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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

5 LESSONS MIKE O'DOWN LEARNT WHILE RECORDING HIS DEBUT ALBUM

One Lover Leaves is out now!

Image: Michaela Meadow.


Australian indie-folk singer/songwriter Mike O'Dowd has unveiled his debut album, One Lover Leaves. To celebrate the release, the musician has shared with MILKY five lessons he learnt whilst creating the body of work.


"This album is about the breakdown of a relationship. The songs chronicle how I was feeling at each particular moment. I tried to not censor or second guess myself in any way during the writing process. Because of this, I feel certain truths are embedded in the songs. I'm still discovering exactly what a lot of them mean, but I know the album is honest and every line is true. That's the most important part for me." O'Dowd says of the record.


I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to record. It really depends on the individual and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s definitely not a perfect science and I don’t feel it’s something that can ever be mastered. A lot of the lessons I learnt while making my debut album have more to do with creating space for something to happen.


RECORD AS MUCH AS YOU CAN LIVE

Capturing the energy of a song is one of the most important things for me in the studio. Even if it’s an acoustic song, you want it to feel immediate and connect with the listener.

The best way I found is to record as much as possible live. I feel the more you overdub, the more you lose. Catch as much as you can in one take.


TRY TO GET A GOOD VOCAL EARLY

For me, getting a good vocal was one of the most important parts of recording the song.

It’s also one of the most difficult things to do as it can make or break a song. With a good vocal recorded you can frame everything around that performance. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a perfect recording. The energy and emotion is what really matters.


FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT

It’s easy to obsess about getting things perfect and lose sight of what’s really important. If something feels right, go with it and move on. It’s important to be happy with what you’ve done, but the more you listen and obsess, the more issues you’ll hear.

It’s also important to be open to other ideas while still staying true to your vision.


TAKE PLENTY OF NOTES

Taking notes is so important. Especially if you’re working with tape. Take as many notes as you can to make life easier down the track.


KEEP YOUR SESSIONS AS ORGANISED AS POSSIBLE

Another housekeeping tip. It’s so important to keep your sessions as organised as possible. I’ve worked with people on both sides of the scale and you end up saving so much time and energy if you’re working from a well organised session.

It really helps when you’re working with multiple people in the studio and sending files to be mixed or mastered. The most professional people I’ve worked with in the studio always have clean, easy to follow sessions.



One Lover Leaves is out now!



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