A Day in the Studio - Before & After
Today, Barbara is recording our newest single "Currents" at our house (The Green House). The studio is always an interesting, sometimes challenging experience for me mentally, so I thought it would be insightful to reflect on my state of mind before and after our day recording.
Generally, whenever someone presses record, my mental state shifts. I suddenly become more anxious, tense, and often, I play worse than I ever have in rehearsals or live. This is something I've been working on overcoming since I first had recording experiences in college. At this point, If I'm playing piano in a session, I'm comfortable and not really phased by the studio setting. However, I haven't been playing guitar for as long or fully accepted the identity of "guitarist" for myself, so I face some self-doubt when coming into situations like this.
This morning, as we get set up, I'm reminding myself to keep a calm mindset throughout the day. I have also been struggling with severe wrist tendonitis issues for the past half year, so I know that if I get stressed and tense up, it will only make my wrists feel worse in addition to the music not feeling as good. I'm remembering that today is about creativity, fun, and a celebration of the music Bridget, Anna, and I have created and are so proud of. I'll check back here at the end of the day - here we go!
It's now the next day, and I'm feeling an overall sense of accomplishment and gratitude. We were able to record the majority of the song aside from final vocal takes and a few extra synth goodies that will still need to be added. I listened to the first rough mix on my walk this morning and I'm pleased and excited about how good it already sounds.
I did, as usual, experience moments of extreme self-doubt (like needing to play a guitar solo) that greatly affected my mood and overall ability to play. My wrist issues made me feel frustrated at times (although I'm happy to report I don't have much wrist pain today at all) and my inability to play certain sounds I heard in my head made me question whether I should even be allowed to call myself a guitarist at all. At certain points throughout the day, I was able to work through difficult mental states and remind myself to stay grounded and breathe. However, by the end of our very long day, I found myself exhausted, not being the best collaborator I could be, and knew it was time to just return to with fresh ears later.
I'm so grateful for Kevin Cincotta and Ethan Michael who have put in so much incredible time and work into recording and producing all of the Barbara releases so far. Yesterday was no exception - both of them provide wonderful musical ideas, have immense knowledge about how to achieve specific sounds, and make the recording process comfortable and fun. I also feel so lucky to write and record with two of my best friends, Bridget Hartman and Anna Panella. Our process is natural, judgement free, and filled with love.
I can't wait to share "Currents" with the world in early 2023. In the meantime, you can come hear it live at the Mercury Cafe on Dec. 19 for the Indie 102.3 #Local303 Meetup.
I'm curious what other people's studio mindset experiences are like. Can you relate to my setbacks? Have any tips for how to overcome those moments? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!