How To Prepare For Your Album
If you have never recorded an album before, there are a number of things you should do before you even step into the studio. By following some of these steps, you will save yourself a lot of time and money. I learned a lot when recording my first album and you will too. You will make mistakes, but it will help you make you second album even better.
Know exactly what songs you will be recording on your album. This might seem obvious, but start thinking about the order in which you want to record these songs. Also, think about the order of your album. Your album is kind of like a big story. It might not be appealing to the ear to have certain songs followed by others. Thinking about the layout of your album from the get go will save you time down the road.
Practice With A Metronome
Before you even step into the studio, know exactly what tempo each of your songs is played at. Check and double check to make sure that you have the right tempo with your band. On my first album, certain songs came out slower than I wanted because I did not have a band to rehearse with at the time. Once the drums are recorded, you can say good-bye to going back and re-recording unless you want to spend the extra money.
Also, make sure you and your band can play along to a metronome. This is a vital part of the recording process and you do not want to waste time recording twenty takes because you are not used to playing with just a metronome in your ear.
Get Your Instruments Ready
Change heads on drums kits, put new strings on your guitar, find the right tone for each song that you want. Make sure you have a spare set of strings or whatever you need for your instruments. If something breaks in the middle of recording, you want to be able to fix it quickly. I had a string break mid song and was glad I had an extra set of strings
Figure Out Your Recording Schedule
Studios often offer studio time at a discount if you book 8-10 hour blocks. Find out what everyone's schedule is and when they are available to record each of their parts. You might want to tackle 2-3 songs at a time to finish them. This will allow mixing to start even before you finish recording the last songs. Some studios even let your rent them out for the entire weekend. This is great if you have your act together. For my second album, my band and I recorded drums, bass, and acoustic guitar for the entire album in a day and a half.
Get The Album Art In Order
Before you step into the studio, or as soon as you do, get started on the album art. Often times, the reason why albums are delayed is not due to recording problems, but because of problems with the album art. If you are not good with Photoshop, you can hire a decent graphic designer anywhere from $300-$500 to work on your album. They often have experience with the design templates and can add creative suggestions you might not have thought of.
Make sure to proofread everything on the album art. Read it once, put it aside, and re-read it again a couple days later. Nadine from Indie Graphic Designs did the work on my albums and it came out fantastic. I would hirely recommend her.
Don't Be In A Rush
The best results come when you are not on a deadline. When you rush, you miss things. Take the time to listen to the mixes of each of your songs and make sure that they are right. Sit with your tunes for a week or two and listen. You might be able to add effects or other parts to make the songs sound better, bigger, or more polished.