DIY: how I record my songs at home

There are so many ways to home-record your own music, from building a mini-studio to simply using your phone to record yourself playing live. In this blogpost I’ll explain how I recorded the 2 EPs/albums of my solo project Lost Luna: “Shadow play” and “Wish upon a star“. I’ll talk about my own experience, using the materials I already owned. It’s not a manual for how music “should be recorded”, or how others do that, and it’s far from professional but it’s good enough for me to create the songs I want to make.

 

As a kid I already recorded self-made songs (and fake radioshows đŸ™‚ ) with my brother on a Fisherprice cassette player with microphone. Then in my late teens, I bought a Tascam 4-track recorder (see photo above) to be able to record my guitar and voice on separate tracks for some of the first songs I ever wrote. Later on I somehow had access to simple DJ software for recording and mixing (electronic) music on different tracks digitally. It included some beats and that’s how I created a few songs to put on MySpace as Lost Luna. Later again, I attended a workshop at Ladyfest Amsterdam to learn the audio editing software Audacity. And that’s the software I still use. It’s open source, free, and easy to use, even for beginners. You can record however many layers of vocals, guitars, and other instruments and sounds as you like on top of each other, and even do some “photoshopping” (f.e. simple cut-and-pasting and adding effects) of the audio clips.

As a microphone I use a stand-alone H2 Zoom mic. I’ve got it since 2007 and it still works perfectly. Both Lost Luna albums were recorded in de current pandemic so I didn’t feel like going to music shops and testing new equipment. Also, why would I spend money when I could make do with what I already had at home? This mic can be used for podcasting, field recording, and recording band rehearsals so it was fine for my home-made songs.

What helped a lot to create these songs and make them decent enough to share was the Digitech SDRUM pedal. This is a guitar pedal that creates drum beats. Because I’m not a drummer and didn’t have access to drum samples, this was an excellent replacement. The drum track as a first layer also helped me to stay in the rhythm and tempo of the songs while recording the guitars.

Other equipment I used to play and create the actual music: a Laney Linebacker L100R amp, BC Rich Warlock guitar, Ortega guitarlele, and a range of guitar effect pedals such as the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, Boss Metal Zone, and Earthquaker Devices Afterneath. Oh, and I also recorded the sound of my sewing machine for the song “Sew sew”!

This drawing depicts my lo-fi home-recording set-up (taken from my Confined zines):

Perhaps some day I will make a Lost Luna (mini)zine about my home-recording and song-writing process too.

In the meantime, listen to the Lots Luna songs here.

Further reading:

  • Guerrilla Home Recording – Karl Coryat
  • How to record your own music and get it on the internet – Leo Coulter & Richard Jones

(Please order from your local / independent bookstore, not Amazon!)

About rebelsister

fem!n!st!
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