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So you wanna be in a rock band?: Rules of rock: Part II

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Lifestyles | March 19th, 2007

Continued from last week...

Rule #5: Bring your producer a CD by a familiar artist that illustrates how you want your album to sound. This is especially important if this will be your first recorded album, and if you are working with a producer who is new to your material. By bringing along an example of a disc that demonstrates the production quality you wish to obtain, you are creating a framework for your producer, and also likely setting your budget. When it comes to selecting an appropriate example CD, it's clearly important to consider the production/technical side of things, but as well, finding an artist that is similar to your act in sound will assist in this process greatly.

Rule #6: Just because it's free doesn't necessarily mean it's a bargain. In my opinion, there are certain jobs that should be left to the professionals, and recording/producing a band's album is definitely one of them. No matter how many recording programs you've managed to illegally download onto your computer, you need to face the facts, basement and at-home recordings simply cannot render the same quality as a professional in-studio recording. Aside from the disc's sound quality, a trained sound engineer will be able to pick up on things that you may not even notice. They are educated to be sticklers for perfection, so if you want your band's album to be able to compete with the big leagues, hire a professional. However, not just any professional producer will do. Do your research, know which bands your producer has worked with in the past and be sure you are selecting the man/woman you feel is best suited to the job.

Rule #7: Your producer should not be the same person as your mixing engineer. The more the merrier is definitely an expression that is fully embraced when it comes to recording. Because it is such a tedious endeavour that requires listening to the same sections of songs over and over again, it is strongly suggested that several engineers are hired to work on your full-length as opposed to just one. Producers are only human after all, and the more that they hear something on repeat, the less likely they will be able to pick up on imperfections. Therefore, hiring at least three different people to cover the jobs of producer, editor, and mixer will ensure that your album is as close to perfection as possible. As a bonus, producers often have their own staff with which they work or at the least will offer you a referral to a sister-company that handles the aspects of the production that they cannot.

Rule #8: Be in the studio at all times. Even if you've already recorded your instrument, it really makes no sense to abandon the studio. Not only it is disrespectful to your fellow bandmates that waited patiently for you to lay down your tracks, but as well, this is your art. If you take off in the middle of recording, you might as well sacrifice your say in terms of how you want the album to sound because if you were not there, then you've got no business complaining about the results. Some of the best ideas for albums have spawned purely from being “in the moment” or on account of a minor suggestion from a producer. So, if you want to see the magic as it unfolds, I recommend sticking around. I wouldn't want to leave my art into the hands of others, so why would you?

Rule #9: Have fun. Recording can be a stressful experience if you let it, but truly, it's meant to be satisfying. Let your creative juices get flowing, and experiment with different settings and effects. Ask your producer questions, get involved, take pictures and make it something to remember. If you're getting worked up over a note you just can't hit, relax, take a break, and let someone else take over for a bit. Don't rush yourself, you can take all the time you need. It's your album, you set the deadlines. Never record for more than twelve hours straight, and if you aren't happy with something, speak up. Remember, your producer is there to work for you, not against you and your vision.
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