What if I told you there was a way to trick yourself into making better recordings? Well, not really a trick, but rather a psychological hack that could put you into a position to make better recordings.
Now before you dismiss this post as entirely “out there” let me say that I’m speaking from experience. These hacks have worked wonders in my personal studio and I know they will for you. Why? Because they are based on human nature. And unless you’re a robot (or a Martian) then I’m about 100% positive that you and I aren’t that much different from each other.
1. Put Something Inspiring In Your Studio
The first (and easiest) hack is to put something inspiring in your studio. Something that fires you up. Simply find something that inspires you, just at the site of it, and place it prominently in your room. This could be a piece of art, some cool furniture, or even some slick looking studio monitors. You don’t have to out and buy something, just think about what in your house looks awesome, and move it into your studio.
The truth is, humans are very visual creatures. Our moods can swing from low to high in a single glance. Think about the last beautiful sunset you watched, or your most favorite beach/mountain trip. Or what about that expensive car you keep seeing on the road that makes you drool. You get the idea. We like beautiful things. So we capitalize on this truth and put something beautiful or inspiring in our studios. That way, you will see it every time we go to make music and it will instantly put you in a better mood and lifts your spirits. All from visual stimuli.
For me personally there are a few things in my studio that inspire me. I’ve hung my guitars on the walls. I see them everyday, they look beautiful, and I’m instantly motivated to make music. They bring images of jam sessions to my mind and I just can’t wait to dive in. I also saved up and bought a leather couch as well. I don’t sit in it much, but it sure looks legit in my room! As corny as this might sound, it truly makes me feel like I’m in an inspiring place and I’m ready to get to work.
2. Clear The Clutter
Going along with having an inspiring space to work in, is having a clean and clutter free space. Studios tend to become glorified junk piles of gear and cables. Almost every home studio I’ve been in was a mess. You know what a messy room does to me? It makes me tense. Feeling tense and stressed is that absolute last thing I want to be seconds before I hit the “record” button.
I’ve made a conscious effort to keep not only my gear to a minium, but the clutter in my studio in general. That means removing unnecessary furniture, books, computer stuff, papers, etc.The less stuff I see, the more at peace I am. Think of those amazing magazine ads for the latest and greatest recording gear. They always stage a hip looking “home studio” with hardly anything in it. Maybe you see a desk, an interface, some speakers, and a microphone. It’s beautiful. There is nothing to distract you from the gear you’re using to make the music you’re dreaming.
Why not do the same in YOUR studio? This weekend purge what you don’t need. Throw it out, give it away, or put it in storage. Just get it out of your room. Strip the room down the absolute bare essentials so there’s not much left between you and your core gear. With less physical stuff taking up space, you’ll have more mental space to make better music.
3. Put Some Motivation On Your Wall
One final psychological hack I employ is I put something motivational on my wall. For me this includes hanging pictures of my family (the people I’m working FOR in the first place) and also hanging previous albums I’ve worked on. Seeing my family on the wall gives me perspective and also inspires me to create great art (see hack #1 above). Seeing my previous work for clients (or my own band) reminds me of work I’ve accomplished in the past that I am proud of.
When you see something on your wall that you’re proud of and gives you perspective, you’re motivated to keep going. It reminds you of what you’re passionate about and gives you a spark to keep going and to make something incredible in your studio.
You could be like me and decide to hang photos of people you love, or framed CDs of projects you’ve worked on. Or perhaps you are the type of persons who likes to hang motivating quotes. Something that is foundational to your core. Personally, this year I hope to frame some bible verses that remind me of what’s true and important in life, and also to encourage me to keep creating great art, because our God is the ultimate artist.
You get the idea. Whatever motivates you to create, make it a priority to get it on your wall so you will see it every day you sit down to make music.
Why These Hacks Work
In my mind a “hack” is anything you can put in place that will get you results without any additional effort and is practically foolproof. If you were to implement these three psychological hacks this weekend you would notice a difference.
Let me ask you. Would you rather sit down in a cluttered, dull, and emotionless room to make music? Or instead a clean, minimal, and inspiring room? It’s an obvious choice. And why is that? Because the second room (the hacked room) makes us feel better.
And when we feel better we play better, record better, think better, mix better, deliver better. Guaranteed.