5 Ways To Prep For A Studio Session
Reading Time: 4-5 Minutes
Ok, you've saved up/earned enough money to get yourself into a pro recording studio. You definitely don't want to waste any time while you're there, as you'll end up paying for it. Hard. I've seen lots of bands come into the studio and start off on the wrong foot. However, it's my job to make sure that bands know how to prepare for the studio. Here's a few ways:
1) Demo Your Songs - Create demo versions of your songs on your own recording software. I am assuming that most musicians have access to at least some recording equipment, however these days, it's pretty unlikely that you don't. So make some rough versions of your songs and send them to your producer or engineer. Chances are, the engineer or producer can make a scratch track off of that file. For instance, I'll even take a phone recording of the band's song and apply it to my Pro Tools session. Most importantly, you can listen back to your song and make sure that it sounds good! Listen to the parts and make sure it's great. Now having said that, you may be working with a producer in the studio, so if they are wanting to work on the song in the studio, send them the demo and be ready to develop it further.
2) Setup Your Instruments - Just like you want to make sure that your song is sounding great, you have to make sure that your instruments are sounding great! Get your guitars setup and properly intonated, get new drums heads on your kit, clean your cymbals, make sure your pedals aren't making noises, the list goes on. Basically, make sure your equipment is working like its brand new and sounding great. Side note, ask your engineer or producer if they prefer brand new strings and drum heads, or if they like to have them worn in for a week or so. Personally, I like brand new, but not every producer does.
3) Know Your Parts - This is crucial to getting the best sound and the smoothest session. Make sure your parts are second nature to you. In a perfect world, you want to be able to play your parts without even thinking about it. That way you get an effortless performance, and it typically allows you to sink back into the pocket. Plus, it requires less takes! Now once again, if you're working with a producer in the studio, your parts may change. In this case, do your best to know your parts inside out, but be prepared to make adjustments on the fly. You could potentially even have some alternate parts ready to be pulled out! Be proactive yo!
4) Be Rested - A lot of musicians overlook the importance of rest when going into the studio. Let's be honest, musicians are musicians, they generally like to party. But maybe hold off for the time you have allotted for recording. This is ESPECIALLY true for a singer, however its not limited to. Even the guitar player, drummer, synth guy, etc will perform better if they are well rested and able to focus.
5) Plan For Some Experimentation Time - This one is of course budget permitting. But if you have some extra budget, it's a great idea to allow yourself some creative freedom in the studio to explore. After all, this art, so let's get artistic. Sometimes you'll find a sort of divine inspiration in the studio that will give your record the flavour it needed. So be sure to give yourself the opportunity to allow that to happen!
Hope that helps guys, comment if you have any other tips for prepping for the studio!