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Richard Del Connor
Record Producer, American Zen

by Don delaVega

Our producer - founder - president of Shaolin Records, Richard Connor, formerly, Richard O'Connor, is an amazing record producer without a budget.

We lost our studio last year and had to beg and borrow to get studio time. This was frustrating, sometimes useless, but he had to keep trying. We had to scrap some tracks from the upcoming Coyote Radio Tujunga album because the studio he borrowed was on top of another studio and they were cutting a rap album underneath us.

You could see these little humps in the waveform of the silent spots between Coyote's guitar strums where that super low super loud obnoxious synthesizer bass was. Boof boof boof boof...

I thought I despised rap music before...

Oh, sorry, this is supposed to be about Richard Connor. Well it is. He did his best, but now we're back in action with ProTools 7 and our new iMac G5 Leopard.

We're cutting vocals tonight in the studio. I'm excited.

Richard always brings out the best in any artist. I've seen him use psychology, and parental authority to put people in their artistic place. I've seen him use jumping jacks and pushups to get people energized from sitting in the studio too many hours.

I've worked with several other record producers and seen many in action. Most are picky, and will tell you to do it again, or do it better, but Richard tries to figure out "HOW" to make the artist do it better. "Stand up, sit down, face that way, how do you want the lights, take a break, or go get dinner ..." are his musical directions sometimes. And it works.

We've produced a few artists besides American Zen. He likes to go to their rehearsals. He makes the drummer and the bass player play the whole song with no accompaniment. He says, "If you can't do that, you're not ready for the studio." He'll get every rattle out of the drum and make people change guitar strings.

I think if he really had his way he'd tell them how to dress and talk too.

I hope I made him sound good. Richard's a movie director cutting music.

That's a good way to put it. He looks at each song and wants to know what it's about. What the artist is trying to say is important to him.

Unlike some producers who shape each artist to the producer's sound, Richard Connor tries to make the recording process fit the artist's song.

Now can I have my raise?

Don delaVega
Recording Engineer, Shaolin Records

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