Recording Session for the first time.
Recording can be an incredibly rewarding experience. There’s just something about it that makes everything feel real and worthwhile. All the work you and your band have put in can finally be realised by recording and releasing those songs you’ve worked on so hard to get right. Now’s the time to share them with more people than just your friends and family.
For many of you, it'll be the first time you've stepped into a studio, so usually, excitement is mixed with anticipation. Walking into a studio can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. But don't worry. Look on it as a chance to put down something you can really be proud of. Besides, you never know, it might be a hit !
For some new drummers, though, fear can rear its ugly head. The most important thing that everyone wants to achieve in a recording session is a good rhythm track, and that is, namely, a good drum track. This means our overall playing is closely scrutinised, which can be unnerving.
So, from the outset, be aware that your band and the engineer/producer know you are human and not a drum machine, a loop or a software program. They are looking for human feel, groove and energy in your playing. So just be you, and try not to stress. You’ll get used to doing this, and then you will wonder why you worried. You will actually enjoy hearing yourself back through the monitors. You will hear things you can do better, and things to leave out. It’s a great learning experience. And once the drum track is solid, consistent and has a good feel, the vibe of the song has been captured, and you can move on to the next track, or do overdubs, or whatever.
Fear is a wasted energy. Embrace the challenge of a recording session. As you strive to put down that killer drum track, you’re also learning and improving along the way. And once you’re more familiar with the recording process, and your mind is relaxed, you’ll be more open to creative ideas and suggestions to help the track, which can only benefit everyone involved.
BEFORE YOU GET IN THERE - BE PREPARED ! Here’s a few quick tips.
Song arrangements: Have the song arrangements and everyone’s parts sorted. Studios can eat up your budget and time really quickly so, ideally, you don’t want to be sorting out chords for the bridge, or how the song ends while you’re in there. Of course, things can be tweaked and changed on the day, but know the songs backwards if you can.
Your gear: The engineer recording you can’t magically make a bad-sounding drum kit sound good, even with a bank of effects at his fingertips. The kit needs to sound good at the source. That means ensuring you don’t have old dead heads on your drums, or cymbals that are cracked and only sound half-decent. You don’t need a million-dollar kit of course; it just needs to sound good. So tune it, try to get rid of all the unnecessary over-rings in the toms and feel good about your gear.
Bring some extra bits: If you have things lying around home that you may or may not use regularly, such as china cymbals, or a firecracker snare drum or anything percussive, tambourine, shaker, timbales etc – you might want to bring them too. You never know when you might need an off-the-wall sound, or a drum track that needs some extra percussion to help the groove. Keep them in a case handy.
VITAL TIP ! Keep an open mind and have a positive attitude.
If you’re in a recording session, be prepared for anything. Your band mates, the client, the engineer or the producer can change their mind about what you’re playing at any given moment. So be ready. Don’t take it personally. Learn to accept, adapt and apply. You may agree or disagree but remember, it’s about whatever is best for the song.
ASK ME! Obviously there's more to recording once you get into it, so if you have any technical drumming questions, or questions on how to approach things creatively, free to ask me anytime and I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can. EMAIL ME HERE