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Eek! What to do?

#1 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:32 AM

I submitted my song 'Long Time Coming'to one of the Music Xray opportunities for production/mixing/mastering.

In spite of the sound quality (which hurt his ears, apparently.lol)a record producer called Suart Epps got back to me. He thought it was a 'very good quality song' and deserves more time and effort spent on it.

He has asked me to come to his studio in Berkshire, England to do the piano and vocals to get a 'click track' done as he can make it into a great production, he says.

It will cost £450.

Is this an opportunity I should take advantage of? I would appreciate some advice on this matter. This is his website. http://www.stuartepps.co.uk/

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:45 AM

Hi Dee Dee,

I did a search for him and he's worked with the big names. The price sounds a bit high to me but with his background maybe it's not. What I suggest is to send the song in for some professional critiques before you spend that much money on it. You can have the song critiqued at Songu you for $13 or $6 for a quickie.

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#3 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:51 AM

View PostDottie, on 21 January 2012 - 08:45 AM, said:

Hi Dee Dee,

I did a search for him and he's worked with the big names. The price sounds a bit high to me but with his background maybe it's not. What I suggest is to send the song in for some professional critiques before you spend that much money on it. You can have the song critiqued at Songu you for $13 or $6 for a quickie.

Dottie


Thanks Dottie. That's good advice. :)

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 11:49 AM

If you are attempting to get a demo to pitch to the industry, you will need a full production demo with bass, guitars, keyboards, drums, a radio ready production. if he is talking piano vocal only that is a WAY high. Piano or guitar vocal demos are the eqivilant of having a black and white television set in the day of high definition color. Don't even stand up anymore against the thousands and hundreds of thousands of songs out there.

It sounds like he is getting you in his studio. That is not always a bad thing but if he is telling you piano vocals will cut it anymore he is either out of date or only interested in studio work.

I produce demos as well and want people to have the best representation on their songs. But that sounds very suspicious to me. Not knowing him or his process or even that in England I am not sure of the procedures there. But I know the general market has higher requirements and it is what the professionals have to do. If you are writing songs better than professional writers that might be a different story.

I would suggest getting many more critiques on the song first. Song U, NSAI, songwriting threads are a good place to start. If ahen lot of people tell you "Oh my God you HAVE to get that demoed!" Then you might think differently. but you will need more than a piano vocal. Of that I am sure.

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 01:04 PM

I have no idea what 450 Pounds is worth - I don't even know where to find the symbol on my keyboard. But... what is the ultimate goal for this song? Does Epps want you singing and playing on the final track? If not, why does he need you to do the "click track." I looked at his web site and it seems like he was quite involved in the music business during the 70's, so the guy has credentials. But if you're paying that much for a demo (plus travel costs), you could get it done elsewhere for less money.

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#6 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

Thank you Mabbo. I really appreciate your input. From what I understand the piano and vocals, that he wants me to do, are just to start with. These are his very words...


'wow this is a very rough demo. Hurting my ears. im always surprised how its possible to make such a rough sound these days with all the amazing home recording methods that there are. maybe you did this with a phone. anyway its a great shame as it sounds like you have a very nice voice and this is a good song . also the piano sounds like a good one . if you have the budget for it i could make this into a great production .i can hear a orchestra in the middle . you can reach me through my web site . www.stuartepps.com check my re mix section for the feedback ive received. let me know if you have this possibilty . you would have to re record the demo, piano and voice with a click track and then i could do the rest.'

'Hi again DEE DEE This is a very good quality song and deserves more time and effort spent on it ....
if you can come to my studio in cookham berkshire . initially to record piano and voice plus click .'

£450 is about $710 Canadian, Neal. Pretty steep, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it. I'm not sure about the end goal. It is a good question. What do you think?

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:13 PM

Just curious Dee Dee, would this demo be shopped around as your own, or shopped around for another artist to record ?
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#8 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:19 PM

View PostBruce N, on 21 January 2012 - 03:13 PM, said:

Just curious Dee Dee, would this demo be shopped around as your own, or shopped around for another artist to record ?


Not entirely sure Bruce. This is why I need advice as to what questions to ask. I have made it clear on my profile that I am a non-performing songwriter, but I just don't know enough about how these things work. :huh:

#9 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:39 PM

View PostDeeDee, on 21 January 2012 - 11:32 AM, said:

£450 is about $710 Canadian, Neal. Pretty steep, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it. I'm not sure about the end goal. It is a good question. What do you think?


I don't know - you can get a top-notch recording done with professional singers in Nashville for about $400 U.S.

After reading what he wrote to you, it sounds like he just wants to give you a good quality demo (at a price) and that's it. If his intention is to shop the thing around, he would have someone else do the vocals. Essentially, he's just saying that if you re-record your singing and playing to a click track, he'll "pretty-it-up" from there. So you end up with a great sounding version of your song, but not much else.

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#10 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:58 PM

View PostNeal K, on 21 January 2012 - 03:39 PM, said:

View PostDeeDee, on 21 January 2012 - 11:32 AM, said:

£450 is about $710 Canadian, Neal. Pretty steep, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it. I'm not sure about the end goal. It is a good question. What do you think?


I don't know - you can get a top-notch recording done with professional singers in Nashville for about $400 U.S.

After reading what he wrote to you, it sounds like he just wants to give you a good quality demo (at a price) and that's it. If his intention is to shop the thing around, he would have someone else do the vocals. Essentially, he's just saying that if you re-record your singing and playing to a click track, he'll "pretty-it-up" from there. So you end up with a great sounding version of your song, but not much else.

Neal


Well, I guess the question is...if this is the extent of the offer, is it worth it?

#11 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 04:57 PM

View PostDeeDee, on 22 January 2012 - 08:58 AM, said:

Well, I guess the question is...if this is the extent of the offer, is it worth it?
It seems to me, DeeDee, that ultimately you are the only person in a position to answer that question. And, as already noted, a big factor in deciding will be what, exactly, you are aiming to achieve. Another factor, of course, is your personal financial position. To some people that amount of money might seem like pocket change; to others it would be a fortune.

Just out of interest, though, what did you use to record this with? I just had a listen, and I agree with that producer about the sound. The thought that occurs to me, then, is that £450 could go a long way towards decent recording gear that could markedly improve your sound, not just on this song but on everything you record. If it was me, that's where I'd be spending my money. :)




#12 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:11 PM

View PostSimple Simon, on 21 January 2012 - 04:57 PM, said:

View PostDeeDee, on 22 January 2012 - 08:58 AM, said:

Well, I guess the question is...if this is the extent of the offer, is it worth it?
It seems to me, DeeDee, that ultimately you are the only person in a position to answer that question. And, as already noted, a big factor in deciding will be what, exactly, you are aiming to achieve. Another factor, of course, is your personal financial position. To some people that amount of money might seem like pocket change; to others it would be a fortune.

Just out of interest, though, what did you use to record this with? I just had a listen, and I agree with that producer about the sound. The thought that occurs to me, then, is that £450 could go a long way towards decent recording gear that could markedly improve your sound, not just on this song but on everything you record. If it was me, that's where I'd be spending my money. :)


Hi Simon.

I am still using the webcam on my laptop to record. I agree that to spend that amount of money on recording equipment would be a wise investment. If I had that kind of money readily available, I would have done that already. To pay for the trip and the demo, I would have to beg, steal and borrow! (Just kidding about the stealing.lol) Perhaps I am naive, (Lord knows it wouldn't be the first time) but I was thinking that a record producer with his credibility, would only make an offer like that if he really liked the song. I was assuming this would be quite different from an offer from a demo recording company.

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:34 PM

View PostDeeDee, on 21 January 2012 - 02:11 PM, said:

...but I was thinking that a record producer with his credibility....


This guy Epps is probably who he says he is and I don't doubt his credentials. I don't know anything about him, so what I am about to say does not apply to him personally, just to people you will meet in the music business.

If you hang around music people long enough, you will meet people who know people. Like, oh, he was the guitar player for Mariah Carey, or, she was the Piano player for Joe Cocker. These people are usually who they say they are. You will meet producers like this Mr. Epps - oh, here's the guy who engineered R.E.M.s first three releases, and there's the guy who mixed Def Leppard's last three CDs. Again, these people are usually who they say they are.

But... and here it comes.... this doesn't mean they can help you. They may have worked with rich and famous people, but that doesn't mean they are rich and famous themselves. I know personally a guy who played in Joni Mitchell's touring band during her hey-day, and for about 15 years after that. He works in town as a Pipe Fitter.

Most people who have worked for famous people still need to work... especially if they are long past their glory years. So what I'm saying is that while it's flattering that somebody with credentials admires your work, that doesn't mean they will provide you with the keys to the kingdom. Just be cautious... that's all. Don't assume. This is the music business and there are only two ways that money will flow - away from you or towards you.

Don't be overly impressed by credentials. Everyone needs to make a living.

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:37 PM

I have no idea whether he knows what he is doing or what his engineering skills are. I see he had some of the stuff on his site recorded by someone else (he just "produced" it).

It looks as if he has a home recording studio, much as many people on here do. I'm sure he likes the song. The question is, say you went ahead and did all this, what then?

You would have a nicely finished version of one song. Is that worth the expense to you?

If not, I'm with Simon. Invest in your own gear. Take on board what he is saying about using a click track (basically, a metronome) to get the timing right and work from there.

When you know what you want to do, then look into the best way of getting your best stuff recorded and mixed. I suspect there are local places that could do a good job.
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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:14 PM

Thanks guys. I never would have thought of these things. I suppose, as the old adage goes...if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I have been in touch with a guy from a local recording studio who is offering to do my songs for a heck-of-a-lot less. Perhaps it would be best to go with him or invest in some gear. Kind of disappointing, but there you go. :(

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:19 PM

As he mentioned timing (as in a click track), I'd practice a lot with a click or metronome to get your timing right first, Dee Dee.

It's a must if you want a good result.
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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:27 PM

View PostAlistair S, on 21 January 2012 - 06:19 PM, said:

As he mentioned timing (as in a click track), I'd practice a lot with a click or metronome to get your timing right first, Dee Dee.

It's a must if you want a good result.


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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:30 PM

View PostDeeDee, on 22 January 2012 - 11:14 AM, said:

Perhaps it would be best to go with him or invest in some gear.
Or both even?

The thing is that you wouldn't need to invest an awful lot in gear to achieve a vastly better sound than you're currently getting. You would, however, have to invest a fair bit of your time in learning how to use it effectively, although you can be sure that folks around, myself included, would be more than happy to offer help and advice along the way. Heck, you might even have a lot of fun in the process! :)

Quote

Kind of disappointing, but there you go. :(

I can understand your feeling a certain amount of disappointment. It's always hard when we start to get excited about something, only to find that it doesn't stand up to closer scrutiny. But perhaps there's a slight feeling of relief and gratitude in not feeling you have to beg, steal or borrow all that money for something so uncertain. ;)




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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:37 PM

View PostSimple Simon, on 21 January 2012 - 06:30 PM, said:

View PostDeeDee, on 22 January 2012 - 11:14 AM, said:

Perhaps it would be best to go with him or invest in some gear.
Or both even?

The thing is that you wouldn't need to invest an awful lot in gear to achieve a vastly better sound than you're currently getting. You would, however, have to invest a fair bit of your time in learning how to use it effectively, although you can be sure that folks around, myself included, would be more than happy to offer help and advice along the way. Heck, you might even have a lot of fun in the process! :)

Quote

Kind of disappointing, but there you go. :(

I can understand your feeling a certain amount of disappointment. It's always hard when we start to get excited about something, only to find that it doesn't stand up to closer scrutiny. But perhaps there's a slight feeling of relief and gratitude in not feeling you have to beg, steal or borrow all that money for something so uncertain. ;)


Sounds like a plan. :) I appreciate the offer of support...I will be taking you up on it for certain!

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:08 PM

View PostDeeDee, on 21 January 2012 - 03:19 PM, said:

View PostBruce N, on 21 January 2012 - 03:13 PM, said:

Just curious Dee Dee, would this demo be shopped around as your own, or shopped around for another artist to record ?


Not entirely sure Bruce. This is why I need advice as to what questions to ask. I have made it clear on my profile that I am a non-performing songwriter, but I just don't know enough about how these things work. :huh:


Before you even think about spending that type of money, I'd be ENTIRELY sure what you expect to get from it. That's a high price (not even including your airfare or travel expenses) for just a piano + vocal demo. It's pretty high even for a full production, big name or not. Music Xray is kind of like Taxi right? Submitting your songs to listings asking for songs of a certain type? Seems like this guy could maybe just be throwing those listings up to get people on the hook for his demo services, that's what the cynic in me says anyways. Especially at that price he'd probably need a bit of an "in" like that.

I feel like I've said this to you before but you can set yourself up with a very decent recording rig for well under what this guy is asking for ONE demo. As a non-performing songwriter, you have to think about the most cost-effective way of getting your music out there.
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#21 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:03 PM

Some great advice from Neal, Alistair and Simon, I hope it doesn't discourage you Dee Dee, I did give your song a listen to, and yeah I think you may have something there, the lyrics have a good recognizable element to them, though as they stand now, I think the lyrics need to be tightened up and economised a bit more.

The music is good and would seem to be open to many options in arrangement.

What I might do and as Neal suggested is look for a local producer/engineer in your area and maybe for 3 or 4 hundred bucks get a decent demo made. Of course a lot of the cost will have a bearing on how many people are involved, musicians, singers, and then there's always the dicey credit acknowledgements, always a good idea to first have a contract drawn up that spells out the terms for everyone.

Coming up with a song is one thing, getting it recorded and shopped around is a whole other animal. Just don't sign anything till you've had a entertainment or contract lawyer scrutinize any contracts.
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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:57 AM

Thanks Mark. You have advised me many times to get my own recording equipment, and I fully intend to do that. I was assuming that, with Stuart Epps' influence, as a record producer, not only would I get a great demo with this opportunity but that the song might have a greater chance of being published. And so, I reasoned that it might be worth the investment. Needless to say, this was wishful thinking on my part and not based in reality. :(

Here is a video about Music Xray which explains what they are all about, if anyone's interested.

http://youtu.be/dTc2NqthLS8

Thank you too Bruce. Some good advice indeed. Good thing I didn't rush into things headfirst, in my excitement.You'd think I would have learned by now that nothing ever comes that easily! :lol:

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 02:18 PM

DeeDee said:

I was assuming that, with Stuart Epps' influence, as a record producer, not only would I get a great demo with this opportunity but that the song might have a greater chance of being

Still sounds like a pretty reasonable assumption to me.

£450 is NOTHING for professional service.
Less than two hours with a lawyer.

Of course you could get it done cheaper and at arms length from a Nashville demo-factory by people you don't know and who don't really care.
But why would you want to do that ? (Why would anyone want to do that?)
And then what?

At least this guy will be doing his job WITH you (if you go).
And the implicit promise of his network connections also adds crucial strategic value.

Don't dismiss the opportunity too hastily.
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Posted 22 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

View PostLazz, on 22 January 2012 - 02:18 PM, said:

DeeDee said:

I was assuming that, with Stuart Epps' influence, as a record producer, not only would I get a great demo with this opportunity but that the song might have a greater chance of being

Still sounds like a pretty reasonable assumption to me.

£450 is NOTHING for professional service.
Less than two hours with a lawyer.

Of course you could get it done cheaper and at arms length from a Nashville demo-factory by people you don't know and who don't really care.
But why would you want to do that ? (Why would anyone want to do that?)
And then what?

At least this guy will be doing his job WITH you (if you go).
And the implicit promise of his network connections also adds crucial strategic value.

Don't dismiss the opportunity too hastily.


Thank you Lazz. He is still awaiting my reply and so I must decide what I will do before he withdraws the offer.

Would it be reasonable of me to ask if I could do a click-track at a recording studio here in Belfast and send it to him, to keep the costs down?

Should I ask him if he is likely to use his influence to promote the song?

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:47 PM

DeeDee said:

Would it be reasonable of me to ask if I could do a click-track at a recording studio here in Belfast and send it to him, to keep the costs down?

So how would this keep the costs down?

DeeDee said:

Should I ask him if he is likely to use his influence to promote the song?

It's definitely time for a chat.
I would ask him to 'phone you - then you can feel each other out at least.
(And if you can do it on Skype then you also have visual cues to the exchange.)
Don't demand a commitment immediately upfront, just ask him about his intentions and see what he volunteers.
Don't worry one little bit about him withdrawing the offer - if he exercises that option as pressure on you, just tell him where to go and drop the phone and be content that you are better off.

I know vaguely OF the guy - but don't know much.

I know he managed Kiki Dee in the '70s. One of the finest singers you could ever wish to hear. Serious heavyweight. Way better than the rest on the scene at the time. Her recorded output, however, was considerably inferior to her chops and capabilities. Her level of success was also much much less than she deserved (which is why you've probably not heard of her before). So my opinion is that he didn't do a very good job. But he was young then, and we can't win the game every time.

I know he was apprenticed to Dick James - who used to be publisher for Elton & Bernie until recrimination and litigation brought a bitter end to a fiscally questionable relationship. So we know that the apprentice is guaranteed to have specialist knowledge of slippery-trickery in regard to rights and royalties. And so we know that the post-sales servicing bit (that important added-value factor) is where you are going to need to be cautiously alert. Without sinking your boat, I would advise registering your own publishing company in preparation for those eventualities. You can do it yourself cheaply. The advantage, should potential be realised, is that far more favourable terms are found to be accepted between companies than are accepted between a company and an individual. Like carrying a condom. It offers protection. Just in case. Down the road.... But you never know, he may turn out to be thoroughly decent.

You won't need a contract for the first bit - recording and production. You're going to be paying for that, so are covered already by contract law and implied terms thanks to the Sale of Goods Act and UK common law. Ownership of the song is inalienably yours in law already. Ownership of the track will also be yours in clear title because you have bought and paid for it.

Don't pay him upfront.
If he does a crap job - don't pay him at all.

So what's in it for him other than your £450 ??

If he places it, gets it used, gets it to generate income, because of his work and contacts, then he deserves a taste because he's earned it.
We can talk about it more if it gets that far.

Is he a musician?

The producers I know are all pro-players.
To me, that's an important essential.
I have no idea at all about Epps.
Hip Pocket Music

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and the second best to sing them"

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The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 04:15 PM

View PostLazz, on 22 January 2012 - 03:47 PM, said:

DeeDee said:

Would it be reasonable of me to ask if I could do a click-track at a recording studio here in Belfast and send it to him, to keep the costs down?

So how would this keep the costs down?

DeeDee said:

Should I ask him if he is likely to use his influence to promote the song?

It's definitely time for a chat.
I would ask him to 'phone you - then you can feel each other out at least.
(And if you can do it on Skype then you also have visual cues to the exchange.)
Don't demand a commitment immediately upfront, just ask him about his intentions and see what he volunteers.
Don't worry one little bit about him withdrawing the offer - if he exercises that option as pressure on you, just tell him where to go and drop the phone and be content that you are better off.

I know vaguely OF the guy - but don't know much.

I know he managed Kiki Dee in the '70s. One of the finest singers you could ever wish to hear. Serious heavyweight. Way better than the rest on the scene at the time. Her recorded output, however, was considerably inferior to her chops and capabilities. Her level of success was also much much less than she deserved (which is why you've probably not heard of her before). So my opinion is that he didn't do a very good job. But he was young then, and we can't win the game every time.

I know he was apprenticed to Dick James - who used to be publisher for Elton & Bernie until recrimination and litigation brought a bitter end to a fiscally questionable relationship. So we know that the apprentice is guaranteed to have specialist knowledge of slippery-trickery in regard to rights and royalties. And so we know that the post-sales servicing bit (that important added-value factor) is where you are going to need to be cautiously alert. Without sinking your boat, I would advise registering your own publishing company in preparation for those eventualities. You can do it yourself cheaply. The advantage, should potential be realised, is that far more favourable terms are found to be accepted between companies than are accepted between a company and an individual. Like carrying a condom. It offers protection. Just in case. Down the road.... But you never know, he may turn out to be thoroughly decent.

You won't need a contract for the first bit - recording and production. You're going to be paying for that, so are covered already by contract law and implied terms thanks to the Sale of Goods Act and UK common law. Ownership of the song is inalienably yours in law already. Ownership of the track will also be yours in clear title because you have bought and paid for it.

Don't pay him upfront.
If he does a crap job - don't pay him at all.

So what's in it for him other than your £450 ??

If he places it, gets it used, gets it to generate income, because of his work and contacts, then he deserves a taste because he's earned it.
We can talk about it more if it gets that far.

Is he a musician?

The producers I know are all pro-players.
To me, that's an important essential.
I have no idea at all about Epps.


Gosh. Very useful information Lazz. Thank you. I thought that by doing the sound click here in in Belfast, I wouldn't have to pay travel costs and hotel costs...I thought perhaps production costs might be reduced too?

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:59 AM

DeeDee, if you do indeed choose to record with this guy, I think you should just make the trip and record it all there. I don't think it would change the amount he's asking if you got yourself recorded closer to home and in fact, might insult him a bit. If you're going to go for it, just let the guy do his thing. I listened to some of his tracks from his home studio and he definitely knows what he's doing behind the knobs and faders.

He states on his website "HAVING BEEN IN THE MUSIC BIZ MANY YEARS I CAN ALSO HELP WITH RECORD COMPANY AND MUSIC PUBLISHER INTRODUCTIONS" so it's not crazy to bring that matter up the next time you chat with him. Ask him if the 450 also buys that service or if it's strictly going to be a demo-for-hire deal and you'll be on your way. The problem is, if he says he will go to bat for you, it's a very, very intangible guarantee. How do you know he will, if ever, try to help you get the song placed? I can tell a model if she shoots with me that I know people at Vogue and can try to get the pictures in the right hands...how can she ever prove that I didn't?
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Posted 23 January 2012 - 04:24 AM

View PostFunkDaddy, on 23 January 2012 - 02:59 AM, said:

DeeDee, if you do indeed choose to record with this guy, I think you should just make the trip and record it all there. I don't think it would change the amount he's asking if you got yourself recorded closer to home and in fact, might insult him a bit. If you're going to go for it, just let the guy do his thing. I listened to some of his tracks from his home studio and he definitely knows what he's doing behind the knobs and faders.

He states on his website "HAVING BEEN IN THE MUSIC BIZ MANY YEARS I CAN ALSO HELP WITH RECORD COMPANY AND MUSIC PUBLISHER INTRODUCTIONS" so it's not crazy to bring that matter up the next time you chat with him. Ask him if the 450 also buys that service or if it's strictly going to be a demo-for-hire deal and you'll be on your way. The problem is, if he says he will go to bat for you, it's a very, very intangible guarantee. How do you know he will, if ever, try to help you get the song placed? I can tell a model if she shoots with me that I know people at Vogue and can try to get the pictures in the right hands...how can she ever prove that I didn't?


Thanks Mark. I guess it is a matter of going into it with my eyes wide open...and the understanding that there are no guarantees that anything will come of the song. I will have a good demo (hopefully) & a wee trip to London to look back on, worst case scenario. :lol:

I am concerned about one thing. He says he wants me to play the piano, but I don't feel confident enough to do this. (as you know, I rely a lot on the auto-accompaniment, which I don't think he realizes) When I make a recording, I have to do it over and over again for it to be mistake-free. Should I be upfront with him about this and ask if someone else can play the piano or would that not go down well do you think?

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 07:00 AM

Just be honest and say you're not much of a piano player. Better he know that ahead of time and can plan accordingly.
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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:09 AM

If you're playing to a click track like he wants you to-doing overdubs to get things right shouldn't be a problem-so you could do lots of takes and he could peice together the best performance from them

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:49 PM

Thanks. Yes. I told him I had concerns about my piano skills and he said not to worry. Just practice using a metronome or 'click' and he will help me out when the time comes. He also said that he will pass it on to some publisher friends when it's done for no extra charge.

And now to figure out how I'm going to pay for everything.... :lol:

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 07:07 PM

Goodness, this thread goes on and on. A lot has been added since I checked in. Dee Dee I don;'t know what stage you are at, but let me see if I can give you some suggestions.

First of all, what is your total intentions for the song? When I am talking to anyone about entering the demo phase I suggest several things. I did this today so I will tell you what I told a young girl here.

Demos in this day and age are about more than just "pitching a song."

They are records of where we are in our songwriting journey.
They show our friends, loved ones, significant others, our hearts minds and souls and what we really believe in.
A good demo can show them what we hear "inside our heads."
They demonstrate our catalogue.
They show our dedication to our craft.
They show our knowledge of industry standards.
They make us more attractive to potential co-writers.
A good demo also will have a "music track" which could serve as a radio or television pitch.
They can be used as advertising for other singers to sing our songs. An artist trying out new songs might be attracted to being able to sing to existing tracks to see if the song "fits." That, in turn could lead to another voice on the song for an additional pitch.
They could be "ready to pitch" instead of a publisher having to invest money in a demo themselves. Could be an extra incentive to work the song.
They are easier to have more "legs" in a contest or audition.
The music "tracks" can also be used in a "karaoke" type situation, audition, karaoke night, music video of some sort or live performance.
Could be used as a backing track for a You Tube video, or some similar slide show, presentation, power point, etc.
Could be used on a CD to give to friends, relations, etc. as gifts.

So, you should think of many issues before committing resources. I suggest first having several songs to choose from. Get critiques, peer to peer reviews, etc. Pick the best song. This sounds like the gentleman is availing him of an opportunity for demo work. If he was talking about pitching the song, he would have said that was an option. It could be in the future, but realistically with a piano vocal on the song is only going to go so far.

In Nashville, as has been said, a fully produced, radio ready track, could be done from $400-to upwards of $1000-$1500, which is what most pros spend on their demo. At Jay's Place studio, the place I work out of, we do a fully finished product for $550 for all music, most vocalists are $75. If you were to do it your self, you would take the tracks, record at a studio in your area.

On my demos, I write with artists, pitch to other artists, have backing tracks, mutliple directions on any one song.

If you would be interested in seeing the process we do from start to finish on a song, visit my web site, www.marcalanbarnette.com and view my video "Less Is More." That shows us recording a song I wrote with the band, world famous bassist Bob Babbit, and our entire crew,also the studio and the finished product.

I am not advertising for Jay or myself. But you should learn as much about things as you can before you do anything. The main questions you should also ask are:

What market are you going for. A European market might need to be recorded differently than an American product. I don;'t really know. We have a lot of Europeans coming here, and I have not recorded there, so I could not tell you.

With anyone, check out their sounds, their prices, their turnaround time. They should provide you with samples of their work. If you need any more Nashville studios, some here can give you their own suggestions, or I could provide some other people. Galen Breen, who is a friend of mine has been mentioned and is very good as well. There are a LOT of studios and possibly some close to your area. I just would not stop with one or two. Do some shopping.

This is more than just recording a song. This is a sense of your accomplishment. Make it the best you can. There are plenty around to help you if you need it.

MAB

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 07:58 PM

Thank you MABBO for sharing your knowledge and experience. I can't say for certain what my end goal is. I would be happy with any number of eventualities, and prepared to settle for a demo that has been produced by a man who has worked with Elton John, Oasis, George Harrison and KiKi Dee, among others. (I could be wrong, but my understanding is that his name carries some weight)

I don't want to be so cautious that I talk myself out of what could be an experience that rarely comes along. Just to see how things work in a studio would be an education for me, and to be able to ask a record producer all the questions that I have would be invaluable. I will hopefully gain a clearer idea of what my options are as well. He did say he would be adding other instrumentation (so it won't be just a piano vocal) and that he would pass the song on to some publishers that he knows.

I must have a healthy skepticism, of course. There are no guarantees the production will be good. Perhaps the song itself isn't good enough & he is simply looking to make demos, whatever the quality. I guess I am banking on the fact that his career and reputation mean more to him than my £450.

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:25 PM

Dee Dee,

Reputation is very important. But you also have to be aware of what their reputation is in. Someone known as a great engineer, keyboard player, guitar, drummer, etc. are not nessasarily going to be running in publishing circles. Sometimes it is but most of the time it would be the equivilant of asking your plumber to advise you on a legal issue. Many times one simply doesn't have anything to do with another. Being able to say "This person played with.." does carry some weight in certain circles. In the "Less is More" video, I mentioned, I used world famous bass player Bob Babbit, from the Motown era of the 60's and 70's. He played on things like "Signed Sealed Delivered" by Stevie Wonder, and Midnight Train To Georgia" by Gladys Knight and thousands of others. But outside a tight coalition of musicians,he is relatively unknown in the music community. Would not mean anything to publishers.

My point is that if you do research, hear what he has done with others, get some references, etc. and that is what you want to do, great. It can yeild great results. But I would suggest you look into other processes and studios before setteling on one thing. If you are going to commit any resources at all, think of the possibilities you have and go with what will give you the most bang for your buck.

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:16 PM

View PostMABBO, on 24 January 2012 - 04:25 PM, said:

Dee Dee,

Reputation is very important. But you also have to be aware of what their reputation is in. Someone known as a great engineer, keyboard player, guitar, drummer, etc. are not nessasarily going to be running in publishing circles. Sometimes it is but most of the time it would be the equivilant of asking your plumber to advise you on a legal issue. Many times one simply doesn't have anything to do with another. Being able to say "This person played with.." does carry some weight in certain circles. In the "Less is More" video, I mentioned, I used world famous bass player Bob Babbit, from the Motown era of the 60's and 70's. He played on things like "Signed Sealed Delivered" by Stevie Wonder, and Midnight Train To Georgia" by Gladys Knight and thousands of others. But outside a tight coalition of musicians,he is relatively unknown in the music community. Would not mean anything to publishers.

My point is that if you do research, hear what he has done with others, get some references, etc. and that is what you want to do, great. It can yeild great results. But I would suggest you look into other processes and studios before setteling on one thing. If you are going to commit any resources at all, think of the possibilities you have and go with what will give you the most bang for your buck.

MAB


Thank you MABBO. I see what you're getting at. I will gather all the information that I can before committing to anything. :)

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 07:51 PM

sure I'll just hop on the train up to Carrickfergus tomorrow and record you for a quarter of whatever that man in England is charging you.... in the past I've worked with such stars as Michael Jackson*, Led Zeppelin* and Van Morrison* to name but a few....




*not strictly true


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:38 PM

Dave makes a good point, DeeDee: always read the fine print!

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:24 AM

View PostJackie Chan said:

sure I'll just hop on the train up to Carrickfergus tomorrow and record you for a quarter of whatever that man in England is charging you.... in the past I've worked with such stars as Michael Jackson*, Led Zeppelin* and Van Morrison* to name but a few....




*not strictly true


:lol: I hear ya...

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 11:09 AM

View PostDeeDee, on 25 January 2012 - 01:24 AM, said:

View PostJackie Chan said:

sure I'll just hop on the train up to Carrickfergus tomorrow and record you for a quarter of whatever that man in England is charging you.... in the past I've worked with such stars as Michael Jackson*, Led Zeppelin* and Van Morrison* to name but a few....




*not strictly true


:lol: I hear ya...

Sorry.

I don't understand the point.

Is there one?

Help.
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and the second best to sing them"

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“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:58 PM

Hi DeeDee,
Seems to me that Lazz has given you the best advice on this.
And that's even after my, let's just say <_< , not so productive association with Music Xray.

I would only add that you need to make sure that the person you will be in contact with actually is Stuart Epps.

For instance, I did a domain search of his website and found that the websites registrant's (stuartepps)
address is 1 saebyegade, copenhagen, 2100, Denmark.
This is not to say that it's not his website. He may be listing the Copenhagen address for tax purposes.

But my gut just tells me that you should proceed with one and 9/10 feet on the ground.
One never knows how many of these opportunities one may get, if at all in life.

I hope this is a "real" opportunity and that it works out for you. :)
Good luck.
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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:39 PM

View PostDannyDep, on 25 January 2012 - 02:58 PM, said:

Hi DeeDee,
Seems to me that Lazz has given you the best advice on this.
And that's even after my, let's just say <_< , not so productive association with Music Xray.

I would only add that you need to make sure that the person you will be in contact with actually is Stuart Epps.

For instance, I did a domain search of his website and found that the websites registrant's (stuartepps)
address is 1 saebyegade, copenhagen, 2100, Denmark.
This is not to say that it's not his website. He may be listing the Copenhagen address for tax purposes.

But my gut just tells me that you should proceed with one and 9/10 feet on the ground.
One never knows how many of these opportunities one may get, if at all in life.

I hope this is a "real" opportunity and that it works out for you. :)
Good luck.


Thank you Danny. You've all given me so much to consider. I am indecisive at the best of times! :lol:

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:45 PM

Bugger !!

I wish I had remembered to suggest you say "I can scrape together 300 quid, what do you think? .... Oh, and I need somewhere to stay."
Hip Pocket Music

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and the second best to sing them"

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The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:41 PM

View PostLazz, on 25 January 2012 - 03:45 PM, said:

Bugger !!

I wish I had remembered to suggest you say "I can scrape together 300 quid, what do you think? .... Oh, and I need somewhere to stay."


Ummm....I'm not sure that would have gone down too well :huh:

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:58 PM

No?

It's too late now, I guess - but I am confident he would have been prepared for a counter-offer.
Negotiating is perfectly normal and acceptable behaviour, DeeDee.
It's business.
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and the second best to sing them"

Hillaire Belloc

“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:13 PM

View PostLazz, on 25 January 2012 - 04:58 PM, said:

No?

It's too late now, I guess - but I am confident he would have been prepared for a counter-offer.
Negotiating is perfectly normal and acceptable behaviour, DeeDee.
It's business.


Yes, that would have been the wise thing to do. Saving money is not my strong-point ;) .

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:12 PM

I apologise for letting you down.
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Hillaire Belloc

“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

#47 User is offline   Jackie Chan's Wee Gran Icon

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:28 PM

Quote

View PostDeeDee, on 25 January 2012 - 01:24 AM, said:

Quote

Quote

View PostJackie Chan said:
sure I'll just hop on the train up to Carrickfergus tomorrow and record you for a quarter of whatever that man in England is charging you.... in the past I've worked with such stars as Michael Jackson*, Led Zeppelin* and Van Morrison* to name but a few....




*not strictly true



:lol: I hear ya...

Sorry.

I don't understand the point.

Is there one?

Help.


no point, just having a bit of banter.... :)
also have to admit that at some points in this thread Dee Dee and Kiki Dee have been merging into one...sort of like Kiki Dee Dee if you will


#48 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:29 AM

View PostJackie Chan said:

Quote

View PostDeeDee, on 25 January 2012 - 01:24 AM, said:

Quote

Quote

View PostJackie Chan said:
sure I'll just hop on the train up to Carrickfergus tomorrow and record you for a quarter of whatever that man in England is charging you.... in the past I've worked with such stars as Michael Jackson*, Led Zeppelin* and Van Morrison* to name but a few....




*not strictly true



:lol: I hear ya...

Sorry.

I don't understand the point.

Is there one?

Help.


no point, just having a bit of banter.... :)
also have to admit that at some points in this thread Dee Dee and Kiki Dee have been merging into one...sort of like Kiki Dee Dee if you will


:lol: :lol:

#49 User is offline   DeeDee Icon

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:50 AM

Well...I just got back from London. I spent yesterday at Stuart Epp's home studio in Cookham and it went really well, I think. A bit dodgy to start off with (I was so nervous and my piano playing was not up to scratch, not helped by the fact that I didn't know what chords I was playing), but after he left me alone for a few minutes to practice, I managed to play the entire song without a mistake!

He spent some time getting to know the chords and then did a take of him playing the guitar to my piano track, and then I did the vocals. (about 6 takes before they were good enough)

It sounded brilliant when I left, and he is going to take his time adding more instrumentation. Maybe some strings and an electric guitar, he says. He is going to try and give it a celtic vibe or maybe a bluesy one...or maybe a bit of both.

I got the impression he would like to work with me on more of my songs in the future. He reckons I ought to sing my own demos. (I made it clear I was not interested in the performing side of things, as was obvious anyhow by my piano playing and restricted vocal abilities)But all in all, it was a wonderful experience :D

#50 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:07 AM

Glad it went well for you DeeDee...Dunno why you think that about your voice..Its prob low self-esteem..I really like your voice and think it works well on your songs..
Look forward to hearing the results anyways :)

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