#1
So, our drummer recently left, so that leaves my band as a three piece with only a guitarist, bassist, and singer. Before he left we were prepping to get into a studio and record an EP. So seeing how we didn't have a drummer, and none of us could play drums, we put the EP on hold and started searching for a new drummer.

After talking with some drummers, a couple of them asked for a recording so they could hear us. We've never recorded anything, I had nothing to give them, and conversations basically broke down after that. I got the idea to go in, record an EP/demo/whatever with all the songs we were originally planning on, and getting a session musician to do drums.

Couple questions, first off has anybody here ever done this, and if so how did it work out? Any tips or advice? Secondly, how much does it usually cost to hire a session musician?
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#2
A couple of options here:

1. Program the drums, only for the purposes of a pre-production demo. You can then give this to a possible drummer so they can hear you and decide if they like your songs, etc. Tell them that they would have full "artistic control" or whatever of the drum parts. Then move on to record your EP with a full-time member who plays drums.

2. As you suggested, hire a session drummer. You really must see the benefit of having something to give the drummer, though, so he/she can learn the songs before the record button goes red. As a studio owner (albeit a home studio), I can tell you that the biggest expense of recording can be time spent screwing around with things that should have been screwed around with beforehand. (like the drummer forgetting that there are two choruses after the bridge, or forgetting the cue that the singer and guitarist rely on to know when the ending is coming, etc.)

It can be as expensive as you want it to be, though you mostly do get what you pay for. If you go high end, expect to pay a few hundred dollars per song. Also expect that person to want to be able to learn the song in advance. You know... that demo from step 1. Or you can get Joe who works with your next door neighbour's dad who fiddles with drums on the side. He'll do it for a six pack of beer and the opportunity to be a rock star in the studio for a day. He may not care if you have anything to give him in advance to learn. Of course, he's not the one paying the studio bill. (see paragraph 2)

I mean, if YOU were going to go into a studio and record guitar parts for a band who needed to hire a session guitarist, you would want to be able to learn the songs and go in and do it right, right? How much would you charge? It would be negotiable, probably, depending on a few variables - how convenient the time is, how badly you need the money that month, how much you like the material, whether or not the bass player is dating your ex-girlfriend that you're still madly in love with, etc.

I'd maybe start with $50/song, which would include one rehearsal and the day of recording as a good place to start. See who you can get for that. I would make it a requirement, though, that the session person be willing to show up to at least one rehearsal. As I say, time is money, and you don't want to spend that on working out stuff that should have been worked out beforehand.

If you're doing an EP, that works out to $250 for a session drummer. For $250, he/she will learn the songs, show up to one rehearsal and show up to the studio on the day or recording. That's not bad. If you need to go higher, then sweeten the pot.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Aug 22, 2013,
#3
Not a bad idea, but if you put too much money and effort into this recording you might be stuck with it for quite a while. The drummer on it won't be a part of the band and your future drummer might not play like the recording so it's something you'll always have to explain and deal with. I would try just recording something very fast and easy to show prospective drummers because they're not looking at the quality, they're looking for the style of music. Then once you get a drummer you can go into the studio as a band and have a product to show as a band.

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#4
Yeah, program the drums, I think that's the easiest way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5BrE1Pi5cU

This was recorded with programmed drums and the drums sound pretty good. Also the song was recorded in 1995. Today programmed drum sounds should be even more advanced.
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#6
No reason to spend the money on a demo for the purpose of attracting drummers. Just do it yourself - I'm sure between the three of you you have a laptop and a microphone or two. You can easily make a demo using a program like Audacity or Garageband. All you need this demo for is to show a drummer what the song's sound like - you don't need professional quality here.
Once you've found a drummer you can spend the cash to go into a real studio.
#7
Yes. That's exactly what I meant by "Program the drums, only for the purposes of a pre-production demo. You can then give this to a possible drummer so they can hear you and decide if they like your songs, etc. Tell them that they would have full "artistic control" or whatever of the drum parts. Then move on to record your EP with a full-time member who plays drums."

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
I find it pretty odd that there's zero recordings of the band so far, and you guys are recording an EP. It's just so easy to record yourself, and recordings are very handy when trying to get gigs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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