Being Creative in the Recording Process

Some simple ideas to stimulate creativity while recording, mixing and writing. I’ve built them up over many years and use them to spur me on when creativity levels are dropping.

I’m always looking for more so if you have any of your own add them in the comments below and I’ll tack them onto the list.

  • Try 20 tracks of quiet backing vocals. 
  • Pan the vocal right, the guitar left. 
  • Put funky gated reverb effects on guitar only, and atmospheric cathedral reverb on the vocals. 
  • Record all percussions using your fingers on the desk.
  • Write a song that’s so cheesy you’d never want anyone to hear it
  • Setup 5 different mics on guitar, and 5 more on vocs. mix it
  • Order a pizza delivery, record the exchange, fit it in somewhere.
  • Cut a hole in the bottom of the box. Stick a dynamic mic in and record.
  • Write a brand new song by candle light only, and try to capture that feeling in the SOUNDs of recording it.
  • Sing with a fake accent
  • Be an opera
  • Flesh out the parts like this from Recording Revolution
  • Scrape those guitar strings
  • Record a guitar part hard right and left at a different capo
  • Change tempo every 4 bars (A La Cry A While – Bob Dylan)
  • Try and keep one note going through the entire song
  • What would it sound like if you were in a tin?
  • What would you not want to hear. DO IT
  • Double your vocal(either artificially or using the actual double), pan them hard left and right in the choruses. This makes the chorus stand out more and sound wider.
  • Play an instrument you know in a way you’ve not tried (eyes closed, left handed)
  • Automate some plugins. Put automate on read mode and play around.
  • Write the most disgracefully poppy song. Make it singable and embarrassing. 
  • DESCRIBE THINGS in great identifyable detail
  • Write the melody with no chords. Make it catchy, then add the chords later
  • Read this by Bobby Owsinski and listen to the examples
  • Record an Ed Sheeran style loop. Joe Gilder does it well in this video
  • Tell a good story
  • Use your voice as a lead guitar. Distort it and play a solo
  • Put down the scratch tracks and then record all the others using just a microphone and your voice. Beatbox the drums, wail out the synth parts, boom the bass. Then go back and convert these into audio track. This article gives you the outline.

Don’t believe I do this kind of crazy nonsense? How does mic in a box sound? Well the answer is it sounded pretty terrible until I cleaned it up but it did give me the weird sound I was looking for.