Creating the right 'vibe': emotional labour and musical performance in the recording studio
journal contributionposted on 15.10.2019, 11:07 by Allan Watson, Jenna Ward
Recording studios are distinctive spaces in which artists are encouraged to expose their emotional selves in intimate moments of musical creativity and performance. In this paper we focus on how music producers and recording engineers perform emotional labour as part of the performative engineering of this musical creativity and performance. Through emotional labour performances, producers and engineers create recording studios as emotional spaces, characterised by trust and tolerance. This is often referred to, by recording studio staff and musicians, as creating the right ‘vibe’. We highlight two forms of emotional labour as particularly pertinent to ‘creating the right vibe’: Emotional neutrality and empathetic emotional labour. Emotional labour performances help to reconstruct the recording studio as a space free of the social and feeling rules that otherwise shape our emotional landscape, and allow musicians to produce their desired musical performance.