production company keeps taking copies down with copyright claims, so accept our apologies if it doesn't stay online:
Has your band ever recorded in an analog studio, and what were the results like? Do you prefer the freedom of digital? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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    masterofpuppies
    Although I agree with him, the reality is that most of us could never afford an analog recording - digital is so much cheaper and more accessible for most of us. I'd love to do an analog recording, but for me it's a choice between a digital recording or no recording at all. Obviously, for big bands this isn't so much an issue.
    Pagan_Poetry
    Exactly. It's like taking pictures. Before you had to make sure you took only good shots because you'd run out and have to get your pictures developed. You had to wait and see how your pictures turned out, so every time you took a photo, you had to make sure it wasn't a waste. Now, with digital cameras, you can take thousands, delete them right away, take a thousand more, and leave them on a usb or on facebook. The convenience of the digital age is there, but the passion isn't. No passion exists without hard work or care.
    smack_tallica
    right after he gives this speech, the Grammy people crank a terrible LMFAO song haha oh the irony...
    AaronianKenrod
    @Rick_Diculous I don't think so, because it seems like Dave is targeting rock bands who spruce up their music with the convenience of digital, as apposed to deadmau5 who is an artist that works in digital primarily
    DoubleBassCrash
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Exactly. It's like taking pictures. Before you had to make sure you took only good shots because you'd run out and have to get your pictures developed. You had to wait and see how your pictures turned out, so every time you took a photo, you had to make sure it wasn't a waste. Now, with digital cameras, you can take thousands, delete them right away, take a thousand more, and leave them on a usb or on facebook. The convenience of the digital age is there, but the passion isn't. No passion exists without hard work or care.
    That's like saying there's no passion shooting on Digital cameras because you can't afford shooting on 35mm motion picture camera equipment. To be good at anything you have to have the required skills, Digital or Analog, Digital or Film, your tools are what you make of them, it doesn't matter what type you're using because if you don't know how to utilize them you're not going to make a appealing product.
    Mr. Baloonhands
    i really hope some bands learn from this, and if they continue to record in a purely digital format, they could at least try taking it easy on tweaking everything to sound perfect. But kudos to Dave for getting on that stage and reminding people where REAL music comes from
    --ESTRANGED--
    the tab that this is open in says "Dave Grohl On Grammys And Going Anal" whatever takes you fancy, lad.
    teknoman
    I have to disagree with Dave on that... digital is the best thing ever... digital tools allowed me to write, record and release my solo material without selling all my belongings or borrowing money from a bank... and also allows home studios to sound almost as good as a professional studio with a fraction of the cost.
    Pagan_Poetry
    DoubleBassCrash wrote: Pagan_Poetry wrote: Exactly. It's like taking pictures. Before you had to make sure you took only good shots because you'd run out and have to get your pictures developed. You had to wait and see how your pictures turned out, so every time you took a photo, you had to make sure it wasn't a waste. Now, with digital cameras, you can take thousands, delete them right away, take a thousand more, and leave them on a usb or on facebook. The convenience of the digital age is there, but the passion isn't. No passion exists without hard work or care. That's like saying there's no passion shooting on Digital cameras because you can't afford shooting on 35mm motion picture camera equipment. To be good at anything you have to have the required skills, Digital or Analog, Digital or Film, your tools are what you make of them, it doesn't matter what type you're using because if you don't know how to utilize them you're not going to make a appealing product.
    Well of course you can shoot great pictures with digital cameras. What I meant essentially is that it also makes some lazy. Technology is only beneficial if you use it correctly. Otherwise it can take away a lot of strive and perseverance. What's more rewarding and challenging, forcing yourself to eventually hit a high note, or tuning it on the computer in second and saying "that'll do"? Technology makes things too easy so once people catch on to how quickly problems are "solved", they keep using quick fixes. I agree with you, though. Tools are what people make of them. It's just that technology is giving people more excuses to rush things and not care for them as much.
    metallica-#1
    i was watching his speech and was hanging on to every word with a huge smile, because everything he was saying was absolutely true and then the Grammy f*ckers started playing him off so they could get that wiener Ryan Seacrest onstage, luckily Dave didnt give a f*ck and kept going anyway, finished with a nice "LONG LIVE ROCK N' ROLL!"
    pinheadslts75
    Dave Grohl, you made your money years ago. Us DIY'ers can't afford analog technology more sophisticated than a Tascam 4-Track. Having a few people cover up their lack of talent is a small price to pay for giving almost everyone access to recording ability.
    channtastic
    teknoman wrote: I have to disagree with Dave on that... digital is the best thing ever... digital tools allowed me to write, record and release my solo material without selling all my belongings or borrowing money from a bank... and also allows home studios to sound almost as good as a professional studio with a fraction of the cost.
    Yeah, that may be so, but analog still sounds way better.
    Minivirus2
    While I do agree with Grohl, digital production shouldn't take all the blame for over produced/polished music. You can make a record, using ditigal equipment and still make it sound organic. All it falls down to is how involved/lazy the musicians are. You can easily use auto tuned vocals, drum grids, drum samples, etc., with digital devices, but that doesn mean you must. Anyone can record in the same fashion analogue does, using digital, but most choose not to based on time, money or pressure from the record companies.
    Cornpuff
    Rick_Diculous wrote: I love Dave Grohl but didn't he completely contradict himself when he gave a speech against computerized music and then did the deadmau5 collaboration shortly after?
    It's more about using stuff like Auto-Tune and studio effects to fix mistakes and the like. He talked about learning a craft and playing an instrument...and Deadmau5's instrument just happens to be digital.
    K.i.S.A.
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Exactly. It's like taking pictures. Before you had to make sure you took only good shots because you'd run out and have to get your pictures developed. You had to wait and see how your pictures turned out, so every time you took a photo, you had to make sure it wasn't a waste. Now, with digital cameras, you can take thousands, delete them right away, take a thousand more, and leave them on a usb or on facebook. The convenience of the digital age is there, but the passion isn't. No passion exists without hard work or care.
    You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.
    Rick_Diculous
    I love Dave Grohl but didn't he completely contradict himself when he gave a speech against computerized music and then did the deadmau5 collaboration shortly after?
    darkfire_storm
    replica_ wrote: And, unfortunately, Grohl, not everyone has the luxury of analog recording equipment these days. The economy is crippled. AND WE HAVE NO JOBS, SO GIVE US A BREAK.
    THEY TOOK OUR JERBS!
    butlerc777
    Dave is sweet. What he said here can't be taken as just outright bashing digital production; he wants those artists who are dependent on it to step out and actually WORK at making music instead of just auto-tuning a crappy track to make it sound good. I'm totally with him. Even auto-tuning has its place at times. A well-placed auto-tune can add SOO much to a track, if it's done right. However, that's just an effect, just like pedal effects are used for guitars to add something to a track. Ex: You can't just add a heavy distortion effect to an acoustic guitar and instantly be a metal band, it takes different skills to do that. It didn't sound like Dave has anything hugely against digital production; he just wants musicians to REALLY learn how to make music sound good instead of relying on computers to do the work for them.
    distoare
    He is absolutely correct in my view! When I get people coming into the studio they think they can fart and then I can arrange a smash hit out of it. Dave has my respect!
    ermonski
    digital production is here to stay, no doubt. but Dave Grohl reminded us where the music comes from = the hands, the voice, the mind, and the heart.
    Amuro Jay
    Rick_Diculous wrote: I love Dave Grohl but didn't he completely contradict himself when he gave a speech against computerized music and then did the deadmau5 collaboration shortly after?
    Nope. He's talking specifically about bands who use studio magic to cover up their flaws. He said in an interview once that he has a lot of respect for deadmau5 and producers like him. If he didn't, he wouldn't have let deadmau5 remix his song or put the remix on his album.
    jhilly
    bet your bottom dollar every single second of every jam in dave grohls 'garage' is on some hard drive in his pad. inspired me to build my own garage studio where my garage should be. thousands of s for some seventies allen and heath or whatever is the kind of thing you do when your getting paid s for music. a good daw coupled with a good usb mixing desk allows PROPER garage bands to record and produce music as professionaly as their skills allow FOR FREE. whats to argue about?
    JohnnyApplecore
    Rick_Diculous wrote: I love Dave Grohl but didn't he completely contradict himself when he gave a speech against computerized music and then did the deadmau5 collaboration shortly after?
    He's also drummed on at least two tracks for The Prodigy in the past. I think what he was saying was a bit too general (as in, if he had the time, he should have elaborated a little bit). On an overall, general scale, electronic production of music DOES take away from the human element - however, it doesn't always have to. And as previously mentioned - digital recording is a lot more available to independent musicians working on a budget (a point I feel even Dave would agree with).
    lern2swim
    This is not a technology problem; this is a usage problem. It is completely possible to get every single bit of what Grohl is talking about within digital recording. The problem arises when bands simply take advantage of the process, get lazy, and/or use it to disguise the fact that they suck.
    Abacus11
    I remember recording 15-20 years ago and it was SO much different than it is now. There needs to be a balance between production and allowing a band to sound like a band.
    Calymos
    masterofpuppies wrote: Although I agree with him, the reality is that most of us could never afford an analog recording - digital is so much cheaper and more accessible for most of us. I'd love to do an analog recording, but for me it's a choice between a digital recording or no recording at all. Obviously, for big bands this isn't so much an issue.
    I'm fairly certain that he's talking about copy/pasting parts and autotuning...
    Scourge441
    There's a huge difference between recording digitally because you can't afford analog, or using computers to create what can't be done with live instruments, and using studio magic to cover up flaws in the performance. I guarantee you Dave knows the difference; he's complaining about cheaters, not people who use digital tools to create from the heart.
    Pinknobody
    Holy shit, I just realize I have a tape recorder, but no tapes Can't write music worth shit though
    7revor
    And AS SOON as his speech is over they start playing LMFAO over the speakers. The irony.
    awisinger
    I think people are missing the point of this speech. It was to say that artists shouldn't need to autotune or use drum machines and such and just keep that human element around where it has flaws, that's where you can feel the passion of the song. Like you can't hear a LMFAO song and know what the song meant to them to record, while you hear the gritty and off key at times sound of the Foo or older bands who didn't use auto tuning technology to revise and "perfect" their sound.
    MoFly41
    teknoman wrote: I have to disagree with Dave on that... digital is the best thing ever... digital tools allowed me to write, record and release my solo material without selling all my belongings or borrowing money from a bank... and also allows home studios to sound almost as good as a professional studio with a fraction of the cost.
    Even with that, you can apply Dave's 'wisdom' to your digital recordings. I work at a recording studio and it's obnoxious the amount of hours spent on making every recorded instrument be absolutely perfect to the grid. If someone records a guitar part, the best 2 measures are picked out of a 4 minute performance and looped for the duration of the song. What Dave is saying is let the whole 4 minute performance of a guitar player be the song - not micromanagement of every single sound.
    JustPhil
    Quote from Taylor Hawkins during the recording process: "Can't we just pro-tool the f*ck out of it?"
    Eifler121
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Exactly. It's like taking pictures. Before you had to make sure you took only good shots because you'd run out and have to get your pictures developed. You had to wait and see how your pictures turned out, so every time you took a photo, you had to make sure it wasn't a waste. Now, with digital cameras, you can take thousands, delete them right away, take a thousand more, and leave them on a usb or on facebook. The convenience of the digital age is there, but the passion isn't. No passion exists without hard work or care.
    It's not like taking pictures. Nature or man put whatever you're taking a picture of there, not the camera. You aren't creating with photography, except in examples that only exist due to digital photography; National Geographic's Redwood Tree spread for example. Digital photography has aided photographers so much, it's almost inconceivable. You can now take multiple pictures per second, so that when the time is right, you can make damn sure you're getting that shot. Photography, particularly wildlife, was mostly done in-studio, or of landscapes. We can even capture moving objects relatively easy now. Or maybe we should go back to one shot every 4 hours. Music is different, because you're creating. This isn't so in photography.
    Cometeer
    As a songwriter/composer as opposed to being a performing musician -- and I do make a clear distinction between the two -- with me I don't heavily rely on the advantages of digital to make a case that I'm a good performing musician and singer. There is nothing disingenuous about this. My composing/songwriting does come straight from the heart and mind, and it is only that that I assert as being extremely good. So it amuses me when I present people with a great digital recording and they knock me for not being able to replicate that sound live. Apparently unfamiliar with a long list of great songwriters ranging from Jimmy Webb to Burt Bacharach, they don't understand that you can be one hell of a great songwriter but a disaster as a performing musician. And because of that shortsightedness on the part of many today, we're inundated with great live performance musicians -- that is, they have a great sound -- but they can't write squat. So I see digital as being able to get music past this barrier and back up to where it should be again. For most live performance musicians I've tried to work with are egotists. They think they can write. But truth be said there's only a small handful in the world who actually can. And the rest we have to suffer because of this notion that ungreat live performers can't be great songwriters and composers and just that alone.
    MarkoakaNiggaK
    FretboardToAsh wrote: ...Where'd the news go? I can't see the article.
    lern2swim wrote: This is not a technology problem; this is a usage problem. It is completely possible to get every single bit of what Grohl is talking about within digital recording. The problem arises when bands simply take advantage of the process, get lazy, and/or use it to disguise the fact that they suck.
    This is the only relevant comment for this article!!! Kudos to you...
    Kueller917
    In the end it doesn't come down so much to analog vs. digital, but to polished vs. raw. Analog sort of forces the production to become more raw, but it can also be done in digital. The Foo's album could've easily gone through the same recording process, but with only a few tracks in Pro Tools, and there would be little difference as long as they kept the same hands-off approach. What I really hope people take from this is to drop the mentality of fixing up ever detail to the point where a song is lifeless. Even good electronic musicians try to put some grittiness in their songs.
    jhart08
    Slash, Courtney Love, Dave Ghrol...slow day in music, huh UG? In all seriousness Ghrol's great.
    hitl
    Well, Analog is the best way., but it you're in a young Band and you have the chance to record Digital, on your own, without a Label or High Budget...Why not?
    christopher1126
    Lip syncing, digital, pro tools oh my!!!! Remember an LP supplemented with a world tour with artists that either sounded like shit live or didn't? At least you knew!!!!!
    Thumper!
    I really liked this speech but just thought it was bad timing considering like a few minutes after this speech The Foo's were playing Rope with Deadmau5e!