Preproduction is the single most cost effective, “bang for your buck” stage of producing a record, and critically important to making the best use of time, energy and budget in the studio. I would prefer a short amount of time in the studio to record an album, plus sufficient time for preproduction, than twice that recording time and no preproduction.
Ronan Chris Murphy
In essence, pre-production is the first stage of working with a producer on a recording. It lays the foundations for everything that follows. Get it right, and you’re on your way to a great result. Get it wrong, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle the whole time.
These days, more and more artists are self-recording. So not only do we have no producer, we have no pre-production. To bridge this gap and to give you access to production input at this critical stage of your recording I’ve setup an online pre-production service.
Pre-production boils down to answering three key questions: why are we recording; what are we going to record; and how are we going to record it?
We can start to answer the “why” by clarifying and defining what your goals are: CD sales? Youtube visits? Touring and bookings?
Then we’ll work through the “what”: Starting with the song (composition, melody, chords, structure, tempo and key), we’ll move onto the arrangement and the individual parts.
Finally, we’ll look at the “how”, by working through how best to attack the recording, looking into musical and technical considerations.
In practice, pre-production might include questions like these: How long should the intro be? Do we need a Middle 8? Should we use a click track? Is the key working for all the instruments? Should we double the vocals in the chorus, or the guitars in the verse, and if so, how? Where could we use harmonies and layering? Should we mic the bass amp, or use a DI, and should the bass be recorded live with the drums? Are the keyboards getting in the way of the guitars in the bridge? Are all the drum fills working as we need them to? etc.
I usually work from demos. These can range from rough tracks recorded with a single 57 in a rehearsal room, right through to full-blown multi-track recordings. As long as the songs are clear, and I can more or less hear what each instrument is doing, we can start work together.
Apart from full background on the band, its members and equipment, I’ll ask for a copy of the lyrics (essential!), a chord chart, tempo or any other relevant technical info. I’ll also ask for photos of your basic setups (drums, guitars etc.), and links to any videos. Finally, I’ll need your mission statement: what you’re trying to achieve with the recordings, and then a run-through of what your plans are re recording (home, or pro studio, recording equipment, who’s going to be engineering etc. etc.)
Once I have all that, I’ll work through the material, and get back to you with detailed comments and suggestions on everything from the songs to the arrangements and parts, to technical and recording propositions.
From there, you can either start recording, or we can continue working together on the material. I can even give feedback throughout the recording if it can help.
My rates are time-based. For a first round of pre-prod, with detailed input from my end, the fee is $40/€30 per song. It’s payable in advance, though only after I’ve received your material. If I don’t think I can bring anything to what you’re doing or help you move forward, I wouldn’t proceed. What I usually recommend is that we look at one or two songs first to get started.
Recording will always throw up questions. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong! But the more we can prepare beforehand, the better chance we have of a successful outcome. Get in touch, and let’s see what we can do together: