If you are a regular reader of The Night Vibe column, you will remember that last fortnight I talked about how much of a struggle it is to make it in the Australian music scene and one of the most interesting things I discovered was that James Tidwell from Violent Soho had to apply for a job at McDonald’s because the band wasn’t turning over enough of a regular income. I then went on to discuss as a band or a local musician where the best place is to make a start in the scene and get noticed. You’ve gone to your local open mic night and met a few like-minded people and decided to start to have a jam and you have some really good original material. Where to now?
The illusive demo or EP is calling, and it’s the next step in the musical journey. So how do you go about recording one? If you’re just starting out and getting to know your way around the scene, chances are you are probably not going to have thousands to splash at a big producer and a good recording sound. However, there are many great local studios around wanting to give local lads a go.
In a recent interview with Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi fame, we chatted about starting out in the music industry and how important it is to get your voice heard from a young age. Discovered by a talent scout at an open mic, Ella cut a quick demo in the studio with her brother Jesse, and that was the kick-start to their career. “There is always something that helps young artists break through, whether that’s lending them some gear or giving them free recording time. For me it was local recording time in a studio that allowed us to lay down some tracks. I think it’s incredibly important as a local artist to get a demo together as quick as possible, to broaden your performance opportunities as well as gain valuable experience in the studio.”
Having just recorded my first disc, I cannot recommend highly enough how good local recording studios are. Despite not having a budget to record in Sing Sing or get Robin Mai in to produce, the backyard studio sound quality, after being mixed and properly produced, gave a raw and original vibe to the CD. One of the other facets to a home recording is that you don’t have the feeling of your money burning away each second you’re not utilising your time. The personnel involved in your session will go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel at home and comfortable in the environment.
So you’ve recorded the CD and the mix has come up great, now you’ve got to broadcast it to the world. There are a couple of different avenues you can go down to upload your work to the web. One of the main ones is triple j Unearthed which gives you the opportunity to have your song picked up by triple j and played on many of their different platforms. An easy interface to use, you are also ranked with bands around your area by the amount of plays that you have racked up. For festival promoters and band bookers, Unearthed is one of the avenues for discovering acts for their ‘Live and Local’ stages, therefore it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity to move your career to the next level.
The other main two outlets you could try are ReverbNation and Facebook. In a similar service to Unearthed, it is all about taking the plunge into the unknown as there are many benefits to being heard online – so what have you actually got to lose? If you are also signed up to the mailing list of ReverbNation, there are countless opportunities to get played on mixtapes and featured on blogs and in magazine articles, many of these also being free. Obviously, Battle of the Bands are also a great starting point in addition to having an online presence. A very worthwhile endeavour to broaden your performance opportunities from the local open mic scene, so get out and amongst it today!
Over the next month, I am headed over to the US for the Americanarama Music Conference and a few other festivals, so stay tuned for The Night Vibe USA over the next few weeks.
By Tex Miller