Recording sessions always run smoother when you’re fully prepared. To help make sure you’re ready here’s a few things for you to make sure are done before you come to the studio that’ll make the recording process run much smoother.
Please send demos of songs as soon as you can. Doesn’t have to be polished at all (I’ve had iPhone demos which are just fine). That way we can start discussing the overall vibe and how we might approach the songs.
Learn all of your parts inside out. This includes fills/cymbals you’re crashing/riding on for each session etc. Editing 7 different takes of the same part comprising of 6 different fills is extremely difficult and can often mean very surgical editing of an average take which doesn’t always sound great. It’ll improve the drum sound greatly if minimal chopping is involved when it comes to editing parts and just as importantly will save time.
Don’t overcomplicate things. Play for the song and not for yourself. This can often mean simplifying fills and accenting certain elements of the guitar. If you feel a fill is a little out of your reach then don’t play it. It’ll sound much better if a simple fill is played GREAT rather than a complicated fill played at half the velocity.
Practice keeping your velocities consistent. A great recording drummer will play the snare and toms with minimal changes in velocity for all the fills and grooves. This also helps if you know the fills inside out and are confident going into every part.
If you bring your own drums please make sure to bring new skins with you to the studio (don’t change them before you come).
GUITAR AND BASS PLAYERS
As well as learning all your parts inside out try to plan out which sections will need different tones e.g. double tracked rhythm, lead, clean etc.
If you bring your own guitars/bass make sure that they are set up well with brand new strings and all the intonation in good order (very important).
Have an open mind both for your tone and your parts. Have a good idea of the tones you’d like to achieve, but also keep in mind that one particular amp you had in mind may not work for a certain section. We do a lot of ‘tone questing’ to get the guitars sitting well in the context of the songs and generally people with are more open mind are much happier with the end result.
Eat/Sleep well before and during the session. Tracking vocals for the extent of a whole record can take its toll on your body and some people can end up getting sick. Make sure you eliminate this by eating well (fruit and veg, not just microwave meals). Also try to get at least 7 hours sleep every night so that your body has time to recover before the next days tracking.
Warm up. Make sure you know which warm ups work best for you. I’ve had people go for a jog 5 minutes before they track to get their breathing going and do amazing takes in very little time. This might not work for you, but learn how to warm up your voice so that it’s less likely to blow during tracking. Especially for harder screaming vocals.