8 Bits of Advice From A Home Recording Veteran

microphone

Lessons Learned & Advice From A Home Recording Veteran

FIND A MENTOR (WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT)

The Internet is so rich with archival footage and interviews that researching an artist that appeals to you has never been easier.  I have always been a huge fan of Brian Eno as both an artist and producer.  The lesson that I got from listening to Eno’s work in combination with reading about him was that experimentation was key.

I have developed a work process based on the concept of ambient loops.  I use my homemade loops to trigger a rhythm base upon which I write original compositions featuring guitars.  The loops can be preserved or discarded depending on how the overall writing process goes.  Sometimes the loops stand alone independent of anything else.

IT MAY SUCK AT FIRST BUT IT WILL GET BETTER

I have always been an advocate of recording everything. I rarely pick up a guitar unless I am in a position to record and capture what happens next, because it won’t be there the next time I plug in.  I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.  Record everything and revisit.  Be in a constant state of editing.  An idea will find a home somewhere down the line and the presence of what can be perceived as work product will promote progress.  Have choices.  Quantity will get you to the quality.

DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED

Once you become familiar with the technology, it will be there to work for you.  Your goals should be both vast and selective at the same time.  Mastering the basics of clipping, panning, and levels will influence everything that you do. So figure out how to get a basic sound recorded, and don’t look back.  Lasso the technology and make it work for you.

GIVE IT A DAY

One of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years, especially now that I am getting older, is to let a new recording/idea sit once you have captured the essence of it and saved it.  My artistic mood varies dramatically from one week to the next, and I have had some great success in variety of not only compositional content, but more importantly, mixes.  I’m constantly surprised by my prior decision-making process and I rarely if ever can remember the idea I recorded the week before, so it’s a constant process of rediscovery for me.

DO NOT DWELL

Always move onto something else once you have achieved a certainly level of satisfaction/quality with an idea that you are working on.  Approaching it from a different angle upon return can only benefit the experience. Establish a work process that allows you to bounce around to multiple projects at once.

MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

I am a musician who has taught myself to play multiple instruments by ear so that I would simply have something to record, so I don’t really have a comfort zone.  I do not read music but I have mastered the basic language of the notes on the neck of a guitar and that has allowed me admission into a world of collaboration and artistic freedom that I never would have imagined 10 years ago.

I made the leap to a DAW running Propellerhead’s Reason through the Balance audio interface two years ago out of necessity.  My Zoom 1608 was fritzing out and my old laptop lost its battle against time, so I took that as a sign that is was time to move on.  It took a while for me to find the sweet spot with the new technology but once I did, it has been an amazing experience.  I don’t regret waiting, but now that I’m here I feel like I’m home.  My entire catalogue has benefitted from the transition.

LOOK FOR ALTERNATE SOUND GENERATORS

My iPhone has been the single most important artistic tool available to me.  No boundaries as to what can be done when sounds generated from Bebot or ThumbJam are looped, enhanced, and manipulated.

TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

I have posted over 100 original compositions to SoundCloud over the past few years and enjoyed the music of my peers immensely.  It is a wonderful outlet for home recorders and for listeners. I have also participated in many wonderful collaborative projects that have added a voice to my extensive instrumental archive and given me courage to go out and explore my voice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Vercelloni is an artist and avid audio recorder living in Long Beach, CA.  His most recent work is featured at soundcloud.com/steve-vercelloni.

Like this? Share this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *