Modern technology is astonishing if you think about it.
At one end of the scale, I’m currently in a hotel with little more than my laptop and headphones. And it’s not slowing me down – being away from the studio for a few days doesn’t have to put a dent in my productivity. And I can run almost the exact same software in my hotel room as I do back at the studio.
At the other end of the scale, I’m about to relocate my actual studio to a bigger location so I can accommodate larger groups and more gear. And I can do so fairly seamlessly – I can take everything that’s in my current studio with me (although I might need some special help to move the Hammond!).
We’ve got amazing flexibility with where and how we make recordings. It means we don’t have to worry about the studio much – we can be driven by our projects’ creative direction. Anywhere can be a studio.
But not everywhere should be a studio. I’ve written before about being disciplined about setting aside time to be productive. It’s just as important, however, to be disciplined about setting aside time to be unproductive. I think of it as dividing my time between structured thinking and unstructured thinking. Structured thinking is for getting things done. Unstructured thinking is for being creative and inventing. It’s when I’m out walking, waiting for something (don’t always whip out your phone!) or doing housework. I don’t need a huge amount of unstructured thinking time, but I definitely need it. When I go without for too long, I feel myself getting unbalanced or uninspired or unmotivated.
So now we can all carry a pretty capable studio in our pocket. We can do a final mix in a hotel room. Our laptops run the same software as multi-million dollar studios. Almost anywhere you can be, you can be there making a recording.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In some ways, if you love making recordings, sometimes it’s just as important to be not making a recording.