Making a Demo of Your Songs? – The New Rules

making a demoby Owen Critchley
Warner/LoudThud recording artist
Author of Easy Home Recording Blueprint

How to Make Demo Recordings That Stand Up and Stand Out

1. The “Message and the Melody.” Before making a demo cd, we must accept that the song itself must provoke some kind of emotional response from the listener, either in its message, its melody, or both. We must have the confidence and wisdom to judge our songs honestly. In other words, the song is either working or not and we have to take responsibility for either possibility.

2. The Performance. The performance is the breath that gives the message and melody of the song life. The performance must always be the servant of the message and/or the melody.

3. The Recording. The responsibility of capturing message, melody and performance falls to the effective recording of all three. If we have ensured that message, melody and performance are intact, then recording simply becomes a matter of capturing and “bottling” an emotional response to be served on demand to listeners thirsty for same.

Where most aspiring recording artists go wrong when making a demo, is by perverting the process listed above by hoping to salvage or rescue a song’s message, melody and performance, during the recording phase. If a song isn’t making a connection to you or those around you during its creation, then the record button probably shouldn’t have been pushed. Certainly, trying to find the life inside a song during the mixing and editing phase of making a demo, is a fools errand.

Making a demo recording becomes easy when the song is already speaking to you

Sound actually requires very little to be recorded effectively. If we make sure a song is alive with color and purpose before we start recording a demo, then the need for expensive studio toys and equipment falls away. We are then left with the simple, and what should always be enjoyable, process of recording and “capturing” our song. When we have reached this level of confidence in our song, effective and powerful recording can and should be done at home. A good song simply won’t require that we mortgage our futures in an expensive professional studio or tons of home music studio equipment.

For those of you who are already Easy Home Recording Blueprint artists, the following is a very familiar set of recording guide lines that form the backbone of the “Blueprint” method of recording.

“Change the way you think about home recording.

  • Instead of complicated, believe that it can be simple.
  • Instead of expensive, believe that it can be done cheaply.
  • Instead of slow, believe that it can be fast and fun.

For those of you who are ready to read more about the Blueprint’s step by step method, click here: Easy Home Recording Blueprint

In another article I’ll continue this topic with more info and tips for making a demo that will help your music stand out from the crowd.

Until then… all the best,

Owen Critchley
Recording artist/producer