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Misadventures in Pre-Production

Pre-Production is without a doubt one of the most important factors in the success of any recording session. This fact has been stated by a great number of far more well known Producers, Engineers, Mixers and blog writers than me, so I'm not going to belabour the point more than needed, suffice to say that it solves an enormous number of problems down the road. Every project I've been involved in without pre-production has resulted in more work during the tracking phase, and especially during editing (drums being a particular nightmare). I've even considered adding a pre-production demo requirement to my recording documents.

Every engineer worth their salt knows how important pre-production is. I know how important pre-production is. AND YET I ALMOST NEVER DO ANY WITH MY OWN MUSIC. I suspect that because I record other people, we make the assumption it'll all work out and we'll pull something together as we go along. In reality, the drum parts are usually not completely solid before we start tracking, often not fully locked with the bass and guitars, there'll be rhythm issues between Sam and I, harmonies aren't planned, and we'll often end up needing to change lyrics and other parts to match the drum performance that I've had to comp together anyway.

This time around, we're planning to make up full pre-production demos as part of our rehearsal, so this seemed like a good opportunity to document exactly how we put together a demo for this purpose. As I go through this, I'll talk about what we're capturing, the things that I need to hear from the 'client' as a producer, the decisions we're making from a songwriting and arrangement point of view, and the exact financial outlay and equipment that we'll use to make this happen. The aim is to show just how little is needed to make something useable as a pre-production document. Hopefully this will be of use to bands going through what we are, even without having the background in studio work that we have.

Watch this space!

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