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Nothing more than good demos

July 7, 2021

I visited my little brother over the Whitsuntide holiday. I hadn’t seen him for over a year. We had a glorious time.

He has a room at the back of his garage that he’s converted into a bar, complete with a decent sound system. One night, we sat up late, drinking beer, and listened to the Company Freak album, which I’ve been working on for the best part of a year.

The album sounded no better than a good demo. The songs all worked as songs, the arrangements were all satisfactory, but the overall sound was lacklustre. In short, it didn’t sound like a product, in the way a good Beatles record sounds like a product, a properly produced, professional product.

This has been a theme with all my recordings, no matter the circumstances in which I’ve recorded them: they never sound good enough. This is not me being overly critical, or paranoid, or setting my expectations too high, or playing the drama queen. It’s just a fact.

Here’s a list of reasons, none of which are exclusive:

  • The playing and singing isn’t good enough. I don’t practice enough to be at the top of my game when the record button is pressed.
  • Some of the equipment I’m using isn’t good enough. I have a good Neumann mic, good guitars and a good bass. My audio interface is decent. But maybe the Joe Meek V2 pre-amp that pretty much everything passes through is not optimal, (or I don’t know how to use it properly) and the virtual instruments I use to get a range of sounds are never going to be as good as the real thing. I need a better reverb and compressor.
  • I might need to switch from Logic Audio to Pro Tools. Pro Tools recordings sound better.
  • The monitoring I use isn’t good enough, and the good monitors I have are too loud for the house, so I don’t use them in respect for the neighbours.
  • I have very little aptitude as a producer. I just don’t seem to be able to make the sounds come together in a pleasing way.

I’m not sure what to do about it. I don’t have the money to record them in a proper studio. I don’t have the time to be in a band.

I have too much on my plate to worry about it. But it’s frustrating that I’ve spent so much time, thought, and money on it, and yet I’m still disappointed.

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