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Guest Savant

Recording for unsigned bands - help!

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Guest Savant

What does everyone think on the pro's and cos of these scenarios?

A Band has an ammount of money set aside to record a number of songs. Is it better for the band to spend the money on a plush recording of four of the songs and then package them nicely with quality artwork - perhaps trying to get a label to release the songs after they've been recorded. The label dont have to pay for the recording so hey, they may be more inclined to take on the project...?

Or...

Should the band spend the same ammount of money on recording say 12 demo-quality songs (bearing in mind that demo quality can be quite good these days - Quik's 'In Dreams' isn't bad at all). This way the band have more material to distribute how they wish and also a better chance that a label will hear something they like - though they wont be interested in releasing that version of the song - but they wont have a 'product' to sell at gigs etc...

Do listeners prefer good production or are they prepared to put up with their local bands sounding inferior (in terms of sound quality at least) to more established bands on labels?

Do labels care if the demos they get don't sound quite as good as they could?

Also, what do you think on pay-per-download music for this level of band? Will people just illegally download the song anyway (probably!) ? This is crippling for small bands as they can't make the money back that they spent on recording... Are cd's a better way to go?

Cheers!!

Craig

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Record the 3-4 good tracks.

Labels only listen to one song usually and 4 songs is certainly enough to seal a deal. A quality recording gives a better idea of what your finished product would sound like say album wise and I'd say that would be by far the wiser option.

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yeh spend some decent money on 3-4 songs recorded and spend some more money getting it mixed and mastered properly somewhere else! sound on sound has some really good budget mastering adverts for places that give good results!!

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We have this plan for recording in summer - probably do a few tracks but want to do them really well. How much do you think we should look to spend?

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hmm, have u heard the simon gall bands EP??

its mastered really well, (IMO) it was about £700 in total if i remember simon saying. U can always get a bank loan and make the money back from sales, its whether ur willing to take the risk!!

Danny.

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Labels only listen to one song usually and 4 songs is certainly enough to seal a deal.

Exactly, there's no way a label will sit and listen to 12 songs of demo quality material.

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I reckon you would be best to concentrate on getting a quality recording of 3-4 songs. Any record label people are unlikely to listen to 12 songs (as Mr swinging ryan pointed out). Its best to give a label a short sharp shock of quality stuff to grab their attention.

Certainly a decent way to get decent results may be to record some stuff at the studio and then get (for example) the vocals done somewhere else. This can reduce time in the studio. Element have done this with Compuphonic from this forum.

MMW are a prime example of getting a decent sound recording of bass and drums (I think) then doing the rest at home.

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I think the other way.....but thats because I prefer things DDIY so getting "signed" to a label is not really the way Im thinking.

Then a 4 track and a mike is more then enough:up:

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Guest Steven Dedalus

Of course there's always the option of investing any money for recording in getting your own means to record. Considering the cost of getting a decent sounding, I've always felt that a young band should work hard to set up their own home studio and take time to refine their songs and recording methods. Dedalus built their own studio in their house which included: 2 computers

2 mics

1 micstand

2 amps

drum kit

instruments

a pa/mixing desk (that description is a little grand for what we have)

And from then on in the only limitations we had was what we could be bothered doing and not annoying our elderly neighbour. And all that stuff was not as expensive as you would think. And the recordings generally came out really well as long as we could be bothered to get the right sound and if I didn't play drums (which I inevitably did). Keep it DIY, keep it independant!

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I agree with Thurisaz - D.I.Y is best. Recording quality is not important. King Liar and the Brutes hit upon a good way to sell music whereby the quality of the recording is actually completely irrelevant; rather, disrespect for your audience is key. Record your songs directly on to either a) a 'Talkboy' (the device Macauley Culkin uses in Home Alone) or b) a failing tape recorder (preferably stolen from amongst the raffle prizes at a Fudgenight two years ago). Then distribute the songs on the cheapest possible CDRW's (preferably scratched and somehow acquired for free) so that most people's CD players can't read them. Yes, the songs sound like shite, but no-one can listen to them so the facade remains unbroken. Remember to charge so little for the product that people will feel foolish complaining. Finally, remember also to target vulnerable young gig-goers who are clearly rich and who obviously attend Gordon's or Cults Academy. They will buy ANYTHING as they are too young to buy drink, but they have been given fifty quid 'in case they get into trouble' by an over-anxious mother who has just dropped them off in a 4x4. They are far more likely to be bullied into buying a copy of your cd and you need not feel guilty. This seems to be the perfect solution and has worked wonders for us in the past.

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not really. just because its DIY doesnt mean it needs to sound gash.

Exactly, we're spending a large amount on our new 4 track cd, we're a DIY band, we arent looking to get signed...hell, the artowrk is a huge fuck u to barcodes as we dont ever want it to be in megastores but we still wanted a cd of really high quality sound for ppl to appreciate..

700 isnt a huge amount if u save up all the money ure band makes thru gigs etc...instead of spending it on the bar that night! (Not that that's what Quik does, or maybe u do, but I know a lot of bands do do that)

But, u guys are obviously looking for label support and so I would also recommend 3/4 tracks of high quality, Ive often heard that a record company will only listen to the first couple of tracks and if they are impressed, then they will sign u up to do the 12 tracks..

Good luck with it tho (get Ian to do the artwork for free aswell, he got a 5 today in his presentation!)

Steve

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Exactly' date=' there's no way a label will sit and listen to 12 songs of demo quality material.[/quote']

domino did with the arctic monkeys

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I agree with Thurisaz - D.I.Y is best. Recording quality is not important. King Liar and the Brutes hit upon a good way to sell music whereby the quality of the recording is actually completely irrelevant; rather' date=' disrespect for your audience is key. Record your songs directly on to either a) a 'Talkboy' (the device Macauley Culkin uses in Home Alone) or b) a failing tape recorder (preferably stolen from amongst the raffle prizes at a Fudgenight two years ago). Then distribute the songs on the cheapest possible CDRW's (preferably scratched and somehow acquired for free) so that most people's CD players can't read them. Yes, the songs sound like shite, but no-one can listen to them so the facade remains unbroken. Remember to charge so little for the product that people will feel foolish complaining. Finally, remember also to target vulnerable young gig-goers who are clearly rich and who obviously attend Gordon's or Cults Academy. They will buy ANYTHING as they are too young to buy drink, but they have been given fifty quid 'in case they get into trouble' by an over-anxious mother who has just dropped them off in a 4x4. They are far more likely to be bullied into buying a copy of your cd and you need not feel guilty. This seems to be the perfect solution and has worked wonders for us in the past.[/quote']

Hahaha, best post ever.

There seem to be a lot of bands in Aberdeen who use that exact sales strategy.

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imo it depends how good the finished demoes will be,if you can get a good idea of what the band sound like and decent mising etc then if you get 12 done then you can tailor certain demoes to certain labels which in theory opens up more possibilities. However theres no point in doing this if the demoes wont be an accurate recording of your band.

Cheers

Stuart

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not really. just because its DIY doesnt mean it needs to sound gash.

You can get pretty decent recordings from a 4 track.

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You can get pretty decent recordings from a 4 track.
aye, I know, but the majority of the time, its not that good. the thing im getting at is, id try and get more tracks doen of average quality, cos they're likely to be used for some sort of release anyway as opposed to showing labels etc etc

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3 tracks of reasonable quality will be easily good enough. Forget spending the surplus on making a fancy sleeve etc too, that stuff is well overrated. Spend the extra money on extra rehearsals, so that if a label is actually interested, you'll blow them away live. These days, fook all bands get signed on the back of a demo - gotta show they can do it live.

love from christy

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I would go with the 3-4 track demo and make the first track your strongest song - as someone has already said, it is what labels will listen to.

We have recently found a great studio that costs only 200 per day and the sound quality of the recording is great. Its called Unity Studios at Auldern (between Inverness and Nairn) and the sound engineer Alan was great to work with.

Check out http://www.myspace.com/smallenclosedarea to see for yourself.

I also agree with the whole DIY idea, but you have to have a good ear for sound and know the limits/advantages of the equipment you have.

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You can get pretty decent recordings from a 4 track.

You can get decent recordings from 20 year old ghetto blastors too!

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Guest Steven Dedalus

God, being independant dosen't mean signed! Why can't people in this city see that it's worth doing it for yerself. My god, nothing has happened here for a long time and its because people are too scared to do anything. Take ColonOpen Bracket (sic), they are a band who went out and did it themselves and sorted out everything themselves cos they knew they played good tunes. and frankly fair play to them now. (Gosh, i've had a drink or two). Shucks.

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