If you’ve been following Indie Artist Lounge for a little while, you probably know that I’ve been working on an EP.
I think an EP is a great project for home studio artists. An EP is like a mini-album, and usually doesn’t have too many songs. This means that it doesn’t take as much time to create as a full-length album. But yet it’s still a significant project and it feels great when it’s finished.
So I got pretty excited when I heard about Joe Gilder’s EP Challenge last week. I’m excited because I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for you to produce an EP. You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
[Edit – the course is closed now, but you should still consider producing an EP sometime!]
I also felt inspired to give you a few tips on how to get started. Many of us have a limited amount of time, and it can be all too easy to waste it. But if you want to get started on your EP project, there are a few things you can do to prepare that can make a huge difference in your productivity and success.
1 – Don’t overcommit
The key to success when tackling a project like an album or EP is to be realistic with your time.
If you’re a busy parent with a day job, you probably shouldn’t commit to doing a 15 song album in three months. If you do, you will end up overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed.
It’s much better to tackle a smaller project that you can realistically finish. For me, this meant a 5 song EP instead of a full album. For you, maybe that sounds realistic, or maybe you can only do a single song. If so, that’s perfectly fine. You need to set your goals and manage your time realistically, otherwise your project will probably not succeed.
2 – Schedule your time, and stick to the schedule
If you want to take the project seriously and complete it in a reasonable amount of time, then it needs to go on your calendar.
Since we’re scheduling a realistic amount of effort for the project, we should be able to realistically plan out what time gets spent in the studio on a given week.
Now I definitely know that the week doesn’t always go as expected. Things come up, plans change, and life happens.
But I would challenge you to take your studio time as seriously as you would take any other commitment on your calendar. Try to stick to your schedule if at all possible. If you think it’s likely to change, schedule some “buffer time” later in the week, so that you have a fallback in case you need it.
3 – A little bit of planning goes a long way
Spend your first session or two in the studio planning. A little bit of work on the front-end can potentially save you a lot of headache or frustration later.
Take some time to plan things out on your calendar. Decide what order you’re going to record the instruments in, so that you always know what the next task is at every point in the process.
Spend some time in the Pre-production Process. Plan out your production, instrumentation, arrangement, etc. Get some things nailed down. This can always change later of course, but at least give yourself a guideline.
As a home studio artist, I’m guessing you only have a limited amount of time to spend in the studio. I want you to make that time count. Maximize your time by planning and preparing, so that you don’t waste time later.
4 – Set a deadline
Deadlines can be pretty powerful.
They can also be stressful and frustrating.
The key is to set a realistic deadline, and then plan how you’re going to meet it.
What this does is help you understand that you can’t just work away at this project for a year. The point of a project like this is to finish it. Setting a deadline and sticking to it is a great way to make sure that you finish.
5 – Involve other people in the process
Life is pretty lonely without other people.
Even if you don’t have many friends who are musicians or home studio owners, there are a few great ways you can involve other people in your life.
First, you can tell them about your deadlines so they can hold you accountable. There is great power in telling your deadline to people. It makes it more real, and puts a bit of pressure on you to hold to it.
Second, and probably more importantly, build up a support network. As you work through your EP project, you’re going to have questions or issues that arise. Having a group or community of like-minded people you can turn to is a great asset.
I hope these tips were helpful for you. But most of all, I hope you think really seriously about doing a project like an EP. It can truly be a great learning experience.
Please, leave a comment below. Tell me what project you’re going to tackle next!