A lot of bands who want to self-destruct, hate each other and waste loads of money decide that the best way to do that is to go into the studio and try to record. This can be a really effective way for a band to destroy itself, as a properly disastrous session will not only result in a terrible recording (or, even better, no recording at all), it will also set the members of the band against each other, causing resentments and broken friendships that can last a lifetime.
However, some bands don't come out of the studio with quite the catastrophe they're looking for. So here I'm going to share the hidden secrets of disaster that hundreds of bands have employed over the years. Many of these bands have gone on to failure, obscurity and in some cases physical violence against each other, so when these guys give advice, you need to listen and learn from the experts. By employing these three, simple strategies, you can be on the road to spectacular and humiliating failure in no time. So let's get started:
1. Waste Money on as Much Stupid Stuff as You Possibly Can
For the truly failure-focused, losing money is great, because it will not only make everybody miserable, but also prevent the band being able to afford anything else that might advance their careers or be enjoyable. So you should make sure that you spend as much as possible and get as little as you can from it.
A great way to do this is to hire a big-name producer who doesn't care about your band. Your band will not be on his CV, nor will you be able to pay him as much as his bigger acts, so he will have no incentive to work hard, promote you, or create anything that sounds good. Instead he'll overcharge you, treat you with contempt and rush the mixing to get you off his books as quickly as possible.
Also, make sure that you call up loads of expensive studios and ask them what it would cost to record the album there. That way, they will quote you the price for their luxury package, which will involve loads of things that you could easily do yourself or aren't necessary at all. Don't work out what you could do yourself or you might accidentally save thousands of dollars.
Whatever you do, don't take any kind of control over your spending. Make sure that you allow professionals with vested interests to take all the decisions relating to the way you record. Cave in at every opportunity and be spineless. You'll empty your bank account in no time!
2. Write the Songs in the Studio
Many bands make the mistake of writing the parts in the rehearsal room and rehearsing them at home. However, if you do this, you'll miss out on the opportunity to not bother and write your parts in the studio, while everyone is waiting and at the cost of a couple of hundred dollars an hour. That way, your band will hate you, the studio will hate you and you'll waste loads of money, making failure almost assured! In particular, make sure you wait until you get to the studio to write guitar solos and vocal harmonies. Those things will just write themselves, right? Well, maybe not, but what's a few hundred takes to get it right when you haven't rehearsed it at all? It's not like the studio guys and the rest of the band have anything better to do than watch you record the same three notes over and over again for hours.
Also, don't bother repairing your instruments if they don't work, that way they'll fail in the studio and ruin your takes. Also, don't bother changing your strings until you get to the studio. Not only will you waste time, there's also the chance that a new string will break, and if you've taken the precaution of not bringing any spares you won't be able to record anything at all result!
3. Make Sure Everyone Hates You
The true masters of failure don't just ruin their first recording they ruin subsequent ones as well by making sure that everybody in the industry who could help them hates them and refuses to work with them again.
A really simple, but really effective way to create antagonism is to turn up late. That not only shows disrespect to the people who could be bothered to get there on time, it also wastes money and reduces the chances of you getting everything done in the time available. Three big doses of failure in one! Also, a really good tip is to turn up late, then demand that the engineer, studio and producer carry on after the agreed finishing time. That way they suffer for your laziness and bad planning. Also, refuse to pay them any extra or act whiny and entitled if they ask to be paid.
In fact, whining and pouting about having to pay professionals is a really great way to get you and your band loathed, or even blacklisted. Don't negotiate on price before you start, because they won't be offended by that and you might end up getting a good deal. Instead, negotiate on price as late as possible. In the studio, in the middle of recording, is a good time, but even better is once their invoice turns up - or why not try both? It's especially effective if you go back on a price you already agreed to pay. Follow up by moaning on your band's Facebook and Twitter feeds about how the industry tried to screw your band. Name names, swear and use capital letters for everything. That way, news of what jerks you are will spread the fastest. Congratulations - you'll avoid all the stress and hard work of a professional music career! Whew!
Whilst I can't cover every single tip and trick bands use to fail in the studio, I hope I've covered the essential points that will get you on your way to disaster.
Oh, wait? You actually want to succeed? Really? Then why do so many bands follow the advice in this article? Beats me. So anyway, if you want to succeed in the studio you'll need this free video series, where I tell you both what to do and what not to do to get a great result in recording.
About The Author: James Scott is a writer and music producer in London, UK. He works with unsigned and independent acts to get them a pro result on a part-time budget.