Preparing to record in a studio - a biscuit's tale.
Hello again. It’s Rod again. Here to impart more of my pseudo-wisdom / nonsense to you. I thought this time I would write a little about how bands and artists can best prepare for coming in to a studio to record. Over many years of being on both sides of the glass I’ve made as many mistakes as anyone else and this will be as much a catalogue of what not to do as what to actually do.
Practice makes perfect
First up you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again……Practice! A rehearsal room, whether your garage, a basement or a carpeted cell, is decidedly cheaper than a studio day. Work out you arrangements and parts there to save yourself money and time. Get used to playing together and if needed a with a click and headphones so you don’ have any unpleasant surprises when you get in to the studio. If you are doing this make sure to write the tempo you are playing at for each song down somewhere. “I think we played this one at 120bpm” doesn’t help too much….. Pay attention to the finer details like the bass guitar and kick drum syncing together or the harmonies being tight. Its sounds simple but so any times I’ve heard the phrases “I didn’t know thats what you played all this time!” or “What are you playing in the second verse? It sounds wrong….”. Having all this together will make your studio time both cost effective and more fun and allow time for experimentation and focussing on the sounds and performances.
After you’ve spent all that time and effort writing, rehearsing getting ready don’t neglect you instruments. So often bands come in with guitars that aren’t set up properly or drums with old battered skins. We have loads of great mics, a great live room and a grade A console but we can only record what is presented to us. A crap sounding / tuney guitar or dead drum kit will sound like that whatever mic we use…..We have a bunch of guitars, amps, drums etc but if you want to play your own instrument then get it set up! Buy some strings or new skins. Or a new reed for your Bassoon.
Here’s a handy checklist:
Drummers: • Buy new skins and sticks • Learn to tune your kit • Oil you kick pedal (no squeaks please) • Practice to a click if using one • Bring biscuits
Bass Players: • Set up your bass and check intonation (if you don’t know how go to your local guitar shop) • Sometimes older strings can be cool on a bass but just check they aren’t rusted to bits. Ideally unless going super old school and dead sounding play in new strings for a week before recording. • Practice with your drummer and zero in on the kick pattern • Practice with and without a pick. Sometimes more attack is needed and a pick will help. • Leave active 5 string fretless basses at home • Bring a tuner • Know your pedals if using them and remember the power supply or batteries. • Bring biscuits
Guitarists: • Change strings and bring spares • Set up guitar properly for intonation (if you don’t know how go to your local guitar shop) • Bring picks • Know your pedals if using them and remember the power supply or batteries. • Spend some time on your tone. Yes we have amps, lots of them but know what you want to get out of them and how to do it. • Bring biscuits
Keyboards: • Pre programme in any sounds you have and like if bringing in your own keyboard • Bring biscuits
Vocalists: • Don't go out the night before and smoke tons of Cigarettes (unless you are going for that Tom Waits vibe) • Get a vocal warm up routine and stick to it. • Bring biscuits
Other instruments: • Look after your violin, trumpet, kazoo etc. • Bring biscuits
So you’ve rehearsed until you are almost sick of the songs (almost) and you know them back to front, up, down and sideways. You play with a click tighter than a miser’s tax return and your instrument is tuned, set up, polished and singing like Pavarotti. You are better prepared than troupe of Scouts on a camping weekend. Now there is only one important thing to remember. Always bring biscuits. I like biscuits.
If you're interested in recording at Post Electric Studio then feel free to contact us.
P.s. No Rich Tea.
P.p.s.: Kris prefers cake