DEMO RECORDING SECRETSBand Business Crash CourseNovember 3, 2012Keith Hatschek
WHAT IS A DEMO RECORDING? A sound recording of your music/band that will help you advance your career Typical Purposes: Club or venue booker for possible public gig Casual (private) gigs (weddings, frat parties, etc.) Music publisher for songwriting contract Record label for possible deal Established artist/producer that might cover the song Artist manager, booker, attorney, producer, etc. Each listener will be looking for something different in your demo! Discuss w/class.
THE BIG PICTURE Demo Planning & Production Pre Production Pre Recording In the Studio Basic Tracks Overdubs Mixing Testing the Mix Approvals Distribution
DEMO RECORDING GAME PLAN Pre production Determine purpose/audience Establish timeline Consider recording options (yourself, local studio, pro studio) – set budget once you know where to record Choose songs (why less is MORE!) – tell engineer what you want final product to sound like – w/examples Pre-Recording Make your own rehearsal recordings of the demo material, work out all bugs at home, know material backward and forward, all solos, riffs, set tempi, etc. Practice with and without vocals Click track – pros and cons
DEMO RECORDING GAME PLAN - 2 Recording Set a schedule, include travel, meals, some contingency time (oops, the drum head broke!) – is set up time “free?” Stick to your plan – don‟t try to explore new territory in the studio – time is $$$ Make sure all equipment in tip top shape, bring spares Basic Tracking – get the groove/timing just right Empower engineer to give you feedback, wrong notes, out of tune, missed entries, etc. Make sure you can hear all the other players in your „phones Overdubs – adding vocals, backgrounds, solos, percussion – don‟t get anal retentive
DEMO RECORDING GAME PLAN - 3 Mixing – is the mix room accurate? How do you know? What if it‟s not? Always ask for a rough mix to listen to at home and try to come back and mix another day – fresh ears = better product Remember the example you aimed for? Use it to compare to your mix in progress CD vs. MP3! Should you consider going to a more professional studio to mix? (what is purpose of demo?) Testing your mix – listen everywhere (car, iPod, massive stereo, etc.) – test at very lowest, medium and high sound levels – mix should sound OK on all systems and volumes
9-1-1 CALL THE MIX DOCTOR IF . . . Typical problems with home or project studio mixes Too much bass in room = not enough bass in mix Mix room too dead = overcompensation on high frequencies, cymbals, vocals, guitars often sound brittle Too wide a dynamic range = some parts of demo are really quiet; others are rippin‟ loud! Muddy, indistinct overall sound = everyone in the band said “Turn me up!” or mixer didn‟t build mix around most important element of the song Mastering – what is it, when to pay for it – why?
SAMPLE DEMO TIMELINE January 1 Determine purpose/audience Choose material, start rehearsing and pre recording February 1 Shop for studio – determine amount of time needed Meet with engineer – define expectations February 15-16 Basic tracking/Overdubs/Rough mix February 20 Final mix day March 1 Package and distribute demos
SAMPLE DEMO BUDGET The Project 4 piece rock band, self contained vocals 3 song demo – club and casual bookings – 2 covers, 1 original tune The “formula” for how much studio time (demo, not album quality) Number of tracks needed (divided by) 4 = Number of tracking/overdub hours per song Number of tracks needed (divided by) 8 = Number of mixing hours per song Example 16 tracks / 4 = 4 recording/OD hours per song 16 tracks / 8 = 2 mixing hours per song 6 hours each X 3 songs = 18 hours x $50/hr = $900 budget
DEMO RECORDING/PLANNING EXERCISE A) What are some of the problems/issues that may arise to prevent you from making an effective demo B) Create a timeline that lists the key steps for your band to successfully complete a demo recording C) Using the formula that was presented, estimate how many hours of studio time you will need