In this part of the website we’re going to talk about what to expect in the studio from the point of view of the performer, you!
There are many tricks and techniques that can be used and we will pick the best methods of recording for you and your style.
Whether you are in a band or are a solo singer/songwriter there are a few things that are the same.
Recording the Base or Guide Track
First we will record the base track. This is the core elements of the song that set things like tempo, structure and root chord sequences. Depending on the style of the music you may or may not record this along to a click track.
If you have a band this is usually drums and bass guitar, but we will probably also capture “guide” or “scratch” tracks of guitar and vocals. Guides are designed to help the drummer and bassist with their performance. For a solo performer you may only record guide tracks to a metronome at first and the rest of your base track, like drums and rhythm parts, will be added in on top of the guides.
In either case you will be listening to your performance through headphones so that we can reduce unwanted sound in the room to a minimum.
Take your time and relax into the performance. The producer will need to spend some time setting up and you can use this time to get comfortable with the environment. You will get as many goes as you need and no takes will be deleted. The final chosen takes may well be an edit of a few of your best bits!
Now we have the base track down you can perform any additional parts to it. Typically these include guitars and keys. We may divide the song up into smaller chunks to record just the verses or just the choruses. We may try a few ideas or different sounds, create layers and record things several times. This is a fantastically creative part of the session where your song can really begin to come to life.
Vocals are normally recorded last. This is because your vocal performance will be affected by the instrumentation in the track. A vocal that is recorded too early can often not sit right with the parts recorded after it.
Similarly to your instrumental performance, you’ll be given plenty of time to take as many goes as you like. Every singer is different, and this process is the most individualised part of the day. Some like to sing their song in whole takes, others like to sing it part by part. Some love lots of effects on their voice, some do not. We have lots of tricks and tips to quickly find the right method for you.
You’ll be performing in our vocal booth with headphones, which can feel a little weird at first. To help with this, we may put some echo effects on your voice; it feels great to perform when you’re so embedded into the song. Your first take or two will be test takes for the producer to set things up correctly for you. Relax here and use this time to get comfortable and warm up your voice. You do not have to find that one magic, perfect take. Your final vocal performance will be compiled from the best bits of all your takes.
Once we have a wide selection of lead vocal takes we may discuss the idea of adding backing and harmony vocals. These parts, often overlooked, really add to the overall effect and professionalism of the song. Don’t worry if you’ve not considered these parts, once again your producer will guide you with a few ideas to get you going.