Checklist For Success
 
Before you go into a studio and after you start your project here is a checklist of things that will help guarantee a focused, enjoyable and successful endeavor.
 
 
  • Decide what it is that your are trying to accomplish

    • Looking to make a demo for label consideration? Putting out a record on your own? CD single, CD album? CD to give to clubs and booking agents to get gigs? Each of these scenarios begs a different line of attack. Let’s look at a realistic approach to these options that gives you the most flexibility and best bang for your buck.

      I rarely recommend people who have live bands [drum kits guitars…] to come in and cut just one song. The amount of time to set up drums get sounds etc. etc. makes this an expensive proposition. Three songs are the minimum you should plan on doing with a live band if money and efficiency are important to you.

      It’s always been hard to get a record deal and today it’s harder than ever. A 3 to 5 song demo is what is used to present material to a record label. Today’s A&R people expect to hear a “finished product” demo. So a demo is no longer what it used to be. If you are going the “demo for label” route consider it an EP. If the deal doesn’t happen you can press some up yourself to recoup your costs and gain exposure. Plus you can use it to find investors who might want to help you create a full length CD.

      If you decide to record a full length CD make sure your goal is to press it and release it yourself. Don’t record a full length with the idea of getting a deal as the only thing on your mind. It will be a waste of your time and money. Speaking of time and money. If you feel you are really stretching your budget but want to cut a full length CD, cut all the basic rhythm tracks, overdub and mix the ones you feel have the strongest potential and then wait to complete the rest. That way your stuff will be easier to finish and mix as the drums were all cut during the same session block.

  • Rehearse reheasrse rehearse!

    • Be prepared to play your tightest and best! Before you go into the studio rehearse all songs and RECORD them even if with a cheap plastic microphone and your computers audio recorder. So many times people go in they studio and after playback realize the tempo they have been playing at and even what chords changes are in the song are not right. Every time you rehearse, record and then listen to each song until all components of tempo, pitch and arrangement are the way you want them. Don’t waste valuable time in the studio doing things that are best done beforehand.

  • Create a schedule

    • Coordinate a schedule between all the band members, the engineer, studio and anyone else that needs to be present during each phase of the recording process. Make a calendar and give it to all pertinent people. Today the best way to do this is by email. Any changes to the schedule should be emailed and a confirmation returned so that everyone is always informed and “on the same page”.

  • Keep notes

    • Make a list of every song you will be working on and every overdub each of those songs will need. Take home rough mixes after every session and notate what instruments need to be fixed with punch ins. Keep notes on the setting of your instruments and amplifiers for each track you record with them. That way, if you have to punch anything in, you can get right back to the sound you had for that particular part. Your engineer should also be doing this with any outboard hardware he uses while tracking you. Coordinate a schedule between all the band members, the engineer, studio and anyone else that needs to be present during each phase of the recording process. Make a calendar and give it to all pertinent people.

 

Have fun

If you apply all the suggestions in this checklist, you will be able to do the single most important thing in any successful recording project… HAVE FUN! It will show in your music and infect everyone from the other collaborators in the project to the listening audience. Good luck and hope to have a call from you to book your session time soon.