Over the years, I’ve come to view recording like making pizzas. Not just because historically albums have been round, but because I think the steps involved in both pizza making and album production are similar.
Step 1: Gather ingredients (players, room, instruments, mic choice, etc). Are you making a Sicilian pepperoni pizza or Hawaiian flatbread? Chicago deep dish? This is the initial recording process. The end result is only as good as the quality of the ingredients.
Step 2: Clean/prep the ingredients. This is where we clean up the recording if needed, verify everything is healthy and safe to continue. Are the rhythm tracks in time? Are the vocals in tune? Are there noises on the tracks? We don’t want food poisoning, so let’s take care of that stuff now. Otherwise, it’s only going to cause trouble later.
Step 3: How are the ingredients arranged? In what amounts, and how are they layered?
This is the mixing process. Depending on how clean your prep was, and how organized you were during recording, one issue you might have is bleed from different sources. Kind of like when the sauce gets on the dough before baking…. but that’s not always a bad thing.
Step 4: Baking. This is where all the flavors gel together and everything is cooked as a whole. No turning back! This is critical. We can’t move on to this step until we agree on Step 3. We also want to consider what delivery format we’re aiming for.
Step 5: Delivery – Doordash/Grubhub, pickup… In recording terms, CD, MP3, streaming, etc.
OK, so music isn’t really pizza… and this isn’t a perfect metaphor, but hopefully it helps the lay person understand the many steps we go through. Even for the more experienced person going into the studio, this analogy can be instructive.
Now I’m hungry for pizza! Bon Appétit!