There’s something cathartic about heading to the recording studio, whether it be to work on your tracks, support your peers, or lend some much-needed energy. On the flip side, the recording studio can feel monotonous because you’ll likely hear the same sample of music over and over, but don’t let that get you down – it’s all part of the process. If you’ve never been to a recording studio, it can be overwhelming because there’s so much going on. Therefore, it pays to be prepared and put some planning in place, which can help keep your experience positive instead of draining. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to get you off to a flying start.
Unless you already have a huge pot of money sitting around, the chances are you won’t have a large budget when you first visit the recording studio. If you’ve got your equipment, you should take that to cut down on rental costs. Talk to your perspective music studio to find out exactly how much each session will cost, and make sure you don’t overstep your budget. Fortunately, recording studios such as the Brooklyn based PIRATE studios offers affordability and great quality. There are some things you shouldn’t compromise on, so ensure your studio of choice has you covered. Making a tight schedule and avoiding distractions will help you to stick to your timed slots.
Whether you’re looking to capture a raw live sound or a quality studio recording, there will be different mechanical requirements at play. Before you head to the studio, talk your plans over with your engineer to save time when you arrive. During your discussion, you can share your demo tracks and make sure you know the house rules of the studio. When your, your producer, and engineer are all reading from the same book, it will help to alleviate the inevitable madness.
We mentioned previously that being prepared is essential for keeping your studio costs down, but it’s worth mentioning as a point of its own. If you fail to plan, you will end up bleeding your precious money. Decide on the songs you wish to record during each session, and make sure you have each part down to a T; hold a band practice the day before to make every part is tight.
If you’ve been jamming at home and recording pieces you’re proud of, take them into the studio. You can use these golden riffs, demos, and ideas as a fantastic point of reference. If you manage to find success in your genre, you can include demo pieces on re-release records. As well as being a fantastic tool for reference, some people may struggle to nail a particular part in the studio; if you’ve already captured it once it can be used to put into your recording.
In business and rock ‘n’ roll, people associate the lifestyle with drinking heavily and partying non-stop. When you go to the recording studio, put that out of your head and stay sober – you’re there to get work done. If you feel like a little liquid courage will help, that’s perfectly fine, but make sure you don’t go over the top; the studio staff isn’t there to look after you.
Entering the music studio is a proud moment, so it can be tempting to take along with your friends, family, or even your partner. Their support is fantastic, but if they aren’t absolutely essential to the music-making process, leave them at home. When you’re going to the studio you are going to work, and the chances are that you don’t go down to the office with your loved ones to watch them work.
You need to prepare, make sure you stick to your budget, and involve the right people in the process, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let a little flow into the mix. The recording process is complex but try not to let it distract you from playing excellent music. If a track isn’t recording in exactly the correct way, but it sounds great, just roll with it.
Inspiration can leave us at the worse time, so take along Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. This interesting deck of cards acts as a method of getting over inspiration lapses. If you can’t reach agreements with your bandmates, you draw a series of cards and follow the advice on them – you don’t get to pick and choose. The wisdom on the cards includes: “fill every beat with something”, “emphasize differences”, and “go outside, shut the door”.
Recording music should be a fun process, but if you’ve never been to the studio before you should take time to prepare. Set out a budget and stick to it, communicate with your engineer, and leave non-essential people at home.
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