The band that I recently joined is wanting to record a demo that we can give to venues that we would like to play at (restaurants, sports bars, BBQs, events ect). What do venues look for in a demo? Do we need a full stereo mix with levels perfect ect, or will a mono recording that just gives a general idea of what we are going for work.
We have a few different options that will result in various different qualities demos. Which one do y'all think is best.
We already have all the instruments miced and going into a mixer at our rehearsal area so we could get a decent recording by just using my audio interface (2 channel) to record stereo to my computer. The problem with this is that it will be difficult to get levels sounding good and I wont have many options for mixing once it is in my computer. I will have to do the mixing in the same room as the drums and guitar. (I would most likely record one track with drums and rhythm and one with vocals and lead and mix them with my comp).
We could record each instrument separately and then mix them later, this would prolly give the most professional tight sound. The problem with doing this is that it takes away from the live feel of the band which is very good and energetic. We really interact with each other musically in a way that would be difficult to replicate recording individually. Also, I am the only one who has experience recording this way I dont know how quickly or well the other guys will be able to adapt to it.
We could purchase an audio interface with 4 or 8 tracks which would allow us to mix the songs after they are in the computer And if there was a part where we wanted to re-record on instrument it would be easy to do. It would also allow us to retain our live feel. This is the method I like best, but it would require us to spend $200-$400 to buy the interface.
We could also go to a local studio. I have no idea how much that would cost (would it be cheaper than the interface). My experience with recording is that it takes a long time to get a good performance and dont like the idea of being pressured to get done quickly.
So, what do y'all think. Which one would you go for? why?
If you really want to be able to mix everything down...spend the money on the interface...take it out of the Band budget if you personally can't afford it. Small investment that can always be re-sold if no longer needed. Quality "Live" recording for demo.
Beyond what/how to record....
My band created a medley demo that was about 4 minutes that contained bits of songs that really highlighted our strong points. We are an all around cover band so we included classic rock, country, alternative rock, funk, and r&b on the demo. Rather than give a venue manager a CD with 15 minutes of music, they could tell what kind of band we were after 3 minutes.
the very best you can afford.
Have it mastered well. That can make the difference between a garage band and a pro recording even if the mix isn't flawless.
You mention you are concerned about tracking and losing the live feel. One way we got around it, which may or may not be standard, is laying down a full band scratch track. So we mic'd the room and did a full band play through for each song. Then the drummer and I did our official tracks together (he was mic'd and I was direct). This provided that "live" foundation we wanted. But it was also due to the fact that most people cannot play a track solo, without the rest of the band. Most of us use cues from the music which in turn gives it an organic feel. Especially my drummer :)
This worked well for us. Then it was just a matter of choosing which 45 second portion of each song to put in the demo medley.
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