In this installment of Cheap Trick, Hunter Curra formerly of Walking Sleep proffers some tips on how to save money for LA music folks.
What are some creative ways you can distribute music? Do you even print CDs anymore, or is it purely done through the Internet?
We print CDs to sell at shows, and to use for promotional mailers. For getting the word out.. there is really no better than handing someone a CD they can immediately put in a player. Digital is awesome because once you pay for it you are basically selling air, it saves some trees, and sending a link for promo is free too (Here's hoping they actually download it..). I've seen bands with USB sticks at shows with their albums. That's cool but more expensive then CDs. I'm starting to become aware of a cassette tape uprising which is cool in a novelty way. Of course, there is nothing like having your album on Vinyl if you have the cash. Just make sure to also have the download card in there.
If you need to get some T-shirts or flyers made, what are some good places in town or websites to do this?
I honestly have no idea. Good question. Our guitarist, Adam, owns and runs Shirtsandladders.com and he handles our shirts. Go check it out!
Do you have to spend a lot of money to get posters designed?
It may not be best, but it's certainly cheapest to do it yourself. Gimp is a good free graphic editor for Mac. With a little time you can learn the ropes.
Best place to purchase recording equipment and instruments?
When you are buying something you want to play before you put the money down: I like TrueTone Music in Santa Monica for instruments or Future Music in Highland Park. But for cables, picks, mixers, ect.. things you don't have to test out in person: nothing beats the prices on the Internet. There is always the 30 day "free rental" return policy at Guitar Center too, haha.
Where do you rehearse? Do you recommend renting out a rehearsal space, such as Bedrock?
We rehearse in a warehouse in downtown L.A. that we are lucky enough to have free afterhours access to. The situation is extremely ideal. But yeah most likely you gotta get a lock out rental place like Bedrock or Downtown Rehearsal. There are also "pay by the hour" places but that money adds up.
What are some good studios in town? Is there any good cheap or free recording software?
The best way to record music is to find a good engineer or engineer/producer that you are comfortable working with, and a studio that can suit your needs. DIY is fine, as long as you understand it will only sound as good as your knowledge and experience allows. For Walking Sleep's album Measures we did a combination of DIY and in studio, but we have two professional engineers in the band. I think that is a pretty common method these days. I you have the cash, I would at least recommend having someone who knows what they are doing record your drums and master it for you. I would also make sure to send early versions of your mixes to your mastering engineer so there are no surprises.
If you want to play shows, do you need to go through a booker? Can you DIY?
The truth is you can DIY everything but it is tiring as hell. To set up a show you have to get a PA, a venue, book bands, get someone to work the door, get someone to run sound, and probably promote. If you are also a band playing in that show tack on practicing, loading gear, and performing. You can do it but know you will be strung pretty thin. Promoters and bookers can provide help for you in these matters, but then you have to live by their whims and pay them. It's a toss up.
About Hunter: When he's not playing in bands, Hunter is a sound engineer and sound designer for film and television.
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