Blog Gigs Facts Music Shop Links
home >  blog :  current /  archive /  RSS Feed

Blog: It's the things you can't hear that you should be recording

< previous next >
Earlier today I delivered my traditional Hibbett Studio Theory Lecture to a Young Musician of my acquaintance, whether he wanted to Electronically Read It or not, and I thought I might as well INFLICT it here as well.

LOADS of people I know in bands spend AGES and AGES recording stuff, and NOT for any good reason. It's taken us over two years to record this album because we've only managed to squeeze in four or five hours of studio time a month, so really (no, really) we're going DEAD QUICK. Other people I know are AT IT every other day for HOURS, but seem to go no faster, as they become preoccupied with "perfection".

This, of course, is bollocks. SO MANY TIMES I have seen bands I REALLY like go into an studio environment and DESTROY UTTERLY the very thing that was good about them. Let's imagine, just for a bit of fun, a band called Bus-Stop Boy. They have a live show that's RAMSHACKLE but deeply CHARMING, where the band members seem to be enjoying themselves, where the gig is a JOY to be involved in, and where the songs, though LightWeight, carry a JOIE DE VIVRE combined with a PUNK SPIRIT that means the TUNES and the FEELINGS stay around in your head and your heart. What, gentle reader, do you think would be best? To throw them into the studio, get them to record as live as possible, tidy up where necessary, and then get the record done and out so they can gig it while they still enjoy it? OR spend SEVERAL years doing the same 12 songs again and again and again in a vain attempt to make them sound like Another Record Somebody Liked Once, DRAINING all the life out of the songs, making the band members UTTERLY BORED with the whole thing, and simultaneously making the, still regular, LIVE AFFAIRS into an interminable trudge through songs we've ALL heard too many times?

And which, gentle reader, do you think is the most popular course of action? For GOODNESS SAKES, Bands of The World, just LET GO! It's all well and good having a DREAM, a SOUND that you're chasing, an IDEAL, but you've got to RELEASE the ROCK and let it follow it's own path - you know those things that happen when you're recording that are "mistakes" but suddenly make everything sound ACE and GROOVY? Those are GOOD THINGS! KEEP! THEM! And if that song you've spent the past six month remixing and remixing STILL doesn't sound any good, how about this? WRITE ANOTHER ONE INSTEAD! It's quicker!

Ask anybody what they'd rather HEAR, and it's simple - a throbbing recording full of LIFE, where you can HEAR the fun that's being had (and frankly any music that's GOOD is FUN to play - the saddest songs in the world feel FANTASTIC when they're good and you're playing them right), which speeds up as it goes along, or has a less than perfect SNARE SOUND, or even has the words slightly wrong, is IMMEASURABLY BETTER than something which, technically, would pass any Health & Safety Test, but is emotionally DEAD.

And no, this isn't just a PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE against OPINION when the album finally gets released. It's SUPPOSED to sound this way, DAMMIT!
posted 6/2/2003 by MJ Hibbett

< previous next >


Your Comment:
Your Name:
SPAMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'moo' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

Twitter /  Bandcamp /  Facebook /  YouTube
Click here to visit the Artists Against Success website An Artists Against Success Presentation