Recording Your Tracks In A Studio

After experiencing the full rehearsal delights at Unit 26 ( where else ? ! ) for a few months , you come to the conclusion that the rest of the world really needs to hear the fruits of your labour . Gigs obviously get you a certain limited exposure to the locals but recording your undiscovered classics and getting them distributed through the various channels available to bands nowadays is the way forward.

After experiencing the full rehearsal delights at Unit 26 ( where else ? ! ) for a few months , you come to the conclusion that the rest of the world really needs to hear the fruits of your labour . Gigs obviously get you a certain limited exposure to the locals but recording your undiscovered classics and getting them distributed through the various channels available to bands nowadays is the way forward.

By now you will have seen the incredible recording facilities that Unit 26 also offers as well as the unlimited amount of free tea and coffee and the fact you can go for a fag outside , flick your dimps where ever you want and not have the fag dimp police chasing after you with a littering fine !

 

Choosing your songs :

First move is to get all the inter band disagreements , arguments , “my song is better than your song” etc settled . Now , if that involves a peaceful and amicable and honest appraisal of which songs are going to grab people’s attention or if it’s a ‘last man standing’ approach that the film ‘Fight Club’ would be proud of is up to you but sort it out before you get in the studio as arguments in the studio can be very expensive !

The number of songs is also very important , don’t come in thinking you can easily lay down 5 or 6 future classics that will take the world by storm in just a day or two of recording because you won’t , it’ll be a disaster . Usually , especially for your first time in the studio , chose 2 songs that can have plenty of time dedicated to them that will produce results of a high quality that you’re happy with and will give you plenty of time to get the songs right and allow time to fix any mistakes.

 

Rehearsing :

You’ve chosen your 2 songs and you’re all still just about on speaking terms so it goes without saying that the songs need to be well rehearsed which includes all parts and arrangements being known inside out during your rehearsals . If you are unsure about any part of a song fix it in rehearsals and not the studio where if songs are not well rehearsed it can start to cost more money , lead to more arguments and even worse,upset the engineer / producer who can be notoriously grumpy at the best of times ! (producers in general-not our producer , obviously !)

Just as important as the parts and arrangements are the sound of the instruments , amps and vocals and how they all work together with a lot of bands doing rough demos so they can hear what works and what doesn’t ,  even if it’s just on a mobile phone at least you can listen back to the song.Of course it would be amiss of me to not mention the recorded rehearsals we offer here , if you haven’t got any way of putting some demos together and for a paltry £60 for 3 songs of excellent live / demo quality  you have something which you can give to our producer who is recording your session and it will save a lot of time ( and money ) in the studio.

The next important thing to think about is whether you are going to be recording to a click track . A lot of producers like to use a click track because it keeps everything in time and editing and fixing mistakes is a lot easier and quicker and again this will save you a lot of time and money . If you are using a click you need to know the BPMs to your songs and if possible practice to it before you go in the studio as a lot of musicians are not used to playing to a click and at the same time keeping the energy , attitude and performance of the song intact . The poor old drummer cops it the most as it is essential that he obviously keeps to the click but still performs with the same feel and vibe that he usually does which allows the rest of the band to play to him , so be very understanding and supportive of your drummer because the success of the session depends on getting a great drum track to build the rest of the song to .

Here at Unit 26 , our producer usually favours a click and it’s saved most of the bands a lot of time and money , especially with the editing later on in the process .

Who to record with :

Do you want to work with an engineer who will record the track with very little creative input or a producer who will have a lot more creative influence on the song’s parts , arrangements and overall structure . It all depends on how precious you are about your lovingly created little masterpieces and if you trust an  outside influence . Sometimes a producer will transform a fairly average song into something of wonder that will garner worldwide success and acclaim or sometimes you”ll end up with something you hate so much you can’t even listen to it !

With that in mind it’s so important to do plenty of research into which studio and engineer / producer you will work with and see which bands and artists they have produced .

As regards to Unit 26 , all I will say , is that we’ve had no complaints yet so our producer must be doing something right !

Again ,  coming back to the money thing , I know a lot of bands that have spent an absolute fortune on a “name” producer hoping that it will guarantee instant success , only for it to be a complete miss match and the whole thing being very unsatisfactory for both parties .

 

Give your demos to the producer:

If by now you’ve decided to record at Unit 26 you will hopefully have asked us to play you some of our previous sessions just to see if we can produce the sound you are looking for .

Again , I know a few bands that have splashed out a lot of money on big name famous studios and being quite disappointed with the results when a more modest looking studio could have produced something they would have been very pleased with and at a fraction of the cost . You’ve heard our stuff ,  so now we want to hear yours !

It is so beneficial for any engineer or producer to hear demos of the songs to be recorded so they know exactly what sort of sound you want before the sessions have started .

I mentioned before about our recorded rehearsals which for only £60 for 3 songs would enable our producer to hear what sort of band you are and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page so to speak . Not only does it save time and money in the studio ,  more importantly it brings the sessions alive as the producer knows the songs as well as the band does and so enabling a more creative , dynamic and ‘vibey ‘ atmosphere .

Of course , if you have recorded some demos at home that’s fine as well but whichever  way you want to do it , it is so much better than walking into a studio stone cold and the engineer / producer not knowing what they are going to get .

 

Performance:

You’ve chosen your songs , chosen Unit 26 and chosen our producer so you are now ready to put down your heart and soul on record so to speak . Obviously you want the final product to match as closely as possible to what you had in mind when the song was first written and this is where the performance comes in . Artists have so many different ways to bring out the best in themselves and their band members in the studio but usually if you are well rested the night before and not gone ‘ out on the lash ‘ , it is better than turning up with a raging hangover and looking and feeling like a corpse ! The vibe in the studio is yours to create so obviously everyone in the band has to be in the right frame of mind . Always check with any producer you use the general rules of the studio , as in , is food and drink allowed in the recording suite , can you smoke , can you drink alcohol but don’t just spark up a fag in the recording suite without asking as things could get off to a very rocky start !

At Unit 26 the rule is simple – if you want a fag – go outside , although , we do tolerate vaping as long as the entire band isn’t chuffing away on those things the size of mini bazookas that produce enough smoke to do a very good recreation of the London pea soup smogs in Victorian times !

One last thing , this applies to any studio , all producers like to have a fairly uninterrupted flow of tea , coffee , soft drinks or whatever their particular poison is and if you’re the one whose turn it is to supply this service  be very careful where you put down the drink for the knob twiddling master as any spillages on the desk or any studio equipment usually elicits the same sort of response as if you had charged up to a fully grown grizzly bear and given it a good old smack on the arse with a cricket bat !

But , above all else , enjoy yourself , be yourself and be creative !