TRICKS OF THE TRADE; 2: HOW TO GET A RECORD DEAL

MORCHEEBA Skye Edwards, vocalist, on how her bluesy hip-hop band signed to a record company
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The Independent Culture
When We were signed, two years ago, we'd never done a gig together - we'd just been in the studio and didn't even have a manager. Before I joined the band, Paul and Ross [Godfrey] had been going round to all the record companies for months with demo tapes. Paul had a mini studio in his bedroom in Finchley where they had recorded demos and created a basic sound, but we needed somewhere with better equipment. Having connections helps. A friend got us into a better studio, and that was where we did the demo for our first single, "Trigger Hippy". The soundman in the studio knew about engineering and production, so we finally made some good tapes. It's important to blag your way into the record-company buildings with your demo, rather than post them, as every record company has loads of tapes and they can't listen to them all.

The main thing is to believe in what you're selling, but not to go over the top. Some bands come across as door-to-door salesmen. Once you've got one record company interested then you're on your way: the others start showing interest as A&R men all communicate about new bands. Indochina liked our demo but we had to prove that we could play live, so they made us to do a showcase at these posh rehearsal studios.

When we signed the contract we had to take a lawyer with us, as the contract was the size of an Argos catalogue. We got to the record-company offices and they had a bottle of champagne ready. We were all a bit scared as it was a six-album deal - it felt like we might be signing our lives away, but we were pleased that they had such confidence in us. For our first show, the record company bought 100 tickets for their guests and mates to fill the places. In the end, the gig completely sold out.

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