So you’ve finally got enough songs, enough time and enough cash to get yourself some studio time and record that album you’ve always dreamed about. So what else do you need to do to get ready to make every minute count?
The number one most important thing is to have the songs fully written and learned before going into the studio. You don’t want to waste valuable studio time making changes to the songwriting in the studio. You should have all your instrument parts learned including solos. Your singer should have all the lyrics memorized and everyone should have their backup vocal parts learned and memorized. Figuring out harmonies in the studio can be agonizing while the clock is ticking. If you have the songs written and rehearsed then you’re completely free to concentrate on giving that once in a lifetime performance that you want to capture forever in the studio. You need to take care of the details so that nothing impedes your performance in the studio. Just be sure to have complete mastery of your music before going into the studio to record.
You’ll also want to make sure that all your equipment is in good shape before you take it to the studio. You don’t want to have to deal with any breakdowns. If you have an amp or guitar that has been giving warnings that it could have problems, take the time to get it fixed before you go to the studio. Bring any spare picks, strings, sticks, heads and electronics that you think you may need so you don’t have track anything down on studio time.
Another excellent idea is to take a tour of the studio before you go record there. See if you can visit during another bands recording session so you can get a feel for how the studio personnel run things. If you see that the recording engineer likes to record guitar amps without the speaker grill, get it ready to be removed quickly in the studio. Ask any questions you can ahead of time so you’re not on the clock asking those questions during your session. Also, make any special requests ahead of time so the studio can have those things prepared for you when you get there. Just having the studio dig out the right number of headphones before your session can help speed things along when you get there.
Finally, BE ON TIME! Or better yet, be early. You’ll get charged for the time that you’re late but you most likely won’t be charged for time that you’re early. If you get there early you can spend that time unloading your equipment and hauling it into the studio.
If you follow these simple suggestions your studio session will run far more smoothly than a lot of other bands. Just remember the most important thing is to know the songs. The Beatles were able to record their entire first album in 15 hours. Not because of limited options but because they had the songs down so well, there was no need to spend any longer to achieve perfection.