Would you see a band with a prerecorded rhythm section?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Dabo Fett, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. vividox

    vividox SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, that's a good point, and makes me realize that in my comment I was assuming more of a not-well-known band in a small-ish venue. No drummer or rhythm section isn't a big deal if I'm just checking out a local artist in a place that holds 100-200 people. That's the situation where I'd rather see something rather than nothing. But the bigger the band or the bigger the venue, the more expectations get baked in. I'm probably somewhere between Demi's comments and my own.
     
  2. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Being in bands with partial lineups (no vocals in one, no bass in the other), I say do whatever you need to do to get the music out there. I think having something on stage, even if its just a mesh scrim with lights behind it, will make a difference. If my main project disbands, I'll be out there with my laptop and my guitar playing as much as I can! wouldn't even try to find a band. It's a lot easier scheduling/organizing/arranging music when you never have to wait for replies from other people, verify opinions, or deal with several personalities.
     
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Lots of bands don't have a vocalist. The key is to make music that works that way. 9x out of 10, I'd rather see a band play instrumentals than to play along to a prerecorded vocal track. If you are doing something industrial, then, by all means, throw in some TR-808 with some bass samples or sequences, or whatever, but it's cool if it fits the music. If, for example, when Mike left Dream Theater, and the band said "f... it, we'll just play to a pre-recorded drum track," it would have been a disaster.

    My point is not to discourage people to use prerecorded tracks, but rather to discourage people from replacing a real person with a prerecorded track. Obviously IMO, YMMV, :2c:, etc, but in a metal band with a brutal pounding rhythm section, you want real people.

    Your last comment drives home my point. You don't want to deal with musicians. I get that - I have had a lot of issues with drummers not showing up for the gig, or showing up after the gig, or, if I'm lucky, showing up super late for the gig. And I've dealt with plenty of bass players who didn't want to learn the song, or didn't show up for the gig, or whatever. I know it's a huge risk. But, here's the thing - dealing with drummers and bass players is like the perfect practice for dealing with your fans later on. If you can't deal with a drummer, how are you going to deal with the drunk who thinks he should be playing your guitar between sets, or the homeless guy who wants to help you lug your stuff into the back door of the club while he's puking, or the woman who gets the idea to rush the stage and sing along with you? Music is all about making sounds, but the music scene is all about connections. If you can't get musicians interested enough in your band to want to sign up, how are you going to get your audience to get fired up about becoming a part of your music?! There's just so much about the philosophy of what live music is that doesn't jive with me when you incorporate the idea of replacing a musician with a recording.

    But yeah, if you are going to go the route of prerecorded tracks, you are going to go that route. And we can talk about how to do it tastefully or not, but, the OP hasn't even come back to the thread since post 4. :shrug:
     
  4. T-Bone

    T-Bone SS.org Regular

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    I'm in the same kind of situation as you. I'm working on a two man project at the mo, just live guitars and vocals, drum tracks and no bass. It's a lot easier to get things done with less people slowing the process down.
    I'd always give any band a chance no matter if they have no drummer or even if they have 10 drummers and no guitars.
    What matters is that the band just doesn't suck, but that is always just gonna come down to the personal taste of whoever is watching.
     
  5. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I'd much rather see a tight, well-rehearsed show of one or two dudes than 5 dudes that are sloppy or volume-fighting, or obviously at different skill levels. I've been dealing with the realities of multiple personalities in bands forever, and seen enough of the one and two-man projects to have some idea of how I would go about it to make it interesting. I like playing with the dudes I play with now, but I'm not about to try and hunt down guys that wanna play near-total linear music with all sorts of weird time signatures and riff structures again, knowing full well it will take at least year to find 4-5 guys that even WANT to do, let alone BE ABLE to actually do it.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I hear you. The fact of the matter is, though, that the guy who puts in his time to find 3-4 other people to play that kind of music with him is going to either be rewarded for his perseverance or else his band will break up before he has a chance to get it off the ground.

    There is always something that comes along to rip things apart, but you just regroup and push ahead. There are thousands and thousands of talented musicians out there. It's a shame so few of them get along with each other. :lol:

    Don't get me wrong, either, I'm not trying to jab at guys who bust their butts out there trying to make it as a solo guitar player with backing tracks, but just being brutally honest, it doesn't generally have the "cool factor" of a real band. Take, for example, the HAARP Machine guy, Al Mu'umin. Watching him rip through some crazy complex riffs with backing tracks is pretty cool to me, as a guitar player, but his energy being pretty focused on the mechanics of playing, and the lack of pretty much everything else going on keeps it down to a really limited audience. Plus, who wouldn't rather see the full band perform?

    If you are into the sort of complex aggressive music I am into, then it really needs a lot of energy, and I would highly recommend getting a full band together.

    And, no offense, just trying to be helpfully persuasive and honest, the line of thinking that it's just too difficult to find people is a sort of cop-out excuse. It's a valid point, but when other bands are successful doing it, it makes the validity kind of unimportant.

    The larger point I've been trying to make here is to develop your music to the point where it is really ready before taking it on tour. I don't speak for all club owners, obviously, but it's no stretch of the imagination that they'd rather have full bands booked than two guys with a backing track. More band members means more energy and more networking, both of which equate to more business.

    And everything I said goes out the window if you have an ace in the hole. But before you tell yourself that your music is your ace in the hole, really stop to think about that.
     
  7. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Everybody thinks Djent is tech and actually literally ....s their pants when they have to try and memorize 13 consecutive measures with alternation time signatures that don't just repeat the same staccato groove, or they all want to shred Jason Richardson-style arpeggios over everything (which is boring and sounds stupid 99% of the time). Would I rather put a band together, sure, do I wanna hear what anyone else has to say, organize 4-5 schedules for performing, deal with the one or two guys that don't want to practice on their own....after the last 17 years...no f'n way...
     
  8. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    I think that person would be "rewarded' when he can do the music he wants to do regardless of having to find other people to do it.
     
  9. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    personally if i liked the artist/band I'd go see them.

    I have seen planet of hip hop acts with no bands.

    anything can be done well

    as for actually being teh artist and playing to a backing track , I have done a little of it with a couple projects and its just not as fun as locking in together and being a well polished unit . having bandmates you gel with is allot more fun
     
  10. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    Agreed, but if you couldn't find said members, should that/would that stop you from performing live?
     
  11. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    if it was a special gig or a one off or something I'd be fine with it, but as a regular gigging deal at this stage I wouldn't.

    but each their own I wouldn't trash anyone who chooses to perform that way, like you do . its just not for me
     
  12. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    :scratch: Since it's impossible to know the amount of would-be successful acts who never got anywhere due to bad group dynamics or years of compromise and happy mediums for the sake of team spirit, that's not a very good argument. You could just as easily say: "too many great songwriters get stuck going in circles with the wrong band members" as an indication that going solo is a better option.

    I think if you compare bands to solo artists, DJs, EDM producers and rappers, it seems to me the musicians who've been really winning in the smartphone era of the last few years are clearly not the bands. The flexibility of calling your own creative shots and having a light weight, portable live act just seems to be a lot more lucrative.
     
  13. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    No, it's a totally valid point. How many heavy metal acts made it famous with a full band versus how many heavy metal acts made it famous as two guys with guitars and backing tracks?

    Equating two guys with guitars and backing tracks to DJs is not a valid logical substitution, since they are totally different types of appeal. In other words, the folks who show up/stick around for the DJ are not the same folks who show up/stick around for the guitar man with the backing tracks. At least not anywhere I've been.

    As I have said and reiterated over and over, I've seen the backing track thing work in some circumstances, and I've seen it totally not work in plenty more circumstances.

    As much as I'd love to just universally encourage people to get out there with their music, there is a rock solid value in having that music ready for mass consumption before putting it out in most venues. It might be different in different places, but I guarantee that if your reason for not presenting a full band boils down to "it's too much work to find the right people," you are going to be held back at least a little. :shrug:

    Conversely, if your reason for using backing tracks is to add something extra to music that's already interesting and complete, then I don't see anyone having a problem with it.

    It's not the attitude itself, but if we are talking about the lack of a rhythm section being a symptom of the attitude, then I just don't see there being other symptoms of the same attitude that could reflect poorly on your entire package.

    I'm sorry if that comes off as pretentious. I don't intend it to be, but I realize it does come off that way. I've been doing music for 20+ years now, and I've seen pretty much everything, and I've seen how audiences react to pretty much everything. I've seen bands that totally kicked ass on stage, but had a poor attitude backstage, and they go nowhere. I've seen bands who sound like a trainwreck on stage, but pump up their crowd and have a positive attitude about the whole thing, and they can go very far. Bands that have a high turnover of bandmembers usually have something internally wrong, which causes them to have a difficult time treading water out there. I've been in a lot of bands myself, some for years and years, and it's all about the chemistry between people: between the frontman and the crowd, between the businessman and the venue manager, between band members, it's all extremely important, in terms of how far you can make it. I'd say it's right up there with the quality of the material you have to present to your audience.

    All I'm saying is that you need to keep in mind that there are a thousand other bands out there competing for attention. If your expectation is to go out and have a good time playing for a small crowd by yourself or with a buddy, go ahead and use your backing tracks. Maybe there's a drummer in the audience who will step forward. But, as far as a long term plan, it's not going to get you very far. If you have your expectations set appropriately, everything will be fine, but if not, you will just be disappointed.

    Keep in mind that this is coming from a guy whose last album sold a two-digit number of copies. My grand total works stream enough to make me enough money to buy an order of french fries once a week, ...on a good week. I'm nobody. But I've been close enough to taste it a little on a few occasions...only once when I was really working for it. Any little thing can happen... Anyway, I'm just babbling now.

    I'll leave the thread with this note, which may sound like I'm a broken record:

    Music is collaborative. It doesn't work in a vacuum. You collaborate with other musicians, you collaborate with your audience, you collaborate with other bands and artists. It's a huge feedback web. The more you try to cut out of that web, the more difficult it is to make it work. Each feedback loop is necessary for evolution. Every band ever who mattered was part of a scene that included a pool of >1 band and a pool of listeners who wanted to be a part of the scene as well. There are important checks and balances in that scene. That's why artists get so much flack for changing things up.
     
  14. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    I'm pretty much just gonna say +1 to everything Bostjan has been saying. I don't know Horsham much, but I can tell you that there are plenty of musicians in Lansdale, Doylestown, Philly, etc. Go to shows and talk to people, you'll find musicians to play with you.

    I think if you're set on being a one man (or two man) band performing live, you should write the music around that fact. Use electronic drums and loopers and other creative ways of filling out your sound. To me that type of stuff is what separates what I perceive as one man "pretending" to be a full band and one man being a full band.
     
  15. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I mostly agree with this. But I've also seen my fair share of one-man shows in a variety of genres from EDM to acoustic indie folk where trying to use live looping, auxiliary percussion, multiple instruments, etc. to liven up the show and then they forget to even play songs, or at least be entertaining outside of the fact of "hey look at that guy who can play 5 instruments at a mediocre level". If you can incorporate all that stuff without killing the songs (or spending three minutes looping to start a song, because that is the most boring .... ever), do it. I've seen a few shows recently of a VERY talented artist who is trying to take her stuff solo and so far the live triggering, percussion, live sampling has been killing the the show instead of helping it because sections have to longer to get from one thing to the other, the background video is kind of the whole show because she's stuck behind a mini drum rig/laptop keyboard rig, all to avoid standing doing nothing during intros before the guitar or vocals comes in.
     
  16. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    @bostjan, I get your points and I don't think you sound pretentious. I do think you sound like someone with 20+ years of experience though, and possibly imagine an audience 20 years ago too. I disagree with you more in general than in particular, because in my point of view, music is evolving. And that evolution is determined by the necessities and opportunities of today's artists, none of which are the same necessities and opportunities that existed 5, 10 or 40 years ago. This affects genres, band setups, venues and audiences alike. How metal bands succeeded in the past is more irrelevant every year, both the genre itself and the methods. The artists who can truly wrap their heads around that and come up with a good solution (musically, setup-wise and business-wise) are the ones who always win in any art form. And at the moment, the business model of blasting 120 decibels at a beer joint at the mercy of an underpaid and underqualified sound engineer named Bob, is going the way of the Dodo. People have better things to do on a Saturday evening than sitting through that.
     
  17. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Short answer: NO, especially not for metal, not for rock.

    For some other genres, it works. Look at Rap, it's all one dude with an iPod.

    I saw some kind of industrial metal outfit and it kinda worked for them as they had spent $10,000 on the light show. If they didn't have that it would've been "meh".

    There's a certain aspect of human error or feel that can' be replicated with all these digital gadgets that we have.

    I also am not a huge fan of drum triggers as that allows for sloppy technique and in general sound bad but it has become a must for most metal bands.
     
  18. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    Not a fan of Godflesh or Samael?

    I think, in the end, is if it sounds gooooooood.
     
  19. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    As long as the people present on stage are indeed performing, weather they're playing instruments or singing, I'm perfectly alright with parts being automated.

    The real key is having energy and presence. I'd rather watch two energetic guitarists jamming out over a backing track than a full band of people standing around in their spots playing everything like they just want to get it over with.
     
  20. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    I've seen synth pop bands in places like Club Boomerang in the Haight Ashbury hood of San Francisco, and they pulled it off very, very well, but I kind of think that a metal or hard rock band isn't given as much grace to do the same, unless it's like a solo instrumental guitar player doing Satch, Vai, or Becker type of stuff.
     

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