Pre-Production and Studio Time Preparation
You’ve written your songs, you’ve been rehearsing and playing out live, now you’re ready to go into the studio, right? Well not quite. The studio is a different beast. Preparation, time management and working out all the details in advance will not only save you time and money, but give you peace of mind and make your recording experience more enjoyable. Here are a few tips:
Be reasonable and realistic with your time and budget:
Don’t try to record 12 songs in one day or squeeze a song in last minute. It takes a tremendous amount of time to set up, get tones, headphones and just get comfortable in the studio. A big mistake is to try and record as much as you can based on your budget. Instead, plan what you would like to record, then budget accordingly.
Have your arrangements and lyrics dialed:
In a best case scenario you’ve hired a producer and if so, have them out to your rehearsals in advance, work out arrangements with them and document them. Decide on tempos and practice to a click track (if you plan to use one.) Even if you can’t afford a producer, always bring a lyric sheet for each song with your arrangements noted next to each section (V1, C, Bridge, etc), the tempo and time signature for the engineer. This goes for overdubs too, map out as much as you can in advance
Check in with the Studio a few days before your session:
Reach out to the studio manager, your engineer, and producer for any last minute logistics, load in info, parking etc. Ask them about nearby food options in advance and plan out your breaks and mealtimes. Bring lots of (preferably healthy) snacks.
Make sure your instruments are in good shape:
Change all of your strings, drumheads, etc the night before and give them time to settle, and make sure you bring plenty of extras (Strings, picks, drumheads, moon gels, gaffe tape. If you can afford a drum tech to come in and tune your drums it will make a big difference. This goes for you too vocalists, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and bring “Throat Coat” tea.
By Producer Eric Lilavois