Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

My band wants to 'get serious', how do we go about that?


scottasin

Recommended Posts

We've got a press kit, we've got a professionally recorded demo, we have a couple of lights and lasers, but right now we're still just practicing in our bassists basement. Everyone in the band is in our young 20's (I'm 20, drummer is 21, bassist and guitarist are 23) and are physically willing and able to play show after show after show after show. Right now we're all working crap jobs to get some money so that hopefully this summer we can start touring and getting the name out. The problem is, it seems like we have to have played shows to get shows, and we haven't really done that yet. We're looking around for someone to be a manager for us, but we just don't have the connections we need to get off the ground. We're hoping to for the rest of the winter and spring play local shows and bars to get some experience under our belts, but even that we haven't been able to do.

 

Put simply, none of us know anything about the live music business, which is the business we want to get into. What tips or advice can you give, in basically any capacity, for getting shows, playing on the road, getting fans... anything. I'm a young guy with open ears who wants to learn. Obviously, its not going to be easy, and will take a lot of work, and we're willing to put in that work, we just don't know what the work we need to do is.

 

EDIT: for the record, we're based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but know people in bands in Chicago and Colorado that we would love to play with, and via another forum, I know people all over the country that would more than likely be willing to help us out as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 32
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Hi Scott

Just a little information about the band may help folks here give you advice

particularly is the band material original? What is the genre? Are you looking for production supplied or doing you own, and maybe the type of gigs you ultimately want to play? Bars Dance opening shows etc. Cheers Mike

We are for the most part original material, although we plan on adding some more covers to the mix. Genre wise we're a jamband that is somewhere between your average funk/jazz, techno, and math rock/prog sound (here's our demo). I'm not even sure what you mean by supplying production, so I'll have to say that we will need it supplied. At this point, I think bar shows are the most likely, but we're hoping to move into smaller music only venues and festivals, and if things take off, even bigger stuff eventually. We're happy to open for other bands at this point just for the exposure and crossover of fanbases.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Supplying production means you bring all the PA lighting stage monitors and guys to run it. Production supplied is a lot simpler for your band, but may not be available in your smaller venues. You may have to hire that out.
we do not yet have those resources, although hopefully in the future we will. For the time being though, we'll be using house sound.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Put simply, none of us know anything about the live music business, which is the business we want to get into.

 

You need a really experienced manager you can trust. Otherwise you will starve.

how do we do that? All I can think of is posting a craigslist ad...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know your local venues, but around here, there are places that cater to original music that supply production. Typically, you pick a cover charge that they collect at the door. You get paid 80% of the door, or something along those lines. Since you're unknown, they would likely start you on an off night - like during the week. Once you get your first gig, promote the hell out of it and make sure all your friends and family show up with all their friends. You may have to do several of these before you can start getting better gigs. A manager will really help because he will have a relationship with the clubs and a recommendation from him will carry more weight. Network. Talk to other bands in the area and see who they are using, and where they started.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, if you need some experience/practice playing live - pick a few songs and do an open mic night. That can be good preparation for a full gig if you've never done one.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'm going to take a contrary view and say right now, don't waste your time on management. If my own experience is any indication, you will be much better served by going to shows of bands whose music is compatible to yours, meeting the musos, and seeing if they'd be interested in doing shows with you. It's all about bands cooperating to get maximum people through the door when you're a young originals band. If you have friends to bring, you are introducing them to your fellow bands' music. And those fellow bands, in turn, are introducing YOUR music to THEIR fans.

 

Eventually you may want a manager ... but honestly, if you haven't hung around on the scene long enough to make connections with other musos or know what venues to play, you are not going to be in a position to figure out who's a good manager or who's a wannabe. Or maybe a crook. And the thing is, no one worth working with in that capacity is going to work with you until they see you have some traction in your local market!

 

I know it sounds like a Catch-22, but have faith ... I really don't think it's that bad. I don't know the scene in your area, but if you can, avoid pay-to-play schemes (where you have to, for example, buy a minimum number of tickets and then try to sell them, and if you don't, well, you're out the money the venue charged YOU for the tickets). There may be youth centers or promoters who do all-ages shows. You may not MAKE any money, but from what I can tell around here, most don't COST bands money to participate in.

 

Check your area's local entertainment tabloid listings to find out what local bands are playing, where. If you have a demo, you can send/deliver it to those venues. But it sounds to me like you guys need to scope the scene out where you are a bit more. Then, where to play will be apparent. I hope this helps!

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know your local venues, but around here, there are places that cater to original music that supply production. Typically, you pick a cover charge that they collect at the door. You get paid 80% of the door, or something along those lines. Since you're unknown, they would likely start you on an off night - like during the week. Once you get your first gig, promote the hell out of it and make sure all your friends and family show up with all their friends. You may have to do several of these before you can start getting better gigs. A manager will really help because he will have a relationship with the clubs and a recommendation from him will carry more weight. Network. Talk to other bands in the area and see who they are using, and where they started.
Also, if you need some experience/practice playing live - pick a few songs and do an open mic night. That can be good preparation for a full gig if you've never done one.
The places I've been to around here do have their own PAs and monitors for the most part, so thats good. I think talking to other local bands to get a spot opening for them is definitely something we'll have to do. Our bassist used to be the drummer of a fairly active local band, but unfortunately left that band on less than ideal terms with one of their members. He's trying to get back in communication with them though. As for experience live, we've all played a fair number of shows with other bands, but they've not been with any kind of regularity or at the kind of venues that we want to be playing at. This band has actually played a few shows, but all before I joined the band. The ones they got though were at crap venues where you are bringing everyone there, just sort of a room with a stage that you can rent out rather than a bar, rather than a bar where there will be at least some people there regardless.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also I would not worry about getting on the road this year; tours take months to coordinate and cost money. If you do not have shows to co-op with out-of-state bands (they play on a bill with you in your hometown, you in turn play on a bill in their town), you do not have the network in place. Yes, management SEEMS like a shortcut here, but again, and we are talking original music, not dance music, not a Vegas-style revue that can charge thousands of dollars -- well, managers are attracted to money first. There's lots you can and should do on your own before trying to swim with the sharks. ;)

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This band has actually played a few shows, but all before I joined the band. The ones they got though were at crap venues where you are bringing everyone there, just sort of a room with a stage that you can rent out rather than a bar, rather than a bar where there will be at least some people there regardless.

 

Ah, OK, so the band's done that scene. Do you guys have any video footage or pictures of you guys playing to a sizeable crowd at one of these other venues? If so, that can help you get into better rooms with built-in clientele. Aside from that, the quickest way I know to get into a venue with automatic clientele is to emphasize your entertainment value, which musically, means, play some cover songs. You can still play your original music too ... but then you'd be billing yourself as a "funk-based groove band" or whatever ... bookers at those venues don't care how awesome of a songwriter you are, LOL. They care that you are going to entertain their regulars, bring in a few of your own peeps, and not be a hassle to work with. Also, these gigs will require you to play 3 to 4 hours a night ... so you need that much material, and of course cover tunes help in that regard.

 

You can still do "showcase" gigs too, which may be in these rooms you speak of, but at least it's not the only playing you're doing, and it won't be such a burnout. Just my thoughts ...

 

EDIT: one other thought: When you do play out, make sure at every gig (barring someone's wedding or similar private gig) you put a clipboard out for people to sign up on your email mailing list, and pimp it during your set! Even a silly jazz muso like me gets an ever-expanding email list, guaranteed signups every time I play. And I play background music! But hey, I'm starting to see the same faces at my gigs ... so very important. You can tell bookers of venues that you maintain a mailing list too. Only a fraction of those people will ever come out at one time, but I'm surprised to this day how effective this is. When I started out, my bands would mail post cards (yeah, that makes me ancient). Now it's so much easier, email for the last 15 years or so. I get much better attendance off of the email list than I do by creating events on Facebook, but those are both valid avenues for letting people know about your shows. [keep in mind that I have not always played jazz; but, I've almost always played original music. I was in plenty of rock bands in the past.]

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every market is different, so it's difficult to give specific advice regarding local venues.

 

Regarding networking, go see other bands that are doing what you want to do, and playing where you want to play. Talk to them on break. Be a "fan" first so you don't come off as competition. You need to get to know others in the industry, and they need to know you. Once you build some relationships, you'd be surprised how far that can take you. It can be the difference between:

 

"I got a demo from XYZ, you ever hear of these guys?"

"No" (demo goes in trash)

 

VS

 

"Oh yeah, that's Joe Blow's band, I've met those guys, they seem pretty cool"

"Ok, well maybe I'll give them a shot"

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't neglect marketing your band and original material on the net.. Facebook and a website. A lot of pre marketing can go a long way. Often around here the club owners first words are.. have you got a FB page, website. E-mail newsletters etc to your following are good way to build your fan base, and help get the word out about you and what you are doing. Nothing better that playing to a house that has come to see your act. Someone in the band has to come forward as the leader and get all the crap done. Hopefully you all on the same page as far as goals go, cause it's difficult to get things going without a consistent product to market.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Michelle

Well one of the problems I run into here is the lack of a consistent situation to build on. I play pick up stuff locally, but that type of thing is quite hard to market. My friend is a guitarist/singer, and he calls me up to go play here and there, often with different line-ups . I would like to use FB and the net more, but we don't really have a product so to speak. I'd like one!! :cry: Mike

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off-line promotion (flyers, word of mouth, print media etc.) is just as important as online promotion, if not more so.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best advice I've read which I will pass on to you: Don't worry about touring. Nobody is going to come to your shows if they don't know who you are. Work in concentric circles. Start locally. Build up a fanbase. Then extend your circle a bit and start working a bit further away. Build that fanbase. Then extend out a bit more, maybe to some out of state things, but still around the MI, OH, IL area. Build that fanbase, and extend further. This will take time. As D-Bon said, get ONE local gig right now and promote the shit out of it. Then get another and another and keep promoting the shit out of them. Build your fanbase. Use social media to your advantage. Record shows and put them up on the web. Video tape rehearsals and put the good bits on YouTube. Do some off the wall covers and let them go viral (like that band on YouTube called "Dirty Loops").

 

Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many people follow your band on Twitter? Facebook? Your own website?

 

If you don't have an answer for those questions, then film a rehearsal where you guys set up as though you're playing to an audience. Consider it a dress rehearsal. Pretend there's a room full of people instead of just the wall of the rehearsal space. Film the rehearsal.

 

Now, pick a day to get together, away from your instruments, and watch the rehearsal video. Be harsh and critique your stage presence, even moreso than your individual performance. The focus here is on your visual presentation rather than your musical one. Too many bands are content to stand on stage staring at their shoes instead of putting on a show.*

 

* if your audience is comprised of tripped-out hipster kids that like to stare at their shoes, ignore this advice. ;)

 

Now, presuming that your visual presentation is good, rent a rehearsal spot with production (a stage and lighting). Get 3 friends with HD video cameras to come out and film it (one stationary, 2 mobile, tell them not to get into each others' shots). Record the audio (again, involve a qualified or halfway capable friend). Compile said film and audio into YouTube videos.

 

Once you've got something amazing captured, post it to Facebook, on Twitter, get all your friends to pimp the hell out of it. Hope it goes viral. If it does, you'll be on Ellen in no time:

 

[video:youtube]SvviLGNydeg

 

Then you'll get parodied:

 

[video:youtube]IwPHy17Iu6E

 

Meanwhile the original, quality, truly creative artist will be relegated to late night appearances on Jimmy Kimmel:

 

[video:youtube]eO56dYMc0Ps

 

For those that want to know where this all started, here's Gotye's original track:

 

[video:youtube]8UVNT4wvIGY

 

(note that I'm not suggesting that Walk Off The Earth are entertaining to watch in that video; in fact, it's like watching paint dry for me... but 30 million YouTube views means that it's getting attention, and that leads to 'success', so...)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As D-Bon said, get ONE local gig right now and promote the shit out of it. Then get another and another and keep promoting the shit out of them.

Actually, I would advise Scott NOT to promote the shit out of the initial gigs. Essentially, these are rehearsals with an audience. You're likely going to be nervous and focused on getting the songs right, which is enough to keep you occupied without having the pressure of wowing the crowd. Reading Sven's advice got me thinking that you should invite a bunch of your friends to your practice space and play your set for them as if it's a real gig. Ask them to be brutally honest about what they thought. There's a good reason why national tours usually start in relatively smaller cities: before acts hit Madison Square Garden, they want to work out the kinks first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meanwhile the original, quality, truly creative artist will be relegated to late night appearances on Jimmy Kimmel:

 

[video:youtube]eO56dYMc0Ps

 

For those that want to know where this all started, here's Gotye's original track:

 

[video:youtube]8UVNT4wvIGY

 

OMG Sven don't you know I pointed this out like A month and a half ago? Why don't you ever use the search function? :laugh:

 

But seriously forks, I don't think Gotye is relegated anywhere per se. I heard 'Somebody That I Used To Know' on KROQ the other day. And if you look at his website, he seems to have a solid and mostly sold out touring schedule lined up.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scott, this is going to sound way douchey and cynical: But is this the same band from your thread a while ago about joining a new band? If I recall correctly, doesn't that band:

 

A) Play instrumental pseudo prog

 

B) Have a bass player that overplays and a drummer with slightly squirelly time?

 

If so, then what do you really envision in terms of broad success? I guess if anything you'd have to break into the full on jam band festival circuit. In order to do that, I think you'd really need to build a local fanbase by playing shows. Again I'd caution you as I did in that first thread to think twice before casting your entire lot with a single project like this.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get gigs. If the band isnt playing out it will soon die. Getting gigs requires persistence. Nobodys gonna knock on your door so you have to do the knocking and you have to keep doing it. Network with musicians and club owners/managers to get gigs. But, first and foremost get some gigs! This requires time calling, e-mailing or sitting on a bar stool face to face with the booking person.

 

 

We play for free. We get paid to set up and tear down.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG Sven don't you know I pointed this out like A month and a half ago? Why don't you ever use the search function? :laugh:

 

Yep, that's why I didn't actually create a specific thread about it, having already discussed it... but I had just had a chat with a kid that thought WOTE was this incredibly creative group who had actually written that tune, so I was posting out of a bit of frustration. ;)

 

Sorry, my bad. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...