There are basically five major phases of producing a record. And over the coming weeks I will outline in more detail some of the work that I am doing to support Trevor on his next recording project.
This stage of the work involves creating the vision for the project, setting budgets, selecting songs, scoring charts, booking studio time, engaging an engineer and rehearsing the music. My role in the project at this stage is pretty easy: book the studio time and get the technical components ready.
Trevor is hard at work with the rest of his team to get the songs arranged and rehearsed. Preproduction is the most critical component of the project. And I have a lot of confidence in the team that they will enter the studio ready to record.
Basics and Tracking
This stage of the work involves laying down the basic tracks for the project. Our objective in August will be to cut finals for drums, bass and piano. If time permits, we will begin some overdubs in the studio.
I have booked 50 hours at Phase One Studios in Toronto for the bed tracks. My work is to ensure that the recording sessions proceed smoothly and that I capture the best performance and sound possible.
I estimate somewhere between 50 and 100 hours for overdubs. Although my own studio will be used to manage the overdubs, I do expect the individual players to submit tracks recorded in their own environments particularly the guitar and synth overdubs.
I spend more time on mixing then perhaps I should. I expect to spend about 100 hours on this stage of the project. Usually I do the first candidate mix on my own and send that out to the team for review and comments. To get to that candidate mix takes a lot of work — levels, EQ, effects, edits, automation. Last time, it took three candidate mixes to get a sign-off from the team.
We take the finished mixdown to yet another studio for mastering. Generally 10 to 20 hours is sufficient for this phase of the work. Graphics, credits, and delivery of the final master for duplication are the major tasks in this phase of the project.
It is not unusual to spend upwards of 20 hours per song to achieve a high quality professional recording.