Pre-production is the process in which the producer meets with the artist or band to rehearse and prepare their songs before entering the recording studio.
The pre-production phase can include songwriting, choosing album tracks, arrangement choices, and simply practicing the material.
The goal of pre-production is to prepare as much as possible in a low-cost environment so that once the band hits the studio, no time is wasted on last-minute changes which can often lead to lengthly debates under the pressure of the studio clock. By having every part analyzed, improved, and finalized in advance, the artist and producer are free to focus their energy on delivering and capturing the best possible performance in the studio.
How to Approach Pre-Pro
One of the best ways to approach pre-production is to meet with the band at their usual rehearsal space or other low-cost rehearsal location. As the producer, you’ll then listen to the band play their songs together while making notes & trying to get a clear idea of the vibe & vision for the record. By having the band play live, you’ll also get a chance to observe each member’s strengths & weaknesses, and learn the relational dynamics of the group. Once you start to get a feel for the artist and their music, you can start sharing your ideas and suggestions for improving the songs.
Depending on the size of the project and the maturity of the band, pre-production can take a few days or a few weeks. Be sure to schedule adequate time for pre-production whenever possible. If you come into the studio with good songs and well rehearsed arrangements, tracking a record becomes simple, creative and fun.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.