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What do you producers prefer - simple, or full band demos? Plugin Bundles
Old 9th September 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

What do you producers prefer - simple, or full band demos?

I'm currently writing for my EP, it'll be my first high end recording. I'll hire somebody to produce the songs.

I just started putting together demos for my songs. I'm a solo artist, so it takes a lot of time to record full band demos, since I need to record or program every single instrument.

I'm starting to think that all of this is a waste of time, since I'm pretty much doing the producer's job (worrying about structure, arrangements, etc). Should I just put together simple piano/vocal or guitar/vocal demos, instead of producing full band recordings? I've heard that producers prefer simple demo recordings anyway, since it allows them to just focus on the song. It'd be great if some of the more experienced gearslutz could comment on this.
Old 9th September 2007
  #2
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travisbrown's Avatar
Depends on what you are hiring a producer to do. If you are paying them to do fundamental arrangements, then hire an arranger/producer and just deliver your rough songs. Don't do full demos unless you think it's going to be useful.

If you have a concept for the sound, then tinker and sketch out what you want to do, and find a producer who will work with you to hone your idea into something that works.

There is also a budgetary decision. The more conceptual work you do yourself, the less you might have to pay a producer. In this case, think of your demos as a rough sketch and you are working with a producer to create a final draught. There are some caveats - is what you do worth polishing? Do you have a cohesive concept? Do you trust your judgement? Can you be objective?

Producer is a rather indefinite term. At one extreme, they can just be responsible for making it sound good. At the other extreme, they can be responsible for everything aside from what you bring to the table.

I know some vocalists who have producers that choose repertoire, arrange, contract the players, produce and bring the artist in to sing at the end.

I like to think of producers as those you contract be responsible for making your stuff sound good for whatever your purpose - i.e. making it marketable for your audience (or you, if it is a vanity project). Especially when paid by the record company, a producer can play at least two roles - making artistic choices and making marketing choices.
Old 9th September 2007
  #3
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BLueROom's Avatar
 

It depends on your vision. Are putting out this record to reach mainstream audiences? Are you putting this out for people to hear your talents? If you aren't attached to songs for particular reasons and are willing to have someone possibly change your vision, just put together a rough sketch. Otherwise, producing it yourself shouldn't be out of the question.
Old 9th September 2007
  #4
You're going to hire someone to produce your songs... decide on the arrangements... and hopefully hire a band...

Do you get to play on this, or not?
Old 9th September 2007
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom View Post
It depends on your vision. Are putting out this record to reach mainstream audiences? Are you putting this out for people to hear your talents? If you aren't attached to songs for particular reasons and are willing to have someone possibly change your vision, just put together a rough sketch. Otherwise, producing it yourself shouldn't be out of the question.
I'll hire a producer with somewhat of a track record, since I have a reasonable budget for the EP. So I'm not going to produce this. I'm gonna hire a producer for his vision, since he has experience I dont have. I feel like this is a big part of being successful in this industry. That you're willing to get outside help, from people who have "been there and done that".

The EP is gonna be for self-release and/or to attract attention from publishers/labels.
Old 9th September 2007
  #6
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BLueROom's Avatar
 

then I'd go the rough sketch route.
Old 9th September 2007
  #7
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
If it is a solo artists, I MUCH prefer simple demos. Piano/vox or guitar/vox and please for the love of god do not go in and fix your performances with autotune or anything. I am want to know the raw materials I have to work with.

Lots of times a full band thing for a demo can be deceiving because the feel of the hired musicians might overpower the natural feel of the artist.
Old 10th September 2007
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
If it is a solo artists, I MUCH prefer simple demos. Piano/vox or guitar/vox and please for the love of god do not go in and fix your performances with autotune or anything. I am want to know the raw materials I have to work with.

Lots of times a full band thing for a demo can be deceiving because the feel of the hired musicians might overpower the natural feel of the artist.
Excellent points. I think when a solo artist hires a producer, then those two people form 'the band'. They're in this together. When you step into such a situation with fully demoed songs, it can oftentimes a) hinder the producer (to some extent) to get his own idea of what the song would need and b) the artist oftentimes gets too attached to the demo version of the song, which disables him from being open to suggestions from the producer. So often you THINK your song needs to sound a certain way, you record the demo that way, and then when you step into the studio, you have a very hard time letting go of what you initially thought the song needed to sound like.
Old 10th September 2007
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
If it is a solo artists, I MUCH prefer simple demos. Piano/vox or guitar/vox and please for the love of god do not go in and fix your performances with autotune or anything. I am want to know the raw materials I have to work with.

Lots of times a full band thing for a demo can be deceiving because the feel of the hired musicians might overpower the natural feel of the artist.
I totally agree.

A great song is a great song.

Bad production can ruin that for the listener. No production will actually show the song more and inspire a producer to do THEIR thing to it.
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