Music Production

Choosing A Music Producer

Offbeat Radio

Offbeat Recording Studios & Productions in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile have produced a one hour radio show / podcast entitled 

Offbeat Scotland - Adventures In The Studio!! 

… highlighting just some of the tracks that showcase the amazing diversity that’s been produced at the recording studio now and over the past 25 years, as well as some material that predates Offbeat.

Offbeat’s Kirsty McKinna is presenting the show which is going live via Soundcloud on August 24th but you can hear a special preview of the full show below.

Offbeat producer Iain McKinna says “The range of music on our edited selection of tracks is phenomenal. Anyone who wants to get an idea of the diversity of music that comes out of Scotland should give this a listen”.

Apart from a very few notables, Edinburgh hasn’t been recognised as a hub of musical talent but Offbeat’s studio manager Kirsty McKinna believes this perception deserves to change,

“We used to get visits from A&R scouts who always commented on the fact that if they went to Manchester of Glasgow for example, they would come across acts that had a predictable sound. But when they came to Edinburgh they were usually perplexed about the mad range of music they came across.

This was a marketing persons nightmare, but as we’ve discovered at our studio it makes for creative heaven. We have no idea what’s coming through the door next and that’s really exciting even if it’s difficult, if not impossible, to market as a generic Edinburgh sound”.

Kirsty is joined by Iain on the show as they share the introductions of each artist, some past recordings plucked from the Offbeat vaults as well as some current productions.

Mike Heron - Killing The Dragon

Mike  Heron was the co-founder of The Incredible String Band with Robin Williamson. The band were widely credited as the first to fuse World Music before the term had been created. They were cited by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones as an influence.

Offbeat’s Iain McKinna produced Mikes first solo album for 17 years. It was released on Demon Records in the UK and Strangeways Records in Germany. Iain's credits on the album also include Keyboards, Drum Programming…and Kazoo!! It also features Dave Haswell on Percussion, Stu Smith on Fretless Bass and John Rutherford on Acoustic Guitars.

Becky Smith - One Sided

Becky Smith came to Offbeat in Summer 2019 to record her debut EP of piano based songs. The 21 year old singer songwriter is from Aberdour In Fife and the songs on her EP reflect a range of emotional and uplifting material.

Her confident and distinctive singing voice layers up beautifully and bringing her piano playing to the forefront of the soundscape gives her a unique and beguiling sound.

Becky is currently seeking management and ultimately a recording contract. Watch This Space!

Ryan Singh - Taweet

Ryan Singh is second generation born and raised Scottish Sikh. His musical path started when he was just eight, playing tabla and dholki alongside his father at the Gurdawara. Ryan’s mamaji’s from Manchester also played dhol and taught at music workshops at the Gurdawara. A group of Ryan’s mamaji’s formed a group called Betaab Sangeet they performed at many functions up and down the country and releasing a number of albums.

He came into the Offbeat studio to produce this lovely track, Taweet. the singer recorded in Delhi and his vocals were inserted into Iain’s production. Iain played Electric Guitar and Bass on the track.

Skyler Jett & Harmonic Overdrive - Positive Vibes

Skyler Jett is from Oakland, California. His music career started when he took over from Lionel Ritchie to sing lead vocals with The Commodores. Since then he has sung with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and he won a Grammy for his backing vocals on Celine Dion’s Classic My Heart Will Go On.

Skyler met Iain five years ago when recording vocals for a single Heal The World, a song written with Swiss keyboard player Andreas Svark. He then recorded vocals for his One World reggae project with Amsterdams Friction. Iain and Kirsty were working on a single when Skyler offered to write a vocal for the resulting single Positive Vibes. An animated video is currently being created for the singles forthcoming release.

Doug Anthony Allstars - Hippy

Australian comedy group DAAS The Doug Anthony Allstars  only just recently reformed after 30 years to play Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018. Back in their heyday they came into Sonic Studios in Edinburgh and Iain recorded this hilarious track Hippy.

Iain revived it for this radio show as it brings back smiles and laughter which we hope still translates today. The Festival Fringe they appeared in back in 1987 when they recorded this track resulted in them making their name Internationally and a TV series followed.

RP - Forever

Edinburgh hiphop artist RP aka Ropo Bankole, came into Offbeat a few years back and recorded his distinctly Scottish Hiphop tracks for an album entitled Cognitive Dissonance.

The featured track Forever is a great example of his unique style of songwriting and Rap fusion. The singer on the track is Adam Samson from Glasgow.

Captain Shifty - Funkface

Featuring some great Edinburgh musicians which Iain has had a long association with in other bands, like The Apples & Sound Delusion), The band Captain Shifty played the Scottish circuits for a few years back in the 90’s and brought a funk filled party to everywhere they played.

Ian Stoddart on Drums, Barney Strachan on Keyboards, Greg Molleson on Sax, Tam Treanor on Lead Vocals Nik Paget Tomlinson on Guitar and Simon Paget Tomlinson on Bass.

Imaginary Creatures - Extase

The fourth album from Imaginary Creatures is Sometimes They Get Into The Machinery and it features Cello Performances from Wendy Weatherby and Ron Shaw, Drums by Ted McKenna and Vocals by Brian Rice & David Scott and Iain McKinna who also produced the album and plays Bass, Guitars & Keyboards. The project is the brainchild of Lyricist & Composer David Scott. This track Extase, is about Hedi Lammar, actor and inventor. This was the last album world famous drummer Ted McKenna recorded before he prematurely passed away following a botched medical procedure for a routine op in early 2019. Ted was the drummer with The Alex Harvey Band, Taste, Michael Shenker and many other major bands. He worked with Iain on several other albums.

ELO Beatles Forever "This is an album that will delight those who found ELO in there early days. 12 songs to be listened to in it's entirety"

Spirit Of The Glen - Journey

On this trilogy of atmospheric and majestic albums by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the band was recorded at Edinburgh’s Heartbeat Studio by Iain McKinna with Dave Valentine and Ed Logan and was produced by Jon Cohen.

The featured track on the show, Journey, was composed by Hans Zimmer and the string arrangements were written by Jon. One of the tracks produced was The Last Of The Mohicans which has had over 25 million views on Youtube. It won a Classical Brit for best album and topped the Classical charts in 2009.

TV Times "There ain’t no party like a Jools Holland party, thats for sure so don’t fret if you can’t decide who to see/what to do/where to go tonight – the music maestros’ doors are open to everyone. He’s got Paul McCartney, Kaiser Chiefs, Mika, Kylie and of course the Pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoons, Happy New Year!"

Flying Colours- Open Our Eyes

Back in 1981-1983 Iain McKinna and Vocalist and Guitarist Jamie Campbell formed psychedelic band Flying Colours with Pete Griffiths on Drums. Following the recording of a demo album they were signed to Simon Cowell & Ellis Rich’s E&S music who put them into Palladium Studios in Edinburgh with Jon Turner to record this track. The band played Londons Embassy club regularly and toured supporting Level 42 before Pete left the band on the eve of a UK tour. The project didn’t survive the loss of Pete and split up in early 1983.

Ronnia Syberia - House Collapses Down

Eastern European artist Ronnie Syberia first came to Offbeat in 2011 to record some demos and came back with her partner Stoat to record more material in 2017.

This track, House Collapses down was particularly apt as the Offbeat studio is on the site of The Bailie Fyfes Close disaster of 1862 when the building collapsed, although the subject matter in their song was entirely... and spookily, coincidental!

Harmonic Overdrive - You Inspire Me

‘Harmonic Overdrive” is the creative project of Iain & Kirsty McKinna. You Inspire Me was accompanied by a video release in July 2017 and the track was featured on BBC Radio 6 and the BBC website.

Harmonic Overdrive are currently recording an album which is scheduled for release in 2020.

Tom Robinson BBC Radio 6 "You Inspire Me jumps out of the speakers, it certainly inspired me!".

Dave Fotheringham - Half The World

Back in the mid 90’s vocalist Dave Fotheringham came in to the studio with Pianist Brian Kellock and recorded this track when the studio was an ADAT based recording system with the Atari computer. Just before the digital recording computer age came along and made ADAT recording obsolete.

Listening to the quality of sound in this track makes one wonder if technology has improved things, despite it's complexity and sophistication.

Allie Fox - Waylands Blues

Allie Fox is an accomplished Guitarist and Singer/Songwriter who recorded her debut album Diving For Pearls with Producer Iain McKinna at Offbeat in the late 90’s early 2000’s.

The album was critically acclaimed and established Allie as a serious artist. She then composed an album of instrumental compositions entitled Waylands Blues and came back to Offbeat in 2003 to begin recording. Following a series of health problems the album was continually delayed and has only just been completed in 2019 for a 2020 release.

Music Week "A really exceptional release"
Mojo "a beautiful debut album"
Bob Harris "A Really Nice Album"

Hexology - JFK

Some of the musicians in this band were in early Swamptrash and subsequently The Critterhill Varmints, Kith & Kin and to the present day Shooglenifty.

The Hexology album, now a valuable collectors vinyl product, was released on Nightshift Records and featured Richard Horne aka Harry Horse on vocals.

Also featuring Ben Ivistky on Fiddle, Conrad Molleson on Bass, JJ Jamieson on Banjo and James MacIntosh on Drums. The track featured on the show is JFK.

Tam White - Strangelove 

Iain first word with Blues Singer and Actor Tam White back in the 1980’s at Edinburghs Sonic Sonic Studios. Tam came back with Guitarist Neil Warden and Harmonica player Fraser Speirs as the core musicians for tracks recorded for the feature film Mandancin’ by Director Norman Stone.

Following the recording session Tam played Iain more song and an album entitled Hold On was produced and released on the Offbeat Scotland label. Tam was the first solo artist to win New Faces in the 70's and the first artist to sing 'live' on Top Of The Pops. As an actor he played major roles in Braveheart, Cut Throat Island, East Enders and River City. He was the voice of Big Jazza played by Robbie Coltrane in John Byrne's classic Tutti Frutti.

Musician “Tam’s many years of experience show in well-constructed songs, well played, well sung and well arranged.”

Sunday Herald "A flavoursome stew which succeeds in retaining an intensity of feeling within a contemporary treatment .”

Nectarine No9 - Don’t Worry Babe

In the late 1980’s Iain McKinna recorded a Fire Engines reunion track, A Dali Surprise for Russell Burn’s Piefinger album for Creation Records. Vocalist Davy Henderson, also founder of Edinburgh band Win, came back to Offbeat in the mid 90’s to ask Iain to record The Nectarine no9 debut album A Sea With Three Stars at Cava East Recording Studio , formerly Sonic Studios.

Our featured track Don’t Worry Babe highlights Dave’s creative use of inventing different characters in his songs with the use of Varispeed tape recording techniques in which the 2” tape used to record the album was speeded up or slowed down to change the timbre of the voice.

MOJO "They are among the last representatives of the “Sound Of Young Scotland”, a band so defiantly independent Postcard Records was reactivated for them in the ’90s, now Edinburgh’s The Nectarine No. 9 are set to be celebrated".

Hamed Kane - Akassa - Never Too Late

Hamed Kane is from the Serere tribe in Senegel. The tribe were converted to the Islamic Sufi religion and became known as Bayefall, they were unusually allowed to maintain their African traditions. Hamed along with his spiritual master NDigel created Bayefall music and the album entitled Akassa was recorded for the first time at the Offbeat Studio while Hamed was roaming around Europe in the late 1990’s after being introduced by Thom McCarthy.

Following the release of the album Hamed joined Iain on a few of his compositions and the track featured here Never Too Late is one of the collaborations they created.

Songlines magazine "Thrillingly authentic"
Straight No Chaser "Majestic Senegalese Trance Music"

 • Learn more about creating a Production Schedule

Types of Music Producer

Composer Producer

This type of producer normally works with their own material and self-produces for the mediums in which they operate: Film/TV, Radio etc..

Beat Maker/DJ Producer

This kind of producer is what you would require for creating beats for hiphop, drum & bass, grunge and then recording and mixing for various genres of dance music.

Songwriter Producer

Someone who writes their own material and is able to self-produce to a broadcast standard level.

Executive Producer

This kind of producer usually is in overall charge of the money and is often employed by a label to oversee and keep tabs on the recording budget. This kind of producer doesn’t generally have to have hands on experience of equipment but is able to communicate to a recording engineer how they want the production to turn out.

Musician Producer


At Offbeat, producer Iain McKinna is also a highly experienced recording engineer, arranger, composer, musician and songwriter who will bring the wealth of his knowledge, experience and fresh ideas to your project. 

Engineer/Producer

Engineers don’t have to have musical ability but are able to use the equipment in the studio as an instrument. Ideal for artists who want to produce themselves but who perhaps don’t have the technical expertise with studio technology.

The Producer's Role

Types of Music Producer

As there are quite a few different types of music producer, their roles can sometime seem a little confusing. However it’s vitally important that you find the right one for your particular project.
 
Regardless of the type however, the following tasks are generally in the remit of a producer.
  • Supervising the entire process through the recording, mixing and mastering stages. 
  • Coordinating ideas for the project with the artists involved.
  • Selecting songs, instrumentation and working with session musicians.
  • Working with the composer(s) on song arrangements.
  • Coaxing performances from the artist and musicians in the studio.

In our view undesirable types of producer are those who exert so much control on your music that it becomes unrecognisable to you. Having all your suggestions shut down is more than unhelpful and highly unproductive. Working together in a collaborative way is the best way forward.

In the same vein, a producer who offers no guidance and doesn’t warn the artist where things are going wrong isn’t much use either. If the producer isn’t adding anything new to the project then you might as well be producing yourself!

Music Production

FAQs

1. How much does a production cost?

Each project has different requirements, so once we know how long a song is, how many instruments are involved and what style of music you are making, we'll work out a recording schedule and price for your production. You may be surprised how affordable a master recording can be when working to a plan!

2. Why do I need a producer?

Working to a plan can actually save you money in the studio if you are making a record for release — and that’s where a producer comes in. If you have a vision for your music, a producer can make that vision into a sound that suits your style.

3. What’s unique about Offbeat?

If you're a solo-artist, singer or songwriter and need musical accompaniment for your recordings, Offbeat can provide all the musical support required to make a great production. So if you just write and play one instrument and want to hear a full band sound without having to find musicians and rehearse — and everything else involved in making your vision real — get in touch!

4. Can you work in my style of music?

If you have a demo — however rough — of your music then send it in so we can let you know if this is a style we can work in. Offbeat has previously produced music authentically in Rock, Pop, Dance, Hiphop, Jazz, World and Classical styles.

5. I live outside Scotland, how do I work with Offbeat?

We work with artists Worldwide and have devised methods of producing tracks remotely. Check out the Remote Production section to find out more.

6. Can you work using my own recordings?

Yes we can work from your recordings if the quality is good enough. Just send in a version so we can evaluate if we can work from it.

7. Do you do re-mixes?

Yes we can remix tracks either with you attending the session or working remotely.

8. I don’t play any instruments, is that a problem?

No, we often work with singers and lyricists who create melodies, and can write music from that.

9. What is a remote recording?

If you live abroad, or in this country, we can still produce music with you. Using Dropbox file sharing technology we can work on recordings with anyone, anywhere in the World that has an Internet connection. Dropbox is free for up to 2 gigabytes of information, more than enough to transfer at any one time.

10. How long does it take to record a song?

Each song has different requirements, once we know how long a song is, how many instruments are involved and what style of music you are making we'll work out a unique recording schedule together from which we'll be able to estimate a time for the recording.

11. Will you promote my music?

No, Offbeat isn’t a promotion company, that’s the role of record labels and management companies. We work with companies of all kinds in the music business and can sometimes put artists in touch with third parties, but it’s not our principal business.

12. I am a solo artist, can you help with musical accompaniment?

Yes, we can provide all the musical instrumentation you need for your recordings. Go to the Musical Accompaniment section.

13. I am musician who needs a singer on my recordings, can you help with this?

Yes, we can suggest singers that suit the style of your music.

15. Can you help me develop my own music and sound?

Yes, definitely, this is something we excel in .

16. Will you try and change my music?

Not at all. Unless, of course, you want us to. We'll go through a process of discovery to find out exactly what you want to achieve and then we'll help you to make that happen. It’s your name on the record so the music has to represent you 100%.

Get in touch to find out about our production costs for labels and self funded artist projects

CONTACT US!

Recording Studio

Find out how to book into Offbeat recording studios for your own music project. It's easy.
Learn More

Offbeat Records

Take a look at the records we've released on the Offbeat Scotland label.
Learn More

Custom Backing Tracks

Professional custom backing tracks created for your original music and exclusive use.
Learn More

Case Studies

See for yourself how our involvement in artists' music really helps transform their song.
Coming Soon

Music To Lyrics

We specialise in creating original music for lyricists and singers who need music for their songs.
Learn More

Testimonials

What artists say about Offbeat Music productions

ALLIE FOX

Guitarist, Singer & Songwriter
“Iain has a genuine enthusiasm for his clients and patience by the bucket-load, and being an accomplished musician himself he adds enormously to the arrangements, both in terms of ideas & playing the instruments.  The best pair of ears in the business!”

KHYLUNE

Singer/Songwriter from LA
“Iain was a consummate professional and perfectionist when it came to working on my project. I was consulted with every step of the way leading up to the final product.  Definitely not the last project with this incredible producer.”

ROD CLEMENTS

Guitarist with Lindisfarne
“Very enjoyable session at Offbeat – Iain got a great acoustic Dobro sound straight away with minimum fuss. The technology’s all there but equally important is the friendly vibe and comfortable atmosphere.”

KEITH MORE

Guitarist with G3, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney,
"Iain & Kirsty's musical talent, productions and friendly helpful attitude have always been second to none. If you are looking for top notch productions look no further”!!!

LESLEY YOUNG

Canadian Singer/Songwriter
“This was the best recording experience we’ve had together to date! Always enthusiastic, Iain is a talented multi-instrumentalist”.

DAVY PATON

Bass Player with Kate Bush, Elton John & Pilot
“The song and the production is excellent. Nice playing. What a fantastic view from your rooftop. Top class”
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