Pop-Rock Band The Heirs Are Vibe and Aesthetic Nerds

November 13, 2017 | By Jon Simmons

The Heirs (Black and White)

Recording music shouldn’t be complicated. In this ongoing series, we’re asking musicians to offer their tips for simplifying the recording process. Lead singer and guitarist Brandon Hudson of pop-rock group The Heirs share some good vibes and recording tips.

 

What techniques work for you to capture song ideas?

Capturing song ideas is really quite a spontaneous process; sometimes, happens in the backseat of a Lyft headed home from a party. I'll hear certain sounds in my head with these distinct melodies and, if my phone still has charge, I will voice memo it. At other times, Savannah [Hudson] and I will be at home listening to a song that we love, and we'll just try to write over it and make our own thing. It's such a rush getting it right, though; sometimes it'll be utter shit in the middle of the night, but then it will blossom into something beautiful in the morning.

What’s your ideal recording environment?

Agh I love this question! We are all such vibe and aesthetic nerds that no one ever really asks what our ideal creative spaces are! We love Persian rugs, candles, plants, floor seating and 70s soul music to accompany the background noise before the ideas start coming in. I've always loved vintage analog gear so my home studio has several vintage synthesizers and drum machines in it. For me, my piano at home just knows how to bring chord progressions out of me. I love writing at home with my gear. If I did have to pick an alternate ideal recording environment though, I'd envision a little treehouse studio in Laurel Canyon, filled with dream music toys, a view of Los Angeles, and a lot of incense—that would be fantastic.

What’s your recording environment from hell like?

The recording environment from hell would include clutter, broken gear, a producer who doesn't understand our sound, and bright ceiling lights. Hahaha.

What's your biggest frustration with recording music, and how do you deal with it?

I would say that our biggest frustration in the recording and writing process is honestly working with people that don't quite get what you're trying to accomplish with your sound. Savannah and I have been in so many sessions throughout our lives, working with different writers, producers, artists. It's all really fun and amazing for growth and progression as a writer, but sometimes you'll just work with the person or people that are simply a wrong fit. It'll seem extremely frustrating trying to describe your sound and/or the music you're trying to get out to someone who either disagrees or doesn't understand. For us, we've been very blessed to have worked with enough people to know who we love working with. That's why we are so excited about this new EP; it feels exactly like what we we wanted it to and moves in all the right places for us.

How do you simplify the recording process?

I would say in order to simplify anything, you need to know what complexities you're trying to avoid. I always prefer going into sessions with ideas and concepts and then collectively elaborating when we are in the room together with our producer on the project. A positive outlook and attitude always helps keep everyone motivated as well.

When you were learning how to record music for the first time, what helped?

When I was about 15, I was really fascinated in the way sampling worked. I loved watching old videos online of J Dilla and Kanye West chopping up sounds and manipulating them. It seemed like such an interesting approach to making music. I saved up some cash and thought that if I bought an old MPC2000 drum machine, it would help me understand how to do that. Unfortunately, when it came in the mail, it was semi-broken and only took floppy disks from the early 90s.

After saving up more money, I went into a music shop in LA and purchased a newer drum machine that really helped me and inspired me when making beats for songs. I still have it and use it when I feel like I'm in a creative block. For Savannah, she really enjoyed the sounds of old Wurlitzers and 80s keyboards for writing and starting songs. The correct gear can do wonders for your imagination.

Any other recording tips for aspiring musicians to add?

Listen to loads of music. Really listen; hear the background noises, the layers in the production and everything. Love what you hear, and love new sounds and when you've heard something that makes your insides flip, try and make it for yourself.

Pop-Rock Band The Heirs Are Vibe and Aesthetic Nerds