Inside the Recording Studio: Day 1

I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Jupiter Studios yesterday.  I was feeling a mixture of excitement and fear; excitement for my first “real” recording experience, and fear that it wasn’t going to live up to what I had hoped.  Turns out, yesterday was one of the best days of my professional life so far.  It’s an incredible thing, watching and listening as my songs are crafted into something spectacular.

I knew that Jim Callahan, the owner of Jupiter Studios and my sound engineer for this project, was going to be amazing even before I met him.  We’d spoken on the phone and emailed back and forth since last summer, and he certainly knew his stuff.  When Jim walked into the studio yesterday, he explained the plan of action and we went to work. 

The first thing we did was set tempos for all 10 songs.  I would play and sing, he would adjust the click track, and then we would experiment until we found a tempo that worked.  Then I played a “scratch” guitar track for each song, followed by “scratch” vocals for each song.  Michelle Erfurt asked me if it was like what you’d see on TV, with the isolation booth, headphones, big microphones, the whole works.  It absolutely was; quite a difference from my home studio set-up (my computer, a microphone, preamp, and my guitar). 

After we finished scratch tracks for each song, I came back into the editing room and Jim got to work on instrumentation.  This is when the songs really came to life.  He started with drums, which he programmed using a MIDI keyboard (a much more sophisticated version of what I use at home).  Next, he got out his electric bass and recorded a bass track (which he wrote as he went, using the sheet music I gave him).  After that came the electric guitar, and then it was time for me to record my final acoustic guitar track.  We did do final vocals for one song, but most of the final vocals will be recorded at the end of the week.

The whole process for each song takes about two and a half hours.  That doesn’t include mixing, which will also be done at the end when the vocals are completed.  My part is easy; I record my parts, and then watch, listen and give input as Jim does the rest.  I could get used to this! 

I’ve been tweeting and text messaging from the studio (follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already) and of course, I have my Macbook by my side at all times to stay connected.  I’m just having the best time, and I have all of you to thank.  I would never have had this opportunity without your support, whether you made a pledge to my Kickstarter fund or are a regular Listen & Learn reader.  I can’t wait to share the finished product with you all.  Stay tuned for my “Day 2” recap tomorrow!

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