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Recording Studios; too mainstream for Indie outfits?

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The world of Independent music is just as often about breaking the mould as it is about finding ways around production costs. Without the backing of major, or even minor, record labels the latest and greatest Indie artists are having to become increasingly money conscious when it comes to getting their music produced. As you no doubt know, we now live in a world where anyone can convert a room in their house into a make-shift recording studio of a relatively decent quality; the technology is affordable and the equipment isn’t too intrusive. As long as the neighbours aren’t too much of a pain, you’re pretty much set.

Limehouse

Limehouse

This DIY orientated approach to music production, while not without its problems, has produced some startling results over the last few years. Back in 2007 Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon took his low budget approach to music production to a peak of lo-fi recording absurdity. In the wake of his old band collapsing alongside a breakup with his (now ex-) girlfriend, Vernon took himself off to a cabin in the woods for a month in an attempt to clear his head and occupy himself with menial tasks like chopping wood; rather you than me, Justin. Instead of this Vernon inadvertently found himself making music on an old Silvertone guitar. He’d record the music he was writing on an old Shure SM57 that was in the cabin and listen to it back over and over, slowly transcribing the lyrics to the melodies and sounds of the music. The result was Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, a haunting, original and critically lauded piece of work that sky rocketed Bon Iver to huge success with sell out tours and Grammy nominations.

While Bon Iver’s acoustically orientated sound lends itself quite naturally to a stripped back approach to music production, it is clear that other artists with a more electronically demanding sound would struggle in these circumstances.  So where does this leave Indie bands on a budget? Luckily there are affordable options available. Most recording studios charge by the day, which is often not a viable option for up and coming bands on a budget. However, plenty of recording studios have now wised up to the inherent problems of this system and are now offering pay per hour services. Options such as this are paving a way for small outfits to get a decent quality of recorded music at an affordable price which suits them. So if you don’t fancy transforming your living space into a cacophonous musical emporium, or taking yourself off to a log cabin in the wilderness for a month, fear not! There’s always a way.

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