Behind the recording studio walls
Updated: Jan 5
Chris Quality is intentional with his Studio Sessions, unless the session's been deemed a vibe session (see vibe session in footnotes), but even then, the group understands they want to be intentional about creating some solid ideas to avoid having a pure social hour.
Back to a Chris Quality's recording Session, it's all about intentionality. Its usually a good practice to have an idea of your studio stamina (stamina was purposely used here instead of endurance, as endurance is tapping the reserves versus a smooth recording session. Not to leave the studio exhausted [fight another day]). This is because when recording a song, the artist needs to keep the energy/emotion consistent throughout the recording; which includes, choruses, verses, bridges, etc. Also, it's a good idea to try and finish the recording of the song all in one session, either in the current session, or another session. This is because no 2 days are the same, even when following the same routine. And there may be a noticeable difference in energy on the takes of different days. Maybe the harmonies and background vocals can be recorded on a different day, but not the leads.
The Sound Engineer, it may take some time to find an engineer that works for you socially and style wise. Notice the phrase, "that works for you," this is mentioned because the engineer is responsible for the translation of your song from your brain, to your vocals, onto the track. This includes your energy and tonality, your ad libs, your clarity so the listener can clearly understand your lyrics. Creating the experience listeners will get from your songs, the SE is vital. It may take recording with a few engineers to find the one that works best for you, whom can assist you in creating the best version of your song. But once you find the right one, things just flow, and there will be better understanding saving valuable time and energy, keeping the direction of the song.
Session Must haves; Water, and lots of it, a snack (protein shake is the easiest and cleanest), air conditioning in the studio because you're definitely going to work up a sweat, at least Chris does. And with all of that water consumption, you're going to need access to a clean restroom, hehe. Energy as you're expending way more energy than you realize, hear CQ's tracks, "We Up," or "Champion." Come to the studio prepared as having to leave and get something to eat/drink is a flame douser. And as CQ would say, you need to keep your studio sessions, "Lit like a candle." ~ Candle, CQ, 2019
Hack: Take advantage of your Emotions:
Trouble in the Love Department? Write and go to the studio asap as genuine emotions have a special value to them.
Feeling special after Family Holidays? Write and go to the studio asap as genuine emotions have a special value to them.
Just spoke to a group of youth and feeling inspirational? Write and go to the studio asap as genuine emotions have a special value to them.
In closing, have a game plan when you go to the studio. Just want to record verses? Demoing and/or writing for another artist? Trying to get a song placement? Is this a featured performance for someone else's record? Will this be a single or is this part of an album? A throwaway track to shake off some studio rust? Whatever type of session it is, make sure you have a good idea of what you want to do to ensure you have pleasant and productive sessions.
- J. Ravi
Footnote: A vibe session is where a group of musical contributors join together at a recording studio, create an instrumental, via beat machines and software and/or live instruments. Or a mix of the 2. Many times the instrumentals are already created so the group will pitch subjects and concepts to write about, with the group ultimately gravitating towards the one that resonates the most between them. The purpose of a vibe session is to open a joint stream of music consciousness amongst the group. Here, ideas are conjured up that would not have been thought of otherwise or have a lower likelihood of surfacing.