The Making of a Record: Top Tips to Getting it Right! (Part 1)
Part 1: Pre-Production & Recording
Each month, the experts at Gospel Oak will bring you some of the best music industry advice, revealing top tips and tricks of the trade! This week, we’re looking at how you can get the best out of your recording experience when making a record, right from preparing your material ‘till you’re in the studio and ready to mix… Here’s our Top 15 tips!
1. Write your song!
Yes, it might seem glaringly obvious, but no matter if you’re old school with a notebook of lyrics or the type to save the fleeting moment of genius in your iPhone drafts… the first step to making a record is writing your lyrics, melody, chord structures and choosing your style of presentation.
2. Find the right producer.
“It’s a very personal thing, the band needs to trust the producer and the producer needs to ‘get’ the band,” says in-house engineer Barry Bayliss. Check out the Gospel Oak producers, – you’re sure to gel with one of them.
Booking in for a pre-production session with your producer is incredibly beneficial – they will gain a valuable insight from being in the room with you, whilst you can share ideas and suggest changes before getting in the studio. This is where the all-important trained ear can make the difference between a demo and a commercially acceptable recording.
4. Practice, practice, practice!
Before getting in the studio, practice really does make perfect. Rehearse and fine-tune all aspects of your song, individually and as a band, and ideally work with your chosen producer.
5. Ask ‘How are you playing it?’
Again, this might sound obvious, but make sure the band is communicating – playing starts and stops together, performing their parts the same way every time, that the vocal range is best for the singers, and that the band is playing dynamically. This will ensure a completely tight, sharp recording. Try recording the rehearsal and dissecting each track. A simple stereo recorder will work wonders here!
6. Choose the right studio.
Whether it’s their amazing live rooms, obscure tech, or perfect location, different studios offer different things. Gospel Oak boasts amazing equipment, a top-notch live room, talented sound engineers, AND the best location for country pubs!
7. Prepare your instruments.
Simple things can cause problems and delays to the recording process. Are your instruments intonated? Do you need new skins on your drums or strings on your guitar?
8. Get a good night’s kip!
Going into the studio bleary eyed and tired will only produce a sloppy, low quality sound. Being well rested will allow artists to deliver and execute sharp, tight recordings. Also, don’t drink alcohol or do drugs in a session – it really does impair judgement!
8. Vocals are vital and choosing the right mic is important – your voice is unique and so is each microphone!
Don’t be afraid to try all of those available before recording. Gospel Oak engineers work closely with vocalists to ensure they get the best out of each individual voice.
10. Bands: use the same tuner.
Your instruments might sound spot on even to the well-trained ear, but using the same tuner to tune each instrument the same way is a fail-safe way of ensuring the band is in tune.
11. Nail your technique.
Always try to keep your mouth or instrument at the same distance from the microphone. This maintains smoothness of phrasing, particularly when punching in and punching out, and allows our engineers to pick the best punch-in point at the mixing stage.
12. Focus on message and emotion.
Now that the technical details are down, focus on the message and emotion of the song. The lyrics are your communication, and your own unique way of singing or playing should be believable within the feel and style of the music.
13. Evaluate your tracks.
Listen back to those recordings before it goes to mix to spot errors and areas that lose its drive or that need tightening up. This evaluation process will make the difference between a good and a great final track.
14. Take a break!
Go for a run, take a nap, or pop to one of our peaceful local country pubs for a swift one. Moving away from the recording process and coming back at a later time can do wonders for a bands collective thinking!
15. Enjoy your jam!
Relax, have fun with it, and enjoy the recording process – it’s amazing how many artists can become rigid in the studio! Imagine you’re chilling out with mates or performing to an amazing audience – if you’re having fun and pumping passion into your performance, it’s bound to sound great!
Now that our music gurus have let you in on their industry secrets, you’re all set, ready and raring to get in the studio! Get in touch to discuss recording options and book here.
You can check out more top hints and tricks on how to be a pro at preproduction and recording here: