Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - 7 Key Steps Before You Head Into The Studio...

Last week, I shared that we're working on a new CD! There are so many wonderful things about being a musician, and recording is one of our favourites. Including my first EP, this will be our 6th recording project! It's been 2 years since our debut Infinitely More CD, and we're just itching to get into the studio.

Over the next few months, I want to share our recording process. If you've never recorded a CD before, I'm hoping these posts will give you information and a behind-the-scenes peek at the process. If you have lots of recording experience, I hope you'll leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section for other readers to enjoy.

Infinitely More is an indie band, 
so what does that mean when it comes to recording?

Basically, it means we are responsible for our own recording process. We decide when we're ready to record, and what we want the album to sound like. We're responsible for all funding, either through fundraising, grants, or our own credit cards. In our case, we write and arrange our own songs. We choose our production team, and when the CD is finally completed, we're responsible for getting it out into the world.

The words "we're going into the studio" can be seductive to any musician. The right studio with the right team is an incredibly creative place. But it's important to remember that those days can be very expensive, and unless you've got a superstar budget, it's important to make the most of every minute. There are too many horror stories of artists investing months of work and thousands of dollars into a recording, only to end up unhappy with the final results.

The key - Pre-Production!

We'll assume that you have some awesome songs you've been writing and performing, and you've now made the decision to record. Here are 7 things you can do before entering the studio that will help you make the most of your time and resources:

1. Find The CD's Purpose
These are the things you want the CD to accomplish. What is the message of your music? Why are you recording this CD? What is your artistic vision? How do you want the music to affect the listener?

2. Choose Goals for the CD
These are the things you want to accomplish with the CD. How can this CD help with your career and ministry? Do you want to expand your audience reach? Do you want to submit the songs for awards or radio consideration? Are you hoping to break into a new market or demographic?

3. Be Realistic
What is my budget? Where am I getting my funding? What is my timeline? What am I able to do myself? Who will I need to hire?

4. Seek Advice
Who do I know personally that has a great CD? Can I take them to lunch or hire them to consult on my CD?

5. Research 
Read the liner notes on CDs you love to find out who made them and the size and shape of their instrumentation. Research studios in your area and ask how they work with indie musicians. Many studios will also have recording advice on their sites.

6. Write Things Down
You'll have lots of paperwork, receipts, and notes. Start a new file on your laptop or create a binder for hard copies.

7. Find Your Team
Should you record yourself, ask a favour of a friend, or hire a professional? Can you play your own instruments and sing harmonies, or should you hire musicians? Who can help you with photography, graphics, and manufacturing?

If you start with the Purpose and Goals, you'll have a great foundation for the other decisions in your process. In our experience, it takes a village to raise an album. Don't be afraid to ask for lots of help, share your story on social media, and ask friends and family for lots of prayers and encouragement.

Next week, I'll talk about our favourite, and most challenging, part of the process: 
Choosing The Songs!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday! 


Victor Jones said...

Good advice! Do you do many pre-recording demos before going into the studio? And do you take any home recordings into the studio just to get tweaked?

Allison Lynn said...

Thanks, Victor!

We'll record our tracks in Nashville using studio players. We make work tapes of all our songs so the producer can chart them in advance. Then, the players will record all the tracks in one day.

We're not really set up for home recording right now, so anything we do at home is just as a reference for the studio players.