#squadgoals: How to Discover Your Village and Love Your Social Network
Hey everyone. I’ve been reading articles recently about artists on the come up and how difficult it is to work with other creative even when it towards a common goal. When we started recording and releasing music we ran into similar issues. We found that if a problem comes up during a recording session, no matter how small, it has the potential to tank the whole session. Which is a waste of time, money, and energy that can all be put toward finishing a record and making it all it can be. We weren’t happy with results we were getting from certain sessions, and by the end of them we were left feeling like more could have been accomplished -- and in less time. As a result, we changed up our process and found a remedy that works for us, and it has led to more successful recording sessions as well as boosting our network.
First and foremost, organization. You MUST, must must, be organized. As artists, creativity comes spontaneously and needs to be captured in the moment for it to be its purest. Then worked and refined until the sound that moves you shines through with clarity. All too often these gems recorded, filed in some obscure location on your computer, and rarely revisited. I’m talking about the gems that get you noticed, that get your message across, and that put your energy into this world for others to tap into. We are all guilty of burying some of our finest work under creativities next spontaneous idea, forgetting to return to the gold we already mined. Having a system that keeps all your projects organized and in one place stops that from happening. With an organized system in place, you can easily ride the spontaneous wave of creativity without losing track of the gems that should still be worked to completion and released. So get your self a system ASAP.
Next, when it comes to recording sessions, have everything that you plan to use during the session live and ready. Countless times, we ourselves have started as session where we have our mics hooked up, the guitar and bass ready, and then want to add a synth in during for texture and spend time a lot of time setting it up to find the right sound. Or everything is set up, and we go to record to find the EQ is we want is on the last record and not this one. Things like this eat up time and cut into the good energy that makes a session productive and fluid. It is best to have every instrument, mic, pedal, interface, etc. set up, and set to the exact measures you want for the session you are about to have. That means bass and guitars tuned, your recording program ready, on the right template and EQ’d to your liking, lyrics ready to go and the necessary space cleared. This will expedite you getting to the most important part of the recording session…Recording, duh. Enjoy taking the right to set your equipment up properly ahead of time and the session will run smooth. Like butter on ice.
The next tip is crucial, especially when working in larger numbers. There needs to be a clear director who takes control of the session and keeps it on track. The director’s job is to outline what the session objective is and accomplish it. The objective… it can be anything. It can be laying down vocal parts for each singer, it can be laying only the instruments down for the record, it can be finishing the whole song that day, it can be playing no music and instead solely brainstorming about how to create more riveting music that compels your audience. Whatever it is the session director’s role to keep everyone in the session on task and focused on accomplishing the goal. Name your session director and stick to your task to create those timeless jams. Stow your ego ‘til after.
This next tip is an obvious one, but….there will, be hiccups. Gear malfunctions, people forget lyrics, nerves block the mind, artists get competitive, humans make errors. We all do. How your team responds to those hiccups is essential for keeping the energy right for the session without tanking it. Each hiccup comes with its own remedy. When someone forgets lyrics and you see they are nervous, loosen them up, spur them on, lett’m know they got it. If artists are getting competitive the director should take control of the room, resolve the issue and get everyone refocused on the objective. When gear malfunctions and you’re losing the juice to record, just step away and come back later. No reason to beat yourself or your team down for a gear malfunction, its dumb. Shit Happens, fix the gear and get back to the session when the time is right. We’ve used these techniques as well as others to get past these hiccups and they have greatly increased our productivity. Use these tips and create your own fixes with your team to make the most of your recording sessions. Don’t let hiccups keep you from your objective. After all their only hiccups.
Lastly and most importantly, Find Your Village. Seek and find the people that speak your language, that match your energy, that share your ambitions, that share your drive, that keep you happy, that challenge you to improve, and that push you towards your best self. Those are the people you want in your village. They can be any age, any gender, any religion, anybody who brings those qualities into your life. Those are the people you accept into your village, an nobody else. We have had many sessions where we were working with new artists for the first time, just getting to know them, only to find out that they are not the right fit for our village. When you’re in sessions with people like this they inevitably get to a point where there is no order and they are not salvageable. Having back to back sessions like this is demoralizing, unproductive and takes you further from your objective. Steer clear of these relationships at all costs no matter who it is -- Nothing personal, some energies just don’t match – you and your music shouldn’t bear the weight of that. Your Village is your Kingdom, keep the right people in it and it will flourish.