Reduce your costs - why put a
band together when you can get
the same sound from a 2 or
If you are a singer
who is considering working with a live band, there are a few
things you may want to bear in mind before you start putting
a band together.
Before recruiting musicians for
your band, think seriously about the cost! At the moment, you
are probably pricing your gigs based on yourself (and maybe
a partner) singing plus, say, a lighting technician/sound guy.
But, will the venues you are going to work in be prepared to
pay extra for a 6 piece band on top of this? Also, will you
be able to find musicians to form a band who can actually play
the songs you do (and more importantly, play them well)?
If you do decide that
you want to put a band together, then here's a way you can do
it which will make things easier and less expensive...
AND a live band
Did you now that we can produce
backing tracks with instruments removed? If not, have a look at
Trax section of our website.
Let's say you found, say, two gutarists to form part of your band.
We could produce your backing tracks without the guitar
parts so there would just be drums, brass, strings, bass, keyboards
etc left in. Your guitarists would then play "live"
along with the backing track. You'd have a full band sound and
it would sound very live because the guitars really are live.
This is an ideal way to get the sound of, say, an eight piece
band but with only a couple of musicians.
Here's an example. We have a customer in the USA who are a 1980s
music revival band (yes, that's right, glitter suits with rolled
up jacket sleeves and mullet hair-dos!). They are a four-piece
band (drums, bass, two guitars) and they buy all their backing
tracks for their show from us. We produce the tracks specially
for them by keeping all the keyboard and synth parts on the tracks
but leave out the bass, guitars and drums (which they will be
We put a click-track on the left-hand stereo channel which they
route to their drummers headphones (so that he can count the band
in and keep time), while the right-hand channel contains all the
music (minus the drums, bass and guitars of course). The right-hand
channel then gets piped through their PA system.
The result is the drummer, the two guitarists and the bass player
sound like a 10 piece band...and it sounds completely live, even
though only part of it is.
So, before you start
to put a band together, think about how many musicians you need
(or can afford). It isn't always necessary to have 6, 8, or 10
musicians in order to a gig "live". Very few modern
artists play totally live nowadays anyway.
For example, lights and pyrotechnics etc have to be syncronized
(usually via midi) so some sort of click track is usually in place.
You don't honestly believe that when your favourite superstar
kicks his leg in the air during a concert and a firework explodes
exactly in time with the leg kick, that there is some little guy
sitting to the side of the stage pushing a button at that precise
moment do you? No, that's not how it works - the stage show is
completely computerized and sequenced so that these effects "happen"
at just the exact time.
Here's how you can usually tell - just look at the drummer at
a live concert - you'll probably see him sitting behind his drum
kit wearing a pair of headphones. This is so that he can keep
time with the click-track and ensure that the effects and light
changes happen at the correct time (and any pre-recorded music
which is not being played by the band stays in time with everything
Using a house band
You may find from time
to time when you arrive at a venue, they will not allow pre-recorded
music, nor do they let you use your own band (ie you have to work
with the "house band").
In situations like this, it is recommended that you always carry
a supply of sheet
music. There are two ways to obtain sheet music for your act.
One is to buy it off-the-shelf (inexpensive) and the other is
to have it written by an arranger exactly as you sing it (more
If you do songs a little bit different from the original then
you may have to commission your music to be specially written
for you, but for most acts, off-the-shelf sheet music will suffice
and a good band should always be able to follow slight deviations
from the original (as long as you warn them in advance that is)!
We have recently affiliated with a company in the USA to supply
off-the-shelf downloadable sheet music which is excellent, yet
very inexpensive (see our music
sheets section for more info).
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
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