Things Not to Say, When About to Demo a Song...

Skip to the bottom

  • @ustaknow Mar 11

    "Hello, I'm new to all this here, and not very good, and it's not really done; also, my guitar, it's not very good, it does not play well, and also, I have not warmed up today too; oh, and was feeling a little backed up, but, I'm here anyway, and well, - here it is..."

    - You might as well just bring a bag of poop up there with you and start throwing it at the audience instead, get plenty on yourself too, - then play.

    Alternatives; Suggestions!? You? What to Do (or not to do if want to go that direction; I think I mostly covered that πŸ˜€ ) but, as you like:

    You-all say, [... ... ...]

  • @wacha  Mar 11

    I apologized for one of my demos my first year and was told by another FAWMer to never apologize for the demo, it's a demo, not a finished song. I will occasionally note if I think the song needs work, partially to invite others to note what they think could make it better.

  • @billwhite51 Mar 11

    a Demo is a recording made to sell a song to a music publisher or recording artist. It is not a rough draft of a work in progress. A demo should enable the listener to hear where the song will fit in the commercial market. The closest thing I hear to demos on FAWM are the Band in a Box recordings. What many post as demos i would classify as work tapes. I usually record a few hours of work tape before arriving at a take that i feel is worth postiing. I would not send any of these recordings to publishers, as they are not demos. However they may be judged by listeners, they are the thing itself. They are not demos of what i can do. They are the sum of my abilities. If I went into a recording studio to make a commercial album for a company active in the industry, I would have many more resources at my disposal than I do here, sitting on the edge of my bed singing and playing into a digital recorder but the result would nott likely be an artistic improvement over the original.

  • @helenseviltwin  Mar 11

    @billwhite51 - context is everything. If you're making a demo to demonstrate how a song will fit in the commercial market, then it definitely needs to be better quality than a rough recording.

    For FAWM, demos are made to demonstrate what the songwriter thinks the song will sound like. Commercial market isn't part of songwriting for most FAWMers.

  • @ustaknow Mar 11

    Hmmm, well, - I was thinking more singer-songwriter and the Friday Night, here's my stuff thing... but, again, hey, - it's all interesting. So, yes, lets to down that road a bit.

    Here, a "demo" from A.M.:

    I believe it's a loop/click and her singing over mostly the keys with way to much Reverb. Maybe, the "guys" there when firming up a write.

    Also, concerning here as "medium", "famous" artist (?), - I just heard an interview with her as well, - I think it was 12/2019 (very pregnant again πŸ˜€ 3rd child and about to pop, so "commercial" and "sexy", she is πŸ˜‰ anyway...) ... she's speaking of,
    - "having to go in, and play..." - and I guess picked three from the latest release (which I happen to like, so up on this other krappe πŸ˜€ )

    I know it's all contextual, and the "luck" of who you may work with, - however, if she sat down with Grand Concert Acoustic in hand and said, "this is all shit, but... here you go..." well, she, even as A.M., well, --- that wears off as well any shine you may have from "pre-fame" leverage.

    A nash-ville source, goes the other way, (and my thinking as well, as "songwriter") - if over produced, they may and do take it literally "that way" as done and inflexible, "that's the song"... (oh no... I'd be saying; ever try to back pedal a song to a very LITERAL person?! It just can't happen for them, and done.)

    I've noticed more who know what they're hearing in their head and don't care about "your" version of it, - they'll do their own if connect as if "theirs"; and, if do, they make it theirs. The days of telling Sinatra, "here baby, sing this, dah boss likes it" are gone; along with the rest of the other "formulas".

    However, get up and say your stuff is sheit, and they will agree, - don't do it.

  • @ustaknow Mar 11

    Hahhh... I was writing, yes, context.

    I think its very interesting how folks hear what they read in their heads when reading stuff.

    - It's WHY I LOVE comment-feedback, it IS very useful.

    Heck, even my wife say, "it's good, but I don't like it".

    She'll ask sometimes, my favorite question, "who's that" πŸ˜‰ (me...). But, again, if it's not a Hymn, she's not listening to it! Period! πŸ˜€ (so funny...).

    --- So, again, - if going to demo a song, however you may, - you say what? πŸ˜€

  • @mikeb Mar 11

    During the monthly songwriter circles I cohost, we have the inevitable 'apology introduction' by many people - and I often make a joke about it, hoping that people will eventually 'get it' that the apology part is NOT needed!
    At an open mic or other type of live 'show', apologies should be short and only to the 'I just wrote this, hope I can remember how it goes' point.

  • @chipwithrow  Mar 11

    I learned about the demo-versus-work tape thing when I tried Taxi song-pitching website for a couple years in the mid 2000s. (None of my songs ever made it past the "decent song but not quite" stage.)
    Regarding @ustaknow 's "Friday night" reference - reminds me of the open mic scene. I used to participate in them, and I've hosted several. I would estimate conservatively that more than half (probably a lot higher) of the musicians introduce their songs with reasons why you're not going to like it. Now, they were right about that pretty often - and I'm sure partially because they had planted the idea.
    More than the song not being good, though, was the performer's inability to sell the song in a performance. But that kind of learning is what open mics are for.

  • @ustaknow Mar 11

    "chipwithrow" - I know, right! πŸ˜€

    I think the 4 y.o.'s approach is the way to go. Ever see a 4y.o. get up to perform.

    "Oh, my!, this is brand new, just finished it last night, and you're going to love it, - I guarantee it! I'm so excited... I'm shaking in anticipation. I'm hoping actually, to get even more great ideas by the time I'm done singing it for you, so I may grab this pad (right here) while you-all are clapping wildly and hysterically at the end... and away we go... [...]

    --- Send $1 to ustaknow if use that! πŸ˜‰ Hahhh!

    Or, as you see fit! (Your words use; - or if read it the "other" way, yes, send $10 if you like πŸ˜‰ hahhh!)

  • @ustaknow Mar 11

    @mikeb they'll never learn. πŸ˜€ hahhh.

    A friend went to one of these nash-ville "boot camps" on "Stage-Craft"... funny how, "free" ~here~ only counts as good advice (identicle), when paid $1K - 3K there. Why is that? πŸ˜€

  • @siebass  Mar 11

    Eddie Izzard has a good bit on performing, that it's 70% how you look, 20% how you sound, and only 10% what you say...he then proceeds to belt out the star spangled banner in gibberish lyrics with great success.

    I do still apologize for my new songs each month, as they are usually poorly rehearsed/arranged due to real life time constraints, usually followed by a grade of average, above average, below average, poor, or great. Part of it is schtick, as I write and play one new song each month at this open mic so that everyone can hear AT LEAST one poorly-rehearsed brand new song performed every time they come to the event.

    However, I do always try to keep in mind, that if "I" don't even like my songs, how can I expect anyone else to? I never say I don't think you'll like it. I always think folks will like the song, it just might not be the best version of itself yet.

  • @siebass  Mar 11

    Demo vs. work tape discussion is the first time I've seen here, but these days I often need to get my song closer to the demo stage before I appreciate it myself.

  • @dzd  Mar 11

    Cant go wrong with this is something it goes like this πŸ˜€ ....for stage work anyway

    Good thread though.....I'm very guilty of the apologies first as well even when trying not to
    But a lot if my stuff while at first was done unintentionally, is usually purposefully meant to irritate a certain crowd πŸ˜‰

  • @radioovermoscow Mar 11

    I had apologies on some songs this year because I *know* they're not up to scratch in some measure - and I'd like the listener not to focus on whatever I point out, otherwise that inevitably ends up being the focus in the comments.

    In recording a demo you might pick the wrong mic, only realise far down the track the guitar sounds wrong, etc. These don't matter in a demo, so letting people know that's not the intended sound allows them, I reckon, to focus on what is important.

    That, and some of recordings are 90 percent of the way to a finished product, while others are only 20 percent. If you go in expecting 90 and get 20, it's nice to be forewarned!

  • @guatecoop  Mar 11

    I’m with you @helenseviltwin....this is FAWM. This is not trying to be commercial. We are trying to write good songs.
    That being said, there ARE some non-biab songs that are really well recorded and written. Really good recordings and songs! I tend to follow those people (and others).... the EDM and electronica alone are sparkling and marvelous at times. I could name 30 people at least who do great recordings....probably many more.

  • @jmadison  Mar 12

    A few years ago I was invited to play at a fundraiser. There were lots of musicians and we rotated, each doing short sets. This was my first time doing a venue like this. There I was, nervous as could be, about to do my own songs for the first time in public. I said this at the beginning: "Thanks so much for inviting me, and I apologize in advance for what you're about to hear."

    That was a mistake.

    I proceeded to play my songs my way, and really got some people moving in their seats. They truly enjoyed it. I did not have had the most polished set. I messed up some stuff. I very likely sang off-key. But, I had fun, and so did everyone else.

    After my set, I overheard the host talking to someone else about it. It was a really nice comment, but it demonstrated to me how much I should not have apologized. Since then, I plan to avoid that mistake. I'll aim to have fun, and hope others do too.

  • @ustaknow Mar 12

    "jmadison" yes, that's the point; folks come to have fun with you, not from you (?). Great story!

    The only entertainment, with "from you", I think that's Porn πŸ˜€ but, not music. πŸ˜‰ Ahhh, yes J-lo, Bouncy and etc... well, there you go, Music or Porn? πŸ˜€

    Ever go to buy a great used car, love it and the "sales person", says yah, just don't pay any attention to that scratch on the Rocker Panel on the left side. What do you do? Yup πŸ˜€ Pay attention only to that. You have to bend down, get your pants dirty to see it, drop your glasses, scratch'em. -- Not fun πŸ˜‰ (And, a sales person would never do that.)

    I don't think "pro" is pro. Define pro, - (Axl Rose... - if he showed up and could figure out with end of the mic to sing into - he was great!)
    - I use T.S. as an example allot, since, I think her small room venue stuff 1v1g, is far better than any Stadium Show she gives. She looks like she is really enjoying it (Little Desk, PBS, other), and gets to explain what's important to her. I've even heard her start a song off key, (likely a prod, key change, she/they forgot). But, no one cares, - I don't.

    I see street people, not even buskers, - just trying to "immitate" and get paid and get paid because they look like they're having fun.

    One should not be doing this, if not having fun, - geese, give yourself an heart-attack and die young.

    Can you imagine if your first, "I love you" line, had to be "professionally done" in order to be effective, and appreciated?
    - Geese, we'd all be alone πŸ˜€

  • @zecoop  Mar 12

    I truly think it is ridiculous to think that demos here should be striving to be commercial in either the aim or the quality. The vast majority of folks here are doing this for fun. Music is a hobby or something they want to be a hobby. Regardless of the 'quality' of the demos on FAWM, I have heard AMAZING songs. I've been floored by songs and remembered them years later that were recorded 'one-take' style on a phone or laptop microphone with mistakes included. A great song can't hide beneath poor production. Great production can enhance a great song. In the case of simplistic top 40 pop songs, sometimes great production can create a great song out of something that was mediocre in content, but what I am talking about is a song that is great from the start.

    Engaging music, wonderfully written lyrics or exquisitely sung vocals can all make an incredible demo that has far less than incredible production qualities. Judging a demo by the sound quality of the demo is pointless, ESPECIALLY in the context of FAWM. That misses the entire point of FAWM. (in my opinion)

    That said, I hear demos all the time here, every single year, that (to me) are completely ready to go and could be commercial. This place is FULL of amazing songwriters and musicians. Every single year.

    And that is not just my opinion. That is a stone cold fact.

  • @gm7 Mar 12

    Agreed @zecoop . I'm a first time FAWMer and have enjoyed the entire process. I have heard some very GOOD songs with just guitar or piano and i have heard GREAT songs with the same setup. Some songs have had great production and some have been recorded on a iphone, but all the songs are a reflection of the effort and originally of the musician/songwriter.With the advent free DAWs many of the productions do sound more polished and that's great...but that's not the only criteria to define a great song.
    The main thrust, as far I see it, is for all FAWMers to have fun and display their talents and there is great amount of talent out there.

    I have used it to push myself to get some songs ideas on tape/mp3
    BUT my fav part of FAWM was listening to all the collabs which bring people together for the common cause of getting their song ideas(music/ lyrics) out there but at the same time having fun. The many positive comments in the liner notes of the dozens and dozens of collabs. from this year is evidence of that.
    I'm back for next year and looking forward to collabs that's where i think i will have the most fun!

  • @billwhite51 Mar 13

    To my ear, FAWM offers the best of global songwriting. Nothing I hear from industry manufactured music comes close. Productions are usually very listenable, often much better than commercial products of the past.. I remember when you could barely hear the acoustic bass on a jazz record. As with the other popular arts, production values are a matter of money. Independant film makers do not have the $500 million budget of a Marvel comic book adaptation, but they are usually much better movies. Same with music. FAWM is february album writing month, not february demo recording month, and I approach it with the intention of writing and recording an album...not demos, although that is the term frequently used to define the recordings produced for FAWM . As such, there is the possibility of commercial viabiity for every allbum posted on one of todays music sites. I have worked on many different levels in the music business, and am reaching more people through FAWM inspired recordings and bandcamp distribution than I have through former, efforts that might be classified as commercial. And the best of what I have heard on FAWM surpasses any other new music of these times. In closing, let me add that few people admire humble, aplogetic artists. When Prince frst performed Purple Rain, he did it with the certainty that it was a brilliant song. And .Kurt Cobain sincerely believed himself to be the coolest guy in the world. So enough of these its only a demo apologies. As Miles would say. This is the shit.

  • @jonmeta  Mar 16

    I like Matt Blick’s approach in his monthly songwriters’ group: Announce the title and start playing.
    In an open mic setting, people appreciate a little bit of background if it’s interesting, and especially if it’s funny.

  • @ustaknow Mar 17

    Well, I think, possibly, folks may be playing in places that they know their stuff's not going to be liked?, and, that's a whole nutha issue. If one is that sure their stuff sucks, why go to the trouble then? Risk a heart attack on stage? "Hey, I suck, and I'm gonna really suck now for you, so order another beer, don't leave for a smoke and you can agree with me? πŸ˜€ Really?

    - I agree with, too, -- "announce and play". Or, shut up and play, and the song speaks for itself (always a default method).

    * However too, -- stage craft is the preface, the forward by, the back cover jacket reviews (of a book, remember those? πŸ˜€ ). Yes/no?

    Context, is, everything, and takes care of allot; but sometimes, you have to create your own Context, since engaged in a diverse situation/venu. The "i suck" context, is supplied well, by all your fellow human beings out there, GLAD to do that for you and for so many reasons.

    - There are Contexts where you can sheit gold and pee champagne and get arrested for littering, - don't go to those places.

    And, truth be told, if most are that way, venues, - but they're not tackling you and dragging you off stage, if you don't develop some orgasmic pleasure in hearing yourself play/sing or just annoy the krappe out of an audience, - again, then why do it at all?

    - Perspective and context.

    Hey, me, I don't force myself on anyone; but I find it interesting the ones who were "iffy" years ago (off/on/off then on again), calling for studio time now, - what happened? Am I any better than I was five years ago? Hahhh, not even ten πŸ˜€

    - I'm gonna try the above, πŸ˜€ Oreos with no Milk, cough routine, prior to stage, - I'll let you know how that turns out πŸ˜€ esp. current context-context πŸ˜‰

Leave a Message. Log in to FAWM or sign up first...