“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.