I feel a sense of deja vu as I write this because I feel like I have said it many times before to many, many people. But it worth reiterating here…
When it comes to recording your music in studio, preparation is the key!
Let’s face it, unless you are a superstar with a giant recording budget to blow, you probably won’t have the luxury of spending weeks or months in studio, experimenting and fine-tuning your songs. For the average independent artist, you are more likely to have a few days. What this means is that you need to do as much work as possible before you ever set foot into the studio.
What does this look like?
- It means communicating with your producer as much as possible before the session to discuss the sound you are looking for. This covers the instruments you might want for each song (do you really need drums, bass, guitars, keys on every song?), the vibe for each song, the key and tempo for each song etc. If you just show up with a room full musicians and simply hand them a chart, you will most likely get tracks that sound like pretty much everything else around. Be prepared with as much artistic input as possible for them to sink their musical teeth into! Ideally this will look like lots of pre-production: laying ideas down with the producer outside of the studio where time isn’t as precious.
- It means making sure your instruments are ready for the studio if you are going to be playing something (change your guitar strings a few days before the session etc.)
- It means spending time with a vocal coach as much as you can before you record so you can spend less time on getting a better vocal performance
- It means working with your producer to pick the right musicians (not your buddies) to play on your recording.
- It means that the song is written… fully… before you get to the studio.
- It means communicating clearly the expectations for your time in studio – how much do you hope to get finished in your time, do you expect to cut your vocals live with the band or after the fact?
If you go in knowing what you want out of the session and knowing what needs to get done to get that end result, you will find your time in studio to be much less stressful and much more efficient.