Examining the Concept of Home Recording

Not too long ago, the only way an artist or band could make their music known to the world outside of their garage was to book a recording studio and track twenty four hours a day until they got the result they wanted, working with a producer. And even then, they ran the risk of having their work not turning out exactly how they wanted, or altered in post-production by the producers or sound engineers, often against their wishes. But thankfully (or otherwise, depending on your personal stance), this technique of sound recording is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and more and more obsolete as the months go by and the technology available nowadays advances. The reason for this is the blossoming of resources available for the individual (rather than exclusive recording businesses and establishments) that enable them to record their desired artistic expression, from the comfort of their own home. But although this technological progress is still contested by the more conservatively-inclined who believe that all music should come from a bona fide recording studio (which can cost struggling musicians hundreds, perhaps even thousands that they won’t even necessarily have) and simple ignorance, with Randy Blythe condemning the idea that someone can create a song on a guitar processor and a laptop in their bedroom as opposed to the studio, musicians are nonetheless actively utilising this technology to create without the fear of their artistic credibility being halted in any way.

I speak from experience on this matter. Having been in countless bands throughout recent years, with genres ranging from progressive instrumental metalcore to alternative, pop-punk to post-metal, I can honestly say that the advent of home technology is just what musicians have been looking for. Using a guitar processor and a simple, free DAW (digital audio workstation) program called Reaper, I have been able to create an extensive catalogue of songs that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve with nearly the same degree of satisfaction that I’d have had to deal with if I got it professionally recorded. It not only erases the financial constraints typically associated with starting out in the music scene (although the costs of the units themselves, such as the Avid ElevenRack or the Fractal Axe-Fx, two of the biggest processors in the current market accessible to musicians, are rather expensive in their own rights) but gives the musician total control of music they want to create, which is, at least to me, the most important aspect of modern-day music. The ability for someone to sit down in their bedroom, plug in their guitar to an interface like the ones mentioned, or more budget-inclined models such as the Line 6 Pod HD, and just play and record as much as they want indefinitely is a wonderful idea, and one I’m personally glad has made such an impact on the current musical scenes, especially in the circles of progressive metal and rock.

American progressive metal band Periphery, by many regarded as the pioneers of the ‘djent’ sound, are notable for their utilisation of home studio equipment when they were writing their eponymous first album in 2010, highlighting the importance of their style of innovation within the prog metal scene. Guitarist Misha Mansoor noted the importance inherent in the band finding their own unique sound through experimentation with recording techniques, guitar tones, drum samples and more, informing iheartguitarblog.comthat “We don’t use amps any more, we don’t use cabs, we don’t use pedals. We just have an AxeFX and a Fractal MFC foot controller. That pairs up perfectly with the AxeFX, and we just go directly into the board with that. And that has been the best setup that we’ve used, so that’s how it’s evolved”. The sound Periphery will remain forever infamous for was crafted through their experimentation with tones during the recording of their 2010 album, and it’s hard to imagine they would’ve produced the same sound under the influence of a producer in a studio; their first album paved the way for the progressive metal sound and invited other musicians to try the same technique, such as Intervals, Cloudkicker and more, and total creative control of the music they want to create.

The reason more and more young musicians are opting to record their music in the comfort of their own home with their own technology is because it is so beneficial in terms of broadening one’s artistic horizon in addition to being pragmatically effective, in addition to cutting down finances in the long term. It gives you the ability to truly convey the music you want, and coupled with the outreach that social media is capable of encompassing with the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp (the latter especially), your potential is pretty much limitless. And even if you’re not interested in impressing legions of fans with your songs, a guitar processor and a guitar can definitely provide the cure to a boring afternoon.