Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Demo tapes/CDs for getting gigs....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Planet Boulder, Jun 10, 2004.


  1. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I'm in the process of putting together an informal "demo" CD for use in getting gigs, as most places around here require it before signing you up. It's going to be a combination of performances (from a couple of parties) and jams/tunes recorded during practices (using some rather nice digital equipment). I have some editing software and some pretty solid experience with mixing/engineering/whatnot.

    Just wondering how "formal" of a recording is typically expected. Obviously, if you haven't played out much (or, if you haven;t been able to actually record many of the performances), you don't have a lot from which to cull tunes. So what do you guys typically do for such a recording and what is commonly "expected" of a new band's demo?
     
  2. The one and only official demo I did with one of my cover bands was recorded with two mics in the middle of the room. :oops:

    I guess people will listen to the quality of the band, not the recording itself. Good luck! :cool:
     
  3. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Your demo should be a fairly accurate representation of your ability to perform. Since it's a demo, I wouldn't spend the amount of effort you would put in to create an album into it. A live performance done with decent sound quality should suffice for club gigs. What I mean by live performance isn't necessarily from a show or something like that. A performance done without overdubs, post signal processing, or much in the way of mixdown. A performance recorded to stereo 2 track should suffice. How you choose the do that is up to you. You can take your tape outs on your mixer to a Minidisc, use two microphones, record 4 or more tracks simultaneously and mix down to two tracks, etc..

    I wouldn't make the demo very long either. Most people who listen to demos only want to get an idea of what the band sounds like and whether or not they will work for their venue. If you have an 8 song demo, it is highly unlikely that an agent or club manager is going to listen to the entire CD, unless they REALLY dig your band. They'll more than likely listen to 2-3 songs, and then skip through the rest. The demo along with the promo picture is what they'll go by, and you want to make positive impact quickly and efficiently through them. Show em the cream of the crop, and save the rest for your performance. Keep the songs short, and pick out the best ones that represent what your show is like. A 15-30 minute demo should be plenty.

    The demo doesn't have to be CD quality, but you don't want to should like an amateur either. Use the best you can do cost effectively, and without excessive effort. If you are going to go through the effort to put out a CD quality demo, you may as well record an album. The advantage to having an album is that it makes you appear more professional, established, and marketable. It will also give you some merchandise you can sell at a show, or at a local shop. You can also use it to get the band exposure through the radio, or other media, or through fans.
     
  4. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    jive: MANY thanks,man! That's exactly what I was looking for!
     
  5. Yeah, thanks Jive! Great post!

    Jive, do you think it's a good idea to have business cards for a band?
     
  6. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I agree with Jive that a demo should not be heavily produced and that it should sound like you do live.

    A demo for a label should be three songs, no more and no less. A club demo should probably be a little longer, especially if you have a diverse set list, but still no more than five songs, I would say. You don't need to make it album length.

    If club music reviewers are anything like they are in radio, they have LOADS of stuff to listen to and a lot of it will sound the same, so yours HAS to stand out from the crowd somehow. Depending on how much they have to sift through they may not listen to the whole song either, perhaps just snippets of three or four songs unless something really jumps out at them.
     
  7. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    I'm not Jive, but....... :D

    Business cards are nice. You can put them in your promo pack. (either staple them inside your folder, or some folders have slits cut in them for cards)

    I find that business cards are most useful when dealing with people who are interested in hiring not don't work for a club. (i.e. interested in hiring you for a party, wedding, ect.)
     
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    It's not just a good idea, it's essential. Business cards are pretty cheap and just about everyone who is serious, or pretends to be serious about taking care of business has one.

    Business cards are the icing to the networking cake. If you get some face time with someone, a great way to seal the deal and establish an opening for future contact or business is with a business card. Writing phone numbers on random pieces of paper, beaming data across PDAs, or telling people what your website URL are not nearly as effective as a business card. Business cards are tangible and can be used to instantly convey an image, as well as convey info.