Terry Derkach is a 20+ year recording industry veteran and whether recording and producing multi-platinum artists, talented up and comers, composing music for film, working as a session guitarist or performing on world stages, is enjoying the fruits of a diversified career. As a recording engineer, he has worked under legendary names Bob Clearmountain, Kevin Killen, Michael Brauer, Lincoln Clapp, et al.
Terry currently works out of VRTCL Entertainment (pronounced “vertical”), his recording and production studio in New York City. Terry is also a co-founder of Hook(ist).
That’s right! 200hrs+/- is a very close approximation of time it takes to complete a full length album.
This is an ongoing blog about the process of recording a full length album, in which I will attempt to provide clarity and insight into each segment/area of the process.
From determining the songs to record and the instrumentation for each, to securing players and booking studio time to calculating the approximate hours for tracking basics and overdubs to mixing to budgeting.
I will do this analysis from 2 different perspectives…
1. Singer/songwriter without a band or perhaps one other member
2. Full band
These are the points I will go into specific detail about and how to:
• Determine songs and instrumentation for each
• Prepare demos for each
• Secure players and studio time
• Calculate approximate hours for tracking:
– Lead vocals
– B’up vocals
– Overdubs (guitar, horns, keys, percussion, strings, etc.)
Determining Songs & Instrumentation
So this is presumably the 1st step to get the ball rolling. If you’re a solo singer/songwriter or even if you are a full band I believe you should always have another set of unbiased ears listen to your material and give you their unbiased opinion. The more people who you can get this unbiased (not mom, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.) opinion from, the better understanding you’ll have of your material and which songs truly connect with your fans and which ones to have on your album.
I KNOW… hearing someone put your favorite song at the bottom of their list never feels good, and yes, everyone has an opinion, but simultaneously if 9 out of 10 people listen to your set and all agree, then maybe the song isn’t as great as you think it is. (that said… it’s YOUR record, do what you want – I just want you to record the absolute best album you can)
This does bring up the question of whether or not to hire a producer. This doesn’t have to be a celebrated, multi Grammy winning one, it could just be someone/friend whose ears and musical taste you trust and align with, that can be honestly objective and keep things flowing throughout the process. (def something to think about)
Once you have all the songs chosen, you need to look at the instrumentation for each. For a band… this is/should be pretty obvious. If you’re a solo singer/songwriter this might be where you will need some help in fleshing out your sound, etc. For everyone… understanding this part of it will also help in the budgeting for any additional musicians and ultimately how much studio time you’ll need.
So for now that’s it!
Stay tuned for another installment next week where I will go into the time breakdown.
Hit me with any questions/comments: firstname.lastname@example.org