The recording process is arguably the most important part of building an audience. So, how should musicians prepare for it?
There are many things that can easily cost a lot of money in the music industry and not least of all is studio time. If you seriously want to make money, then the first step is limiting your outgoings. There are numerous tactics musicians can employ to cut down on the amount of time spent recording and to maximise efficiency while there. Time is money, after all.
I’ll start with the painstakingly obvious: it is essential that all parties are well rehearsed before you get to the studio. You are committing your songs to a permanent record, so you’d better be damned sure that you’re ready for that. The time for winging it is over. Likewise, you must ensure that your instrument sounds its best, whether that means new strings, new skins, an intonation check, etc.
Now, into the fun stuff. Hopefully, at least one member of your band has some rudimentary recording equipment and software (personally, I’m a Logic Pro man, but to each their own!). Decide on a tempo for each track that you’re recording beforehand and record drumless guides for your drummer to play along to in the studio. This will pay dividends, as the extra time you’ll spend setting up your instruments to play along to a live guide track and getting the hang of all playing along to a click can be easily avoided.
This also gives you the opportunity to create markers so that the studio engineer/producer can easily differentiate each part of each song. “The bit after the shouty bit” doesn’t always make it as easy to understand as “bar 12, just after the bridge”. Remember that those who are recording you won’t know your music as well as you do, especially when they are building a recording from the ground up.
The studio can be an exciting place, but I’d strongly recommend not bringing along family/friends who are not directly involved in what you’re doing – it’s a distraction that you can do without. Similarly, preparing food beforehand is worth considering. The lunchtime forage can easily eat into time that you don’t want to be eating into!
Ultimately, the more planning and preparation that you do before going into the studio, the more efficient you’ll be when you’re there and this will translate into cost-effectiveness. The recording is the most important part of how an artist or band is perceived by potential fans, so all musicians must give that the respect it deserves.