Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Demo Dilemma

With the snow coming down it looks beautiful and quiet outside...nice day to stay in and maybe hit the home studio and do a couple demos.  My first consideration is "Is the song truly finished?  I don't want to demo a song that I don't feel is "done".  Then the big question...IS THE SONG A GREAT SONG???  Is it a good enough song that I feel strongly someone will "cut" and do I "believe in the song"?  If the answer is yes to those questions then this.....Every time I do a demo I have the dilemma of what kind of demo should I do???

Should I do a basic guitar vocal demo?  Does it sound better on piano/vocal?  Will I pigeonhole the song by doing a full blown traditional 'grass demo and turn off a progressive band when they listen?  My goal is to "showcase" the song in the best possible way but sometimes that means "production" just gets in the way!!

To me a quality guitar/vocal or piano/vocal is the best demo for someone to do and here is my thinking.  (By quality I mean it is a clear sounding recording, the guitar is in tune and mic'ed properly, the singer has a good voice and is on pitch and you can hear the lyrics easily and also the melody and chord changes.)  I don't want to pigeonhole the song in one style/genre or another.  I figure most good musicians can listen to a demo and as they are listening hear the song in the context of their band or style...I want them to be test driving the song in their head much like you would test drive a new car.  Put your hands on the wheel, feel it, smell that new car smell etc.  I want the artist to hear themselves singing the song and making it their own, they can hear the arrangement already because there is no production to get in the way!

Sadly, many of the people that listen to songs or screen them for the artists don't have ear to do this and need a full blown demo to hear all of this.  And therein lies the quandary...I would rather do a quality basic vocal/guitar demo but maybe I need to do a full blown demo to get the song past the "screeners" and on to the artist themselves who can hear all that. 

 There are exceptions to every rule and again keeping in mind that your goal is to "showcase" the "song" in the best possible light sometimes you need a mandolin chop, or a drum to feel the "groove" or maybe you need to do an electric guitar lead to highlight the "musical hook" of a song.  So this isn't a "one size fits all" solution but I need to think hard about what would make each song sound the best to the artist.

Cost is another factor depending if you need to go beyond your home studio to get a quality demo done.  These can run from $100 to $5-600.00.  These days recouping these kind of expenses is extremely difficult...but that's an entirely different blog entry!!!!  LOL

So here I sit thinking of 2 songs to demo today...full production?  Partial production?  Or should I go with the trusty quality vocal/guitar demo???  Decisions, decisions...maybe I should just sit down and write a new one!  :)

Y'all have a great day and stay warm!  Remember...write more and whine less! :)


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