Your group wants to make a record, you’ve decided to be thorough and you need an answer to the question – what can be done to make the record come out as good as possible?
I will try to help you. So where do I start? Of course, with rehearsals! A good record preparation will solve a lot of problems. What should I pay attention to? As funny as it sounds, every musician has to learn his or her part.
What’s more, it’s a good idea for everyone in the band to know they’re different, and if there are suggestions or ideas you want to express to each other, it’s a good idea to do so before you record.
This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be room for improvisation and search, just leave as few questions as possible for later. It is not a fact that all of the chips that are invented will look good on the recordings.
Now it’s no problem to make a simple demo – install a couple of microphones in the room, take the remote control off the notebook – the resulting recording will allow you to understand how the song sounds “from the side”. It’s a very good practice to make rehearsal recordings. Only by recording often can you get rid of your “fear of the microphone”.
Rehearse as close as possible to “combat” conditions. If a drummer records under a metronome, let him rehearse as well. Whether to use the metronome or not, you need to decide as soon as possible.
The use of the metronome allows you to mount a track of several takes, facilitates the process of dressing the drums, if necessary, on the other hand, without the metronome you can achieve a more lively groove.
Finally, think about the producer. Our indie bands rarely work with producers, and in general we have a different meaning for this concept than abroad, but if there’s someone you listen to and have experience with recording, they can be a great help to you.
The most important thing is to give an unbiased opinion, make decisions on controversial issues and, most importantly, let the musicians do what they have to do – play, not think about which microphone sounds better. If there are personal problems with the group, deal with them before you record, or at least agree on a truce.
Choose a studio. The deciding factor is often the budget, but there are many studios and almost always a couple of options. The main thing for you should be the atmosphere at the studio and the people who work there. Go to the studio in advance, talk to the sound engineer, listen to the drums in the tone of the room. Discuss the recording process.
Nowadays, live recording (i.e. when all the musicians are playing at the same time) is often perceived as exotic, but it is a very good way to record, which often leads to a better and more natural performance.
However, this recording process requires more from the studio – it is desirable that in addition to the tone of the room there are rooms where amplifiers can be placed, as well as more microphones and input channels.
What do you need for the record? It is absolutely necessary to put new strings, it is very desirable and new plastics on the drums. A complete set costs a lot, but change the plastic at least on the drum. Prepare the instruments for recording, adjust the guitars, check the pedals, wires, etc., you do not want to cause a delay in recording! Do not bring unnecessary people to the studio.
Especially girls! Ask the Beatles… At the beginning of any recording you’ll be wasting time tuning up the sound. Don’t be clutches! It’s better to take a few hours to get the sound you want, than to record an extra pair of bad-sounding Tiks, and then spend months “pulling it out” when you’re mixing it up. Do your best to get the sound as close to what you want from the start as possible!
When tweaking the sound, try to make your thoughts as clear as possible, don’t try to advise the sound engineer on what to do, but rather explain what you want.
Move gradually, first adjust the sound of instruments, effects, amplifiers, and then listen to how it all sounds in the microphones. If you don’t like the sound of a combo in your room, it doesn’t make sense to listen to it on the microphone! It’s the same story with drums.
Of course, you can use the samples later, but if you want a small guy with a “vomit” sound, and he sounds like a “donn”, it’s better to deal with it from the beginning. Finally, you’ve rebuilt yourself and started recording – take your time playing all the songs in a row! Take breaks, otherwise you will run out of steam, and with each take the performance will be only worse.
The main thing on the record – to catch the mood. If you feel that some moment is not given, skip it for a while and move on, and in order not to forget to record it later, make charts on which you will note what is ready and what remains to be done.
A good attitude is very important on the record. Don’t clutter! If someone in the band doesn’t make a record – don’t push them, try to create an atmosphere that makes them feel more relaxed, always remember that you’re recording as a band, so you’ve recorded the material for all the tracks, now you have to choose the duplicates that will go for the mixing.
In this process, it is important to have an independent opinion, if you are working on your own, without a producer, try to listen to your recordings as impartially as possible. Usually musicians pay too much attention to the quality of the performance.