Those demos you recorded are pure gold. Here’s why.
You need to polish your work. But over-polishing takes away the initial rush of creation and magic of performance. So how do you keep all that goodness intact?
One word: Demos
I’ve worked as an A&R for over a decade. I’ve seen countless artists agonizing over final revisions of a track only to end up going back to a demo version.
The 5 reasons your demos are priceless…
- The soul of music is in the first take.
- A spotless mix doesn’t necessarily FEEL better. Going too far ‘cleaning up’ a mix can lead to total sterility.
- Obsessing over arrangement details can make your mix sound overworked.
- Small mistakes and flaws add charm. They give your music a human feel.
- Letting go early makes sure that the central idea hasn’t gotten buried in all those layers you added later.
Here are six amazing examples of demos that rival—and sometimes surpass—the final album versions. Proof that sometimes your first take is your best take.
Stevie Wonder – I Can’t Help It (Live in Studio)
A studio outtake can become a smash hit. Like this Stevie Wonder performance.
Sound familiar? That’s because it became a single on Michael Jackson’s earth-shattering album Off The Wall.
Be careful what you leave on the cutting room floor. It could be a hit…
Jai Paul – Jasmine (Demo)
Jasmine (Demo) is distinctly Jai Paul. It has a dark and individual touch. It’s proof that a demo without alteration stays personal—rather than bland and over produced.
Thomas Sontag is A&R at Turbo Recordings and Multi Culti, a DJ, producer, and club-owner as well as artist & label relations manager at LANDR.
Gear guides, tips, tutorials, inspiration and more—delivered weekly.
Keep up with the LANDR Blog.