"People don't understand the kind of fight it takes to record what you want to record the way you want to record it." - Billie Holiday

Recording music is a reality for almost everyone making music, in lots of different ways. We talk to a producer, a sound engineer, a studio manager and an experienced recording artist to glean a few tips on how it all works.

Recording is everywhere

Recording is everywhere in contemporary music as recording techniques have massively infiltrated the way musicians create songs, both in and out of the studio.

Record producers play a coveted role in the studio for their expertise in exploring the creative potential of songs through the recording process. Sydney and LA-based producer Tony Buchen has worked with the well-known likes of Washington and the John Butler Trio. He offers us tips on how to choose and approach a professional producer, and how to get the most out of working with a producer.

Why record?

Whether you’re savvy to sampling techniques and sound effects, or you lean more to traditional ways of playing music, recording’s role in artistic expression is still strong. EPs and albums continue to communicate what sort of music an artist wants to make, and marks the different creative stages of their career. Alexander Gow of popular Melbourne indie outfit Oh Mercy discusses some thoughts on how artists should approach recording as a medium that will long outlive them.

Even if you prefer to just gig your way around the traps, the reality is that if you want to play in more places or to bigger crowds, it helps to have recorded some music at some stage. Recorded music allows busy people to directly listen to your stuff wherever and whenever. As such, having recorded music has become one of the main signs of a musician’s professional cred. If you don’t have any recorded music to offer, sometimes it even works against you and you can miss out on opportunities to play gigs, land deals or win media coverage. Nearly any artist/band’s press release or Facebook page worth its salt includes links to sites that stream their recorded material.

Ready to record

So, if you’re at the stage where you have at least a couple of songs down pat and you’re looking to move up in the industry, you’ll find that you’re going to have to look at stepping into the weird wide world of recording pretty sharpish. No need to panic, there are a huge number of widely acceptable ways to approach recording your music, from small budget solutions to big production blow outs.

Jeremy Conlon, studio manager of Darwin’s own Subsonic Studio, shares how best to prepare for a smooth studio session, as well as some ways and means to be economic with studio hours. Meanwhile, Skinnyfish Music’s Duane Preston outlines how you can build your own DIY recording studio, no matter where you are.

Useful Links