I’ve thought a long while about exactly what to write down about demos. In short demos of songs are often one of the most underutilized tools available to a band/artists. They don’t have to be studio quality and oftentimes a simple tape recorder taken to band practice will give you a useful tool to listen to your music objectively. The following things I’ve listed will help you get the most out of a demo and hopefully give you an idea of how to implement a demo to save you time and money before you ever decide to book studio time.
- End user- Deciding exactly who you want to listen to your demo should be the ultimate deciding factor in quality before you decide to ever push record. Is your demo simply a tool in the song writing process or do you intend to use it to send to labels and studio executives in the hope of getting a record deal? These choices can greatly affect how much time and effort you want to put into recording a demo.
- Demos for songwriting- Using demos in the songwriting process is a great way to drastically improve your songs. Whether you are a full band or a single artist you should be able to objectively listen to your own songs and decide what works and change what doesn’t. It also lets you nail down exactly how you are going to perform a song in the studio. Once you get a good demo down with the performance that you want practice along with the demo until you can nail the same take every time, because this is exactly what you will be doing in the studio. And if each member of a band is practicing at home to the same demo, band practice will suddenly become faster, smoother and a whole lot tighter in a hurry improving the overall quality of your sound. Listening to demos of your own recordings will also give you a feel of what you or your groups’ own unique sound is like. No two bands sound the same and knowing what you sound like will help tremendously in the mixing process.
- Demos for labels- If you’re planning on sending out a demo of your songs to a label I highly recommend spending some time and money getting good quality recordings to send out. Chances are an Audio Engineer will be listening to it at some point and they are more likely to to take a band seriously if they have taken the time to invest in quality recordings. Even doing something as simple as a live set in studio is a great way to get a good demo at a relatively low cost.
-S. F. Shields
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