As you might have noticed, I’m a big fan of home recording. I believe there is something to be said about having the freedom to create without the added pressure of the clock beating down on you every hour. Home recording gives you that freedom, and for a truly modest price tag (as little as $500). So as you might have guessed, major label talent have caught on to this trend and many of today’s top bands have opted to forgo the studio and record their latest masterpiece at home, with fantastic results I might add! I just wanted to point out a few of my favorite home-recorded albums and share them with you for inspiration…
Foo Fighters “There Is Nothing Left To Lose”
One of rock’s biggest bands in the last 14 years has been without a doubt the Foo Fighters. With 6 studio albums under their belts, Grammy awards, hilarious music videos, and countless sold out venues, these guys are at the top of their game.
But what many people don’t know is that Dave Grohl is a home recording guy himself and has opted a few times to do albums the “at home way”. After completing two hit albums already, the rock foursome (then trio) headed back to Alexandria, VA (Dave’s hometown) to set up shop in his basement. What resulted was 1999’s “There Is Nothing Left To Lose” and what Dave himself says “might be my favorite album we’ve ever done.” Take a listen for yourself!
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”
Going back even a bit farther in time we have the Chili Peppers. These guys have made so many great albums it’s not even funny. But one of their biggest albums to date was 1991’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”. This album totally put these guys on the map.
Having started work on the album already and not getting anywhere with it, producer Rick Rubin, suggested the band set up shop in a house, away from the studio. They found an old (and supposedly haunted) mansion in LA, where the band hunkered down (and actually never left) for a month. The result was unique, challenging, and ground breaking…oh, and Grammy Award winning! Gotta love it.
“Give It Away”
Thrice “The Alchemy Index”
One of the more creative bands to emerge over the last decade has been California natives, Thrice. Blending aggressive guitars and vocals, with melody, solid arranging, and deep lyrics, Thrice has captured the attention of a lot of music lovers. In an interesting move from Island Records to the more “Indy” Vagrant Records the band decided to also move “out of the studio” and do an album at home, literally.
Talk about home recording, this album was recorded, produced, and mixed all at home by Thrice. Not only that, because of doing the album at home, their creativity hit new heights as they turned their “home sessions” into a 24 song set of 4 EPs. Major productivity and creativity born out of a home based studio. It doesn’t get much better than this!
“Burn The Fleet”
Will You Be Next?
There you have it. Proof that you can make a Grammy award winning and ground breaking album at home. And if you think that the reason these albums sound good is because they had “nice gear” you’d be wrong. It’s not about the gear. It’s never about the gear. You need a few quality pieces, yes. But the reason these albums sound good, are good, and have been critically acclaimed is because of only 3 things: good songs, played by talented musicians, with creative energy. That’s it. If you have a good song, talent, and a desire to create something amazing…you are well on your way to making great recordings. Gear is truly a non-issue in my humble opinion.
Now go make some music!