if you want your music

Make it sound like YOU.

Hey, make it sound like: (insert popular band here)

Having an idea of what your influences are is key to knowing who you are and what you want to sound like. But 99% of the artists/bands/producers that ask me to do this have said it while handing me the newest track of their favorite artist/band chart-topper. I know everyone’s completely into _______ and I agree they’re amazing! But, that doesn’t mean that you need to emulate their production when recording. If you go about your recording this way, let’s just say… You’re Gonna To Have A Bad Time.


Your record isn’t going to be like _______’s because you:

  • haven’t had the same exact experiences as ________
  • don’t play your instruments the exact same way as ________
  • didn’t collaborate with other songwriters as __________
  • didn’t write the same lyrics/music as ________
  • didn’t hire big producer _______ (who charged $$$$$$ & took % of mechanicals and publishing)
  • didn’t spend weeks working pre-production on those songs with the producer
  • didn’t book weeks at a $1,800/day studio
  • didn’t rent $1,000/day worth of recording gear
  • didn’t rent guitars/amp/basses and audition those for tones
  • didn’t rent a couple drum sets/snare and audition them for each song
  • didn’t have those drums tuned by greats like: Mike Fasano / Ross Garfield
  • didn’t have big mixer _______ mix it (who will charge $$$$$ & also take a % of mechanicals)
  • didn’t have big mastering engineer _______ master it

You get the picture. Does that make you any less of an artist?? No, in fact in many cases it might make you more of one. Does it mean your album can’t be amazing?? No, in fact sometimes limitations push you to be more creative! Take a look at Surfjan Stevens, he only used two mics on his album “Michigan”. He also recorded it on a very lofi piece of recording gear and in rooms there weren’t designed to be studios. Was it pristine? By no means. But was it raw, full of character and great songwriting? Absolutely! Use your weaknesses to your advantage and it will make you distinctly different.

So RIGHT NOW you need to make this song/album sound like you. Play the way YOU play. Sings songs that YOU care about. Use the gear YOU have. Record with YOUR guitar, YOUR amp, and YOUR mics in YOUR bedroom with YOUR beat up old Tascam 4-track recorder. You’ll be much more excited when it’s finished and you won’t have a bad time.



Not getting the right sound? Don’t change the mic, change the room!

Not getting the right sound? Don’t change the mic, change the room!


Sometimes when we record things they just don’t sound like what we envision them to. If you’ve recorded drums in a small square drywalled room or guitars in a closet then you’ll know what I mean. And if you’re new to recording this is a long road you’ll be traveling until you can successfully record things the way that you want. If you don’t know the basic physics of sound then you need to know that no “eq fixing” afterward can completely fix a mangled sound that was recorded in a bad environment. It’s one of the main reasons why sound replacing or “triggering” software has become so prevalent when recording drums. Recording to me is about committing to what you’re doing and the idea that you can just “fix” things later doesn’t make things easier, it actually makes more work for you, not less. So what did I do when I wanted a different sound when I was started out? We recorded in different spaces! The room is one of the BIGGEST factors of recording and it’s usually ignored the most. People generally try a different mic or mic position first and it’s true that there are many factors to consider when recording. The three most important factors are: the player, the instrument and the room. Auditioning each room will give you more versatility when recording in your home studio. In college we would move the drum set / guitar amp / vocalist to every room possible. I remember recording drums in the stairwells (after hours of course), hallways, bathrooms and out on the balcony. It was an eye opener for sure and this video alone show just how different rooms can sound.

Help each other out and pass on the info,



Music Recording Tips

Hey, I’m Joshua Smith (Hero) a producer/mixer/engineer working in the music industry in LA. After much thought and many bad demos sent to me, I’ve decided to start what I’m simply calling Music Recording Tips. It’ll be an email list/blog for bands and artists that want to record their music better. I know from experience that when starting out recording your music, things sound way rough. Posting music on youtube or others always draws the risk of responses like “the sound quality sucks!” Well, that’s what I’m here for and I’ll be doing it for free every week! If you have questions feel free to ask, if you have comments go right ahead.