So, you’ve started a band? What are your next steps?
So, you’ve started a band? What are your next steps?April 27, 2017
Scenario: You’ve assembled a band, you’ve started jamming and you’re thinking: “This isn’t too bad!”. You’re beginning to put a few tracks together and the realization is quickly emerging that this could be your way out of the impending doom of the nine to five. But where do you go from here? None of you have a ‘mate’ who’s dad works in the music industry and you don’t have the foggiest idea of how to go about getting yourself some gigs. Fear not, as we’ve compiled a checklist of where to go next, what roads to take and what to avoid.
1. Get your music recorded properly
At first, this might be as simple as making a demo on garage band or other similar software, but once you’ve done that, you should think about getting it mixed and mastered properly. There’s nothing worse for music industry veterans than having to listen to a poorly recorded track- there’s a 100% chance it will go straight in their ‘deleted’ folder.
So, find a local recording studio and see how much they’re charging for some studio time. Maybe they’ll give you a good deal since you’re first timers, you never know. Otherwise, it might simply be the case that each of you has to bite the bullet and dig into your pockets if you truly believe that the band can go somewhere. In the long run, investing in yourselves is one of the best things you can do. After all, if you won’t put the effort in and believe in yourselves, then no one else is going to either.
2. Get yourselves online
We live in the digital age. The importance of creating a solid online profile for yourself cannot be stressed enough. Begin with the basics: make social media profiles for the band on facebook and twitter and get your friends and family to like the pages. To begin with, these may be the only fans you have, but if you do things right, then word of mouth will do its own thing and you fan base will begin to grow. One thing to remember when building a social media base is that you should streamline your accounts as much as possible. Each platform should follow a theme, use the same images and share similar content. This way, you create a sort of ‘brand’ for yourselves that is recognizable and memorable for potential fans.
Besides having profiles for yourself online, make sure you get those professionally recorded tracks somewhere that people are going to hear them. Upload your tracks to SoundCloud and Spotify then share them regularly on social media. You can do the same with Youtube; shooting a video can come later but at first you can simply upload the audio. As well as this, make sure to tag your videos/ tracks appropriately – tag artists that you consider yourselves similar to or ones you take inspiration from – it’s all about directing the people who would want to hear your music, to the music.
3. Get out there
Finding yourself gigs is not going to be easy at first, especially as you won’t have much profile and reputation, but hopefully, the first few tips we’ve given you will help build that platform so venues don’t simply ignore you.
However, what you can do is get out there by supporting your local scene. Whilst this might seem counteractive, supporting other bands is actually going to be beneficial for you. By contributing to the music scene where you’re based, you’re only going to help build its reputation and that means that it will begin to receive the exposure it deserves. That’s when you can step in!
Head down to local gigs, talk to people, let them know what you’re doing and interact with other bands. They might have some tips for you themselves. Don’t think of it as competing against the other acts in your area for fame, think of it as communally helping each other so that you can all boost your image – there’s plenty of room for everyone’s music in the world.
When you’re at these gigs, don’t act like you’re too cool for skool, standing at the back of the room as though you’re not interested, engage and listen, interact and let people know who you are.
4. Get rehearsing
There’s nothing worse than seeing a band who clearly haven’t rehearsed enough. It’s alright for 13 year olds playing covers of Deep Purple for their school talent show, but if you’re genuinely serious about the band, you’ll put the time and effort in to make sure your live performance is as tight as possible.
It can be easy to jump straight into your first live show as you want to show everyone what you can do, but waiting that little bit longer before you make the jump will be worth it in the long run. Any music aficionados or potential scouts who attend your gigs will instantly know that you’re the real deal if you’ve taken the time to fine-tune every aspect of your live performance. In addition, the more you rehearse, the less those nerves are going to get to you for that first show. Know that you’re not going to make mistakes and your confidence will only increase.
Don’t worry about the haters either. No matter what creative offerings you give to the world, there will always be those who feel they need to criticize; it comes part and parcel with being an artist. There might be jeers at your first gig, it’s part of the territory, but if you know that you’ve prepared in the best way possible, then you have no reason to take them to heart. Do what you love, forget the haters.
5. Get some gigs
It’s important to remember not to get carried away with this. The stars are in your eyes and you can see yourself coming out on stage to a packed crowd, but you have to be realistic. In all honesty, your first gig is probably going to be in a pub with a few regulars lurking by the bar, wondering who you are, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Get to know your local venues, whether these be pubs or proper music establishments and introduce yourself. Email is a good start, but if you can get face to face with the owner/ booker then go for it! They’ll appreciate the dedication. Send them some tracks and a little info about yourselves and make it clear that you’re up for anything they can offer. It might sound a little desperate, but a foot in the door is better than a closed one.
At first, you shouldn’t expect to get paid a lot, if anything, either. You might even have to pay to play. Again, this might seem counterintuitive, but there’s no point in turning down opportunities at this early stage in your career. You can do that when you’re a multi-million selling rockstar!
You’ll have to employ a few mates to attend those first few gigs to make up the numbers, but patience is key. The next time, they might bring another friend, who brings another friend, whose sister likes your kind of music, so she comes too…
At the end of the day, persistence is what you really need. If you really want it and you keep calling that venue, eventually they’ll give in a book you a slot just so you stop ringing them. Don’t be afraid to pester!
After this stage, it’s all about wash, rinse and repeat. Keep at it and before long, the fruits of your labours will repay you. But remember, be patient, good things come to those who wait.
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