There’s No ‘Big Lack’ of Hooks on Minihorse’s New EP
Work sucks / we know. We prefer / your show. That's why we ask hard-working bands to recount their worst day-job experiences in Trials of Job. Today, we chat with Ben Collins, guitarist / vocalist of Ypsilanti, Mich., power-poppers Minihorse about the perils of working in a recording studio at age 18. The band's new EP, Big Lack, due November 11 on Friendship Fever, is streaming below (expect a full-length in 2017).
Where was this nightmare job? What kind of business was it?
I've worked jobs where I had to deal with hot garbage or wake up at 4 a.m., but the worst for me was working in a recording studio.
How did you get the job?
I got the job because I was quick at editing drums, which at the time involved making hundreds of edits and sliding audio around until the drummer seemed consistent.
How old were you when you started and how long did you last?
I was 18 when I started. I lasted there for about three years before one of the engineers vanished off the face of the earth and I started getting physical threats from clients looking for their sessions (which went missing with him).
What were your primary responsibilities?
Primary responsibilities: 90 percent therapist, 10 percent pretending to know what all the buttons do.
What made it so shitty?
I love engineering music, but the studio is a special kind of torture. The recording industry is going away with everyone doing it at home, so studios accept all interested clients. Everyone thinks they're gonna be famous, and they think YOU'RE gonna get them there.
Describe your worst moment at the job.
I recorded a dude whose claim to fame was his appearance on America's Got Talent, as a dancer. He was immediately voted off the island, or fired, or whatever the hell they do on that show, but his performance was so memorable and embarrassing that they invited him to contribute a song to a compilation. (Why they thought a dude who couldn't dance COULD sing is another question.)
Since he didn't play an instrument and couldn't sing along to an existing track, he insisted on recording a cappella and requested that I construct the music later, around his performance. I had another client who I worked on one song with for over three years (he'd been coming into the studio for seven years before I started, working on that same song).
What were your co-workers and supervisors like?
Some of the smartest and most resilient people I know. Except for that one guy who vanished.
Were you playing music at the time? Did your co-workers ever discover your music?
Playing music is what introduced me to those folks.
How do you think your skills in the workplace have translated to your music?
Now I'm one of those guys recording at home and probably killing the studio business (sorry).
Did you get fired or did you quit?
Some say I never left ...