Sunday, February 06, 2011
Craziest/Funniest band demos we've ever received?
Question: Hey Dig,
Possibly the most random question ever but you have a great memory:
Do you recall ever receiving a cassette demo in 1991 from two 11-year-old dumb kids playing horrendously bad grind/death metal on cardboard boxes? There was a kodak photo of us posing against a wall (probably with Carcass posters behind us) and a hand-drawn illustration tossed in there too. I always wondered if you guys had ever opened the envelope.
If you don't remember, can you at least enlighten us with descriptions some of the worst or most ridiculous demos you've been sent (r'n'b, christian pop, glam rock - what have you gotten?) and what you do with them?
Answer: Dealing with demo-bands is a chore which plagues all labels, even new labels who have barely released a couple of titles will have hundreds of hopefuls clamouring at their inbox chasing 'the dream'. In previous postings on this blog I've told how Earache receives approx 4000+ demos submissions (via Myspace links) per year nowadays, and signs maybe 4-5 new bands per year, making the odds quite minuscule to get signed, though not actually impossible.The one thing this blog hopes to demonstrate to new bands is how oversubscribed the competition to get signed actually is.
Ironically this actual blog started as a way to explain and de-mystify how the Indie Metal industry works from the viewpoint of someone actually working on the inside of the biz right now, but this too is now flooded with demo submissions daily.
Competition was less intense back in the casette/CD demo era-- but sadly I don't remember your 90's demo as you describe it -"Horrendously bad grind/death" was actually par for the course so it seems you weren't even bad enough to stand out mate, sorry.
The standard of demos has risen dramatically in recent years though, nearly everything we receive (usually a myspace link) is well recorded and well played, It's blatantly obvious that musicians- especially guitarists- have improved so much in terms of playing ability in the last few years. Also the recording techniques of DIY bands is phenomenal nowadays, as more and more people get their hands on powerful software like Protools and understand how to use it, a lot of demos we hear are perfectly releasable standard. One thing that hasn't improved as much is song-writing, and exceptional drummers are still very rare, and highly prized- if your band has one, you are sure to attract a lot of attention from labels.
We get all sorts here- a Rap demo will arrive every week because some bright spark placed Earache on a database of record labels listed under "Rap". How dumb is that? Recently we had an email that began "Hi, we are a group of three 16 year old girls and we sing like Cheryl Cole" which was perplexing as I didn't think the X-factor crowd was into Death Metal and grindcore. Some of the saddest are the one-man-grind outfits who try to convince us they are a proper 4 or 5 piece touring-band with a mocked up photo and blatantly ficticious tour dates. Some bands get really pushy and 'demand' I give them a fair hearing because they've put a lot of effort into the demo. Sometimes I've reviewed them truthfully on this blog here.
Years ago we used to keep a rogues gallery of bad demos for our own amusement, and i'm gonna post a few choice Mp3s here.Two of the all time crappiest demos we have ever received are here- LANTERN WASTE and SCATTER LANE MIRACLE. I guess they didn't even do any homework about the label they were sending their material to.
Warning, what you are about to hear could give you nightmares.
First up, witness the magnificent insanity of Lantern Waste (Pictured right) with "Two Hundred Miles To York"
LANTERN WASTE- Two Hundred Miles to York by digearache
This twee Indie ditty is by the little known Scatter Lane Miracle- doing "Dots I Wear"
SCATTER LANE MIRACLE - Dots I Wear by digearache
Serrated Scalpel were not such a terrible band but the name and photo tickled us no end, their band pic still adorns a wall in our office, and we refer to such plucky-but-basically-rubbish bands as "Serrated Scalpels"
Somewhat more ominous are the letters we get from time to time from jesus freaks who quote the Bible and want us to repent our evil ways. Seems they haven't convinced us yet.
Well hope that gives you a flavour of the demo process at Earache.