Ed.: Social networking, online sites (this being one of them), Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace … sometimes it seems like all the connections are being done online. Naturally, the Web’s real power is when you can meet all those virtual personalities you’ve gotten to know offline. Far better than getting demo CDs in the mail or listening to someone’s tracks on MySpace: meeting them at a party over a drink and getting their music from them directly.

Such is the genius of Chicago’s Demo Swap. Co-organizer Liz has this wrap-up of what July’s party was like. Non-Chicagoans (heck, fellow New Yorkians), clearly this is a model to be replicated elsewhere. A huge thanks to all of the CDMers who showed up. It was fantastic to meet you, and I hope to see you again soon — ideally with more leisure time to hang out! (I’m in Chicagoland regularly.) I was especially impressed by Karl, who was in Chicago from Austria and was embarking on a cross-country drive across the entire length of Route 66 the following morning. Why is that foreigners appreciate America better than most Americans do?

Here’s how the demo swap went; read closely for some nice music tips and perhaps insight into how to get a demo swap going in your neck of the woods. -PK

Having done a Demo Swap for Modsquare a while back, we decided that Ramp Chicago‘s 2nd Tuesdays at Sonotheque residency would be a great venue to host the 2007 resurrection of the networking event. On Tuesday the 17th of July, having plugged-in and sound-checked our guest live PA artists, Protman and Bounte, the crowd started filtering in just as the doors opened at 9pm, and we slapped name badges on them and encouraged them to mingle and swap their demos.Emulsion DJd a downtempo / ambient / electro set while the crowd started to get to knowbounte.jpg each other and get their drink on, while I schmoozed with the crowd, collecting demos and handling some last minute line level issues that popped up at the last minute. As I was checking said levels in the booth, Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music and his girlfriend arrived and we started introducing them around to the patrons, which would continue to be a non-stop process, as more and more people would come up to me and ask “which one is Peter Kirn?” Thankfully he was wearing a striped shirt which made my task a bit easier.

demos.jpgBounte took the stage (which usually means the two satellite tables we set up in front of the booth) and entertained the crowd with his particular style of downtempo-meets-electro pop / credible, instrumental hip hop, completely off of his laptop, mostly undeterred by curious fans who wanted to ask him about his process, software, and upcoming releases.

Protman followed up with his signature “wireless set” (photo at the beginning) which means using a wireless Xbox 360 Wireless Controller to trigger clips in Ableton Live 6 via his custom-coded PD (Pure Data) interface. As I was making the rounds with our email sign up sheet, I noticed that about a third of the interested people were confused as to why Protman was wandering around with an Xbox controller, anddemos-demoswapjuly07650.jpg
where the sound was coming from. Another third told me that he was “absolutely
mindblowing” or a similar adjective, and the final third wanted to know who was DJing now (Answer: No one. Protman was playing his set with an Xbox controller. Yes, really.).

Along the way I collected a serious amount of demo discs and I find it rather inspiring that we have such a dedicated range of talent here in Chicago (mostly, as we had a few non-natives make an appearance such as Karl (CDM member from Austria).

People from the CDM community that I’ve chatted with on Tuesday include Josh Schnable, Michael Una, Nathan Koch and Karl Petermichl. Check out the post on my blog, where I give an overview of the more notable demos I received. At the end of the night, I had to excuse myself from networking so I could DJ the rest of the night, which I posted on my blog. And I was inspired enough to do a remix myself of one of the demos I received. Overall, the night was a success and I’m confident another one will be in the works. Here’s some more photos from the night.



How To Create a Successful Demo Disc: Tips and Resources