Thursday, 2 May 2013

Making of a concept (or demo) album

Following from the previous post about why the concept of concept album is a good idea, I want to relate some of my experiences in the process of making the concept album. Making a concept album or a demo album, or even a commercial release album all basically go through the same process.

I have this terrible feeling of deja vu about this post, so if in another dimension of life you find another post by me that looks very much like this one, please blame it on apple and blogsy software that contains bugs beyond my own comprehension.

Let's start this series of posts about making the concept album by giving it some structure. I will do this by breaking the process down to a number of smaller processes:

  1. Songwriting: First there have to be a song. Without a song to record, there will be only noise. Nothing wrong with the concept of an album with noise only, but that will be regarded as outside my genre for the moment. I have touched on this part in previous posts, and as we go along, I will dedicate some more posts on this subject.
  2. Recording: When we have a song, we want to get it into a way that others can listen to it. This is the process of making noise in some harmonious manner. The recording process usually includes recording of some instruments and some vocals. There might be any number of instruments and it may or may not actually involve humans plying them. More about all this in future posts.
  3. Mixing: Usually, the recording process involves recording every instrument and every human voice separately. In fact, with modern computer technology being available so cheaply, it would be silly to try and record everything in one single go. Once you have a recording of somebody singing, and another recording of somebody playing a guitar, you must put these two recordings together. This is called mixing. Mixing usually involves putting many recordings together in a way that it sounds good and do not become just one huge noise. This is done by adding effects like equalization, reverb, delay, etc. Finally, the song will be "mastered", which simply means that it is turned into a format (CD, mp3, etc.) which can be used in the next stage.
  4. Manufacturing: Not all recordings ends up on CD. I will nevertheless touch on the process of creating a CD or other physical product at some stage.
  5. Marketing and business: I will add the business part all under one heading. We can call this the "record company" part of the process. Most concept albums are not made for the purpose of making lots of money. You goal may be to use it as a tool to sell your show, or it might simply to be for your own pleasure.

In future posts, we will talk more about all these tasks and processes, and I will give you some insights into how I went about it for The exile,


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