home recording

DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Your album isn’t ready yet + mind-mapping for self-produced album

I know that people don’t have any bad intention behind the question, and we musicians love to get questions about “how things are going”. Or at least, the intellectual side of me knows it.

I know sometimes people are just super exited to hear it. But how can you explain that there is no way it could be done quicker ? That going to the studio is just such a tiny wee(1)  little part of all what we do?

Who said again that a picture worth thousand word? 😉

your album is not ready yet
Your album is not ready yet? [click for HR image – it’s really large!]
Scary, hey ?

Although largely exhausted, I couldn’t sleep last night – maybe because we recorded until late one more ghosty gwerz that kept on haunting me (this one is about Yugoslavian wars, and is really painful to work on).

I suspected also that as the deadline is approaching (we’ll be leaving for next UK tour by the end of September), I’m probably also getting nervous about all that needs to be done. It’s not our first self-produced album for sure. But a few things add a bit of spice to the all adventure…

  • Music and technique-wise, our level of expectations has considerably raised. Mixing and blending the sounds together is part of our music, and thus takes much more time than for an acoustic project for instance.
  • Learning from previous launching campaigns, we want to get the best out of our release and try to plan ahead for a decent release impact – in a way, when we were younger, there were so many aspects we didn’t suspect that we were pretty relax about!
  • Instead of manufacturing 500 of pieces each time (and then eventually re-manufacture afterwards), we decided to invest on 1000 in one go, to save money, but then, we have to plan for when and WHERE we can get it delivered… and stored!
  • Since our activity is increasing (more touring, more sales, other projects), we have to switch to a decent legal status… and I wonder if this isn’t the most epic part of this particular release?
  • It’s the second album with Astrakan Project. I’ll write back about it, but well. It’s kind of an extra little source of pressure.

It kind of relieved me to get this end-less to-do-list organised in a visual way, kind of mind-mapping out things so that I don’t forget anything. And well, although it might look scary at first, it really helped me to see that a lot as been done, and also now, I know which part I was not paying enough attention too. The legal status part of course!

Back to work – our album isn’t released yet!

§ Simone

(1) wee=little if you haven’t spend some time in Scotland. And if you understood it, I want to play there! I want to go back to Scotland, if you have any place to suggest for next October, you’ll make my day!

Musicians' Diary

Why recording musicians need healthy food!

End of August is approaching, and so is our deadline! In a couple of weeks now, the master of our album will be on its way to the factory, and by then, we still have some work to do. Every recording we make tends to rise up our level of expectations, which tends also to take… more time!

So while spending a lot of time in the darkness of the studio, sited in front of the computer, trying out new sound combinations or just creating the artwork, we also try to find a balance, to keep everyday life joyful. Part of that are lunch breaks. Yes. Just simple lunch breaks.

healthy food in the music studio diy musician


While it is tempting to drop down lunch breaks under the belief that “any minute counts” and has to be used… well… in the studio, being productive, that is, only dedicated to music, and become a “cold-slice-of-pizza-in-front-of-the-computer” aficionado, we really feel this can be energy draining. Even depressing!

Not only do our body and brains need simple and healthy refreshing stuff to recover from all their creative activity, it is also nice to get back to “normal life”, to disconnect from the studio and come back later with fresher ears and minds… well just a break!

Recording in Greece definitely makes it easy for us, far beyond all our expectation, a simple Greek salad is cheap, refreshing, no cooking (=time saving), not too much dish-washing involved… THE perfect ideal meal so far while recording! healthy food in the music studio2 diy musician


Enjoy your day, have a break!

§ Simone

Musicians' Diary

The places that stimulate inspiration

I think the place you are in can strongly influence your inspiration for creating music. Let’s have a quick tour of some places that gave us some inspiration while we were working on the album

The first one is of course the place we live : Istanbul…


…which is supposed to give inspiration. We had the idea of 1932‘s rhythm while crossing the Bosphorus…



We worked a lot on Twist en-dro war al leur-goatKreñv veld ar garantez and Mouezhioù in Bulgaria…


…in this wonderful house…


…with FOLK TV running all day long…


Listening to Folk TV all day made me fully understand 9/8 rhythms, and gave us the basis of our song An daou gamerad fidel.

The Traditional Music School of Shiroka Laka [BG]:


Of course, every day view / environment is extremely relevant…

DSC_0295 DSC_0042

Istanbul can be extremely stimulating !



But also somewhat disturbing…


Maybe the time has come to look for another stimulating place…

§ Yann

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DIY Album

I pealed the potatoes : recording@home advantages

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A recurring question is “Should we record at home or in a studio ?”. Both have obvious advantages, I won’t try to say that you shouldn’t go to a studio, but I’ll try to highlight the advantages of home recording…

Okay, let’s assume your songs are ready, and that time has come to record them for your next CD :

The raw songs

When you start recording, you may realise you need some more practice in order to make the songs “cleaner”… If you’re already in the studio, it simply means this is too late, because you have paid to be there.

The songs are ready !

Now, if you record yourself, you can choose whether you want to record instruments in this order :

Instruments order, first proposal.

or this one :

Instruments order,  second proposal.

The only way to make sure the order will be yours is to do it yourself ! Or if you don’t know, at least you’ll have enough time to try different possibilities. Don’t forget also that in a studio, one more person at least (the sound engineer with his own tastes, preferences, experience) will probably get involved into your project. This can be your own choice since he can be VERY helpful to you and make you highly benefit from his own experience and technical knowledge. This is something you have to take into account very seriously before taking your decision.

And what about the tools / softwares / hardwares you will be using ? Those of the studio are most probably far better than yours !

Tools and hardwares, can you guess which one belongs the studio ?

The good point is that you will make all your best to get the best from your own tools (the yellow one) ! Also, it depends on what you need to record. A guitar or a voice can be recorded at home very easily. If you plan to record black metal drums with double pedal, I would strongly advise you to go to a metal experienced studio, definitely !

You need also time for recording, and the more time you spend in the studio, the more you pay, unless a powerful label is doing it for you 🙂 . And you NEED time to try different things, sounds, effects, mix etc… When time gets shortened, in most cases the final result will not sound as good as expected…

Available time for the recording is extremely relevant !

At the end, with home recording you may end up with this :

Your home made recording is over !

But by going to the studio you may end up with that (which is also good by the way but maybe not exactly what you had in mind) :

The studio recording.

And the same advices should apply for the mastering !

Did you make your mastering yourself ?

§ Yann

DIY Album

When recording latency is a problem…

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As most Cubase SX3 or any other music recording software users I have little latency problems. Of course, it is possible to set up automatic time shifts to correct this unwanted artefact during the recording sequences, by telling Cubase to automatically shift the recorded tracks by a certain number of samples backwards. However, I have noticed that latency depends on a combination of various parameters such as : the number of tracks, the number of insert effects; the CPU activity etc… which means that latency is never exactly the same from one recording to another. Well, this is quite annoying, isn’t it ?

I found a tip to correct this unwanted latency effect once I have recorded a new track :

  • I activate the tempo “click” and I get its level to the highest value as possible.
  • I put my monitoring headphones on top of the microphone used for the recording.
  • I record a few seconds of “clicks”.
“Click” recording.

Then I select the content of the new tracks including the “clicks” and I zoom onto one of these “clicks”.

Select the last recorded tracks including the “clicks”.
Set the cursor at the beginning of a measure, i.e. where the “click” should be.

I shift (by hand) the click to the right position it should have (like beginning of a measure).

Set the beginning of the “click” at the right place.

OK, it sounds like a grand mother’s remedy, but it works well !

[ yann ]