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Category: Content

Get More From Your Recording Experience

 

 

 

So you have been together for a while now, had the D&M discussions, played a few gigs, and have decided that now is the time to go into the studio so that you can share your music with the world!!

Otherwise why create music in the first place??

If this is your first time going into a studio, you want to make the most of the experience. Recording in a studio should be fun, highly creative and greatly rewarding.

At Fat Trax we invite bands and artists to contact us before booking a studio, come and have a look around and have a chat to get to know us. All at no cost to you! We often run free studio workshops to help people get ready. 

Over the years working with artists of all shapes and sizes and musical genres, we have learned a great deal so here are a few gems we believe you can do to to get prepared for the big moment. (This works for all studios not just ours :-)  .... but of course it is a sin to record anywhere else but Fat Trax.

1. Get to know your studio and the people you will be working with.

You will be working on close quarters in a highly creative environment. You need to feel comfortable with the studio engineer so that you can perform to the best of your ability. If the engineer "talks down" to you or is just simple too "geeky weird" they are some of the first warning signs!

2. Turn up on time and be prepared for your sessions.

So simple it almost goes without saying. But punctuality isn’t a given, especially when dealing with musicians. Some artists don’t know that if you schedule a recording time, the clock starts ticking exactly at that time. If you book 2 hrs and you show up 30 minutes late, now you have an hour and a half. This goes for major studios and pro engineers who run home studios as well. Time is money, so treat it that way. If the engineers you work with are worth their salt, they’ll value your time as well and won’t waste a minute.  At Fat Trax we don't run with a stopwatch but we do encourage mutual respect for each others time.

3. Know your setup & what you need to record.

Guitarists, buy new strings and know exactly the sounds you are trying to get with your rig, drummers tune your kit, keyboard players know the patches that you want.  

Exprimenting in the studio is not a good use of time. Tweaking is OK and the studio may have some gear that will achieve your ends, but know the sound you want to achieve before you tweak!

If you have a solo part make sure you know exactly what you are going to play.

4. Rehearse, rehearse rehearse!

The great thing about studio recording is that you only have to get something right once. The scary thing is that you have to get something right at least once :-)

Know exactly the arrangment of the songs. Be able to play without charts, lyrics and cheat sheets. Have someone appointed as the Producer (or music director) who gets the final say as to how the song is to be recorded. It is amazing how creative differences can be maginified in a studio environment!

5. Discuss specific wishes with the studio.

If you are a singer/guitarist and want to perform that way, then don't get bullied into recording a a guitar track first and then vocals.That might work for then engineer but not for you!  

As a band if you are comfortable playing as a tight unit, then express a preference for that, or, if you want instrument by instrument tracking then opt for that. There are no fixed rules - in the studio it is all about you and your music.

6. Understand the process!

There are defined steps in the whole recording process and it is worth understanding each of these steps. You wil be woirking to a budget and so the more thast you understand about each step the better you will be able to allocate you financial resources. For example you may decide it is better to spend more time on the tracking and performance stage and less time on the editing.

Here are the steps in order....

a.  Rehearse and pre-production

b.  Tracking and performance - is there anything that you can track outside the studio (midi files etc)? How much do you want to track seperately after the main sessions have been recorded?

c.  Editing. When all the tracks are recorded, the best takes need to be sorted out, vocals may need to be tuned and the arrangements put in all the right places.

d.  Mixing.  Bringing it all together into a song.

e.  Mastering. Preparing the final mix for CD/Itunes/digital release. Fine tuning of overall levels, compression and equalisation by a mastering engineer - note, this is best if it is not done in the same studio where the mixing was done.

Category: Content

How To Get Gigs

OK, you've got great songs, a great look, and maybe even some great recordings from Fat Trax Studios. Where are the raving fans?

If you're going to make it big in the music business, you've got to play live, and that means you've got to get gigs. Gigging is the single best way to get your music heard and to build a fan base. But how do you book gigs? Surprisingly, it's pretty easy. Here's the steps to take.....


1.  If you don't already have one - make a demo recording at Fat Trax!   :-)   

cd-hand-middle

A demo is instrumental in getting you gigs. These days, a demo is usually a CD, and it's sometimes just a website with your songs on it. How many songs you include really depends on how many you have: you could have a whole album's worth or as few as three or four. Since a demo generally isn't for sale, you can feel free to include covers as well as original material. While a well-recorded demo is better than a poorly-recorded one, a demo doesn't have to be "radio-ready." In fact, a high recording quality can be achieved economically at Fat Trax as the studio layout is big enough to record a whole band at once. As long as the quality of your songwriting and musicianship is good, and as long as the demo gives the listener a good idea of what you play and how well you play it.  


2. Label your demo

Jess CD-label

Venue managers and booking agents usually receive a lot of demos, and it's easy to get them all mixed up. Even if someone likes your demo, they won't be able to book you if they can't figure out who you are, so be sure to write or print your band's name and contact information directly on the CD, as well as on the case or sleeve. A great and inexpensive way to do this is to get your CD copied at City Dub


3.    Make A Press Kit

Press Kit

At its simplest, a press kit may just be a single sheet of paper; a more lavish press kit may be a small booklet. Your press kit will depend on your budget and how much you really have to say about your band. At the very least, a press kit should include your contact information and a brief biography which tells a little bit about the kind of music you play, your influences, and your experience. You should also usually include a typical set list, including originals and covers. Think of it as a resume. The venue or booking agent will want to know, quickly, what you do and where you've played before. Good pictures, if you have them, are also a nice touch, and more expensive press kits may include full-color 8X10 photos. If you have positive press clippings, definitely include them, but if not, don't worry about it.


4.    Send Out Demo and Press Kit To Potential Venues

Typing at Keyboard

Bars, pubsclubs, coffeehouses, librariesfarmers markets, fairs, festivals, house parties... No matter where you live, there are probably plenty of places to play in your town or neighborhood. If you've never gigged before, start there. Look online for potential venues. Many will show their booking policy or at least tell you how to submit your demo. Visit venues or call them and talk to the manager (or even the bartender) and ask if you can leave your demo with them. Send your demo and press kit to as many potential venues as possible.

  • You can send your demo out everywhere, but it can get pretty expensive, and you may find that a lot of places just won't book your kind of music. To see if a particular venue would be a good fit for you, look in your local newspaper or entertainment paper and see what venues are booking bands or artists that play the same kind of music you do (these papers and their online counterparts are also good places to find venues that are searching for performers), or just go to the venue and see for yourself. Whenever you see posters advertising a band that plays a style similar to yours, contact the venue where that band is playing.

  • You might want to send your demo and press kit to some booking agents. These agents--the good ones, at least--have lots of contacts in the music business and can book shows for you. In return, they get a percentage of your band's fee or they work out some other payment arrangement with you. Having an agent can open a lot of doors for you without the hassle of booking your own gigs, but it can be expensive, and some agents are better than others, so make sure you know what you're getting into.

  • Another option involving the Internet would be to make a Facebook page or to use a web service to house your one-sheet. These are great ways to showcase your band. 


5. Network

Handshake

You may have heard the saying, "It's not what you know; it's whom you know." Nowhere is this truer than in the entertainment business. The more contacts you have at venues and in bands, the more gigs you're likely to get. Go to shows often, and play at open mics. Make friends with other musicians, and express your interest in playing gigs. Musicians will be able to give you tips on how to get gigs; they'll be able to introduce you to agents or venue managers; and they may even ask you to play a show with them. A great way to get a gig when you're starting out is to ask a more established artist or band if you can open for them, especially if you'll do it for free. This makes their job easier, and helps you reach a larger audience.


 6. Book Yourself! 

Having trouble getting a gig? Put on your own show. You can rent a venue or, better yet, secure one for free and plan your own show. Typically to make a self-made gig like this work, you should invite other bands--the more the merrier. This way, you can be assured a reasonably good turnout. While putting on your own show can be a great option, it can also be expensive, especially if you have to rent a venue. Watch your costs and make sure it's worth it. Another option is to look out for Open Mike Nights, or Promotions such as MYSong that is hosted by Fat Trax Studios


 7 Promote Your Gigs

Once you get a gig, you want to make sure people show up. Don't depend entirely on the venue to advertise for you. Put up posters, notify your fans, update your website--do whatever it takes to let people know about the concert. If people see that you can bring a crowd you're more likely to get asked back to play again, and you're more likely to get other gigs.


  8. Put On A Good Show!

Concert 2

Nothing will get you more gigs than taking each gig seriously and putting on great shows.

  • Be prepared. Of course you'll want to have your music down so you can play like a pro, but you'll also want to make sure you're ready for each gig. Find out as much as possible about the venue: how large the space is, what kind of sound system and equipment they have, whether they have a sound person, etc. This way you'll know if you need to bring your own mics or amps, for example, and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.
  • Be professional. Musicians have a reputation for being flaky, but you can't afford to be unprofessional until you've made it big (and even then, it could get you in trouble). Always show up for a gig, and show up on time. Answer phone calls and emails promptly. Be responsive to the concerns of the people who book you.
  • Have your demo and press kit available at every gig you play. If you rocked the house, someone in the audience might want to book you at their venue next. Be ready to give them a demo and press kit or at least a business card.

9. Expand Your Market

Once you've gotten established locally, take the show on the road. Try to hook up a tour with another band--preferably a more established one--or just seek out venues a little bit further away from home. Once you build a regional following, you're well on your way to a record contract.


 10. Get Online

FaceBook donuts

Make sure you create a good networking/friendship base that would make you look popular by ranking and listening to your music.

While the Internet may not seem like a fast way to land a local gig - if you contact Facebook Music Groups specialising in the type of music your band produces, you may find the right kind of support. If you are an unusual or new sounding act, try indie blogs first. Sometimes a regional blog or the entertainment page of a city blog will get you published. These pages have built-in fans who are looking for new material. Some of the readers have connections.


 

Category: Content

 

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Category: Content

More Articles...

  1. Bands/Artists

Subcategories

  • Services
    When your recording is complete and sounds fantastic, you will want to sell it to the world - and we can help you there as well! Let us introduce you to our other services ......
  • Hall of Fame

    A studio is more than the sum of its people and equipment. The bands and artists who have recorded there help to shape and mould the atmosphere - and this rubs off on everyone who uses the place.

    So here's a history of some of the people who have recorded at Fat Trax!

    Alicia Vega, Anna Bursten, Avenue, Bhangaroo Magic, Blistered Palms, Brittaney Trueack, Coastlands Live at 5, Cosmic Storm, Des Wade, Devlin Moseley, Dexter Jones, Dorian Black, Electric Posse, Elio Pagliarulo, Fear in Dakota, Fighterpilot, Francesca and Anna Belperio, GMF, Gurdeepak Satrangi, Gus and Us, Guy Sebastian, Harry K, High Time, Holly Weinert, Incarnadine, Jessica Vogel, Johnny Mac, Jon Daniel, Julia Henning, Kool Skools - Fire in The Faculty, Kool Skools - Formal Warning, Kool Skools - Jazz Blend, Kool Skools - Light - Sacred Heart College, Kool Skools - Manikin, Kool Skools - Noise, Kool Skools - Pace - No Obligation, Kool Skools - Tex Mesijz, Laura Hill and the Tuesday Bandits, Lip Smack, Little Black Dress, Lucky 7, Malcom Raedel, Marinka, Mark Anthony "Himselvis", Mauro Capone, May Queen, Mike Rayson, Nereeda McGuiness, Nicolai - Nick Egel, Panacea, Quaero Verum, Raw Ether, Reann Daniel, Reckless Haze, Rejusa, Renee Lockwood, Rock Doctors, Rod Ennis - Rezsound, Rod Ladgrove, Roger Custance, Roy Owen, Salvation Army - Soteria Music Ministries, Sean Robertson, Sharon Middleton, Squeaker, Stu Daniels, Superjesus, Swoop, Tere Lee, The George Special, The Hicksatomics, The Irresponsibles, The Lounge Stars, The New Vintage, The Satellites, The Saucermen, Third Best, Tidal, Tommy, Unitopia, Yasmine, Zest.

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