So, this is my first blog and for those of you who haven’t heard of me, I am the Owner/Studio Engineer of Eleven Gauge Recordings, a small setup here in Bangalore. I am also a freelance live sound engineer. I was the former guitarist of metal act, Cheisrah, based in Bangalore. I have been recording, mixing professionally for about 2 years now. For those interested, I would be happy to send a private link and show you my latest work. For more information on myself and my studio, visit my website, www.elevengauge.com . The following opinions are based on my experiences as both an engineer and being a part of a band, i.e, having been on both sides of the field.
Now, to get to the meat of it, there are a lot of things I’ve noticed over the past two years of doing this professionally and speaking to my peers and seniors in the field. And I’ve found that most of the problems in the Indian music scene, in terms of quality of music and general discoverability of bands from the country stems from the artists themselves. So, here are the top reasons :
1. MAKE GOOD MUSIC
This is the simplest one and quite frankly, given the least attention to. Would you want to listen to your own songs? Do you think your band’s songs compete with international bands? Do you think your band is doing something that others aren’t? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, just make sure you are proud of the stuff you write and really(I’m not kidding), really think your song is worth listening to?
There are already a lot of mediocre products and stuff in this country. We, artists don’t need to add to that. Make music for the right reasons.
2. PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND…..PRACTICE AGAIN!
Lot of bands say the following, ‘We practiced our song in the jam room a 100 times man, its all cool!’. WRONG! Practicing with a band in a jam room and practicing in your bedroom WITH a metronome repeatedly is totally different. If you don’t get that, stop playing ! Get good at your instrument. Get good at following your metronome. You know how I judge a musician? When they ASK for the metronome and tell me the BPM of the song before recording! Don’t shy away from it, let it help you. Know your material front to back.
Attention drummers! For the love of God, learn to tune your drums, and play to a metronome!
3. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Most bands love familiarity. If the last recording engineer or mix engineer offered you a beer or joint while recording, he’s the best right? WRONG! Once you’re ready with your material, do your research. Depending on your budget(which we will be talking about next), choose an engineer who understands your genre. Request a link to his/her latest work, as sometimes he/she might not have been able to share the latest work publicly. Then decide, if he is the right person for the job. Don’t just blindly go to the first person that comes to your mind. He/she may or may not be the right fit for your band. Get off your ass and get some research done!
4. SPEND WISELY
Use your budget wisely. Take into account everything you will need for that particular project to be the best possible product. Yes, at the end of the day, your song is a product to be consumed. Don’t deliver a shitty product. If you have the budget for one song but have 5 songs ready, spend it on your best song. Don’t HURRY! DO NOT CHURN OUT MEDIOCRITY!
Show your dedication to music through your songs. If you don’t have the budget to get the song produced well, save up! Give up those few bottles of booze, skip those parties for a few weeks, work overtime, do whatever it takes, but don’t settle for below average.
And the most important of all,
6. BE PATIENT
The music scene is saturated. Do your best to get the best songs out there. And if you are doing your best, and I mean absolute best, it’s just a matter of time until you get noticed.
I think the above 6 steps, if followed right by bands, will get them closer to their goals.