5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Recording
Walking into a studio can be both exciting and intimidating for many artists. I have been there, felt the rush, worry, panic and all the mixed emotions that comes at you when you're sitting in front of a mic, surrounded by your band mates, sound engineer and producer who are expecting what seems like a lot of out of you. Hence I decided to help with some basic guidelines to make the process easier.
1. Songwriting is the key - It doesn't matter what gear you carry into a studio, none of it will make your song any better than what it is. I strongly suggest to treating the songwriting phase with a lot of patience and hard work. Allow your mind to speak to you when it's tired, do not hesitate to take breaks and revisit the song later. You will be very happy how the process becomes so easy when you know you have a really well written song. Ultimately, it's not the process, it's the song that always stands out.
2. Practice smartly - Once you have a great song (good melody, well written lyrics and a song structure that flows seamlessly and feels right) take time to practice your parts with a metronome and do it till you're able to play it effortlessly, till you're able to think of the emotion behind the song and not the technique required to play it well or the exact position of the notes on the fretboard. Let those sink really deep into you so you can purely focus on the emotion and the impact the song creates.
3. Service your equipment - I have seen many musicians walk into a studio with their instruments in bad shape - old strings, drumheads, chipped drum sticks, bad power supplies and cables for pedalboards etc. The most uninspiring thing to happen in the studio when you're feeling the rush and excitement about tracking a certain part is your instrument/equipment not supporting you. So work these costs into your budget before you step into a studio.
4. Producer is your best friend - I cannot stress this enough. You need to involve your producer/engineer from an early stage of this process. Take time to discuss the song, lyrics, thought, emotion behind every song and help them be on the same page as you. Do not be discard the feedback they have to offer without considering it. It helps to remember - a good producer strives to bring the best out of you and helps you take the right steps, even if it is at the cost of making you uncomfortable. You will thank them, eventually.
5. Be realistic - Do not expect exceedingly high things out of yourself. Be honest in accessing your skill set and it is perfectly alright to say, it is beyond my ability to play a certain part. Work out parts that are achievable for you. I am all for pushing your limits, but, be realistic about how much is reasonable and when it isn't. If you wish to sound like your favourite band, you need to play like your favourite band.