How To Record Your Band On A Budget
There are a few options when looking to make recordings of your band when you are on a budget. First, you need to decide what these recordings will be used for. If your plan is to make recordings of your bands music to sell and be an album then there is a different road to take than making “demos”.
If you want to make high quality recordings for the sake of pitching your band to publishing houses, record labels and promoters than many times it’s not necessary to spend the kind of money involved in making high quality records.
Making An Album For Your Band On A Budget:
There are a lot of ways to spend money making records. The key is to know where you can cut corners and where you can’t.
Many times bands assume they need to rent out the most expensive studio in town with the best board and equipment, but that’s not necessarily true. The studio itself is important but if you can find a great deal in a solid but less well known studio that will give more time for less money, you can use that money for equipment rentals. This way you are getting more time, and not paying for all the equipment in the high priced studio, you are only paying for what you need.
EP or LP
I know most of us think all of our songs are great and feel the need to make a full length LP. But in reality, if this is your first record, it’s more important to have 3-5 really well done tracks then 11 mediocre tracks. Heck, i’d go as far to say that 3 singles is a great place to start.
Hire Pros Not Friends
Many of us have learned this the hard way. When it comes to making a record this is a job. You probably have a friend that engineers and runs a studio and he’s gonna give you a great deal. But if you spend half the money and don’t end up with a radio quality record then it wasn’t a good at all.
To Hire Musicians or Not to Hire musicians and If Not… Practice
It’s normal to assume that your band is going to play all the parts on your record. Since you all wrote the songs and parts, you should play them, right? Not, always true. Many times it can absolutely save you money to hire a professional guitar player, drummer etc… to come in and play the part you wrote. These players are so well trained at their craft that it will save you hours of studio time that would have been wasted working on pocket and attack of your parts. The reason for this is that playing live and playing in a studio are two completely different animals. Many of the best live players in the world will still choose to bring in a studio player to perfect the parts they have written.
If you choose to play the parts yourselves, which is still totally acceptable. Be sure to really practice for the studio, not for a show. Know exactly what tones you want to use but have multiple ideas and be flexible You and your bandmates need to practice playing parts cleanly (No buzzing strings or missed hits). You also need to practice pocket.
Practice playing in time with a click track. This is obviously extremely important for the drummer but is important for all players regardless of the instrument you play. It may seem like you all are in pocket most of the time, but when you get in the studio and start to spotlight each piece of the production, you will see that there are many flaws that get overlooked. If you don’t do this, you will end up spending a fortune having an engineer pocket all your parts and you will end up with a sub par project. Being in time is what makes the individual pieces work together. Out of time, the recording will sound like a jumbled mess.
All bands have buddies in bands. Be sure you go into recording with the best sounding guitars, amps, drums, mics, etc… possible. And practice with those new instruments before hand.
It’s important to get great mixes on your songs after all recording is said and done. One thing they may be worth keeping in mind is that, not all the songs on your album are going to be hits at the same time. You probably have an idea which song is the best or which couple songs you want to promote afterwards. So spend the money to make those mixes amazing. Perhaps, use one engineer for your singles and another for the rest. If you end up having success because of the single, you can go back and remix the rest the same way.
In the end, when you are on a budget, it’s all about doing the research and cutting corners that don’t end up on the recording.