The Principles to Follow for a Productive Recording
This article will shed light on a topic, which hasn’t been discussed as much as it perhaps should’ve been, namely the process of recording a rap song and the proper usage of studio time. Having healthy recording habits is essential for the rapper who wants to spend his time efficiently and get the most out of his money. Today, we’ll talk about the main principles of productivity in the music production environment.
Preparing yourself for the studio session is as important as the actual studio session. You have to understand that once you enter the control room, the clock starts ticking, so you better know what you’re there for right from the start.
- Have the Idea Ready
If you’ve booked a studio, in order to discuss and guide the engineer in creating an instrumental for your song, you should already have an idea bubbling.
Don’t go with nothing and think you’ll brainstorm something awesome on the spot. Not only will you lose time, but because of the new and different surroundings, you’re likely to feel unsafe on an unconscious level, which would result in you having unimaginative and pretty average ideas.
It all depends on the individual of course, but that seems to be the case most of the times. Henceforth, think of the concept beforehand. Think of the emotion and overall mood of the beat. Experiment with different instruments and pick the ones which you think will represent what you’re trying to say. Be ready for discussion with the engineer and hear his thoughts on the matter. Be flexible, but always be the one who dictates the overall direction of the project.
- Recording Your Verses
I’ve seen so many rappers waste their studio time, just because they didn’t prepare themselves in the proper way. The one thing that you should always try to do, is to go over your lyrics a few times, before the actual recording. Rehearsing your lyrics is vital for being time efficient, because the more you go over your lyrics prior to entering the booth, the smaller the chance of messing up the performance half way and having to do it all over again.
Another way of preventing performance errors and further studio time wastage, is to have the lyrics written on a clean sheet of paper. I know that some of you like to revise their rhyme schemes and perhaps update them on the go, but before your recording, copy the final draft of your lyrics on a new sheet. This is important, because the small font and all the scratched out words will make it even tougher for you to perform your bars correctly and do the recording in one take. So don’t get lazy. Copy your lyrics, go over them a few times and then enter the booth. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and even more frustration.
Your actual recording shouldn’t take that long. One song is usually around three minutes long. If you like recording one verse at a time, giving 2 minutes maximum for each verse(taking into account the fact that you might have to do two takes) and 1 minute for the chorus, you have around 10 minute on maximum in the booth, including the ad-lips.
This is usually where the biggest chunk of your time goes. Discussing how the mixing and mastering process should be handled. It’s a time waster, because the engineer has to figure out how to deal with your unique recording, on the spot.
My advice would be to give clear instructions on how you want each part of your song to sound. For example, the second bar from the first verse should be in stereo, the whole mood should be “in your face”, the chorus should be coming from both speakers, the bass line should be louder here and so on.
After you give out those instructions, or perhaps write them down, switch the beat and make another song. This way, the engineer has clear instructions for the mastering of your song and he can do it when you’re not there. You don’t get charged for studio time that way.
Of course, if you want to use the whole hour for one song, by all means, do! You could always perform your verses better and being there, while your engineer is mastering your track is always a very good idea. So, it pretty much depends on the project.
What to Remember from all this:
- Before you go into the studio, make sure that you have your instrumental ideas ready-It will save you alot of time, while enforcing your own vision for the song.
- Before recording your lyrics, copy them to a clean sheet of paper and go over them a few times-It will help you avoid mispronouncing words and having to do many takes for a single verse.
- Don’t waste your time once you enter the booth. Each performance should take no more than 10 minutes.
- After you record, give out mastering and mixing instructions, then move to the next song.