I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…we live in an era where recording gear is so affordable and so widely available that we should all just get out there and make more music. Turns out we also live in an era where bands are now recording their songs on cell phones. It’s crazy I know. If you haven’t already seen this video I want you to take 3 minutes out of your day to watch a group of talented musicians remove the “I need more gear” excuse out of the recording equation as they make a killer recording on their iPhone. The band is The 88 and the song is called “Love Is The Thing”.

Some Observations…
I want you to notice a few important things presented in the video. All of these line up with the philosophy of recording I try to teach here on my blog and when I do consulting…

First, they were recording in someone’s house. We’re not talking a nice renovated basement studio in a house, just an actual, lived in house. The bass player is sitting on the floor next to some kids toys for crying out loud! I’m guessing one of the band members lives there, but either way it was a convenient and comfortable environment. That goes a long way to making the band feel loose and ready to record.

They used creative and unusual “mic” placement to get a great drum sound. Notice how they placed the iPhone in a little “fort” of pillows. It was catching the reflections of sound off of the walls and ceiling. They made adjustments to the kit (sheet over the snare and toms, played with brushes) and probably moved the iPhone around till they had a sound they liked that was balanced.

Their “studio” consisted of a simple 4 channel audio interface that costs $179. It’s insane to think that for less than $200 you can pick up the Alesis ProTrack that they used. It has a built in stereo mic as well as 2 mic pres for hooking up your own studio microphone. The 88 used the iPhone app FourTrack to record. Also according to their website, they used the actual built in iPhone mic for everything but the lead vocal! Simple, affordable, amazing.

They used Pro Tools to do the final mix. Obviously they were limited in the editing and mixing realm on their iPhone, so you can see they dumped their recorded tracks into their mac, and mixed them down in Pro Tools. This helped them get the right balance and dynamics to make the final song sound clear and punchy.

Wrapping It All Up…
I hope you are encouraged by this video. These guys are living proof that you don’t need expensive gear or a perfect studio environment to make a great recording. What you DO need however is a great song, talented musicians, time, and creativity (all of which these guys had). Put those 4 things together with some basic studio gear and you are ready to go. No excuses. No drama. So get pumped, and as Nike always says…just do it!