Monday, December 28, 2009

Creating the “Perfect Pitch” - Chapter 2 of Ariel Hyatt's book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks”

“Demimonde Slumber Party sounds like a 60's surf musical starring David Bowie, Sleater-Kinney, & the B-52s’ Fred Schneider as the crazy uncle...”

This is the 'pitch' / 'elevator story' that we created earlier this year for a “Twitter Pitch” contest that Ariel Hyatt ran. Creating a pitch is basically coming up with a short, evocative description that will give people an idea of the unique entity that is your band – and hopefully compel them to check your music out. Creating a pitch is also the topic of Chapter 2 of Ariel's book, "Music Success in Nine Weeks".

The concept of creating a unique 'elevator story' is something I first became familiar with from Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby. It is also something that has been a challenge for us - how do we describe our sound? One reason for our difficulty was the range of songs on our last CD, 'green' - some are more towards pop-punk, while others are very mellow and melodic (you can check out clips of the songs on itunes or cd baby). In fact, one of the reviews of 'green' said:

“Demimonde Slumber Party has proven that it's easy to pack upward of four genres into a nine-track album.”

(Read reviews of 'green' here by clicking on 'Press' at the top of the page:

Partly because of this type of feedback, we'll strive to have our upcoming recordings be a little more cohesive. For example, our soon-to-be-released EP is a collection of higher energy songs. Also, a future EP will showcase the “softer side” of Demimonde Slumber Party.

But back to creating a pitch – doing Ariel's “Twitter Pitch” contest was great for us – we had fun coming up with our current pitch and felt it was a great improvement over previous attempts to describe our band. We also realized that a good pitch can give a fun sense of the band without having to specifically describe the range of styles covered in our songs.

However, this week, while reading Ariel's perfect pitch chapter, I felt it was a good time to review our current pitch. And, although we really like our current pitch, there are a couple of areas where we think it could be improved:

1) Although we have Bowie influences, we don't sound like him (though people love the Bowie covers we play - you can check out our Bowie Medley here by clicking on 'Audio' at the top of the page:,

2) The current pitch lacks a 1-2-punch – it isn't something that easily flows off the tongue

We know we want to keep certain elements in our pitch – our 60's influence (garage rock, psychedelic rock, British Invasion, etc.), riot-grrrl/punk influence, and very important, a sense of humor.

Where do surf and the B-52s come in? Because of the humor in some of our songs, and the female lead vocals and mixed-gender backing vocals, several of the songs on our last CD reminded people of the B-52s. Well, the main one that did is also the most popular song on the CD, 'Santa Barbara'.
That song also has a surf theme – so there we have the surf element. And, we are from California, after all.

So while we play around with some ideas for changing our pitch, we'd like your feedback. Below is the current pitch, followed by a few alternative ideas we've come up with so far. Let us know which one you like best – or if you have a different idea you'd like to suggest!

Our current pitch:

Demimonde Slumber Party sounds like a 60's surf musical starring David Bowie, Sleater-Kinney, & the B-52s’ Fred Schneider as the crazy uncle...

Some alternative pitch ideas:

1. Demimonde Slumber Party sounds like a 60's surf musical starring Sleater-Kinney & the B-52s.

2a. Demimonde Slumber Party's music is what you'd get if Sleater-Kinney had to make an album with the cast of Laugh-in....

2b. Demimonde Slumber Party's music is what you'd get if Sleater-Kinney was the house band on Laugh-in....

(And we seriously want to know how many people know what both Sleater-Kinney and Laugh-in are...)

3. Demimonde Slumber Party's music is what you'd get if the B-52's created a remake of “A Hard Day's Night” starring Sleater-Kinney.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ariel Hyatt's Music Success in Nine Weeks – Chapter One

As we plan our new EP's release and think about what we want for the band in 2010, we also will be going through Ariel Hyatt's book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks”. She has worked with a lot of indie bands, and hopefully the insights she shares in her book will help us to 'work smarter'.

The first chapter is about setting goals, and important guidelines to follow in this process, such as writing them down, specifying when they will be accomplished, and making them achievable. That last point – making them achievable – will be good for me to keep in mind. I can have a tendency to feel like I am never accomplishing enough, and that can cause me to feel overwhelmed, which can lead to feeling burnt out and wanting to take a loooong break.....

Some of you may have seen earlier posts where I refer to myself as “Easily Overwhelmed Girl (EOG)”. So - I am going to really focus on NOT overwhelming myself....

After writing a list of goals, she suggests going back and putting a deadline on each one. A lot of my goals are ongoing processes with many, many small deadlines, so this forced me to identify what the next step was for each goal (something I got from the very helpful “Getting Things Done” book by David Allen). Then, I created a deadline for that next step - and also got the benefit of knowing that the smaller step is achievable. Once the step is completed, I can make a new deadline for the step after that. Very helpful in combating my typical feeling of overwhelmedness as well!

She also addresses the importance of recognizing one's successes, and notes the tendency of musicians to be super-hyper-self-critical – yes, I can have this tendency, no surprise there... She suggests writing down 5 successes a day – at least one or two of them about music. This is already increasing my motivation to work on the steps that will lead to completing my goals - so I can write them on my success list, and feel good that I am moving forward.

Some of the goals were hard for me to break into next steps. Eventually I realized that this was because those goals address areas where I need to ask others for help (difficult for me to realize, since I tend to think I need to do everything myself). So the first steps in these cases will be identifying others who may be able to help me work towards those goals.

Whew! I am sensing a bit of overwhelmedness threatening to creep in – hmmm... I think it might be a good idea to work on a list of 'next steps' to take when I start to feel overwhelmed - as soon as I write down the successes from today - like finishing this blog post!

One last thing - Happy Solstice Everyone!

Until next time,
Demimonde Slumber Party

Monday, December 14, 2009

Free Bowie cover:
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Monday, December 7, 2009

We have 3 free songs we'd like to give you today! Two are from our first S.F. EP - plus our Bowie Medley! Go to