A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Posts tagged ‘singer’

The Recording Studio

Hey guys, first of all apologies for the blogfade, I’ve been really busy, especially since my broken wrist has healed and I am playing again. I have a few great new songs ready to be recorded, well two of them are ready to be recorded, I’m still working on the guitar solo for the third which is a jazz song.

I’ve said many times that you should sign up to your Performing Rights Association. I’m a writer member of APRA (If you are in the USA you can join either ASCAP or BMI) which looks after Australia and New Zealand. Actually I wonder why it isn’t called ANZPRA? As well as making sure that you collect your performance royalties, they do lots of other things like putting on the awesone S3 Song Summit Sydney which I went to and blogged about last year. They also support and sponsor lots of seminars like the one I went to at Depot Artspace yesterday.

Now I have of course recorded in a studio before, but this was a great workshop with the opportunity to learn more about recording, mixing and mastering. There were a couple of things that I came away with that I thought I would share with you.

First of all, with the economy as it is, many studios are quiet and you may be able to negotiate a deal, even if its just some extra practice time. Rates seem to vary from $25 an hour to huge sums. Don’t just go on price because you may get what you paid for, although some people may be very good, but either getting started or just want to help fellow musos or gain experience. So cheap doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality.

A key bit of advice is to hear some examples of their work. Also see if they have experience in your genre.  Someone into electonica or heavy metal might not bring the best out of country or a solo singer songwriter with just a guitar. But then they might too. Anyway check what they have done and ask if they have testimonials or any hits under their belt.

Another good bit of advice is to collect a selection of tracks of artists whose sound you like and you would like your track to sound like. Then you can take those tracks to the studio for the team to listen to. You can say, I want my track to sound like that. The guys at Depot Artspace, said that if you do that, they will be able to come close, although of course a lot of it is up to y0u.

There was some discussion, instigated by me, as to what costs to expect for mixing, mastering etc. I wont preempt any pricing but you should be leaving at least a c0uple of hundred dollars. One of the suggestions was whether you were looking for a single or ‘just an album track’. I was surpised at that. Obviously some people want to put more into their ‘best’ tracks. The problem I have with that is that I want all my tracks to be the best they can be and often the track you like the best isn’t the one that becomes the hit. There is also the issue that in todays world of iTunes and downloads, its quite possible that most of your sales will be for single tracks. These days of most of the albums I buy, there are only a few tracks that I really like.

I’ve currently got my eye out for a few musicians that would like to record with me in the studio. I’m especially after a drummer and someone who plays pedal steel. I can’t pay them but they will get credit on the demos. I’ll do another blog soon about demos, this blog is about the studio.

For solo artists like myself (I do play with resident or jam bands but its been many years since I’ve been IN a band), keeping time can be an issue when you bring session musicians in. When  its you on your own people won’t notice if your timing slides a fraction and sometimes you even do it deliberately. I do that in my new jazz song Color Blind. If you can’t keep steady in a studio, it’s going to cost you time and money and annoy the other musicians. My Tascam home studio has a click track and I also have a metronome, but they are both so  boring and don’t give you the one beat. Fortunately my new Digitech Jam Man has a choice of 10 click tracks, they aren’t great, but much better than what I had before and I don’t mind playing with them. Maybe I’ll  be able to download some better samples. One thing the Jam Man doesn’t seem to be able to do is let you select the beats per minute, you have to tap it in, but I digress. The point is that if you make sure you are as ready as you can be, before you get to the studio, the better your result will be.

So shop around, do your homework, ask for examples of their work and ask liots of questions. People don’t work in recording studios for a job. They do it as a vocation. They do it because theyh love it. You will pretty much find all of them interested and happy to show you around and explain how they work. Remember, its about their reputation as well as yours.

How about leaving a comment and sharing your experiences in the studio?

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Tips on being a support act

The first thing to consider is that you are a support act and one of the key things you are there for is to support the main act. First of all, as I mentioned in my last blog, your music should be in the same vein as the main act.

You are there to warm up the crowd as well as to make a name for yourself. If you are the last act before the main or you are the only act, it is a great idea to be able to build the audience up so that they are really getting into it and having enjoyed your act, will be in the zone to enjoy the feature. An excellent example of this was the band Blue King Brown who I mentioned in my blog about the Santana ‘Live Your Light’ tour. They were amazing and everyone was fizzing when Carlos got onto the stage. Blue King Brown. They built the crowd up and were a great act on their own, but didn’t detract in anyway from Carlos’ magic performance.

Start your set with something really good, as a support act you don’t have much time, so you need to build attention as quickly as possible so they will keep listening, you can’t start up with a quiet ballad and build up to a climax from a quiet opening number. People will start talking and they will treat you as background music. Once you have their attention you can start working them up to a grand finish which will have them wanting to hear more and remembering who you are.

When you finish and have the crowd on a high looking forward to the main act, build the act up, tell them they are in for something special that they will really enjoy. Praise the upcoming act to build the expectation and to show the lead act that you value the opportunity they gave you.

When you finish your set, get yourself and your gear off the stage as quickly as you can so that there isn’t too much silence between acts and the crowd holds on to their warm anticipation.

Use these simple ideas, and assuming you had the right material for the type of audience, you should find yourself being offered more gigs, whether as supporting act or as the main deal. You might even get opportunities to tour with an act.

If you found this blog useful, please tell other people, send them a link and subscribe yourself for future blogs. If you want to hear my songs or are looking for a new song for yourself or your artist, please drop me a line. If you want to add to this, please leave a comment, it’s about sharing. If you would like to hear some of my songs, check them out on my MySpace Page.

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