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Sample CD but not getting any gigs

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
I hope you guys can help me out.
My wife and I have been gigging in local pubs for a year or so as a duo using backing tracks, we created some samples in our kitchen and have been giving them out as CDs to pubs in order to get more gigs.

Well we've got nothing - we are gigging but mainly due to either having played there before or my wife singing in the bar with friends on a girls night out and being booked!

These samples have backing tracks, recently we've been joined by an excellent Django Guitarist and a solid bass player, so don't need the backing tracks and it does admittedly sound a whole lot better.

I find it impossible to be objective about our own recordings, and so need your help. Do these tracks sound dreadful and should be deleted ASAP, perhaps my wife should go solo, or are they passable and we should just keep plugging away (neither of us are very persistent it has to be admitted).

The link is here: http://rehabjazz.co.uk/#/music/4534707914
Look forward to your comments. Thanks.
 

teebones

Member
Subscriber
Messages
205
Location
Norfolk
Gigging

I hope you guys can help me out.
My wife and I have been gigging in local pubs for a year or so as a duo using backing tracks, we created some samples in our kitchen and have been giving them out as CDs to pubs in order to get more gigs.

Well we've got nothing - we are gigging but mainly due to either having played there before or my wife singing in the bar with friends on a girls night out and being booked!

These samples have backing tracks, recently we've been joined by an excellent Django Guitarist and a solid bass player, so don't need the backing tracks and it does admittedly sound a whole lot better.

I find it impossible to be objective about our own recordings, and so need your help. Do these tracks sound dreadful and should be deleted ASAP, perhaps my wife should go solo, or are they passable and we should just keep plugging away (neither of us are very persistent it has to be admitted).

The link is here: http://rehabjazz.co.uk/#/music/4534707914
Look forward to your comments. Thanks.
:welldone I will be the first to reply Col, your sound and vocals are to my ears brilliant, good choice of music, allround far better than I have seen in my neck of the woods. and no don't delete your tracks, it takes time to get on the list of entertainment, sometime years if ever,so long as you enjoy what you are playing and don't rely on the money then keep at it is my advice.
By the way have been there myself a long time ago all be it with a mobile disco :w00t: :welldone :mrcool (Tony) teebones
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
I had a good listen and enjoyed it. Don't give up!

Can't really offer any constructive advice, so I'll comment as if I was a listener/watcher.

Your wife sings well. Maybe a bit more edge/huskiness in places would increase the emotion. But she sounds good. Lovely voice.Nede to tidy up the recordings a touch and redo a couple of bits.

You play nicely. In a few places you come in too loud, others too quiet/late. Problems of recording/mixing at home I guess. I liked your playing, but feel you could make a little more of your solos. Touch more expression, touch more push, even when you're being laid back. Blow the emotion - not the notes.

But one thought struck me - what is there about these tracks that says 'Book me!!!!!!!!!!!!!'? There's nothing to make you stand out from the rest. Maybe it's the difference between performing live with an audience and the 'flat' environment of recording at home.

Would also suggest getting some better photos done. And pay attention to the cropping - for instance the one top right of your wife is fantastic in the tight square frame, and it's this intenseness you need to get over in this sort of shot. Would make a great CD cover. But when you open it up, it doesn't looks as good, she disappears... And she looks great with her hair down - really suits her! And get some shots away from the stage, that convey your image. Your wife's stunning - make more of her in the shots, no-one thinking of booking you is really going to care about you, you're there to back her sorry...

Hope this helps. May be way off track... Hopefully the others will chime in.
 
OP
Col

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
Thanks

Thanks Tony & Kev,
It's great to get objective viewpoints and I really appreciate all your comments.

I guess it is just a case of plugging away. We're not aiming to make money out of this, just break-even (we usually charge the pub for our baby-sitter and a few pints, which seems fair in these tight times).

Re: recording - I find it really hard recording, I know I play worse once I turn a mic on - I become all self-conscious so plan to record our next gig live (which won't have any backing tracks either) in the hope of getting a better sound. Also we recorded our parts seperately on those tracks and mixed it afterwards, which is somehting I'm not great at. Recording live and taking edited 'highlights' might be a better option.

As for the wife's voice, perhaps she should start smoking again to get that huskiness.;}

I agree with the photos on the website, they are pretty poor so I'll aim to get some better ones. Don't want too many of the wife though, she gets all the praise as it is, particularly after a gig whilst I'm sweating packing up and loading the speakers etc.

No-one cares about the sax player when there's a lovely blonde vocalist - life just isn't fair.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
Sounds great! I like it. The vocal, sax , aucustic bassguitar .... nice lowtuned music. That's the kind of music I use to book when I was runing restaurants. It helps to sell a menys, vins, avec .... It makes you feel good and you want to buy more!!! Good for the restaurant owners. Try to convince them! But I'm not sure a pub (bierstube, ölhak) is the right place for your band?

The webiste is also fine. A personal visit and meeting with the owner/booker is the most important way to get gigs. MP3s, pictures ... is just a complement.

If I had a restaurant I would book your band!

Thomas
 

SteveK

Member
Messages
149
Location
Guildford, Surrey
I'd agree with the other respondence that your overall sound and competence is good and at least better than the average band out there. You sound very squarely in the upper end of semi-pro and could be taken for pro in the right environment. All the instruments sound great. If there's one thing I suggest musically then it's, as stated above in previous posts, your wife's voice could do with more dynamics. It sounds beautiful but it remains much the same through out all the samples - more edge/emotion. Your sax playing comes over well.
So musicianship wise I'd say you are well within the frame and don't need to be concerned about that.
What I would question is where are you targeting your music. I love the choice of songs - BUT would I want to go to a pub and listen to a set like this? It would be a nice surprise to walk in and bump into it but I would not go out of my way. I think it is more suitable in a restaurant, reception or hotel lobby. There is hardly, if any, songs in the set that goes above 100 bpm. Sorry if that sounds harsh - you have chosen some beautiful songs but I'd suggest it is more driven by what you collectively like to play and feel comfortable with rather than what your target audience would want to hear. If I was a pub/club landlord I'm not sure I'd want this set - maybe half of it - but I'd want to hear some faster and harder hitting numbers.
Why not throw in a few faster numbers - some blues/rock/pop or some fast latin - something to get the blood boiling.
So in summary - nothing wrong with the band's musicianship but you need to work on the choice of songs and decide who your audience is.

Steve
 
OP
Col

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
Wow ! - I can't thank you all enough for your comments.

Having read them I can see where we are going wrong - I agree our choice of music is very laid-back, we want to play relaxing chill-out blues and Jazz (we do play some Latin as well, Sway etc) and so we should start targeting restaurants, wine bars and hotels. I've played dance music in other bands and it's great when a pub goes wild, but this isn't what we want to do with Rehab, we want a slightly older audience (40+) who can chat and drink whilst we play in the background. There are loads of restaurants in Hampshire so I'll start targeting them.

It's so reassuring to know that our playing is okay as well. I can obviously tell my wife has a great voice (and I've passed on your comments, thanks) but it's difficult to assess your own playing. Your comments have helped a great deal.

And finally, Adam, I agree 100%. If I want adoration perhaps I should join another ugly, all-male, Portsmouth band again - heaven knows there are enough of them>
 

Der Wikinger

Member
Messages
188
Location
Silvis, IL USA
I have listened to you carefully, find your performance excellent, and would like to jam with you except the drive would be WAAAAAAAAAAY too far. I have listened to my mentor speak about getting a band booked. He says it takes a special knack. I am gonna ask him if he can make suggestions and get back to you you do seem to have what it takes.
 

Der Wikinger

Member
Messages
188
Location
Silvis, IL USA
OK. I spoke with Jack, who is my mentor. He ran several bands over many years. He played the Las Vegas strip for many years. This is what he said about getting your band booked:

the first question is: Is your repertoire commercial? I think it is. You sounded really good for the setup you have in a kitchen, no less!!

Check out the pub to see the kind of crowd they get and what type of music is preferred. You music is great for me, but I am not everyone. Don't give out a cd. Play a cd for the owner, etc. If he/she won't spend 10/15 minutes listening to your music and talking to you, they aren't interested in you, don't waste time on them. Walk in the place like you are the "authority" and you can "book them a great band". Lack of self confidence will sink you, (but of course, don't over do it). Make brochures telling about band members that have phone numbers. CD's may be placed in drawyers and never played, or even worse, thrown away after you leave.

Finally, it is a slow time. Bands are a luxury. If the owner can't hardly keep the doors open, he's not gonna hire a band!

That is the best advice Jack Eslinger has to offer. good day!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,623
Location
Rugby UK
Col, I've been desperate to listen to this for ages but I've had PC problems. FINALY I've managed it and WOW you guy's sound great. No worries there and as for the comments on your wife's looks and sound, she's a great asset (no pun intended :blush:) to any band.
I like the sort of music you play, but as the others have said maybe you need to inject a bit of life into it.
As for getting yourselves known, find your target area and then go and busk there as a band. If it's a one off, or an occasional repeat performance, then hit it like ninjas.... just turn up and play, leave some flyer's then fade back into the night!
What have you got to loose?
I wish you all the luck in the world ;}
 
Man I could listen to you two all day and night, superb chillin music, lights down, glass of Jack and my good lady by my side :). Have you tried the wedding gig route, pays well and as they are classed as a private function, invite only, you dont need a music licence :)

Peace

Phil

ps Have book marked your web site, gonna listen to your music often :)
 
OP
Col

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
Thanks for all your encouragement and advice.

We've taken it on board and have now managed to get a regular-sh Sunday lunchtime slot at a pub called the Hampshire Rose just outside Portsmouth - we played there last week and have been asked backed as often as we can, which is a great result as it's a nice large pub, with a chilled-out Sunday afternoon crowd. This came about by a the landlady phoning me last minute on the recommendation of a drummer I used to play with.
We've also targeted a weddding venue near us and are playing this Friday at a lovely country pub in Meonstoke. In fact we've got at least one gig a month now which is getting close to what we wanted.

The lesson I've learnt (and this supports all the advice given on this forum) is that it takes time. I agree that shoving CD's in landlords hands and then not following up is a waste of time and effort - pubs book personalities as much as musical competence, and if you don't like cold-calling or selling, then this is tough.
The old adage, "it's not what you know but who you know" seems to be true.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
G'day Col,
Unable to hear your music on my iPhone ( might just be me?) in view of the many comments I suggest you google saxandhoney, these guys are doing something very similar to you and are doing over 200 gigs a year.
In my opinion it's the professional attitude that brings the gold in many areas.
I for one will come to see you, I'm in Dorset and will be recuperating here for a while, and once I'm more mobile, I'll catch one of your gigs.
Cheers & Ciao
Jimu
 
OP
Col

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
I've seen the Sax & Honey site and think it's great. It's so professional, great images, sound etc. In fact last year when Livvy & I decided to gig by ourselves I phoned Lyndon to ask about his backing tapes -- they are all recorded specifically for them, but he was very helpful. We're just not in their league but it's something to aspire towards.
We've done about 10 gigs with backing tracks so far but now we have a guitarist and/or keyboard player which we prefer. They may whinge more, cost more etc but at least they can cover mistakes, backing tracks are very unforgiving (but tee-total).
It would be great if you could make one of our gigs, I up-date them regularly on our website but we still don't have that many to be honest.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Col, i think you have guts to put all this on these pages for us saxoholics to listen to. You sound great. I can't offer advice on how to get gigs as i am not in that league yet, but would say that if i was in a pub, club, wedding etc and you guys played i would be very happy. Good luck for the future. Phil :welldone
 
OP
Col

Col

Member
Messages
152
Location
Petersfield, Hampshire
Thanks Phil - that's really kind of you.

Half the job is having the confidence to go into a pub and ask for a gig - since putting this on the forum our confidence has grown immensely with all the support from you guys - can't thank you enough!
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,822
Location
Breakfast room since '06
It's all good!

If the CD approach isn't working on it's own, get some positive and ENTHUSIASTIC reviews from your regular haunts and print them to go with the promotional CD.
Make sure you catch what you are about as an entertainment package so nobody is under any illusions and promote your website.

I haven't read many previous comments so I hope there is something new here.
Good Luck!
I'd turn up at a venue near me.

Any music venue can be very fickle as can the cliental on the night.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,406
Location
Daventry
Apologies for only just catching up with this - very good, lovely sound and very marketable, but I think you would probably be best off going through an agent. The sort of gig that would book you would probably be a wedding or corporate event where people will not have the time or inclination to research their own band and will go to an agent instead. This is absolutely not a criticism, but you are doing the sort of stuff that is background/ambient, rather than "in-yer-face" music and although you might get a few pub/club gigs, they tend not to pay well. You could also target the many dedicated wedding and function venues that have sprung up in recent years and try and get on their lists because I know from experience that their customers will very often ask the venue to book a whole package. Good luck, hope you do well.
 
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