SONGWRITING / PRODUCTION
A great production always starts with a great song
It really does, so let's get this working first. Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure it’s in the right key for your voice, so sometimes it takes a little more. Perhaps you have verses and choruses and aren’t sure where to go next. Perhaps you have some strong ideas but they need more variation. Perhaps you just need an outside perspective to see things from a distance. Perhaps you only have a vocal line and need harmony, or chord structure - this is actually one of my favorite things to do! Remember, the only ego is the song.
Is the listener interested from start to finish?
Let’s get the length of the song right, let's get the chorus appearing at the right time, and let's find the right instruments to complicate your song/voice.
Time to turn this into something special!
This is the fun part! After getting the song working it’s time to bring in the other instruments and turn it into a full-on production (or even a stripped-back one, if that’s what it needs). I will work out all of the parts - and their harmonies - and get them working together. Even if you wrote the song on a piano but have decided it’s going to be a guitar-driven song with a band, that’s ok, we can make that happen. Just bring along as many ideas as you have and we can throw them all into the pot and create something magical.
F.A.Qs / Top Tips For Preparing For a Studio Session
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECORD A SONG?
This is a tough one as every song is different and it all depends on what is needed. Perhaps the song is good to go with the songwriting and you have a clear idea on what you want from the production, or it could be the other side of the spectrum and you simply have a bunch of ideas that needs a lot of work to weave them into a song.
However, in my experience, an average of 1.5 to 2 days per song seems to be a decent amount of time to get the required results.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Your wonderful self is a good start and, of course, your song! If it's just ideas you have, then try to get them as clear as possible so we can get stuck right in. Bring your lyrics. If you're a guitarist, bring your guitar along as you'll feel far more comfortable with something you're used to and then it means we can get the best performances possible.
PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS PISS-POOR PERFORMANCE!! (REHEARSE)
Please, please, please, practice your parts!! Firstly, if you've done this, then we're going to get far better results.
More often than not, when you start recording in a studio it puts a bit of a microscope on the individual parts in a song. If I had a pound for every time a band member said to the guitarist (or whoever) when they're tracking their parts, 'Oh, I didn't realise you were playing that?!', then I'd be a rich man!! Try to get these parts right first and then rehearse them until you know them so well that it's in your muscle memory.
In addition to the properly rehearsed performance sounding better, it takes less time to record and cuts down on studio time. This is, of course, better for the bank balance, but it also means that it we need to make a few changes here and there we can make them there and then, instead of having to wait 30 minutes for the musician to practice their part.
Rehearsal studios are for rehearsing, recording studios are for recording (clue's in the name really)! ;-)
WHAT SHOULD I NOT BRING?
Well, nobody likes an attitude, so it can be handy for everyone - the song included - if everyone enters the studio with a positive attitude. Remember, making music is fun! That's why we started making it in the first place, right?
Studio sessions can be quite draining at times too so it's important to keep in good spirits - having breaks really helps.
Ideally, only bring along people who are involved in the recording of the track. It can be easy to lose focus when there are lots of distractions and, as wonderful as your partner is, you probably don't bring them to work with you, so might be best to ask them to come and meet you afterward - after all, we've got a super important job to do!
HOW DO WE GET STARTED THEN?!
Firstly, get in touch and let me know what you need. It's best to get a clear idea and plan of attack from the start, then we can take it from there. If you have rough demos of your song(s) it would be ideal to hear some of those before we get in the studio, that way we can have a think about arrangement etc before we book a session. Sometimes the song might need a little work before entering the studio - I'll give you some pointers on what/where to work on - so this will help to ensure we're using the studio sessions wisely and efficiently.