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3 Things Musicians Should Not Say

2014-3-18

1) “Let’s just do something safe that’s been done before.”
If it’s been done before, people will probably prefer the original – not you. Have the courage to create something, not copy.
However, don’t be afraid to take influence from those who’ve gone before you, but don’t give me anything I can get somewhere else. Why? Because if I really want the unoriginal thing you’re selling, I probably already have it. Give me something that I can’t anywhere else.
+How Nintedo Helps Your Band

2) “That’s too hard.”
This one is so important. I’ve already written an entire blog post on it, but it bares repeating. Read more…

There’s No Such Thing as a Studio

2014-03-08Okay, maybe the title of this is an overstatement.

However,

You know that phrase “Home is where the heart is”?

Well yeah.

I say, “The studio is where the heart is.”

When we think of a recording studio, we think of a place that’s made for recording and nothing else.
It’s a special, magically building where records are created.

But….
Read more…

Musician Advice From The LEGO Movie

2014-03-03“Everything is awesome.”

If you haven’t seen the LEGO movie, it’s awesome. Yes, it is.

If you don’t want the movie spoiled, then don’t read this post. That said, I’ll try to keep it as un-spoilerry as possible.

In the movie, the main character Emmet has no imagination. All he does is follow the rules. He wants to be well-liked, so he tries to please people and just follow the rules of being normal.

Then there’s the master builders (like Batman for example. Yes, he’s in the movie). These guys throw rules out the window and are super creative, but they lack focus. 

Problems come when the Master Builders can’t figure out how to stop the bad guy. What ends up happening is Emmet (the rule follower) becomes their fearless leader and shows them how to utilize all their skill and talent in a smart effective way. 

Why is this important to music?

Because, Read more…

Silence Is Golden

Music is all about loud crazy noise right? Rock n roll!!!!

Well, Miles Davis wrote an entire album devoted to the concept of silence.

That’s right. A auditory art about silence. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.

….Or does it?

Actually, it makes a whole lot of sense. Listen to blues guitar-legend B.B. King. The rests in between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves.

Think of it this way. When you are playing in a noob five-piece rock band, you’ve got: Read more…

You’re Not Springsteen

2014-02-16

The Boss at work. Unfortunately, you’re not the Boss.

Buuuuuuuuut….

There’s a significant difference between us and them. They’ve sold a zillion records, we haven’t. 

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you love Bruce Springsteen. You love his three hour concerts and made him your idol.

So when you play your next show, you decide to play three hours, just like ol’ Bruce. After all, if he does it then it must be good.

*Buzzer* Wrong! Read more…

Don’t Wait For Inspiration

2014-02-13

It only takes a seed to grow a tree. You’d better water it!

We don’t like to write or play until we feel inspired.

But…..
I think this a bad habit.
A really, bad habit.

Being creative isn’t just being more “inspired” than everyone else. Being creative is hard work. Hard work takes practice, dedication and discipline. That’s means you need to practice your creativity even when you’re at your most uninspired state.

Why? Because if you just wait for inspiration before you start creating, you won’t know what to do with it when it finally comes.

Be prepared. Always be working at your craft. When those magically spells of inspiration come, you’ll be able to utilize it.

Is it hard to work when you’re uninspired? Read more…

Lessons From My Band’s Single #5) Break The Rules & Use Your Ears

This is part of a segment of lessons I learned from recording Layton Harper Band’s cover of “Oceans.” Here’s part onetwothree, and four.  

LHBBecause music is an art not a sport, there really are no rules. But that hasn’t stopped people from making rules for music, especially for recording. Some people like to turn recording into a science (but it’s really still an art). Above all, there really are no rules for music, but there are some guidelines. Once you learn the guidelines, you can learn to break them.

One such example is when we were recording acoustic guitar for the LHB single.

See, there’s this weird sciencey thing called “phase cancellation.” (I’ll try to keep it brief) Read more…

Lessons From My Band’s Single #4) Record To a Schedule

This is part of a segment of lessons I learned from recording Layton Harper Band’s cover of “Oceans.” Here’s part onetwo, and three

2014-07-1One extremely helpful tip for recording (and just about anything in life) is to set a schedule for your sessions.

“Well Noah, that’s so obvious and boring. What kind of tip is that?” The best kind of tip ever, that’s what! The simplest/stupidest tips are often the best. This is one of those tips.

When you record/practice/whatever, you need to have a schedule. Have a time to start and a time to end. 

Of course, we always schedule what time to start, but we really need to schedule a time to end, too.

Why? Well, let’s look at how we recorded the acoustic guitar for the LHB single.

Read more…

Lessons From My Band’s Single #3) Limit Your Options

This is part of a segment of lessons I learned from recording Layton Harper Band’s cover of “Oceans.” Here’s part one and two

We a had nice open space to record drums. We added a room mic for awesomeness.

We a had nice open space to record drums. We added a room mic for awesomeness.

The third take-away from the recording session was simple but hard to apply: Limit your options.

Some of you might be protesting that last statement. “What? Did you just say ‘limit‘? How dare you ever suggest I limit myself!”

I get ya, but hear me out. In this case, limiting yourself is a good thing. Because it gives you more focus.

What am I blabbing about? Well, let’s look at recording the drums.

The drummer for the session, we’ll call him Kristian, is an awesome drummer. So I knew it would be easy to record him.

If there’s one subject I’ve studied more than anything recording-wise, it’s drums. I love drums and I love drum sounds. You can bet that every time I get in front of drum kit with some mics in my hand I want to go crazy. There are so many ways to record drums and I want to try them all every time. Spaced Pair, Coincident, Recorderman, ORTF – I could go on and on!

But I didn’t.

Read more…

Lessons From My Band’s Single #2) Do More Homework

Tracking in an old office with a huge bookshelf. Mobile recording at its finest.

Tracking in an old office with a huge bookshelf. Mobile recording at its finest.

Okay, you know how last post I told you that it’s super important to do your homework? Yeah, well here’s what happens when you’re a doofus and don’t do your homework. Who could possible be so lazy? Well, this time around it was me. *hides in shame*

First Time For Everything

For the song, we wanted a violin so we asked my boy Luke to lay down some string parts. He’s a good player and that’s all fine and dandy, but we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. Because as an engineer, I didn’t do my homework. As a producer, I didn’t give Luke any homework to do (so the blame is on me).

Know Your Instrument

No one wrote a violin part for this song. We didn’t know what we wanted the violin to do. Read more…