Spring 2001.

Recording Tips for the Beginner, Phase 2: Shamanistic and Mechanical Suggestions

by Jason Martin

Draw things you like. Doesn't have to be realism. Pets that have passed away. Records tape decks wingtips sudafed helicopters placemats images transmitted over telegraphs in the 1800's onions holograms ex-lovers glass cones bolo ties a spider encased in Lucite…. Give them names - whatever you have to do to bring these things into now. Things you DON'T like are easy. To heck with things you don't like. But if it feels absolutely necessary, draw these too. Just stay on the positive side about it.

Get it all out of your system, so it can inform rather than dictate. Loosens up the vibe. One ceases to carpet-bomb their feelings all over an arrangement. It's clear now where it all came from. Don't have to get it all in there at once. You might find you're not interested in expressing any of it, or expressing anything. That's fine.

Get a CB, short-wave, ham radio, any kind of radio that has people communicating on it. Let it play very softly while sleeping. The radio could be silent all night then at 3am, somewhere far away, somebody is whistling into a microphone or asking for directions or maybe some music from India passes through (depending on what kind of radio it is, of course).

Write the dreams down. Wear a tight headband. Just trust me on this.

Make up bands and science. Pretend to be each member of the band. This does not have to be based in plausibility. You can have cops parking in doughnut holes if you really want, but I would definitely not recommend that one. What if you were the shady character who plays bass in this band you just made up? How would they play? Maybe you're not even a human being. NOW how would you play?

Yeah, its hard. Time to practice not being you. This is to prepare for overdubs. If you are you each time you add an instrument to your piece, it's a bad piece.

Be many pieces and people and places and things in the studio recording music. Get the shit down tight, inter-dimensionally. Wear a good blazer. Don't look down at the shirt cuffs and think about how stylin' it is. Know what I mean? Totally kills it. If that's an issue, wear a bathrobe or spill yoo-hoo on your sweatpants and get back to work.

Don't be a spaced-out jerk. You gotta know where to plug the cables and if you're with other people you gotta be real with them. No psychic shell gamin' soft-shoe Stalin Obiwankinobee bullshit. They don't need to deal with some nut. Just run this other stuff in the back of your mind during sessions, or while working it out in the notebook. Feel free to forget it all. You don't want it becoming part of your identity. Again, just trust me on that one.

These are just stupid tricks that actually probably work sometimes. Don't believe the hype.

JASON MARTIN wears a good blazer but doesn't think about it. Much.