The band sounds tight during rehearsals. You’re building a local fan base. There’s money set aside from a few gigs. The songs are written and ready to be heard by the masses. It’s time to record your first album. Now what? You probably have questions like:
- Should we record at a professional or home studio?
- How much does it typically cost to make an album?
- Who will mix, master and produce our album?
Don’t worry. We have answers. Below are three key elements to consider before recording your first studio album.
1. The Studio
Many bands think they can save money by recording an album at a friend’s house using microphones, Pro Tools and a copious amount of Red Bull. Home recordings can definitely save money, but can cost you in other areas, such as quality. While we certainly don’t discourage DIY pursuits, quality of the finished product should be your highest priority. Cutting corners can jeopardize the whole sound of the album, leaving you with a final product that you aren’t completely satisfied with. What a bummer. We’re obviously biased, but we highly recommend recording in a professional studio with trained engineers and producers. If you are in the process of studio shopping, ask to receive a tour of each facility. While touring the facility, take note of the equipment, different studio spaces, lounge and common areas, and general ambiance. Can you envision your band working well in this space? You can only record your first album once. It’s an experience that you and your bandmates will never forget. Where you record the album will have a big impact on how your songs will sound for a lifetime, so choose wisely.
2. The Producer
The most important partner you will have while making your first record is the producer. His/Her job is to guide the entire project—from start to finish—and bring the band’s vision to life in every song. A good producer is detail-oriented and obsessed with making sure every element of the album is as good as it can be. When a band comes to Lava Room Recording, Our producers like to sit down and discuss the overall vision for the project with them. We make it a priority to understand the band’s creative direction and vision for the project, and then utilize our experience and resources to bring that to life. The producer acts as a resource—whether it be to advise on songwriting, song structure, recording, mixing or mastering. A producer’s success is defined by squeezing the most potential out the artists I work with.
3. The Budget
A critical component of the recording process is determining a budget for your project. Utilizing a professional studio doesn’t have to break the bank, and can be a worthwhile investment for independent bands. Without a defined budget, you run the risk of overspending band funds. When you create the album budget, consider:
- The overall goal of the project.
- The number of songs you’d like to record for the album.
- The approximate length of each song.
- The level of production, recording, mixing and mastering needed for each song.
- Whether your instruments are intonated, setup and tuned correctly for recording.
- The amount of time it will take to achieve your goal.
If the band struggles with putting a budget together, contact the recording studio and request a consultation. A professional studio should be able to guide you in budget planning. There are no hard and fast rules to record making, but there are ways to ensure you make the most out of your time, money and efforts. Once you’ve considered where you will record the album, who will produce it, and the total cost of the project, you are ready to rock. But most importantly, have fun with the process and don’t take it for granted. Recording your first album is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Want to see and hear Lava Room Recording in person? Contact us to schedule a free tour today!