1. Finding your ”sound”
As a producer I see this very often. Artists come into the studio and they know what they like/dislike and have preferences on what their sound is similar to.
Having these preferences make it easier for the producer to understand fully how they want to record their sessions and what kind of microphones, amps, effects and instrumentation they want on the track.
It can take a long time to figure out what feel right, it’s all about experimentation. Finding out through influences, cultures, friends, books and research can be a start to that journey. Once that sound if discovered you will feel that it is your own and testing it out on people you know can be a great way to find out opinions in fresh ears!
2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
I have been producing a couple of bands now and I am starting to see where each members skills lie. If you have a close relationship with your band members then you will know that they all bring something new and unique to the band as a whole (hopefully). Whether it be a lead singer that has great instrumentation or a drummer who can producer those tracks etc.
If you know what each other are skilled at it makes the dynamic of the band shine. All being able to work together and creating the best that you can provide for you fans.
And if you are struggling with some areas of band work, you can always rely on you band mates.
3. Know the Arrangement and Lyrics in Preparation
This was an issue I have encountered many times in the studio. As I word in a college lead environment we have many college bands come into the studio with songs. The one problem that occurs is that one or two of them haven't learnt the certain parts to the songs. Which delays the whole process of recording the song, which inevitably means we have less time to record, edit and mix the track. Our normal schedule on a recording day includes getting in around 8:30/8:50 to start setting up all the equipment, then the band/artist comes in at 9:15. The less time that is wasted the more time we can spend experimenting with different sounds or adding more arrangement if needed.
Having a prepared band/artist who has a completed song that they know fully with a list of instrumentation on the track to make the life of the engineers easier. This will ensure that the producer and engineers understand what will be on the track and how they can plan the day of recording. A basic tech rider for a studio day is what all producers and engineers need to make sure that the day can be used to its fullest.
What I have found in the studio is that keeping a communication with the people around you is vital. Before going into the studio contacting the producer and engineers to get to know them and to ask any necessary questions you have would be a recommended idea. When you have a good amount of knowledge of the people you are going into the studio with, it makes the environment more comfortable to be in. Also when it comes to being more creative/experimental the ideas flow better and the cohesiveness between the members is more susceptible.
When you have people around you that you know it creates a safe space for any conversation or idea that could inspire a part of the song, so having this skill is important to any musician. It breaks the artist/band out of their shell to be more open and honest with their work.