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date: 09 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The music industry is characterized by stereotypical images of excess, pleasure, intensity, and play that have given rise to folklore of “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.” Through a qualitative study of sound engineers this chapter explores two main questions: To what extent is the lived reality of working in studio contexts with creative artists reflected in the stereotypical representations of “rock ’n’ roll”? To what extent is the “rock ’n’ roll vibe” an organic, voluntary state of creativity or facilitated “emotional FX” elicited by studio staff to enhance particular musical performances? The chapter demonstrates ways in which engineers and producers manage their emotions to influence and support performances from artists. These emotional labor performances aim to recast the technological, and often stark, physical space of the recording studio as a site of autonomy and play, turning work spaces into sites of pleasure and excess in sometimes uncomfortable working conditions.

Keywords: emotional labor, drugs, music producers, sound engineers, recording studio, vibe

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