Vibe. It can’t really be explained. It’s…a solid? No – a liquid. Or…an emotion?
It’s probably not any of those things. If I had to define it, I would call it a connection. That’s what it really is. A connection to the music, the musicians, and the studio.
No one understands how to craft the perfect vibe better than Robert Glasper. Check out this interview – especially when he talks about how his Grammy Award Winning album “Black Radio” came to be in the first couple of minutes of the interview:
He says “if you get the right artist and the right musicians in the room, the rest is history…”
This is so true. But let’s say it’s just you in your home studio – what can you possibly do to achieve this “vibe” and make a great production? Here’s what I like to do:
1. Never record a song that you don’t truly feel. If you’re stuffed full from a Thanksgiving feast, don’t sing about how hungry you are. This “fakeness” can really come through in the recording, and totally kills the vibe. This doesn’t mean that you have to be whatever you’re singing about (I doubt the Beatles were actually walruses when they recorded the track). But that’s what artists can do – make themselves feel what they are singing before they sing it.
2. If something isn’t right, fix it right away. If there’s a bar or two that are a little off and need to be pocketed, do it right away, because every time your hear it you’re going to cringe. Make sure that you’re always either loving what you’re hearing or fixing it so that you will love it – never settle for less! This can really kill the vibe as well.
3. If you’re recording with another musician, try to find some common etiquette that improves both of your creativity. Basically, getting along with everyone in the room will greatly help the process.
4. Work with the lighting. Maybe it should be bright – maybe the only light should be coming from your computer screen. Play around with the lighting to set the mood, this can really help you fit the vibe and let your creativity flow.
Even though a lot of these tips seem kind of “dreamy” and “hippy-ish,” the truth is that all of these things make a huge difference in the overall production. Ask any top notch record producer what the most important part of their job is, and they will say “psychology.” It’s true – so focus on setting the perfect vibe for your next session and you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll get!