No matter how big or small your project is, it is important to prepare it adequately before embarking on the final recording process. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the artist. Thoroughly rehearsing the tracks you are going to record is one simple way of preparing. But be aware that it is often very difficult to hear exactly what everyone else is doing in a typical rehearsal environment. Record your rehearsal or gig if you have the facility to do so (or ask us to if you don’t!). Some artists with home recording facilities create pretty extensive demos at home which can help, but even just a rough take of each definite part will be of use to you and to us.
Consider your arrangements – are all the sections contributing something meaningful to the track? Could some be dropped? Do some need to go on longer or happen more often? Are the vocals coming in soon enough? Is the song in the best key for the singer’s range? Is the speed correct? What parts might need additional effects or overdubs? What sort of sounds will you be after for the finished product? All these are things you can try out and discuss beforehand to save time in the studio and create a better end result.
Listen to your favourite artists too, and consider what you like and don’t like about their recordings. Try and come up with more than one album you really like the overall sound of – and bring them with you! These will come in handy later on. Discuss your findings with the other members of your act – it’s no good coming to the studio with one person wanting to sound like Metallica and another like The Script.
If you are doing a bigger budget or long term album recording it is well worth coming into the studio for a couple of days some months before starting the proper recording and laying down all the songs ‘live’. Then you can take away a fairly reasonable recording to listen to and analyse at your leisure. It can also help you decide which songs of your repertoire to record if you are unsure, just record 4-5 more than you intend putting on the finished product. After listening to them for a month on loop you’ll probably know which to drop!