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Making a demo


(@mogal)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

The time has come for my new band to make a demo. We have decided it is way too much work to try and do it ourselves so my question is - besides cost, what else do we need to look for in a recording studio to help us make a decision about which one to go with? Also, any suggestions for song picks? We are just a local mom band and are only doing a demo in order to get local gigs around town - we aren't planning on getting a recording contract or anything! I have read that putting originals on a demo is a good idea, as nobody can compare us to anybody else, however we play mostly covers when we play out, and we only have a few originals, none that we have rehearsed yet at all with our new band member.

MoGal


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 Bish
(@bish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3765
 

When we do our promo CD's, we try to capture live performances. Anymore, if you can get the video as well as audio, you'll capture more interest of the perspective venue.

Simply taking a camcorder and converting it to MP3 is inexpensive and anyone can pretty much do it. You should be able to get a decent mix, too.

When making a demo, if you are using a studio, you are going to spend big bux and probably more time with mix down and more technical editing than really needs to happen for demo's. If studio's are anything like they are here, you book your time and go in at almost $100+ an hour for the engineer(s) and studio resources. That time investment would be better utilized for a real cut of your originals.

Also, on the demo, 30 seconds of song is all you need. Capture the bridge or hook or the part of the song that is most recognizalbe and fade into that segment, fade out and into the next song. Short and sweet, 6 to 8 songs and only about 2 - 4 minutes is really all you need.

We had a live audition in our practice studio a few years ago for a High Society committee and they didn't even want us to play through every song. Just hit a handful of the signature songs and a ditty of each one and your audition will be over.

We also included a bio/promo kit of the band and follow up in a couple of days if we couldn't sign the deal right then.

If you get a venue owner who is reluctant to hire you, ask them to bring you in at what they pay their lowest paid act. If you make a good showing and exceed the owners expectations, ask to be tipped out if they felt you were worth it. Then you can get another booking and maybe ask for an increase for the band mates.

Just some minor tricks we used when first promoting our band. Heaven knows to go out and get booked you have to have a rep. You have to play to earn the rep. It's a vicious circle. :D

Good luck!

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5367
 

My local studio can only be booked for a minimum of 4 hours at £25 an hour, so be sure you know what you're booking if you go for a studio.

Best

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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My local studio can only be booked for a minimum of 4 hours at £25 an hour, so be sure you know what you're booking if you go for a studio.

Best

A :-)

There is a studio here in Norman at about that rate. Its small but they have some pretty decent equipment.

Bish, those are GREAT suggestions. I have been comtemplating making a demo/promo kit. Either personal or for my band, or both.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@mogal)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

Thanks for your input Bish! I will bring that info to the girls in the band.

MoGal


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(@muchojackdaniels)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 12
 

Check out their mic collection first. The good studios have expensive mic collections. Normally, have a good recording engineer helps a lot because they can also help with the detail that you would never even notice during the session.


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(@hueseph)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1553
 

The first thing I would do is ask for a demo disc of songs they've recorded at that studio. Take the disc to your car, your home stereo, your computer and listen to how it sounds. That is the one indicator of how your band will sound when you're done. If it sounds as good at home and in your car as it does in the studio, your as good as gold. Otherwise look elsewhere.

Gear isn't as important as the guy using it, though a rack full of Behr..... stuff is a sure sign of inexperience. As much as Behr..... is great for budget minded individuals at home, they tend to be shunned in the pro studios. Rightly so. They tend to be noisy and unreliable. In the end though, it doesn't matter what the gear is if the egineer can make it sound good. It's all about ears so, listening is your best assessment tool.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


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(@southpaw_pete)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 27
 

The first thing I would do is ask for a demo disc of songs they've recorded at that studio.

Absolutely. Any guy with enough cash can buy a roomfull of expensive gear and not have the first clue what to do with it.

So, 3 easy steps to choosing your studio:

1 - Establish your budget. We all want to record at a top flight studio, but be realistic about what you can afford. Look out for studios that offer "off-peak" deals (some will let you come in late at night, or work with a trainee engineer during the studio's closing hours for a lower rate).

2 - Talk to other local bands. Chances are some of them have done the same thing, and will have experience with local producers/studios/hobby recordists.

3 - Pick a couple of possibles and go talk to them. You're looking to find out two basics facts. First, can they do the job, and that's where listening to their "demo" comes in. If you're basically happy with their technical abilities, then chat a bit longer to find out if you click. It's amazing how much different a session feels when you and the engineer are both working towards the same goal - the same sound. If you get on, then the whole thing will be much easier and more enjoyable.

Hope it works well for you - get those gigs booked!


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

Gear isn't as important as the guy using it, though a rack full of Behr..... stuff is a sure sign of inexperience. As much as Behr..... is great for budget minded individuals at home, they tend to be shunned in the pro studios. Rightly so.

Haha, how about calling it the B-word?


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