March 1, 2018
There are many things bands and artists can do to ease their long days in the recording studio in to a fluid and productive set of days or weeks. We’ve been making records for decades and have a few suggestions to help you in that transition from the rehearsal space to the recording studio.
- “Practice.” – The better you know you parts and songs the easier it will be to nail it when you are recording. “Fixing it in the mix” isn’t always the best or most efficient option. Garbage in – garbage out. You’ll be a better person, musician and have more confidence in the end.
- “Plan.” – Have a talk with your producer or engineer about production goals and expectations. Determine ahead of time how many days or weeks you will need in the studio. Map out what you plan to do each day. You’ll generally come in under budget and might have time to do the fun things you’ve always wanted to do on a record. How much do you want to record live? How many days do you want to do overdubs? Will you record to a click? All these questions need to be answered before you walk in the studio the first day.
- “Crew.” – Try and keep friends and family in the studio to a minimum or none at all. Unless they are there to perform on the record, they probably shouldn’t be there.
- “Turn off your cell phone.” – Seriously, there is no excuse. Turn it off. You are in the studio to work. Not text or take calls. Unless it’s to order a delicious pizza!
- “Accessories.” – Bring extra picks, cables, strings, drum heads, sticks and moon gels. If you run out there is always our friends at Brothers Music down the street.
- “Tune.” – It can take 30 seconds and there’s nothing worse than listening back to a record with a guitar out of tune. It’s painful. We generally ask guitarists to tune every full take or two. Bring your own tuner. Or we have a bunch at the studio in case you forgot yours.
- “Oblique Strategies.” – Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt developed a deck of cards that have simple phrases on them which are used to break an impasse, obstacle or writer’s block. Some are specific to music composition; others are more broad. We have a deck in the studio and they have come in handy many times when musicians get stuck. You can also keep hitting the refresh button here.
- “Be positive.” – Keeping it positive will help the record continue to move and you’ll have a better time with the process. If you focus on the negative the mood will go downhill and no one will want to make the record anymore.
- “Moderation.” – As with life, do things in moderation. Have a drink. Don’t have a 6-pack. Have a cup of coffee, not 3. Or instead have tea. Again you are here to make the best record possible!
- “Sleep.” – One of the most important parts of recording is having the energy to physically do it. It’s not a passive experience. Be sure to plan to get a few consecutive nights sleep before the first recording date.