The recording booth is a room nearly large enough to call a walk-in closet. Star Wars comforters that have earned the nickname ‘lady deflectors’ have been hung on the walls to dampen the sound. It may be hard to look past the empty kegs in the corner or the broken stairs courtesy of a hefty party guest, but the endeavor of self-producing music is one that demands extensive preparation, concentration, and a lot of hard work.

Photo by Keith Banquer

54th & City, SJU’s male A Cappella group, is in the process of creating a fully self-produced EP- half an album’s worth of songs. Personally producing this project has given me a whole new perspective on the world of making music.

One thing I noticed during our recording sessions was how hard it is to direct and control a group of 12 dudes all gathered in the same small space, and how much harder still it was getting them all to can it while someone was recording a take.

Photo by Keith Banquer

Another interesting aspect of the recording process is how frustrating it can be. Each individual singer may have to lay down as many as ten takes per song. If their timing is off by just a few milliseconds in a couple parts, the take is unusable. I wasn’t exactly dealing with professional studio musicians, and many members let me know exactly what they thought of the idea of recording yet another take.

I was also surprised with how much work the whole operation took. Between the many hours of actively recording, as well as the process of editing and mixing, I found myself spending more time working on the music than I was on homework (sorry professors). The most eye-opening part of the whole thing was how much time and effort it takes to create a product like a musical recording. Hopefully, 54th & City’s attempt at creating this EP plays to the tune of hard work paying off, like the previous EP, and you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the EP drops at the end of the semester.

-Keith Banquer

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