Top Tips For Recording At Home
You don't have to do anything a particular way. Read all the guides, talk to lots of people, let them lead the conversation and mash together your own answers. When we were building the studio itself I'd stand in the aisles of Bunnings, act as innocent and clueless as was bearable and let tradies tell me everything they knew about construction. I learnt a lot this way, and eventually gathered a large enough collection of tips (and contradictions) to make me feel confident putting my own stirrups to concrete, drills to wood, snips to tin.
You do not need more gear. Every time I hear someone talk about the music they're going to make "...as soon as I get my hands on... [insert $1000 piece of Bla Bla Bla]..." I tune out. What they're saying is "I really want to make a record but I'm scared it won't be any good and this seems like a good excuse." You can make an album with one microphone. For this record we owned a cheap AKG large diaphragm condenser and 2x SM57s. I put a call out on Facebook for a drum mic kit and an absolute legend responded. It’s crucial that in a world of more and more ‘self-funded artists’ that it isn’t just the rich kids making records.
Make a structure for how you're going to record, but be emotionally prepared to burn parts to the ground if necessary. For us the only part that was locked in when heading in to recording was the lyrics and melodies for each song and everything else was fair game. Interestingly enough though, after spending the entire third week being precious with all the hot teas, scarves and warm ups – and then recording horrible, emotionally void lead vocal takes – we ended up throwing the whole thing out and doing all the lead vocals in one really good four hour sprint. After trying to go about things the right way, of course, the better takes ended up being what was done on the fly, with the studio door open while feeling completely relaxed and with nothing to lose.
Have deadlines. People lose their shit on the dancefloor because they know they only have that song/hour/night in which to do it. For me, I can only get things done while in a state of mild to severe panic – the rest of the time is dedicated to rolling around, staring at things and mumbling poetics in my head that are gone as quickly as they arrive. Panic is good. And for this, deadlines are great. Knowing this about myself has led me to start setting up my life amidst a landscape of hard, immovable deadlines.
Listen. It's not just the proper noun for a phenomenal feminist movement and record label. It's actually a process some people do to better themselves and the things around them. News to me, but learning how to listen openly is what makes you good at home recording and making music in general. Relax (no deadline on this part yeah?). Go for a walk. Listen to your recordings in the same way you listen to the ready-made music you already love. On the tram, in bed, in the car. Your music doesn't have to sound good through a $10,000 sound system to be good music. My favourite moment of all time, listening to my own mix of the Beloved Elk album, was when I was cleaning out my van and it started to rain really heavily, and I got trapped in the back. The record was running from my laptop through an aux cable into one of those tape cassette converters that played into the car stereo. Rain on roof, freezing cold and some grainy, muffled angst tunes. Honest To God Bliss.
Just fucking feel and enjoy. Minors, Majors, and the extra mess in between that I don't understand.Feel it all
Beloved Elk will launch their debut album Distractions at the Curtin on Friday March 3. The album is out via Listen Records.