Recording a demo is the next step on the ladder to rock'n'roll stardom. You can gig all you like but a demo is necessary to get your foot in the door.

Demo TapeWhat do you record? Pick between 4 and 6 of your best tracks. Lengthy solos and long intros are best left for stadiums.  Picture this, you’ve bought 100s of brown padded envelopes, resisted the temptation to pop the bubble wrap and sent your demo out to the masses.  How many other bands are doing this? Most of them who want to get anywhere. So the second this industry exec or journalist presses the play button they should instantly know what you are about. It has to be good from the first play.

Before you set foot in the door:

  • Make sure that you know what songs are to be recorded before you go into the studio.
  • Now, you are recording a demo, which is a demonstration of who you are as a band. The aim of this demo is to entice those in the music industry and event management. 
  • Resist the temptation of turning your demo into a personal showcase of every song you’ve written. Aim to have around 4 tracks. If you have the time and the money record some extra tracks so you can choose which to put on your demo after production.
  • Do not step one single foot into the studio if you and you band haven’t rehearsed all planned tracks. You should be rehearsing these tracks at every waking moment...and in your dreams if at all possible.

Setting up:

  • The drummer should be the first to arrive at the studio to set up. Factor in around 2 hours for this (obviously your drummer will have a better indication of how much time he/she will need). The rest of the band should leave this to the drummer and the sound engineer to avoid any distractions. 
  • The rest of the band should turn up on time. Remember, you’re paying for every second. Do not waste time. 
  • Write up a schedule for the recording session. This should include breaks. You will need them.
  • Now that you’ve everything organised have a warm up jam and get ready to record.

The recording process:

  • This all depends on you and the studio. Are you recording the demo live or multi-track? If recording live then just go for it. Stick to your schedule and run through all of your tracks. If you wish to go back over certain tracks you can do so. 
  • If recording your demo multi-track then I would advise starting with the rhythm section (bass and drums) and getting this out of the way. Next record all guitar and other instruments. Then finally your vocalist drive the sound engineers nuts with their diva like behaviour whilst trying to perfect the vocals to your backing track. Don’t go too overboard with backing vocals and overdubs. 
  • Don’t forget to take regular breaks!
  • Always allow one hour of mix time per song recorded (4 songs should take around 4 hours to mix). The engineer or producer should happily let you sit in on this process however keep a clear image in your head of how you want to sound. 

The most important thing to remember is that the more you prepare the better your recorded product is going to be. Once your band's CD demo is done you are one step closer to getting your first (of many) gigs - plus you can upload them to your Profile on so people can hear your talent!

Your homework for this week is to learn the following formula:

No preparation (beer X copious amount of cigarettes) = overspending + time wasting

by Liam Carey @Bandpages