Should You Make a Demo of a Song?
In the April issue of Sound on Sound Magazine, Rostam Batmanglij, guitarist of the band Vampire Weekend, stated the following: "I immediately try to go for the finished article as far as possible, because I don’t believe in demos and re-recording. Not in this day and age. You will always try to recapture the magic of that first recording, so I don’t do it.” What do you think? Are demos counter-productive?
It wasn't long ago that making a demo tape was the only way to go. Studio time was expensive, and multi-track cassette recorders were affordable. A songwriter might make a demo on a cheap recorder, then they would record the song again in a local studio with better equipment, then they would get a record deal and spend three months recording the song yet again.
The trouble is that often times the original lo-fi recording of a song is the best version. What it lacks in fidelity it more than makes up for in performance, spontaneity, and yes, magic!
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Batmanglij. I think artists should make the magic of a recording the top priority, and not limit themselves with strict recording processes that could inhibit recordings from happening. Today many people have really good quality recording equipment in their homes, and really awesome sounding portable digital recorders in their pockets. However, I would still rather listen to a lo-fi take of a song recorded with a telephone, as long as it was the more powerful version.
What do you think?