Expert advice on how to produce a low- to no-cost demo that’ll get your band gigs and social media attention
We asked acclaimed producer/mixer Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Terry Bozzio, Nels Cline) to talk about recording a demo using one of the many low-cost portable digital recorders now available.
As Ronan points out, getting a great mix without resorting to a mixer entails getting each musician’s sound dialed into the overall recording. This means finding the sweet spot for each player’s volume and positioning them carefully in relation to the recorder’s mics.
Citing albums such as The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions that was created using just three stereo mics, Murphy says you can create a very workable demo with minimal gear. As he says, even using old-school audio equipment like ADAT and cassette-based multitrackers can produce results which will help you book gigs and get social media buzz going.
Ronan suggests you could even kill two birds with one stone by using an audio/video recorder to create a demo for getting bookings while also providing YouTube video clip fodder for your music. (The Alesis recorder mentioned in the video isn’t available any longer, but the Zoom Q4 Video/Audio Recorder will accomplish the same thing.)
Finally, Murphy says don’t get too hung up on getting the highest quality audio possible. You’re not recording an album—you’re producing a PR tool to help you get gigs and increase the exposure of your music.