Try This At Home
A Side Box within the article “A Simple Plan – Green Day and Butch Vig devote serious time to pre-production and demos before
recording 21stCentury Breakdown”
By Ken Micallef
Featured in EQ Magazine
You don’t need fabulous gear or a magnificent studio to work your songs until they’re lean, mean, and full of impact, but you do have to jettison any tendencies to creative laziness, malaise, and mediocrity.
In Billy Joe’s own words: “One thing about Green Day, we work harder than everybody else does.” That may or may not be true, but Armstrong’s fervent commitment to honing songs until they are the best they can be is a lesson all musicians should inject into their RAM buffers.
So before you start tracking, take a good look in the mirror and determine whether the songs you plan to record are 100-percent brilliant. Then, look in the mirror again, because a significant number of musicians lie to themselves about the “studio readiness” of their material.
YOU CAN’T MIX GENIUS INTO A CRAP SONG
By Michael Molenda
Featured In EQ Magazine, July 2009
This is an awful and merciless truth that few musicians have the guts to face. You can craft the greatest sonic mix ever rendered in recording history, and if your song is a dog, that puppy is going nowhere – that is, unless an angel kisses your forehead or Lady Luck takes pity on you.
Personally, I’ve never been that lucky, so I put a lot of energy in trying to insure the song – and the song arrangement – is worth recording before I set up a single microphone.
Knowing whether you actually have something to record is key, and, deep down, I believe even the most egotistical schmuck knows when he or she hasn’t done their best work. You just have to admit it to yourself – which is painful.
But it’s worse putting tons of effort into recording sessions and mixes, only to discover at the end-of-the line that you’ve slapped a nice paint job on a derelict wreck of a song that should have been tossed into the “bad ideas” bin months back.
So work that song viciously hard until it gives you goosebumps from intro to outro.
If you can do this, I think you’ll find the mix will come together as easy as vanilla-bean ice cream and chocolate cake.