Franks Says: Reality Check

reality checkCheck, check. Reality, check, check.

Every few months, the Editors of the mighty YabYum, aka The Dynamic Duo, release a list of recently released albums, (say that three times fast), on the double-super-secret YabYum staff page.

As I clicked over to view the list, after the secret knock at the Facebook page door, I got quite a shock. The list was three pages long. Over 100 albums. It was quite overwhelming, mostly from a writing standpoint, but more importantly, from a reality check standpoint.

I mean, over 100! That’s a lot of music. And that sparked a couple of questions in my head: How many of those are worthwhile for a listen? And then: What about yours? What about mine?

Many of our readers are musicians. Many have albums. Many are working on new ones. How many of those are truly worth a listen? A friend of mine posted that they are “taking the gloves off” when it comes to an opinion on albums that find their way into their email.

OK, fine – that debate is for another time. What I’m talking about is just how good will your album be… Will it be memorable to break through the clutter of the pile of records out there? I mean, you’re competing with hundreds of artists. And that’s just on a local level. How about on a regional level? Nationally? Forgetaboutit.

This begs another question: Just how prepared are you when you walk into the studio?

It’s an important question because even from my own experience, I know I was making shit up as I went. Oh sure, the songs were there. The parts were there. But beyond that I really didn’t have a master plan. The band was pleased with the outcome, but it could have been so much easier. And dare I say, better.

I’ve done some research for you on what you should think about before you walk into the studio. You’re welcome.

1. The Album: Decide on your album type. Is it full length or an EP? Is there a theme?

2. The Songs: Choose wisely here, young Padawan. This is a huge decision. Err on the side of quality not quantity. What about backing vocals? Additional instrumentation? Ask your engineer/producer.

3. Recording: There are quite a number of remarkable engineers here in town, send them your demos (don’t have demos…add that to your list…). Interview them. Make sure you’re on the same wavelength. Do they “get” your sound? Then, finally, the price – make sure it’s all the way through the process Many times, overdubs are extra, and that can add up. Quickly.

4. The Mixes: Get feedback and repeat. Then repeat again.

5. Mastering: Do your research. Ask your engineer/producer. Ask your friends.

So, there you have it. There’s a lot of competition out there…I’m rooting for you.

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