Arthur Baker’s perfect perfectionism
Thu 17th May, 2007 Newsin
Scientists are starting to regard perfectionism as a mental illness the BBC reported this week, prompting an amused response from legendary dance producer and self-confessed ex- perfectionist Arthur Baker.
“In the past, I expected something close to perfection, or at least God-like genuis of myself and others expected the same. But in reality, my most innovative productions and mixes were nowhere near perfection and were usually the result of just going for it with no regard for perfection,” Arthur told Skrufff.
“I guess if I got extreme competence from other people nowadays I’d be really happy.”
The hugely influential producer worked on scores of seminal 80s electro pop-records including Planet Rock, Freeze’s AEIOU, Walking On Sunshine and many of New Order’s earliest club hits more recently delivering huge records for the likes of Princess Superstar and Pink Grease, and admitted he’s totally changed his approach to deciding when a track is finished.
“Back in the day, the production was finished when the money and or drugs run out, whereas nowadays it can be never-ending torture,” he mused.
“If you have a record deal, it’s finished when the label threatens to drop you or pull the plug, Otherwise it’s finished when your girlfriend gets real sick of hearing it- you can, however switch to headphones and go on indefinitely,” he pointed out.
The hugely successful producer identified with four of the BBC’s ‘top ten signs you’re a perfectionist’ including ‘you can’t stop thinking about a mistake you made’ and ‘you are intensely competitive and can’t stand doing worse than others’ while fellow US producer Chris Fortier suggested ‘probably half of them’ apply to him’.
“When DJing, I want to be perfect,” Chris told Skrufff, “I don’t want any mistakes and I am disappointed when I am not the best I think I can be. Mistakes can bring me down at times too, even when most others don’t notice them,” he admitted.
“With my tracks though, I’m less of a perfectionist, I am more then fine with imperfections in tracks actually as I like things to be quite raw now. But still keeping the overall vibe strong and one that works,” he added.
The Balance Records chief is set to release his debut album ‘”As Long As The Moment Exists” some 17 years after he started his DJing career in Miami though insisted his decisions on when to finish tracks are musically driven.
“I decide tracks are finished when I feel they flow properly: pace is an important
part of my music creation, so I pay a lot of attention to that detail,” said Chris.
“The most important overall thing I am after though is vibe; and to make the vibe “work” in context, not necessarily on the dance floor either. I don’t know if I know what perfection is, but my aim is to get it “right”,” he said.
‘”As Long As The Moment Exists is out shortly on EQ Recordings.