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Overcoming "Red Light Fever"

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Crazyfist, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    My band is just starting to record some of our own stuff, both in a studio and on my guitarist's laptop.

    Fortunately it's all for free, or else I'd be in big trouble considering the amount it would normally cost, but for some reason I really struggle with getting my takes right, I always consciously mess up! I get through about 6 or 7 takes, all of which will most likely have obvious mistakes.
    I'm not nervous as such, but it is such a strange feeling... yet live on stage I'm the exact opposite!

    A producer at the studio told me about it, and I was just there thinking "So, it has a name?!"

    Has anyone else experienced this? Please let me know of anything that might be helpful, I'm going to need it!

    Thank you!
  2. I've never heard that name, but am familiar with the issue. Frankly repetition is the solution, although maybe not 100 takes on the same song in a row, but a good 20 isn't too bad. Then go on to the next song, and then circle back on through all of the songs again later. That's the luxury of recording yourself, so you might as well take it.

    When it gets to crunch time, try and do some punches on the best track. If that doesn't work, then edit something together from among the two or three best tracks. But I've found given a few takes eventually something clicks and you get through a good one. Sometimes it feels stale at first, but rest on it and listen again after a week of separation, those can be great takes. I used to feel like if I didn't get it in the first two or three I should just bail and try another day because it wasn't going to be "fresh", but two recent recording experiences have proven that to be incorrect.
  3. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks very much, that makes a lot of sense!

    I often tend to mess up really stupid little things, like missing a note or not keeping the tone consistent in my plucking!
    Yeah, that's how I feel when I'm about to do another one, I just get a bit like "Ughh, another one?! What do you want from me?!" *shakes fists in the air*

    I'll keep at it, following your advice I might just have to practice a few times on Reaper or something before we start recording again :)
  4. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    ...also known as "Red Light Syndrome"

    Yeah it happens to all of us, but to different degrees. It's like going on stage to play a show. Even though you may have performed a bunch of gigs, you will have that moment of jitters right before you go on stage, but once you get into the first song that neverousness generally goes away. Recording is no different.

    Today, in the age of ProTools and other types of digital recording, just lay down a few passes of the song. I would probably avoid doing more than 3 or 4 as after that you will be stewing about your mistakes instead of just playing and it will adversly affect your performance. After you do those couple of takes your "engineer" can then make a "comp" track using the best bits from those passes, and create the "perfect" take. Be very wary of overthinking it however, as in an effort to be perfect you can easily lose the feel and start to sound very stiff and sterile.

    I hope this helps you out in some way. Oh and if a particular track is giving you fits, move on to a different song if you can or since this is your buddy recording it, take an hour or two and come back when you're more relaxed.
  5. I mostly do overdub recording with me on all the parts. When I push the red button I just assume it may not be the "right" take, thus psyching myself in to relaxing. Once you relax you'll get great results. Now days I even look for the "mistakes" and leave them in. Gives it a more human feel.

    Band situations are a bit different if you're playing at the same time. Luckily you're playing bass. If you're recording direct you can punch in later.

    This is all assuming you're making a record versus documenting a performance.
  6. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Just relax. The more comfortable you are in the studio, the less it happens. A LOT of good can come out of recording because it will inspire you to simplify your part so that you can deliver every time.

    It always took one drummer I played with about half of a 40 to chill out enough to hit it right.

  7. I used to believe this, but two recent experiences have shown me this is not neccesarily the case. I did a jingle date and since it was only 30 seconds long I took 26 takes in an hour, and number 24 was the keeper. This was after we already had a "safe" good take already down, the producer told me to take some chances and step it up a bit. I also had a similiar experience recording an actual song, tracking with the drummer. It didn't take us 26 takes, but the good take was number 7 or 8. It didn't lose any freshness, was not stiff at all. We actually relaxed into it. Come to think of it, it was right around the time we both finished out first beer, lol.
  8. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks so much guys! So far I've learnt that alcohol helps with recording! ;)

    I have taken to stewing over 3 or 4 takes for one song, so perhaps HolmeBass' approach would be something to try differently!

    It's just nice to know I'm not the only one, although at a live show I feel so much better! In fact, we recorded one of our tracks without a metronome and played it as we would on stage! It's such a strange feeling!
  9. I'd say *a little* alcohol helps. Just a wee bit. Even after 3 or 4 your coordination and timing will start to be affected. And if fruit juice and massage relax and invigorate you, then they will help with recording.
  10. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    I don't drink at all, so alcohol doesn't help me in the studio. If you routinely use alcohol to relax (beer after work, happy hour, etc) it might help. I've certainly seen it work.

    It always takes a few takes to really get in the groove and get a great one.
  11. Chromer


    Nov 28, 2012
    It takes practice, like anything else.

    Get yourself a bare-bones audio interface and some DAW software (Reaper is really cheap and amazingly powerful), import some songs or backing multitracks, and record, record, record...