Scratch and Dent Sale: What You're Recording

Categories: Columns
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I don't think it's just sound waves that get recorded in the studio.

I think you're recording everything -- EVERYTHING -- that's happening in the room, in the song, in the heads, hands and hearts of everyone in the room at that moment... and the control room too.

There's really no hiding. And if you try to hide, you'll just record yourself hiding. Or if you're faking, it'll be a record of people faking it. You're recording the relationship of so many things interacting and speaking to each other... the bandmembers, the instruments, the songs, the lyrics, the walls, the air, the engineer, the gear...all of it.

That's why some records can sound technically perfect but utterly lifeless, uninspired and empty while others have blood and skin and dirt and air and loose threads and smudges and real, raw human marks all over it, and they floor you.

It's tricky, striking that balance. It's navigation by other means.

That's also why it's so incredibly exhausting to make even a decent record, let alone a great one: There's a lot going on. There's a lot to feel your way through and think your way through.

This is why I haven't been able to sleep for the past five days, even though I've been incredibly tired from twelve-hour recording shifts. I can't turn off. --John Common


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