Recording Studio Axioms
by Doug Cochran and Drew Burasco
Going to the recording studio is a lot like going to get your picture taken. Sure, your friend can take your picture with his phone but there is nothing like a real pro photographer in a properly lit studio to bring out the best. Photographers can’t make you taller or more attractive, but they can certainly make YOU look YOUR best. But the photographer can only do so much. It is up to you to pick the right clothes and do your hair up right. So too is the recording studio. The engineer can’t, at least shouldn’t, correct everything you play. You need to know your material. All the engineer is doing is “taking a picture” of you playing it. The ideal recording is transparent. You should hear the band, not the studio.
So, what can the artist do to have a positive session?
First and foremost – know your material inside-out. Practice the songs until you vomit the riffs. Know your band mates’ parts… umm, there might be a better way to say that. Rehearse the material as a group.
Secondly – have your instrument and equipment ready and in good condition. Change strings a couple days before. Fix equipment problems like jacks, etc. When you arrive; set-up, warm up your voice, stretch your fingers, and tune. Let me repeat that… tune your fricken guitar. If you don’t have a tuner, ask if there’s one in the studio.
Thirdly – leave ego’s and other life-stuff outside the studio. When you walk through that door be professional. Wipe all thoughts of band drama away. You and the guitarist can continue with a pissing match tomorrow. While in the studio, concentrate on the music. Teamwork.
Forth – Take a moment to discuss ideas with the engineer. Have a list of the songs with arrangements. The more information you provide, the smoother it will go (and time is money in this business). Do not tell the engineer how to mix. Trust me… he knows how every knob works best in his studio. Do give the engineer ideas about how you want the artistic sensation and texture of the song to be… or not to be.
Fifth – Do you drink beer at work?
Sixth – Do take a shower beforehand. A studio is a closed environment.
Seventh – Be prepared to really hear yourself.
Eighth – Overall, relax and enjoy the moment… if everyone is prepared and focused, it will be a great picture.
Ninth – Number 9… Number 9……… Number 9……………….
If you want success with your art, treat it as a business.