If heading to a studio isn’t an option to record and produce your next album, the good news is that there are many ways to record rock music for a fraction of the cost.
Even though there’s nothing better than stepping into an infamous recording studio, it is common for artists to kickstart their music careers by showcasing their talent through home-recorded demos.
This article will cover the key steps to get a decent sounding rock demo. Yet, the freedom in the process is part of the beauty. What works for some solo artists and bands may not work for others. Once you have learnt the rules, feel free to break them.
How to Record Rock Music
- Complete Your Set-Up
Inflation may be increasing the price of many commodities, but the range of accessible and increasingly more affordable home recording gear is making it easier for independent artists to set up their home studio and record.
Leave your flash purchases to your dream instruments, and don’t be afraid of shopping around for affordable studio gear. In your average home recording set up, as a minimum, you will need a laptop or desktop, monitor headphones, microphones, amplifiers, studio monitors, a digital audio workstation, and an audio interface.
Artists may also want to consider purchasing pop filters, a control surface, virtual instruments for the DAW, a recording mixer, a studio rack mount, a reliable power supply and a power conditioner.
- Get Acquainted with a DAW
Learning how to use a digital audio workstation is the hardest part of the learning curve when recording rock music – especially for artists that like to keep it analogue. Instead of just downloading a DAW, such as GarageBand or ProTools, and trying to figure them out as you go, find some online courses; there are plenty available for free on YouTube. DAW cramming may feel like a lengthy part of the process, but it pays off in the long run.
- Create a Recording Running Order & Set Up.
Once the software and hardware are in place and you’ve got a track to record, figure out the order that you will record the instrumentals and vocals. Note that the recording process for one song usually takes more than a day, as you will need to get multiple takes. As a general rule of thumb, put the base track and the rhythm first, and leave the vocals, backing vocals and fills for the end of the recording process.
Once the running order is complete, do an itinerary check on the instruments you need and all the cables, amps and other supporting equipment. Before the recording, do a test recording to ensure the volumes are modulated correctly from each channel in the audio interface.
- Start Recording Your Rock Track
As the beat is the foundation of a song, get the base track down first. It is even more crucial to ensure that the rhythm is solid and fits win with the tempo. Artists can create the base track or download a simple metronomic beat.
Once the base track has been laid down, it is time to bring in the drums and bass. For acoustic singles, the rhythm can be brought in on the acoustic guitar. Never record OVER anything at this point; always make separate rhythm tracks.
After the rhythm, it is time to record the harmonies and melodies. Typically, everything should be recorded separately, but when they are put together, they form the background music and the dominant part of the music. In most rock bands, the melodies are usually laid down by lead vocals or guitars.
- Clean & Colour Your Tracks
After all of your instruments and vocals are recorded, it is time to make some finishing touches. Artists have an infinite amount of choice here -from sound effects to percussive fills to piano scores to background vocals. Once you have added your FX and colour, clean your track by adjusting volumes and removing unnecessary noise.
- Mix Your Rock Song
If you aren’t an experienced mixer or producer, it may be better to outsource to someone who is. If you feel confident enough to tackle it for yourself, this is where you balance levels and use EQ, panning, automation, reverb, compression and panning.
- Export the Music
When you’re happy with the final product, it is time to export it. If you plan on exporting the music onto a CD, you will need to master the release first; once again, this is something best left to professionals.
Once you’ve got your rock track put together, submit rock music to our award-winning blog to put yourself in front of key industry figures and even keener rock fans.