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Tips for Recording at Apocalypse Cow (as featured in our newsletters)


August: Stay well fed. No, we're not trying to fatten you up, just want to be sure you can sustain that level of all out energy the entire 10 hour session. Creativity and motivation wane and blood sugar crashes without food, so eat throughout the day. You can stop by one of the many, many food joints near us or feel free to bring food with you. Taking a quick dinner break also helps keep your mind fresh so you can come back rejuvinated. The one exception, singers stay away from milkshakes and anything too heavy before you record. Nothing worse than having a froggy throat because of what you just ate.

July: Startle your listener.  It will make an impression when you write parts in your songs that are unexpected.  Go for that totally stark verse and crash into the chorus with all your might.  Or go ahead and put that doo wop inspired part in for the bridge.  That type of contrast will stick with your fans and make your songs that much more memorable.  Contrast makes the eye of the mind blink.

June: Because this month we seem to be all about fun, remember to have fun while recording.  You'll be focusing on getting the best take possible but don't get so caught up in nuances, then the music loses energy.  Believe it or not listeners will hear if you're having fun and that makes songs more infectious. 

May: “It’s about the space in between the notes.”  Rests make music exciting and build contrast.  It is the single best way to make the listener stop and listen.  You can pause, and then add your hook for a grand can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head effect.

During recording when you get to the end of your song remain quiet until the instruments fade out, especially during drum and acoustic guitar tracks.  Otherwise you’ll end up with random talking or squeaks at the ends of your songs or a really quick fade out that sounds unnatural.  (Unless of course you want that “hell yeah, that take was awesome!” at the end of your song). 

Memorize your lyrics for best results.  Bring in a written/typed copy as well to refer to if needed, but you’ll get a better, more passionate performance if you’re not worried about which line on the page you’re supposed to be looking at.

If you're going to record to a click track (metronome) make sure you practice with a metronome before coming in to record and if possible figure out tempos beforehand.

January 2005
1. Know your budget from the start and let us know it too, so we can spend your time the most wisely.
2. Plan ahead by knowing who’s playing what and when for which songs.
3. Know all your lyrics ahead of time; better yet, write them down.
4. Listen to your bandmates’ parts at least once before coming to the studio to make sure you’re all on the same page.
5. Make sure that your drummer and bassist have been properly introduced to each other before coming to the studio.

July 2004
1. Plan ahead and book time as far in advance as possible.
2. Be sure to call if you’re going to be more than 10 minutes late.
3. It’s best to keep groupies at home: they can be distracting to both us and you.
4. Keep food out of the control and live rooms.
5. But be sure to feed the engineer’s egos. It’ll help keep our heads nice and large, and you just might get us to work
harder because of it.

January 2004
1. Remember to bring extra strings, batteries, sticks, drumheads and anything else that might break.
2. Practice to a metronome (click track) before recording.
3. Smoke outside and throw the butts away...please.
4. Practice setting up your drum kit from scratch and/or use other people's kits so you get used to minor differences when you come in to the studio. Also, get used to playing with your cymbals higher so you will get a better recording.
5. Listen to the mixing engineer: if he says you need a reverse reverb locomotive effect, listen to him, 'cause he's the one with experience.

July 2003
1. Bring an extra lyric sheet for us.
2. Make sure your instruments and gear are in top-notch condition.
3. Try not to show up more than 15 minutes early (chances are we won't be here yet).
4. Call the day before for directions.
5. Use the backyard for any inter-band disputes (just keep the blood outside).

January 2003
1. Practice the songs before coming into the studio.
2. Put new strings on the guitar and new heads on the drums (kik and snare especially).
3. Singers take care of your voice and don't eat ice cream, drink milk, etc. before singing.
4. Be quiet during the mixing and mastering stage.
5. Tip the engineers.

Not all bands are the same; Apocalypse Cow, a recording studio that's different.

To contact Apocalypse Cow Recording - info@callthecow.com - 630-897-9023