5 common studio mistakes you can easily avoid

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Joey Sturgis: producer and audio engineer

[This article was written by Joey Sturgis, a music producer and recording engineer who’s worked with bands like Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, Attila, and more. He is offering a free mixing masterclass on July 16 & 17 at CreativeLive.com.]

Well you’ve got your clothes packed and you’re ready to head to the recording studio tomorrow to begin recording your next album. You’re having thoughts of ambition and failure all at the same time. What if the album doesn’t do well? What will our fans think? Will the producer like us?

You might be worried about a lot of things, but what you’ve totally forgotten are a few simple things that are ironically often overlooked.

1. Songs

Did you forget to write songs? Might sound silly, but I’ve had huge rock star bands show up to my studio with not enough songs to record an album. This behavior should be completely unacceptable unless agreed upon in advance. Shame on you! Get your act together! Don’t you want to play music for living? At least write your own songs.

2. Consumables

Yeah you know, the absolutely required to perform kind of stuff. Like guitar picks, guitar strings, drum sticks, drum heads, your lyrics… all that stuff. You lost your Allen wrench, can’t find your drum key? Aren’t you supposed to be a professional musician? What are you doing in a recording studio!?

3. Knowledge of material

I bet you’d never guess that a band would show up to a studio and not even know how to play their own songs. Yep, this happens, and it’s incredibly ridiculous. Practice makes perfect, so don’t even waste a producer’s time when you don’t even know how to play your own music. And don’t expect the producer to be responsible for any of your mess-ups.

4. Direction

The worst thing to do in the studio is be indecisive. You should be ready to buckle down and make the tough decisions that ultimately become your album. Swinging back and forth from decision to decision will drive everyone mad and cause your productivity to be practically zero. Be head strong and have a concise ideal of what your album or songs are going to be before you attempt to record them. Furthermore, make sure your band members are at least in some sort of agreement which will prevent inner-band turmoil during a time where you are asked to be your most creative.

5. Life on hold

You might need to put your life on hold to create music. Nothing is worse than being bothered by forgotten speeding tickets, jury duty, family illness, unpaid bills, or even worse, a warrant for your arrest. Either take care of your issues or reschedule your session. A time to be creative is not a time to be dealing with life’s ups and downs.

This may sound like a harsh reality but with music and music business being such a relaxed status quo, a lot of formalities slip beneath the cracks and end up terrorizing the music as a result. Don’t let yourself fall victim to what I some would call “comfort.” If it’s too easy, you’re not trying hard enough.

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Author Bio: Producer, mixer, recording engineer, programmer, writer, performer — Sturgis is multi-talented, and for a full decade he has brought these powers to bear on nouveau strains of metalcore, post-hardcore, electronicore, and more, shaping a revolutionary new wave of hard music. Sturgis has racked up a massive list of credits for a who’s who of modern cutting edge metal, channeling the raw power of bands like Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!, Born of Osiris, Of Mice & Men, Attila, We Came As Romans, Blessthefall, I See Stars, and many more.

Sturgis will host a free CreativeLive.com workshop “Mixing Master Class” on July 16 & 17. Enroll for free at https://www.creativelive.com/courses/mixing-master-class-joey-sturgis?via=audio_live.

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[Picture of Joey Sturgis by Michael Pelaez.]

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  • Tom Hendricks

    Well said, and it costs a lot of money not to be prepared for recording. Once you get there be flexible, nothing goes as you planned – but having a plan makes the problems that come up a lot easier.