We’re all musicians here – and we all probably will record something soon (or have!). So here are my thoughts of things to keep in mind… a few Recording Tips:
1.) Practice. Practice. Practice. Know the songs perfectly BEFORE you get into the recording studio.
2.) Its expensive, so it HAS to be good. Recording can be costly, but know that price doesn’t equal quality. I’ve been to alot of cheap studios that are great, and some expensive ones that didn’t impress me.
3.) Recording Studios are expensive. You paying or the recordingspace, the producer’s knowledge, and the time. I’ll repeat – The TIME! So now, if you practice yor songs perfectly, then it’ll take less TIME to record – therefore saving you LOTS of money. Do I have your attention now?
4.) Delay. Expect things to go over budget. Expect the drummer to not show up because his girlfriend broke up with him the night before.
5.) Make sure the Producer has a resume and content you are thrilled about. Everybody has their own specific sound, so make sure it fits YOUR specific vision.
In the studio before recording
6.) Prepare your samples. If you’re using samples in your music, then you should have them prepared to add to the tracks while you record.
7.) Be Organized.
8.) Be Friends. The best bands create strong friendships. The best business people create friends with people. So don’t hate each other – a strong foundation will create a strong product.
9.) Record Yourselves to get a feel for the experience. play to metronomes, messa round with mic settings, set up your gear, then break it down. overall, just get used to having to be in a recording studio BEFORE you get there. Football players practice with Fake Crowd Noise to prepaare fof their big Sunday game – you should too!
10.) Know your surroundings. Know where the local music stores are. Know where the local clubs are. Know the directions and area perfectly, because no one wants to drive down a dead end alley on the way to the studio!
11.) Bring Extras. no I’m not talking Groupies – I’m talking backups. The drummer should bring extra sticks, the guitarist should bring extra pics and strings, etc.
12.) Get there early. For two reasons 1.) Your time starts whether you are there or not 2.) Things NEVER go as planned, so be prepared and be early.
13.) Be on the same page. Take a minute to make sure the band, producer, managaer, etc are on the same page about everything on Recording day. No one wants to be in the middle of recording a 10 minute Ballad only to find out the producer didn’t know everybody bangs their guitar into the mics at the 12 minute mark. Smooth.
14.) Be well rested, fed, and relaxed. Its a known fact that those who take care of themselves do better and think quicker. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.
15.) Learn more songs than you plan to record! Maybe you want that 4 song EP to be a 7 song EP. Or maybe you decide in the studio that the one song isn’t good enough for the record.
Getting in the Moment
16.) Relax. OK, so you don’t have to do Yoga, but being relaxed will allow you to perform better, so make sure you don’t choke up when you hit the High C on Beat 4. Don’t be intimidated – just take it slowly.
17.) Stay in tune. Make sure you have your tuner ready, and make sure everything is perfect before you record each take.
18.) Be a quitter. When you’re well rested you perform well. Likewise, when you’re tired you perform badly. So if its been a long day then don’t force it. Tomorrow is another opportunity.
19.) Pretend your playing a show. you know how you mess up in a live show, but you don’t let your audience know about it (hopefully). Well, do that while recording, too. Alot of times mistakes can be fixed in post-production. Other times the mistakes create ‘magic’.
20.) Drink Water. Especially if your a singer. Warm water is preferred – but just be smart about staying in tip-top shape.
21.) Learn a thing or two about mixing. When you’re able to speak the language then you can communicate what you want to the producer, etc.
22.) Ears tire quickly. You know how when you wake up everything seems so LOUD! Or how about when you enter a club and everything is loud, but by 2am its tolerable. Well, your ears get tired and a time goes on they begin to lose their accuracy (just like any other muscle). So rest up, and tomorrow they will be good again.
23.) Guests. Guests can intimidate and create noise during the session. Unles they are needed to be there, then just say no.
24.) Get a track listing and recording log.
25.) Loud doesn’t mean better. Remember to have dynamics in the music. Instead of making the drums sound louder, consider having everyone else play softer.
26.) Keep it all the same. A song recorded in 2 different studios will actually yield 2 different sounds and results. So if you record in separate locations be sure that they have the same acoustics, monitors, etc.
After Recording your music
27.) Listen to the mix in every situation. The car stereo, your ipod, TV sound system, computer, etc. I actually went to Best Buys, Circuit City and more to ‘test’ the car stero systems with a CD – as it turns out I was just listening to how my mixes sounded on different car systems :)
28.) Keep an open mind. Listen to your producer, guitar player, and other musicians. Everyone wants to be in charge and give their 2 cents on something – but the best listeners always win.
29.) Copy me. You know that master you have now after recording? Make copies of it. Heck, make a copy of everything from here on out.
30.) Have fun! People always forget about this one. Having fun in work, friendships, and everything is the secret to success. Take your recording seriously, but remember to be passionate and to have fun with the work you create. Remember: having fun is why you picked up an instrument in the first place :)
31.) Market it! Tell people. Send it out. Put up banners. Make phone calls. Do EVERYTHING you can to build up your music and tell people about it. It could be the best recording ever – but if no one knows about it then it’s toast.