Every musician fantasizes about recording an album. Here are a few things to think about before jumping into the recording process.
1. Why are you making an album? What’s unique about you and what you have to say?
2. Who will play on it? Who are you already comfortable playing with? Line up some gigs featuring the material that you plan to record.
3. What will you record? Originals, covers, or both? Record songs that you love to perform, and consider songs that fans request of you. Royalties on covers must be paid per disc pressed.
4. Where will you record it? What kind of recording budget do you have? Will you start out with a demo at the student-driven Mid-Can studio? Or will it be in Larry Roy’s high-end studio?
5. When will you record? It’s best to rehearse beforehand, or you’ll be paying the sound engineer to sit and watch you figure out bar 5 of “Ornithology.” Be sure to discuss timelines with all those involved in the project before you start. Then give yourself an extra month or two for the unexpected!
6. How will you pay for it? Will your musicians volunteer their time? Or what will their fee be? (The Winnipeg Musicians’ Union can supply standard rates.) Do you have money saved up? Consider applying for a recording grant through Manitoba Film & Music and FACTOR. Applicants often must apply several times before receiving a grant. (If you do receive a grant, expect a lot of paperwork!) Begin your own fundraising well in advance.
7. Get a good graphic designer. People will make a judgment call on your music based on the cover. And make sure the spine is LOUD, so it sticks out at a radio station with thousands of CDs. Include a Canadian flag.
8. Plan a big party. Have the completed CD in your hands at least one month before its release. Send it along with a press release to newspapers, radio stations, and anyone that can help get the word out.