All you budding bedroom producers out there, listen up. Set to unveil his debut EP, ‘Agrabah’ on October 28th, Melbourne-based indie-rock songwriter slash producer Edward R. is here to help, offering us some of his hard-earned recording tips on how to maximise sound with a minimal workspace.
Now with his help, you can take some serious shortcuts on your own journey through the challenging processes that come with making a record. And if anyone knows, this guy does, after just locking himself away inside a small cabin on a farm for a year to record the new EP.
Reflecting on his time spent recording in a tiny cabin called Agrabah on a farm, Edward R. explains:
“There is something about that place that was potently magical. I would spend all night into the early morning writing music with no disturbances, exploring textures and sounds, learning programs, learning production, listening to record after record, but, actually listening, not just putting a song on, but, actually hearing the air around the instrument, hearing the room it was recorded in, hearing the performance in the vocal takes… you know, that kind of thing.”
Learn how to create that kind of potently magical experience for yourself, with Edward R.’s learned guidance.
1. Let the songs develop
I never started out thinking – I’m going to write a massive crescendo with huge drums and big beats and layer upon layer of textures and sounds. That just happened, I enjoyed recording it all and so, rushing a track through, just relying on what I had learned wasn’t an appeal and wasn’t necessary.
2. Experimentation is key
A lot of it was happy accidents, that became a normal part of my recording process and production technique. I wouldn’t say I used typical or approved production or editing techniques for the most part, but that’s not what it’s all about I think. I had a specific sound in mind and where I wanted it to sit in the mix and what it should sound like texturally, and I would spend as long as necessary trying to figure out that sound.
3. Compression, compression, compression
Compression is king of grandeur. Light/soft sounds + heavy compression = massive air around the sound. I just tried to replicate all the sounds I wanted to re-create in Agrabah in the most unethical way possible.
4. You can do a lot with a little
The only outboard piece of equipment I owned at this point was my UAD Apollo. I recorded everything through that beast of a machine. I used waves plugins. My Ac15, one kick drum turned on its side and played as a tom became all of the backbeats. I used 3 mics on the whole recording, which, in retrospect is kinda crazy to think about.
5. Solitude is bliss
I think my main success on this EP was the fact that I did everything myself – when you do that you understand every part of the song and where you’re up to in it. I feel as though once you hear the end product in your head it can be quite daunting trying to recreate every part of that sound, but, for me, that’s my favourite part. Understanding where and why every sound is positioned in the mix and what fill or sound leads out of the verse in the chorus or whatever it may be. Instead of scoring on paper, I score in logic. Once I figured that out – that changed all my songwriting style. But modern producers aren’t a rare thing anymore – I feel as though you have to be an all-in-one force in the industry, which is sad in some ways.
Agrabah is out on October 28th. Edward R. will also set out on his first ever East Coast tour later this year. See dates and details, below.
Edward R. Australian East Coast Tour
Friday, 28th October – With Pop Cult
Bistrotheque @ Empire Corner Bar, Brisbane
Tickets: Free Entry
Saturday, 5th November
Friday, 11th November
Banquet @ The World Bar, Sydney