Fortunately since I cut my first demo in March 1995 (yes twenty years ago peeps!), technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. The days of spending hours in someone’s studio trying to put together the beginnings of demo are long gone and now most people start the demo stage of a recording at home before heading to a professional studio. However there are still some issues that hamstring every recording artist during the “demo” stage of the song. Here are some of the things you need to know to survive recording at home…
- Spend ages setting up and setting levels only to discover that a) you’re not in the mood, b) you have no talent or musical ability, c) you haven’t actually written the song yet.
- Don’t allow your family to flush the bog. Under no circumstance can anyone have a wee. It takes ages for the sound of toilet refilling to stop. No-one wants to hear that on a recording.
- You will drop mayonnaise from your sandwich on the laptop keyboard. The smell will never go and everyone thinks you smell at bit “funky” now.
- You will spend ages producing a world class vocal only to discover that a small bird three miles down the road can be heard chirping in the background. Incandescent rage is the only answer. Start again.
- An episode of The Bill from 1997 is on the Drama Channel; abandon all projects until you have watched the episode even though you saw the entire series in 1997 when you were a student.
- Just given the best piano recital ever? Well done, however you forgot to push the RECORD button. Start again.
- What’s the jangling noise in the background of your vocal? Oh yes it’s all the jewellery you love to wear. Take the damn silver bangles off. Start again.
- The beautiful backing vocal you did at 3.10pm on Tuesday sounds like complete crap at 10.35am on Thursday. Start again.
- You can’t understand why the microphone won’t work. You’ve tried singing into it, tapping it, magic spells. You tell it how much you love it and you’re sorry you got cross and shouted, but nothing makes it work… Then you find that it wasn’t plugged in.
- The four hours you spent meticulously mixing the drums, weren’t all wasted… you got to eat a whole packet of biscuits too.
- That song you wrote that sounded like a hit… sounds like total crap once you’ve recorded it. Start again.
So dress it up all you like: recording demos is fun, crazy, illuminating but also a little but treacherous. The important thing it to keep going no matter what…
Helen will be performing at Christmas Crackers as part of the St John the Baptist Church Christmas celebration.
Date: Sunday 6th December at 7pm
Venue: St John the Baptist, Station Rd, Aldbury, Herts, HP23 5RW
Tickets: Retiring offering for a local charity.