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  • Sam Gates

Before You Record

In sitting down with countless musicians over the years, I've seen just about everything. From the hungry musician that has a great live set but no experience in the studio to session musicians that have been around the block. They all have their own thoughts regarding what the experience should be. With this being said I'd like to take the opportunity from a producer/engineer perspective to lay out what REALLY matters in the studio and how you can help that translate to a truly amazing cut.



Pre-production is one of the most neglected phases of the record making process. It seems tedious and wasteful, why not just start laying tracks and change stuff on the fly? Right...? Wrong. This leads to a mess for everyone involved. Take time in the beginning to give yourself and those involved with your music some direction.

Pre-production consists of a couple key steps -

1. Determine the tempo, structure, meter, and number of songs that will be recorded. Nothing is set in stone, but this is a good start. With this written out you'll know where your budget needs to be, how much time the album will take, and who needs to be involved This will give you a road map to success from start to finish.

2. Decide on a recording structure. Who is tracking what instruments and when. Basic process is scratch guitar, drums, bass, keeper guitar, vocals, then additional elements. Obviously there is plenty of room to deviate from that, however that typically leads to the most cohesive recording once everything is said and done.

3. Work out terms of recording. If you're an independent artist you need to know who's entitled to royalties, who owns your masters, what your budget is for studio/engineer time, and a laundry list of other information. Check out some information from ASCAP here.

Overall this isn't a complicated or difficult thing to do, it just takes a little bit of time and gives you as an artist a huge payout in the long run. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

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