Millennials have been blamed for “killing” a lot of industries over the past few years, from chain restaurants to real estate. And while this financially strapped (and creative!) generation may be taking the heat for outdated business models, there’s at least one where there’s still some compromise: music studios.
To the outside observer, it may seem like high-quality music studios are becoming obsolete thanks to DIY recording studio tools like GarageBand. With one click of a button on your Macbook, you can be the mixer/producer/singer/DJ you always dreamed you’d be. (Heck, even superstar Grimes was a self-starter success thanks to the audio workstation.)
But even with the ever-evolving trends in how to create and distribute music, there’s still something to be said about the importance of music studios. It’s an environment that thrives on collaboration and the overall music process, as well as providing artists with the highest quality gear and equipment.
To get a better understanding of the importance of recording in a professional studio, we chatted with Philly-based artist Zak Krone. Krone, who has performed in the bands Left & Right and Bruise Bath, has recorded in a variety of studios over the course of his career, on small and large indie labels alike, including Infinity Cat Records.
Krone has seen the industry evolve rapidly but says there’s still a huge incentive for musicians to record in a studio: “It’s going to be the most accurate representation of your ability as a musician or band to compose at that point.”
“A lot of recording I’ve done started with live band representations of the music and then going back and dubbing in the things we wish we could incorporate into a song if we had the extra hands or stage space,” Krone says, adding, “So, in regards to bands and musicians starting out, they really need to take stock of whether or not they’re ready to make the jump.”
However, you don’t need to choose one or the other when it comes to DIY recording and studio recording. In fact, the two can complement one another. For those just starting out, Krone says that trying out demo songs by yourself is a good way to get a feel for what you want in the studio and “it’ll help you prioritize what parts of the recording you really want to highlight and you can go in that much more prepared and ready to work efficiently.”
If and when you do decide to make the move towards recording in a studio, Krone says that if you trust your gut and follow your instincts, you can have a positive experience. Remember: the studio is there for you and your work, too. “The people recording really need to be able to speak the same language as the engineer and vice versa,” he explains. (Krone says a good studio will also allow you to look at the space and talk with the engineer beforehand.)
Whether you’re in a top-notch city studio (ahem) or in a converted barn with some truly wild acoustics, Krone recommends you “book by the day, and really give yourself and your bandmates a lot of time to keep working and get into a flow state so some cool moments can be captured.”
Other things to keep in mind when you’re in a studio, Krone says, is that while you’re bound to be nervous (after all, it’s your time, money, and art), by having an engineer that you trust and knowing what you want and need out of the experience can make all the difference in the world.
“Studio recording is such a fun experience because it’s really the culmination of a lot of months and even years of work,” he says. “These songs have been written, performed, edited, arranged, demoed, and then in one week you’re seeing them come to life in the best possible way. It’s such a special and positive experience when you treat it right.”
Learn more about MNYK recording studios here.