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Should my band record after one gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by dean5master, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. dean5master


    Feb 20, 2005
    So my band just played its first gig. we opened for another band and they really liked us. the leader of the other band liked us so much that he thinks we should record. He talked to a recording studio and now we are scheduled to go record a 3-4 song EP. Do you think this is a smart idea after our first gig? the drummer and guitarist love the idea but im a little iffy on it. we are being charged 50 bucks an hour. thanks
  2. Eddie95Z28

    Eddie95Z28 I play bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2003
    Detroit Area, Michigan
    Why not, we recorded a 3 track demo before our first show. Although, it was only $15 per hour but I guess you get what you pay for.

    www.illisit.com check out the tracks <-- shameless plug.

    But it really depends on how comfortable you are with your band and your songs. If you can afford it I'd say go for it. It is a fun experience if you have never done it before.
  3. Hi, dean5master

    If Your band is tight enough, why not, it'll be a great experience. A good idea is to multi track record something beforehand and try to play along with that, before going to the studio, or lay tracks one by one to a MT or a recording software. Saves a lot of time in the studio when one knows the basics. When the clock is ticking, there's no time to rehearse or second guess anymore.

    You do know of course that 3 songs = 30-50 hours minimum. with a basic voc, g, b, dr rock band and if that said band leader is in any way associated with that studio, he might be in just for a quick buck.

    I personally wouldn't do it because the bill equals a modest home recording equipment that can be used over and over again.

    Just my 0.02€
  4. That is my take too. $50 @ 30hrs = $1500. Go get a decent DAW and accesories for a little more. Then take all the time you want. Sure, you will have to learn a little to make the best use of the equipment, but that is half the fun, right?!

  5. Do you have 3 or 4 Great songs? Are you happy with the songs if so I would go the Home Studio way and put them online.One at a time. EP? I think the CD is dead , its about getting people to hear your great songs, not one or two great songs and a couple of filler.
  6. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    It's fun and a good experience, but unless you've got specific plans as to what you're going to DO with this EP, then it's just cash you're spending on yourself as an indulgence. Thats no bad thing if you can afford it (and a nice demo will help you get gigs), but its basically going to sit in your CD rack for the next 20 years.

    While I agree that it could take 30 hours to record even a quick demo in the standard way (guide track, record everything seperatly, spend a day doing vocals and a day mixing) if you can PLAY the stuff live already, then doing a "live in the studio" recording can be done in an evening (record everything in one take, overdub whats broken then redo the vocals). It's WAY cheaper (ours took 3.5 hours for three tracks) and can sound great. You also get some studio experience, but its WAY more fun as you're not sitting round for three days watching your wallet empty.

    Whatever option you do choose, the most important thing is getting an engineer/producer you like. Thats what you're really paying for that you can't get at home. You need someone on your side - who will actually tell you when its not working rather than just roll "tape" when you tell him.

  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    NO! You should never record anything until you've played it live for six months. Arrangements will change over time. I always wait until a song finds its own "center" before committing it to a permanent recording.
  8. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    Call my cynical, but is there a relationship between the chosen studio and that other guy? $50/hour is pretty standard (at least around here in SoCal), so the rate isn't bad.

    I want to +1 several pieces of advice: find a place that will do a multi-track live recording and will let you do some fixups. Should run about the same $50/hour and you can be done in an evening. Decide what you would really do with such a recording before actually having it. Play the songs for a while longer first. I find that songs change a fair amount over the first 6 months of their lives, almost always for the better.

  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    The vibe I get from your original post is that you're rather inexperienced. I'd heed the advice of the above posters and go at in slowly. I could be wrong, but experience tells me that a band that has gigged once, unless it is full of seasoned pros, is probably not ready to produce a professional album/EP.
  10. RDY2RMBL


    Feb 8, 2007
    With my band, our only gig so far being a garage gig, I use a reel to reel that I got for free off somebody. The sound quality isnt the best but it can get the job done. Then I edit the tracks on my computer, make cds, and spread em' around to friends. This can be done with a cassette tape player as well. I can listen to the tracks over and over again and hear what went wrong, what would sound better. Its a pretty stone-age two mic setup, but you can hear the music fine. Also, you could bite the bullet and buy a cheaper 8 track recorder set up. My band has experimented with a Tascam Portastudio 424, and it kicks the crap out of our reel to reel. We are going to start recording on that soon. Check out ebay, they don't go for too much. All these I guess are solutions for just laying the tracks down in a jiffy, not with the whole studio set up.
  11. i've known extremely popular bands (mind you all the popular clown types that start bands) that put up some myspace audio material before even playing ANY gig
  12. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    I kinda agree. In this day and age, very few non pro bands need to go into a studio. You can make perfectly fine recordings in a home studio. go on myspace on craigslist and you will find someone wanting to build there portfolio that will
    record you in there garage studio for $15 -$25 an hr.

    The other route is to just record a verse /chorus of all your stuff to put to gether a demo to get gigs... You don't really need whole songs recorded to get gigs...
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Wait-a-second, here:

    OK - fifty-bucks an hour is a 'medium-priced' studio. There are some VERY good $50 studios out there - I mean good enough that anyone would be hard-pressed to distiguish their stuff from a $200/hr. studio. But certainly don't just go straight with the "you get what you pay for" proverb! I'm SURE that there are totally-worthless fifties too! There are a LOT of VERY bad studios out there. ..And some pretty amazing fifteen-dollar ones too, bytheway!

    Eddie - It makes sense to have a demo before your first show. You usually need a demo to GET a show in the first-place, right?

    The most important thing I want to say though, is this:
    Sorry Ox, but I strongly believe that your advice is terrible - just right-on-the-face-of-it terrible.

    It takes experienced, didicated, knowledgable professionals to make good, strong music recordings. You don't have to learn "a little" to make best use of the equipment. You have to learn A LOT.

    Taking your advice could very-well result in a huge, worthless expendature, and a big delay in the band's growth. They're supposed to be working on MUSIC, not learning a whole new art - the ART of Studio production and engineering, mixing and mastering! They could have a demo ready-to-go - out GETTING GIGS in a few weeks - you're suggesting that they go down a total rabbit-trail tangent of learning Professional Audio Engineering?? How long do you think it takes to learn to be as good as a good $20/hr studio? A couple YEARS of study and experience MINIMUM.

    Sorry, Dude, but spout'n-out stuff like that is potentially a great diservice to someone who's trusting TalkBass's well-deserved reputation for excellent, knowledgeble and well though-out advice.

  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    As long as it isn't just a scam to get you into the studio for hours and hours, why not.

    I recorded a bunch of songs for a demo disc with my top 40 band before playing a single gig. How else is a band supposed to get gigs without a demo cd?
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    THERE ya-go! That's some good advice.

    One thing I'd mention is that when you say that a 'first demo' is probably going to sit on your shelf for twenty years, keep in-mind that after it's been mostly-forgotten for twenty or thirty or forty years, and then finally listened to by the musician - maybe playing it for a Son or Daughter or Grandchild (I have six grandkids, and my daughters STILL show-off my old demo stuff to their friends..) - there'll likely be NO DOUBT in his mind that it was well worth-it!

    If someone gets into music for just a little while, and puts-together a little band for just a little while - it should have been recorded! Honestly - it almost brings a tear when I talk to someone who says that they were 'in a band once', and then they tell me that there is no record of it.

  16. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    I was in a band...it just broke up. We only did three live gigs, but we had a pretty good sound. I wish we had a really good recording of ourselves.

    One bit of semi-advice...I have heard many times from seasoned vets I respect...the best time to record is just after you have played a gig. And when I say just after, I mean driving straight from the venue to the studio. Everyone is pumped, in the groove, at their performance peak, feeling the band mojo, egos set aside in favor of the group dynamic...or so these guys have told me. Do any of you guys have any experience or thoughts about this idea?
  17. I'm gonna jump in here - the figure that was thrown out a few posts back (30 hours at $50 an hour) doesn't come into play if the band can actually play the songs (and if you can't, you shouldn't be recording). The suggestion that the band should spend a few more dollars and buy a workstation is, in my experience, a terrible idea. Here are a couple of reasons why:

    1> Even if you can get a computer and software for that amount of money, you still have to look at interfaces, cabling, acoustic treatment, and microphones - and that's on top of a steep learning curve.
    1B. the microphones I use to record drums alone cost more than $1500 (the overheads alone cost more than that - each). My main vocal mics cost between $5K and $12K each. (U 47's, C12's, 251's...). Even a $50 an hour studio should have better mics than your $1500 could buy, even discounting all the other things that you'd need to make a record.
    1C. No, those $99 mics at guitar center do NOT sound as good as a 'real' mic.

    2. Another advantage of working in a real studio is that you have people more experienced than your band is at (A) getting good sounds, (B) knowing how to make your songs the best that they can be.

    3. Every hour you spend screwing around learning how to work the gear is an hour that you can't spend either writing better songs or becoming better musicians.

    The DIY method can be an excellent way to do things in some fields, but it often neither saves neither money or time.

    Good luck!
  18. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yup - I was with the band Funk University. We practiced for a whole year; achieving only three gigs and a demo before we broke-up completely (well, OK - the rest of'm broke-up a couple weeks after their Bassist quit. ..bunch'a dinks!).

    Anyway: I don't know HOW many times I've said "Heck - it was all worth it for that killer demo - those are the best recordings of me EVER!".

  19. 88persuader


    Aug 5, 2007
    I say record yourself 1st ... listen to what you like and what you want to tweak. I agree about growing with the songs before making a SERIOUS recording but in my opinion every band should record themselves often. It lets YOU hear if YOU'RE overplaying, hitting bad notes, ... if you really like what your playing and if what your playing really fits in. THEN IMO I'd take my home recordings and get the songs copyrighted. THEN go into a serious recording studio ... or not. I bought a 16 track home digital Korg recorder around 2001 ... the best investment I ever made. And now a days they have better recorders for less money. I've even made money recording local cover bands for their night club demo cd's. If my recordings are good enough for people to want to PAY ME for my efforts then that says something about todays home recording gear. The biggest challenge with home recording is having someone with the know-how to be the engineer. But if you have good ears, reasonable brains and TIME to devote to learning and experimenting I say buy some nice digital home recording gear and record yourself ... OFTEN! Time is money in a studio, a LOT of money ... But if you OWN the studio time is FREE!!
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Recording and Audio is more of a specialty of mine then playing. Until recently, I had full access to a whole studio (the one I designed.. but he sold the house!). There are hardly any recordings of me because - honestly - I'm either in 'musicain mode' or 'engineer mode'; I love both of my crafts, but I hate doing them at the same time!

    I want to put together a serious demo of some of my solo tapping performance now. I want it to be as good of a performance as it can be - that's why I'm NOT doing the engineering! It'll be a better demo if I pay someone with a lesser studio, and probably less recording experience than me, to take the Engineering role, and let me be a musician! (..And no - I won't have to 'restrain myself' from butting-in on the engineering; when I'm playing my Bass, I don't have much interest in the blinkin'lights!)

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