Tag Archives: pre production

What Daisy Did Right: Follow Through

I recently finished a 5 song record with Daisy, the newly formed band of songwriter Michael Boezi. I am truly proud of this band not just for the record that we made together, but for how they developed in their vocabulary of music production and recording technique. Daisy started as a bedroom demo project with slightly out of time, very lo-fi recordings. I finished the record with a band that was versed in how to analyze, criticize, and think critically about their recordings. Here are some things that they did right:

Pre Production
– We met at Jamspot to go through each song that the band wanted to record. We discussed the intended arrangement, how the songs would work together, and how the record would feel as a whole.

Studio Choice
– The band chose a studio which was within their budget so that we could work in a realistic amount of time to complete the recording process. Although we chose a studio based on budget, the room was equipped with instruments that helped with the creative process. The record was largely guitar based, so we picked a room that had a large amp collection.

Tracking
Through the tracking process, the band was in continuous contact with me about their thoughts and intents with the project. At each overdub session there was a concise “to do” list that we loosely followed. This really kept us focused and left us with more time for creative use of the studio and our overdub time.

Mixing
In preproduction the band made mix CD’s of songs that they like, or thought would be a good guide for their mixes. They also attended all mix sessions. This really helped to create a mix environment and vibe that was exactly what they heard in their head.

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How much does it cost to record with Shane O’Connor? Answer: NOTHING

I have spent the last couple of days tweaking, and working on my Rates and Services page. Although I am still not done (always details…) I think that I made it pretty clear how the financial, and logistical side of working with me usually goes down. I created this…. because I am often asked how much it costs to record an album, EP, single, or whatever it is you are looking to do.
The true answer: it costs nothing to begin working with me….. at least to begin with. All it takes is a commitment. You have to commit to making your best record ever, and giving it everything you have (emotionally, not financially). We can always work out the details of money and studio bookings later, but to start a record, you just let it happen. Starting, is the biggest step.

One of the best ways to make your record happen, is to tell 20 people. When you have decided that you are going to work with me on your new record, tell 20 people that are within your social circle. Not just any 20 people, but 20 people that will follow up and have an invested interest in your goal. Give them a due date for when the record will be released. Now you HAVE to do it, and you HAVE to do it now. You have a due date and a commitment with 20 people. The record is a reality, even though not a single note has been documented.

There is nothing in your way.

The next step, pre-production

Getting a deal on studio time.

Getting a deal on studio time.

 

The saying “you get what you pay for” is often very true when shopping for the right studio to record in. A deal that is far below the average hourly rate of competitive studios is often a marketing gimmick to lure in new clients, or a plea to save a poorly staffed or soon to be closing studio. Although the rock bottom prices are often less than desirable in their outcome, there are ways to work with a studio owner so your record can be done in a nice facility, within your budget. 

 

Trust Your engineer, he probably knows whats up!

The first thing to understand, is that your engineer or producer probably has better leverage with studio owners in your town than you do. Begin talking with your engineer about how much studio time you really need to make your record happen the way you want it to. This is part of what I talked about in my Pre-Production video which I also posted today. 

 

Make a commitment and stick to it. 

If you decide with your producer/ engineer that your record should take around 14 days to complete, this puts you in a beneficial position in a couple of ways. First, if you set yourself a time limit (within reason) to cut a record, then your pre-production can act as a buffer to make sure you are organized and rehearsed to meet your deadline. Secondly, locking out 14 days of studio time can often yield a better day rate than booking two days, then waiting to book your next couple of sessions. A large lockout ensures the studio owner that their quota has been met for studio bookings. 

 

Head For the hills. 

Another great method to cut studio costs is looking outside of your city. There are many studios in rural areas  that will be much cheaper than studios in the city. They often provide very cheap (or free) accommodations for artists who book longer sessions. A huge benefit of working in the woods is the element of focus. If all you have to think about it making your record, the process becomes much more immediate, and things surprisingly get done faster when your bass player doesn’t have to meet his girlfriend for drinks. 

 

 

In the end, the cost of studio time is almost always proportional to what that studio has to offer. This is something that you really need to discuss with your engineer (a great reason to use a freelance engineer like myself… I don’t give a shit where we make the record, as long as we make the record). A studio that charges $70 an hour will probably have better maintenance of the gear, more instruments to choose from (look to my previous blogs about that one) and a nicer facility. For example, if you are looking to track your band in a live setting, a room with large iso rooms will sound much better than a room with one very big live room. If you are a solo artist and mainly work on overdubs, using a smaller studio for a longer time is probably a better choice.y

For more information on how you can make your next record better, shoot me an email ShaneOConnorRecording@gmail.com