Something that deserves to be talked about more... your next album! The idea of pre-production is a missed opportunity for a band or artist to nail down their ideas and save time and money in the studio. Unfortunately, some studios never take the time to help their potential clients maximize their time, and make the best out of their musical ideas.
While it can seem daunting to discuss your thoughts and ideas to a stranger, it is a great practice. This can help you and the engineer get on the same page about your album. It also helps the engineer prepare better for your time spent inside the studio. A lot of up and coming bands don't have the income to hire a producer, or don't have connections to someone who can fill that roll. This usually means it falls to a band member(s), and potentially the studio engineer.
Going into the studio "blind" for lack of a better term, can be a quick and easy way to waste money, and leave you, the artist, unhappy with the results. A studio engineer is there to help your audio ideas become the best they can, but without proper knowledge, this makes their job difficult, and can lead to mis-interpreted ideas and sonic goals. A great studio engineer knows the how to achieve the best out of the studio gear. Knowing the sounds you are searching for ahead of time allows them to tailor pick the easiest way to get you want the sound you're searching for.
Having a pre-production meeting with the studio engineer, can also help you and them get a "feel" for each other. This can help you decide if they are going to be a good fit for you and your musical ideas. Keep in mind, it isn't always about the best gear. A great studio engineer can make a bangin' album on the cheapest of gear. Also, if you and the engineer's personalities don't mesh, this can make for issues down the road. Usually working in close quarters, laying out your intimate ideas and thoughts, you want to feel comfortable with the person capturing your music. Pre-production meetings can help you and the engineer form a friendly relationship, and provide common ground for which to connect.
Take your time when searching for your studio, and get to know the studios and engineers around your area. Even taking different parts of your recording to different studios can be the best option for your music. Drums in one, guitars in another, whatever helps you achieve the best album. Build your relationships, and talk to the engineers before you commit to recording. We are here to make history with your music. In the end, we are historians, documenting a moment in time. Make it the best it can be....
Sitting here, debating on how to start a blog post for the first time...
The human mind amazes me sometimes. At least my mind amazes me... Here I sit, looking at the computer screen, thoughts rushing through my head...
"Why are you writing a blog?" "Do you think this is worth it?" What if you suck at this?" "What if you don't suck?" "Will this be worth your time?"
The simple answer is... I don't know what I'm doing, but that is ok! As humans, we get caught up in our routines, our patterns of everyday life. Our habits become our "Safe Zone". Somewhere we can retreat to, knowing everything will be alright, if we can get back to our routine. Being the amazing and wonderful creatures we are, our double-edged sword, are our habits. Habitual creatures do not care whether the habit is good or bad, as long as we continue the habit. This can be our saving grace and our demise.
Continuing bad habits is something we all get stuck into. It's easy, it's our home, our safe place. But I urge to break these bad habits. Maybe not all of them at once, mind you. Instead pick one. Focus on it, and spend time changing it to something better. For those un-aware, I have started teaching here in the studio. It has been a giant undertaking, and a realization of how much I still don't know. This pushes my comfort zone out of a 10 story building. Falling, spinning, wondering when the ground will finally meet me, face to face. Only to realize, the ground hasn't reared its ugly head. Instead, a soft pillow of excitement and wonder in the faces and comments from those willing to partake in my incessant ramblings.
Some say the best way to learn, is to teach. In these past 2 weeks this is coming true as I continue to build lesson plans and plan my short lectures. All in all, I am slowly becoming accustomed to delivering my knowledge to others, passing on what I have found to be "useful information". Some may agree with what I have to say, while others have a differing of opinions on the matter. Either way, I can only strive to do the best I can, with the knowledge I have acquired over the years.
So I implore all of you, to do the best you can. In whatever you are doing, whether you feel confident or not. To paraphrase a quote from a favorite book of mine, "Practice makes perfect? No, there is no such thing as perfect. Instead practice makes a master." So, I tell you to practice. Even the things that scare you, the habits you wish to change. Break them, practice being better. In your life, job, health, and hobbies. Step outside the comfort zone you have accustomed yourself with, and take a step into the unknown.
You might just find it isn't as scary as you thought. And, you may also find the risk is worth the reward.