Recording your own music can be a challenging and time consuming task. We've already shared 5 easy tips on how to make your first demo, but there are even more things to consider when making a record for professional release.
We'd like to share the 10 dos and don't of recording by Hypebot author and music industry expert Jesse Cannon - the main points are summarised below:
- Don't get trapped by dead ideas. There's no point flogging a dead horse. As Cannon says, "Don’t promote dying songs that aren’t moving people; instead, focus first on making the songs people want to hear."
- Don't release a demo. Demos are just meant to give people within the industry a rough idea of your music. You can make a demo very simply at the start of your career, but the widespread availability of DAWs means that there's no excuse for releasing substandard recordings to the public.
- Don't rely on explanation. Don't think that everyone wants to hear the story behind your band. You should just concentrate on making good music.
- Don't be fooled when selecting a studio. It's important not to get seduced by a shiny professional studio without any soul. You need to make sure you are working within an environment that suits you. You could end up making a better record in your bedroom if whoever's producing it understands your music.
- Don't be fooled when selecting a producer. The same applies for producers - don't just choose one who is famous or has worked with famous bands. Try instead to think carefully about who will be able to make the recording process as smooth as possible, and enable you to create the sound you want.
- Spend most of your time crafting a song, not recording it. You need to release your best songs - the ones which have enough depth and quality to survive the recording and ageing process. Don't rush into elaborate recordings of songs which aren't fully formed.
- Plan how many songs to record. Know your goals before you start recording - how many songs do you want to record, in what order, and to what purpose? Think about the differences between EPs and LPs and what you can use them for, and make sure you keep some songs back in case you need them for later releases, or to replace songs that don't work well.
- Record yourself first. You can enjoy studio time much more if you have heard yourself on record already, and have tried out several ideas at home. This enables you to feel more creative and at east. Having access to a DAW at home is invaluable in this case.
- Consider the classics and make a reference mix. Collect your favourite albums and songs and analyse them. If you look at the components that make up your favourite records, you'll find it easier to show a producer what you're really looking for.
- Be realistic about the recording process. Before you begin, you should check if you are really ready, in financial and musical terms. It is better to wait if you are not, rather than waste time and money and end up with something you're not happy with. Secondly, make sure you have the necessary contracts in place. Whether you are working with a label or simply paying a producer out of your own pocket, you need to have the terms of the agreement clearly sorted before the process begins.
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