This article was written by Jarrod Taylor, vocalist for progressive indie-rock band In Reverent Fear.
Most groups can get through recording fairly easy.¬† Write a tune, all approve, record, get high off of the novelty and move on.¬† This article is for groups for whom the novelty has completely worn off and now you want your best work to shine, and will fight tooth and nail to make that happen.¬† We‚Äôll take a brief walk through the recording process, followed by great advice to help in all your future recording sessions. And were off.¬† You write a song.¬† Bring it to your band, who shit on it, ruin it, then surprise you by making it better.¬† So now you‚Äôre all on the same page.¬† They love it, you love it, you feel like you‚Äôre in unexpected territory, which is always lovely.¬† So if that song actually survives two weeks worth of rehearsal, then you consider it for recording.¬†
Now we‚Äôre in the studio, you‚Äôve recorded the song, done maybe a scratch vocal, taken it home and given it several listens.¬† At first, this is exciting hearing a song recorded and then reality sets it.¬† It‚Äôs all bad, you‚Äôre washed up, you‚Äôre through.¬† You call the rest of the guys (or girls) and ask their opinion.¬† One guy loves the parts you hate, the other guy only likes his parts, the other hasn‚Äôt listened to it yet, but overall no one really likes it enough to release the song the way you‚Äôre doing it now.¬† You think maybe better tone, or a better vocal performance will fix it, it wont.¬† So you start over.¬† New vibe, new parts, maybe a few elements from the last version, a vocal maybe or a bass line, and its getting better.
So this new vibe you‚Äôve come up with, you see it through to its fruition.¬† You‚Äôre all very excited.¬† For a night.¬† Then it happens again.
‚Äútoo much stuff going on,‚Äù
‚Äúthe vocal isn‚Äôt good anymore,‚Äù
‚Äúthe old version rocked, whats with this?,‚Äù
‚Äúthe song isn‚Äôt doing what its supposed to,‚Äù
‚Äúnot enough stuff going on,‚Äù
‚Äúyou know, i think some keys would work,‚Äù
‚Äúwhat if we take out the guitars here,‚Äù
‚Äúwhat if we just delete the drum tracks,‚Äù
‚Äúdo you like what you did there?¬† im not that into it.‚Äù
So every single option is exhausted to the nth degree until you are at least 60 percent of where you want to be.¬† You‚Äôre happy for a week maybe, then one person has one very small problem, and the whole process starts over again.¬† Finally, it‚Äôs suggested to strip out everything but the acoustic guitar and that crappy scratch vocal that has ‚Äúso much soul‚Äù happening.¬† You‚Äôve finally arrived. So my advice on recording?¬† Don‚Äôt complain, don‚Äôt be sensitive, and deal with it.¬† You can‚Äôt always paint the ‚Äúhands of the peasants‚Äù on your first try and you‚Äôre most likely not going to just jam out
‚Äúwith or without you.‚Äù Great art comes from a place that doesn‚Äôt make sense, and often you only discover that place through trial and error.¬† Good luck and do something beautiful for the world.
(hopefully now our manager can understand why it takes us so long to complete anything)
-Jarrod (In Reverent Fear)