Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

Gear Heads Don't Get It!

Jeremy Cowart is one of the most gifted commercial photographers around. I am not a photographer but I do have many friends who make their living at photography and graphic design.  I do enjoy going to Jeremy’s site to see who he’s shot lately. It will most likely be the artist soaring at the top of the pop charts or the stars from ABC’s newest hit show.

While looking through Jeremy’s blog I was drawn to a title “GEAR HEADS DON’T GET IT.” Automatically I am interested. I mean, I am a gear head after all.

You’ll want to take a quick glance at this article as it is a simple explanation as to why creativity comes before gear.



I am still a gear head, though, I feel as though I’d recovering. I can admit that I have a problem and I am facing my addiction head on! I have a decent amount of gear… larger than most home studios and smaller than most commercial studios. I have plenty of gear to make my recordings. Gear is one thing.. A TOOL! If you are an engineer/producer you should know your gear inside and out for 2 reasons: #1 - so you know what each piece of gear is capable of and #2 so that you can use your gear quickly.. so you don’t interrupt your creativity.

CREATIVITY! - I noticed something a few years ago. When I would ask another professional to critique my work, I never heard comments about the quality of my recordings. I heard critiques of the song itself or the vocal performance. Things like that. I also noticed that when listening to hit songs, the common denominator was not audio quality. The thing that every song had in common was that it was a great song that had character and life!

To quickly get to the point. I hope that all of you are seeking for hone your craft as a musician before crafting developing your craft as an engineer. Even engineers should consider themselves musicians first. Buy only the gear you HAVE to have and learn to create art within the creative walls of your current setup.

10 things you can do to fuel creativity/musicianship…

#10 - Don’t compare your work critically to others

#9 - Create things that have nothing to do with your music

#8 - Take music lessons

#7 - Look at nature, don’t move, breathe deep and stay a while

#6 - Create something truly unique… something only you may enjoy.

#5 - When being creative, don’t compare your work to others’ work.

#4 - Share your work with others… often! Share the bad stuff too!

#3 - Be willing to truly hear the opinions of other. You don’t have to agree.

#2 - Don’t be afraid to have your own taste and your own opinions.

#1 - Smile at your work!