Get the Most Out of Your Recording Session
A few more words of wisdom for how to slay tracks during and after your session. This is a continuation of last months post on How to Prepare for your Recording Session.
During the Session
There are lots of things you can do during the session to keep the flow going strong, or totally derail the mojo – these tips will help you to avoid the latter:
Authorized Personnel Only
In order to keep the flow of the session going, only those persons critical to the recording process should be present at the session (i.e. no friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, fans etc). Having non-essential personnel in the studio can cause things to get crowded, and can really slow down productivity.
The Click is Your Friend (Part 2)
Click tracks will make your recordings sound better – the idea that they take all the magic out of music is a myth created and continued by lazy amateurs who aren’t skilled enough to lock in to a metronome – more on this here
Quiet on the Set!
Don’t jam or play between takes or songs. Tune up or sit quietly. In fact, tune up every few takes minimum (don’t worry, I’ll remind you).
Keep it Clean
Start takes clean – Keep strings muted or turn up your volume knobs etc. once tape is rolling. At the end of a song, let your final note sustain (or not, depending on the song) and resist the urge to cheer excitedly at the end of a wicked cut. Give it like 8 seconds at least.
Mix Things Up
Stage settings don’t always work in the studio – try to be open to trying different things, including changing amps, recording direct into the board and adding effects later, or whatever other craziness we come up with. Go with the flow and you’ll have more fun, and make better music.
Screw-ups happen. Just relax and try it again. If you’re not feeling a song after a few attempts, its probably time for a break. Be open to change as well, a “Screw-up” sometimes sounds awesome. Maybe you didn’t hit the note you wanted, but the one you did belt out sounded great!
Post Session Review and Mixing
Try to be as objective as possible when you listen to the first mix I send you after the session. Have a listen to bands in the style you’re going for and try to think about what sounds different.
Need more chest-punch to the kick? Less reverb on the vocal? Vocals too loud or soft? More edge on the bass? Move the lead guitar more to the left or right?
Take detailed notes, I promise to go through them and do what I can to get the sound you want.
BONUS TIP: Bring a CD or USB key with samples of your reference tracks to the session!