You bring yourself and your instruments in here, do your thing, and I record it. That’s the first phase of any project, just getting the tracks down.
If I’m working with a band, I like to record them the same way they’re used to working together, that is, playing together live as a band. The emphasis here is to allow you to feel comfortable enough to do the thing you do so well, play your music. There is nothing you need to do any differently when you’re recording – the idea is to perform the way you’d perform at a gig, or in your rehearsal space. You want to play well, it’s true, but if you’re well-rehearsed, or even just well-inspired, no amount of worrying over your performance will make you improve significantly.
So, just relax, and play. We will try to capture as much as we can live, with the idea of keeping those tracks that really work well, and either overdubbing or punching in those parts that need to be replaced or added.
I have the capability of recording as many as 24 tracks simultaneously here, but it’s pretty rare that I need to use all 24 incoming tracks at once. If you’ve got a more-or-less standard rock band, you’ve got drums, bass, couple of guitars, maybe keys, and vocals – topping out around 16-20 tracks cut live.
The drummer is behind a sliding glass door to isolate his sound, but he’s in constant visual contact with the rest of the band. Everyone’s got headphones, so you can all hear each other well – probably better than you can hear each other at gigs! Amps are isolated from each other by being in different rooms, or simply by being far enough apart that bleed between mics is minimal.
We’ll record a take until you’re satisfied with what we’ve got. Or we can keep alternate takes and decide later what works best. And thanks to digital recording, it’s easy to copy parts from one take and glom it onto another take – especially if you use a click track. When we’ve satisfied with what we’ve got, I’ll throw down a rough mix for you that you can take with you that day.
Every time you come in to the studio to record more tracks, I’ll give you another rough mix. And as we go from mix to mix, I’ll be tweaking the tracks to improve the sound, actually starting the process of mixing all those elements so that when it comes time to do the final mixing, we’ll most likely be more than halfway there.