Pre-Production - What Where When
Pre-production describes all the work necessary on a track before the arranging and recording can begin.
After listening to your demo we may suggest changes to the structure, key or tempo if we feel it would improve the production. Usually we'd send you an edited version of your own demo, with the changes included, for your approval.
After we've both agreed on the arrangement and production style, or if you have your own definite ideas, work will begin on creating the arrangements.
The nature of the arrangement is very much dependent on the work done in the pre-production stage.
Each instrument in the production has a custom written arrangement based on the style and feel of the song.
The rhythm section instruments (drums, guitar, bass and keyboards) usually have quite a basic set of instruction, such as a chord sheet with the song structure, while the orchestral instruments have a more defined score.
A PDF copy of the score is available on request.
Recording usually begins with the bass, drums, guitar and keyboards parts, which are allowed to evolve to suit the groove and mood of the song.
Percussion and any guitar or keyboard solos are recorded next, followed by the strings and other orchestral parts.
Lastly, the vocals, either from an online session singer or supplied by yourself, are added to the track.
All the instruments are record in a single take for the length of the song, with no cutting and pasting, as we feel this gives a better performance and interpretation of the song.
The clip below, taken from the session for the Dougie Rice track 'After All', illustrates the arranging and recording process. First we hear the piano, followed by the drums, bass, percussion, guitar, then the string section and finally the vocals.
In the next section we'll take a look at mixing and mastering.