Recording Studio Mistakes Bands Make
At TracksNY I see artists and musicians on a constant basis trying to work around assumptions that are only prohibiting them. Here are 3 common phrases I’ve heard at the studio.
1) “We don’t want to lose the feel of the song, the click will make it too robotic.”
This is all wrong, the click is your friend, a sherpa to guide you along the fear and anxious roller coaster of doing that full 3-5 min take.
The click is never wrong. It’s actually there to give you “breathing room”. If you want to push or pull back on the beat, that’s fine; the click is there to give you a place to reference and come back to.
Whether you’re multi-tracking or recording as a full group, the click is your foundation to build on. If you make a mistake and want to comp parts from a different section this is a breeze when built on a click. If your band is multi-tracking piece by piece, the click is literally the key to success.
Have you ever tried to play on a sloppy timed guitar track? It’s the beginning of the end.
Pro drummer tip: When you hit the snare and can’t hear the click “Your On”.
As a kid I used to sleep with a metronome on.
2) “We know the songs really good”
When you come in to record a song you should have it so rehearsed that’s it’s become second nature to you like breathing. This is especially true for young musicians. Without at least a decade under your belt, putting down tracks is hard; especially when at the last practice you change the bridge and the breakdown of the song you want to record.
Practicing the same songs over and over isn’t always productive, mainly because you start to lose the lust for the song. But you have to prepare for your recording session. Just because you played the song 20 times beforehand, doesn’t mean you practiced. As a whole, practicing is playing until a mistake is made then starting over and playing again without making that mistake. Tedious, yes, but that’s the only way you’ll ever perfect your recording. This is extremely important when recording as a group.
If the bass player duffs a note, then the drummer slips a little, then the guitar player hits off time, and the singer doesn’t come in right.
That’s a ruined take. Don’t bullshit at practice when you’re going in to record.
3) “I read about how The Edge gets his guitar sound, and I want that to be my sound for this recording”
Well…. I don’t know if that will fit, but thats not for me to judge.
Yes, anything is possible in the studio, but coming in to record your three song EP is the wrong time to make drastic changes to your soundscape. Play the song the way you practiced it, because adding a lot of new sounds inevitably changes the way you’ll be playing the song. Of course this is a time to perfect your sound, but not to change it.
Throwing this monkey wrench in is a quick way to irritate your band mates and slow down the whole process. If you really don’t like your current sound, and need the help of the engineer to achieve it, lay down a scratch track with the band and book a dubbing session specifically for putting together your sound.
Friendly Reminder – Making mistakes over and over can be frustrating and very destructive to your moral. But just like anything, if it isn’t hard to accomplish, it probably isn’t that great.