Recording a album can be great, super enjoyable, a unique and unrepeatable experience of great learning; as well as great torture and suffering if one does not take into account organizational details that help everything flow in the best possible way.
Although the personal experience is fundamental is each case, the following 11 items represent a list that I was doing during the years of experience recording as session musician, composer / arranger and producer.
I would like to share it with you with the intention of whoever wants to join and expand the items of it, feel free to comment and share. Here it goes.
- MONEY: To record a cd ALWAYS requires money, sometimes more and some less but it is definitely important. It is super necessary to foresee this situation in advance, to have the budget destined to realize it and to administer it of the best possible way so as not to stay half way without money and of course, without album.
- HIRE A STUDIO: Most studios work with an advance (% 50 depending on the studio) in order to reserve and schedule a recording date. It is very important to be sure that your date has been saved, as it is not very fun to get to the studio the day of the session and find another musician / band working (it seems ridiculous but it happens!). Make sure they give you an advance receipt, as well as a few days before the session call / write to the studio to corroborate.
- HIRE MUSICIANS: If the recording is of a collective project or band, this item does not count. But usually if it is a solo project or similar, it is necessary to take into account the contracting of musicians/ sessionists for the participation of the album. In my experience, however many times the musicians with whom you usually work want to participate in your project ad honorem, it is right to pay them for their work since there are always extra expenses, such as changing strings, transportation, food, etc .; And in collective happiness everyone wins and that is reflected in music. And something very important in this aspect is that the contracted musicians schedule the correct date/ time so that there is no confusion.
- LEARNING MUSIC BEFORE AND NOT DURING: this item seems ridiculous to mention but unfortunately is very common. It is important to ensure that everyone is with a minimum of security with the music that will be recorded in order to minimize errors and avoid cumbersome moments during the recording day. For this, it is important to have musicians hired and not be able to rehearse, send the parts to them in time and consult that there is no doubt. The best way to learn it is always the rehearsal, especially if the music will be recorded live and with the whole group.
- THE PRODUCER: Today the ease of recording is much greater than in times past and lack of experience as well. The Producer is the person who takes care of the difficult details and decisions without the artist/ band having to deal with it, from musical to organizational aspects and all those details that are cumbersome or difficult to cope with.
- THE ARRANGER: In many cases the Arranger (and Producer) is the same artist/ musician but it is very common that the project owner is only an interpreter and has to hire an Arrangement that is responsible for generating the musical context for each piece/ song chosen; as well as scores, reference tracks, among other possible details. The Arranger is extremely important when generating content for large groups or special formats such as Big Bands, Sextets, Orchestra / String Quartets, Vocal Arrangements, among others.
- THE RECORDING ENGINEER/ MIXING/ MASTERING: The engineer / technician is of the utmost importance since it is the one who will be in charge of sounding good or bad the recording and later the postproducción of audio. Many times when hiring the studio one can have the option to use the technician of the same, or to hire somebody of confidence. It is always good to know or at least have references, or to have heard works by the engineer with whom you worked.
- PHOTOGRAPHY/ FILM: it now seems that the music in an album is not everything, and that is why one should have as an option the ability to take pictures or film the recording or to create an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). In case of opting for it, it is another fundamental item to take into account.
- FOOD/ CATERING: Eating is fundamental especially in long days of recordings. Usually some kind of fast food delivery is requested, although if the days are extended until night time or are done on sundays, or holidays, the contemplation of bringing food/ snacks is a very important aspect.
- REGISTER THE MUSIC: Never underestimate the power of your music or the power of those who can steal your music. That is why it is fundamental that in case it is original music, register it and make sure you have the legal rights to it.
- PUBLISH YOUR ALBUM: a detail no less important is the publishing/ edition of the album. Although in the digital era we live in, it is very easy to create a digital edition by platforms such as Spotify, Itunes, Bandcamp or a personal website, we must take into account that in countries like Argentina (among others surely) entities that regulate the collection of royalties, etc., do not recognize the edition of a album if it is not in physical format edited by a company registered in them.
Until the next post!