Conquering Red Light Syndrome

Do you ever find yourself so lost in the flow of your music, feeling your song so intensely when you play it for fun? Of course.

Do you freeze up once you hit record?

It seems as though all of the natural, free-flowing energy can get zapped out of you once you start recording.

We face a problem from this because the goal is to capture the song the way it sounds and feels when you’re not recording. We don’t want to modify it to be a stiff version of itself. We want it to feel natural and believable.

Here are some ways to help you loosen up when it comes time to record.

Set The Tone

Your recording environment matters. Not only making sure it’s soundproofed properly but also the right mood. We may be tracking with a bunch of pillows and blankets to make our room sound better in the beginning (like Drake and 40 in a hotel room with blankets in the beginning), but that doesn’t mean we can’t set the vibe.

Try turning off the lights, safely lighting a candle, and getting some mood lighting. If you get blackout curtains for your studio windows, you can achieve that ‘creative flow night time effect’ at any time. Plus, they’ll help you cut down on reflections from the glass as well.

The darkness can help you switch into the creative side of your brain.

Alaska Studio recording studio. Mood lighting in the ...

Change your mindset

Imagine The Beach Boys recording their music back in the day.

All of their complicated harmonies all had to be recorded live, and more often than not, they all recorded them together at the same time.

Brian Wilson directing The Beach Boys

They couldn’t operate with the mindset of ‘we can just fix it later”. They were recording to tape so they couldn’t go back to do edits. Plus with tape, it degrades the quality every time you manipulate it.

Act Like It’s Live

Treat your recording sessions like it’s a live performance. When you’re performing live, you only get one chance. That’s what gives it the intensity.

Try to limit how many takes you’re going to do, say three full performances of the song. This can help save your voice, and also your brain will switch to ‘making sure it’s great’ mode.

Time crunch

In a professional studio, you are paying by the hour. You’ve scheduled the date in advance, so you’ve made sure you’ve rehearsed and prepared beforehand because you’re paying for the time.

In the home studio world, we can be so lazy. We track vocals right after we write the song without rehearsing.

You can edit your tuning and timing later, but you can’t edit in energy, passion, confidence, and attitude.

Schedule your own sessions on your calendar. Practice your parts before you go to record your song.

In Summation

Our seemingly unlimited track counts and unlimited time in our home studios removes those two ingredients needed to capture a great performance. The pressure is good for you!

What tips do you have for getting in the mood for recording? How do you make sure you can keep the feeling of the song while tracking? Let me know in the comments below!

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