I just realized that I instinctually sit in the same chair every time I write a blog post. It’s my blog chair. With a blog ottoman to match. I also tend to snack, but then again… I’m a snacker..
These last few weeks, I’ve been patiently waiting to take my turn in the “booth” (or so we’ll call it), and my time has arrived. From my blog chair, I have a pretty damn good view of the house. I get to hear all the stories, and all the jokes. But it got me thinking. How would this experience be different if we chose to record somewhere else? So I started a conversation with the guys about it, and it really opened my eyes to appreciate that every band’s journey is different. Out of all of our experiences, we kinda pulled together a list of pros and cons of recording at home. Check it out!
We’ll start with the cons first. When you decide to record at home, the number one disadvantage you might face, is yourself. Some of us were born motivated and others (like myself) have to be compelled to do anything. When you’re the one in charge of your timeline, recording at home requires organization and personal deadlines to ensure the album can be finished in an appropriate amount of time. Space can be another challenge. I’ll be honest with you, I’m moody. I have days (lots of ’em) where socializing or sharing a tight space with someone is not one of the top ten things I want to do. So if you’re planning on recording an album, be sure the person(s) hosting the studio is okay with sharing their personal space, as well as time. There’s not really a “day off” when you’re recording like we are. Everyone’s communicating and weaving sessions in and out as they’re available.
**Side note- I was just about to type “So it really isn’t your typical recording session”, but the truth is, it may be. These days with the technology and availability of the equipment necessary, I can imagine a lot of people record at home. Comment and tell me your experiences! The music scene is constantly progressing and growing. It’s a lot like getting older. I’m sad to see the early days go, but there’s still so much to look forward to! Side note over.
Last but not least and you knew it was coming…budget. Your equipment is based on your budget, so this idea doesn’t necessarily have to be a con. But I know full well what it’s like to work full (part) time and be in a busy band. It can make finding and affording the proper equipment a little more difficult. A good record can be made without all the fancy stuff, there’s no doubt about that. However, it tends to be a little disappointing when your creative flow gets stumped by a lack of the right stuff. No one wants to be “put in the corner” because of stuff.
Now my favorite part! Let’s talk about alllll the reasons why we love recording at home. First up- time. There’s no opening time or closing time at a home studio. You may have neighbors that need a decent cut off time, other than that you’re welcome to be a 24/7 recording machine. In my past experiences at a professional studio, you book the time and when that day arrives, you’re up. No matter what. I can’t count how many times I’ve entered a vocal booth with no voice. It’s just how it goes. Here, we get the option to take a step back, walk away and come back when we don’t feel well or get frustrated. Sometimes the parts you write don’t get played on the record. Sometimes your parts don’t pan out as easily as you thought they would. Recording at home gives you the benefit of working through it in your own time. HUGE plus for me.
A lot of pro studios are really stepping it up these days. Video games, full kitchens, coffee, arcade, etc. I think that’s awesome because you want to feel comfortable. You want all those cozy comforts from home. I love that any time I’m here, I know I have access to everything I could possibly need. I don’t have to leave for anything on breaks, and it keeps me in the zone. Another repeat idea on the other side- space. It’s your space. It’s your equipment. You can move, shift, rearrange and you never have to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes.
Speaking of stepping on toes…producing the album can be touchy. Everyone has different preferences on levels and sounds. When you keep the producing side “in the family”, you get to keep the creative control. Your album, your mix. The integrity and sound of the album is kept alive when the songwriters produce it from the ground up. It’s a beautiful thing.
Then we get to the heartwarming part. The DIY attitude of punk rock is kept alive and true. Doing it yourself gives you credibility and authenticity, as well. The pride that you get to beam when it’s all said and done is pretty unique. All the hard work and the time and effort gets displayed and you can say you did it. You earned the money to pay for the stuff you needed. You spent the time learning the recording programs. Then you sat through countless hours of recording, producing and mixing. And at the end, you get to share the love and express your heart. What could be better than that?
So at the end of the day, we find a lot of positives to doing it ourselves. That being said, I still try to picture what it must have been like to be in a band like The Eagles. Back when recording was sitting in a live room all together and playing it until you got it right. When there wasn’t the hustle and bustle of normal life in the background. To be completely enveloped in the music for days on end. There’s no right or wrong way in my opinion. Whatever your way is, is gonna work for you. Thanks for reading! Part Two coming soon!