this month recording star, performer, producer, singer and songwriter (basically Walthamstow's answer to Prince) Darren Hayman gives us a guide to recording your songs:
Recording the songs:
Don't get weighed down by the myth of recording technology and studios. Studios are great but so are you. Studios are just as likely to dull your ideas as they are to make them shiny.
If you own a tablet, laptop or phone then you already own more music technology then the Beatles did for Sgt Pepper or Brian Wilson did for Pet Sounds.
If you are going to prioritise spending money then buy a decent £200 condenser microphone and a sound interface for your computer. This will cost less than two days in a studio and will give you years of recoding time.
Garageband is perfect for a beginner and Logic gets cheaper and cheaper and has more inside it then you will need in a lifetime.
If you can't afford this, then just use your phone. Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director who's Government has banned him from making films for life. Two years ago he made a movie on an iPhone and smuggled it out of the country on a memory card in a cake. He risked jail to make a movie on his iPhone because he needed to do it.
You have no excuses.
Think of your priorities as a long chain running from the source to the listener. The most important thing is the song and the performer, followed by instrument, microphone, room, recording device, mastering, medium, listening device. It's all gone to shit if you don't have a song.
There are million tips on how to make your recording sound 'good' but what is 'good'? You have imagination, press record and start. Capture everything. There is no 'wrong'.
Try not to think about recording THE version of the song. Think about recording A version of the song. The biggest mistake I see in people new to recording is endless, slavish attempts to make something definitive. No-one cares about your vision. Perfection bores everybody. Record buyers want to hear unrepeatable moments, mistakes. You find this magic by recording everything, all the time and then editing hard.
I'm not advocating punk rock. You can make beautiful, pretty intricate things in this manner too, but we still want to hear the accidental.
Don't be scared of the red light. It’s just a light.
Here's the hardest thing though, finish it. Everyone starts things. Few finish. Houses everywhere are full of uncompleted songs, novels, poems and movies. Starting is easy, finishing is trickier.
In fact don't finish it. Just abandon it and give it to the world. If you did it with enthusiasm and bravery then it will be fine.
Let us hear it.
You have no excuses.