The making of an album...
After recording a bunch of albums, and lately one that I'm more than usually happy with, I have come to the conclusion that there are a few key aspects in the process that greatly influence the end result. These are of course just my personal reflections and others may find they have very different ones, and if so I'd be very interested to hear more about them.
1. Foundation. This can be demos, rehearsals, a concept idea or just about anything else that is your inspirational starting point and creative lead for the project. I realize that for some people this step might not be the most important one, but to me at least it serves as a crucial focal point for how to approach the work and how to deal with issues that come up along the way. If you are unsure about what it is you want to achieve and what you want to express I think you are making it a lot harder for yourself to get a good result no matter what. On top of that, I suggest you learn more about your subject or concept. If you stick to what you already know you may miss out on a lot of inspiring knowledge – don't be a hostage to your own preconceptions.
2. Hard work. Yeah, there you have it and there is no way around it. If you want to take your demo tracks, rehearsal ideas, great artistic concept etc to the next level there is no other way than to spend a lot of time polishing them in the studio, in front of the computer or in the rehearsal room. Some people find this the most rewarding part of the process, others hate it with a vengeance, but trust me – you won't achieve a result that you can be lastingly happy with without grinding through those long hours of practice, takes, editing and most of all listening. If YOU don't like it, neither will others.
3. Flow/Luck. On a final note there is another aspect of recording that is a bit more hard to pinpoint, and also harder to achieve by one own effort, and that has to do with how all the foundation work and studio efforts eventually come together to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. By this I mean how to come up with not a good album but a great one. The only way I have found to get to this point is to really immerse yourself completely in what you are doing, to trust your instincts and not to stop working until YOU yourself really love to hear the result. Only then will that sense of satisfaction and achievement carry through to the receiver.
Like I said, these are just a few key notes on my part, and I'm by no means an authority on recording music – but they ring true to me and I'd be more than happy to hear what you think about them and what you do differently.