Published Jun 01, 2005Jim is an Exclaim! alumnus, having written a recording column for the magazine in 1994/'95. As the proprietor of Actual Music for over a decade, Jim recorded a diverse swath of Toronto and Newfoundland's artists since the '90s including Merrill Nisker (aka Peaches), Howie Beck, the Skanksters and more.
How should people approach home recording?
The mind is the most important thing, isn't it? You should have an idea of what you want to get out of your home recording before you start spending money. How are you going to go to a music store and ask for what you need if you can't even describe what you want to the salesman?
What's the biggest mistake you made?
I invested in too much gear too fast. You take a gamble on any business, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It's best to assemble your gear gradually, although there are times when you're going to have to spend a lot of money all at once.
What do some people obsess about in a home studio situation that just isn't that relevant?
Trying to get a sound onto tape instead of the "four-track" approach where you bang out your ideas really quickly. You keep the energy of discovery there. Sometimes you're going through a track and you think "that's a cool guitar sound," start tweaking it and tweaking it, then hours go by and you haven't recorded a note! You need to develop the habit of working quickly and efficiently. What I would obsess about is preparation before you begin. I had prep sheets for what instruments were to be recorded on what tracks and what microphones and processing would go down even before the band had arrived. Keeping good notes is really important.