Posts Tagged ‘demo’

Affordable studio mics

March 3, 2010

Here’s a quick video review of Fett’s favorite and very affordable studio mics with a little microphone lesson thrown in. Fett is a producer/engineer and owner of Azalea Productions, a full-service recording company that specializes in independent artist CD’s and songwriter demos. He was formerly technology editor at Performing Songwriter magazine.

Producing demos

November 21, 2008


Alot of folks have been asking us questions like “How do I produce a demo of my song?” and “How do I choose a demo production company?” Fortunately, STJ Forum member Jeff Severson has offered this timely advice. The following piece jam packed with good stuff for the independent songwriter.

The Sex Pistols sweat the rhymes & the importance of being properly demoed.

In the movie the Filth and the Fury, members of the Sex Pistols are quoted as saying they felt uncomfortable getting on stage and singing “I am the Antichrist, I am an anarchist…” as the rhyme scheme was awkward. How quaint that these punk revolutionaries, between all their drunken brawling, heroin shooting, equipment smashing, party wrecking, self-mutilating and general world upheaving, were worried about proper rhymes.

On another subject, Garth Fundis, platinum producer for Trisha Yearwood, Alabama and other Nashville royalty, confesses that when it comes time to making records, they “chase” the demos. In other words, they learn the guitar parts and otherwise rob the arrangements and production from the demos as they don’t have the time to really come up with something new in the average two week span it takes to cut a Nashville CD.

So do we all, as rhymin’ Simons, burdened not only by having to come up with the perfect, never before heard rhymes, have to make our demos sound like finished 48 track world class productions? In a word, “yep.” Or, we can leave it to the pros…

Who amongst us has the technical proficiency to arrange, record and mix a song so that it sounds like it came off the radio? We’ve got enough to handle just making sure the melody and lyrics are better than the average song publisher staff writer or we don’t stand a hoot of a chance of getting heard by THOSE WHO MATTER. So we are left to gamble on an outside song production company which is a lot like throwing yourself on the mercy of a car mechanic who happens to live in another city.

How do you choose a song production company you can trust to give you a marketable product? Well, certainly there are fly by night production companies to avoid; all those that say they are going to put your song on a CD and circulate it to every important radio station in the country, for one example.


A demo singer can make or break your song

September 11, 2008

It goes without saying that you should hire the best singer you can afford when recording a demo. Even if you are a professional singer, you want the best person for a particular song. So if your song is R&B, but you’re not an R&B singer, find someone else. Likewise, all the players on the recording.

Another way to sabotage your demo is with an overly-ambitious melody. It is easy to write melodies that are virtually unsingable. It’s especially easy if you are not a singer, or if you write melodies outside your own vocal range.

Whoever sings the melody on your demo has the power to make or break your song. The singer can deliver it with feeling and really sell it, or can do a so-so, half fast job.

If you write an extremely challenging melody (very high or low notes, difficult intervals, etc.) your singer may not be inspired to give 110%. However, if you put yourself in the singer’s shoes and write a reasonably singable melody, your demo will have a much better chance of getting heard.