Recording Live Music for your podcast is a cool and creative way of making content. However it requires astute planning beforehand.
Imagine this; You’ve just turned up at a live event to record some, what will surely be, excellent content for your podcast.
Uh oh! You open the bag and quickly realise the equipment hasn’t been charged and is missing parts. If you prepare properly, this shouldn’t happen… I learned that the hard way.
Recording Live Music: a Basic Field guide
Live music recordings can be a fantastic way to expand your podcast audience and also help out fellow creatives!
Below are a few tips and tricks for successfully creating unique live content.
Choosing the right Artist / Venue
One of the most important things to consider is what and where you will be recording. For example; recording a full metal band may cause much more of a headache (in more ways than one) rather than recording solo acoustic musician.
This is because for a full band you'll need to ‘mic-up' the drum kit and all of the electronic instruments.
An acoustic performance still gives you some fantastic content, often exclusive if its an acoustic rendition of a tune that'd normally be with a full band.
Recording acoustic means it's much simpler to get a quality recording. It's good to be realistic with the kit that you have!
Do your research on venues before agreeing to record – Where can you place your device without getting in the way? What are the acoustics like? Can you record live from the mixing desk?
Depending on the theme and audience of your podcast you may like to interview the musician(s) that you’re recording too.
Make sure they know about this in advance and they have it on their gig schedule. A good way to schedule this is to get in touch with the artist's manager or press contact. You can typically find this information on an artist's Facebook page.
An interview will give some extra depth and set the scene for your live music recording.
Ideally, you will need a quieter place to record, which can be difficult as soundcheck are in progress. The green room, backstage area or venue office is usually well sound-proofed.
Most music venues are run by very friendly people. Just email them beforehand and they’ll help you out and let you know what is possible. Be prepared, do your research and the interview will come together naturally.
Equipment & Recording
Zoom Recorders are great for working with solo musicians in cosy spaces.
These small pieces of kit can fit right in your bag, are battery powered and can also be connected to a laptop via USB for on-the-go editing. Field recording doesn’t just limit you to working with solo musicians, however.
If you’ve taken the brave approach and arranged to record a full band, speak to the sound engineer. If you ask nicely (pick the right moment) they will give you ‘line out’ from the mixing desk to plug into your Zoom Recorder or laptop so you can edit it later.
This will mean you can take the audio straight for the mixing desk. This gives you an already mixed edit of the music.
Always use headphones when you’re recording! Do a quick 10-second Vox test with both you and your interviewee to check levels before you record the main interview.
You don’t want to come across a distorted or unusable recording when it comes to editing. This is also the same for recording live sound from a mixing desk. Ideally, do a test recording of your artist during sound checks so you’re ready to go when they play.
Publish & Promote
Now to get that polished podcast out there! You want to expand and grow your audience, right? Make sure that the musician you’re working with are happy with the final product before making it public! Once everyone is happy, begin telling the world.
Using your artist's social reach is a powerful tool. When posting your content, link to all of their social media platforms. If the artist is up-and-coming, they'll usually rush to promote any content that involves them.
This helps you reach new audiences. The artist gains new fans via your podcast and you gain potential new fans via the artist.
Recording live music and interviewing artists is great fun. As long as you check your equipment is charged and ready, and plan ahead, it'll go smoothly.
Hopefully you'll feel ready to rock? I'd love to hear what you're recording.