Building a Band - Tips & Advice
This is a small compendium of stories, tips and ideas from our instructors and members about one of the most important aspects of being a musician: building a band!
It all started with this post by instructor Cosmin Lupu, who shared some of his experience on the matter
Cosmin's Tips: Join forces!
I will start with a very interesting discussion which has been initiated due to one fact - united bands means increased strength in many directions.
Last night, me and the guys from Aria, met the members of Whitewalls and Goodbye to Gravity - prominent names in the underground modern rock music in Romania. We decided to create a concept in which basically Aria, Whitewalls and Goodbye to gravity join forces in touring together, supporting one another and organizing events together. When more bands unite and do things thoroughly, chances of contacting sponsors and drawing people's attention increase greatly! It will be a logistic nightmare and A LOT of organizational ruckus, but I'm sure we'll pull it out.
Aria's release in October will have Goodbye to Gravity's support and viceversa (we're releasing materials at 2 weeks distance, one band from the other) and in November, on the 8th, the first conceptual gig will occur, featuring Aria, Whitewalls and goodbye to gravity - the Modern Metal Consortium. We hope to draw more bands into the movement. We are trying to get only the best out there - if you want in, you need to have a great musical product, good showmanship and most of all, the band members have to be nice guys. I don't want nasty people in the clan
I am starting to work on the business plan today and I hope to get it done until the end of next week. It will be arranged in the form of a document with steps, which will be posted here as a PDF, so that you guys can download it and see ALL the elements needed to pull such a stunt together with your friends from other bands.
Goodbye to gravity
Derper's Tips: Keep focus!
I would like to mention another topic regarding bands....keeping focus!! And I don't mean keeping "focused", which should occur at the individual level.
I mean that, the most important thing I've learned from years of rockin live....your band needs to occasional meet, talk, share ideas, and maintain a similar focus. For example...are you trying to make $$? Trying to just have fun? Trying to book more, or bigger gigs? Simply trying to get your name out to more people either locally, or internationally via the internet? Do you want to tour?
If you don't occasionally meet to discuss these things, it's natural for everyone to start to have a different focus. Then, the frustration begins!!
And by keeping a similar focus on what is most important to the whole BAND, you are also able to get there more efficiently because you can choose the proper actions to achieve these goals that you have decided on, and even (sometimes) design a reasonable timeline for such....for example, "let's cut a 5-6 track demo EP to release for free/pay-what-you-want online, within 3 months max. We'll also redesign our website, so that we'll be poised and ready to book bigger local gigs. And for the next 3 months, we'll play at different venues all over town, so that we can have a bigger draw when we finally book the bigger shows".
Anyway, that is one of the best things I've learned about keeping a band together. That, and to leave your ego at home. Enjoy what you're doing, so that you never "lose". And when you encounter an inflated, or sensitive ego in your band....RUN FOR THE HILLS!! Really....ego filled musicians are common to find, but they usually limit themselves and those around them. Don't waste time on it.
Cosmin Lupu: First steps - the seen and the unseen
My start is probably similar to another million ones: 'Duuuuude, let's start a band! YEAAH! Let's DO THIS!'
Well, in the beginning, nothing really matters ALL YOU AIM FOR is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing - this is perfect! It's the thing that disappears after the fights, hardships, bumps, bad gigging conditions lack of payment and all of the related stuff kicks in. This shouldn't happen, but sadly there are many situations in which inevitably, one of the above elements or a cumulus of several of them, proves to cause the downfall of a promising project.
In order to avoid these things as much as possible - keep in mind that this WILL NOT represent the ultimate solution and reading this thread will provide only directions, but while facing with the real situations, the only standing warrior...will be YOU
1) Make sure that your buddies like the general style that the band wants to play and have nothing against borrowing elements from various other styles.
2) As Gabe noted in the thread above - focus is crucial!
- Focus on short term goals meant to accomplish long term ones
- Find each member's extra musical skill and let him do that work for the band as in the beginning there will be no manager to do it!
- Talk EVERYTHING and HIDE NOTHING from each other - talk often and NOT in the REHEARSAL ROOM - people will tend to noodle with their instruments
- Be methodical in your music writing approach and set deadlines - they will most probably be overridden, BUT they will get the songs ready FASTER than if they were not set in the very beginning smile.gif
3) After setting your goals - see what you need to accomplish them and gather information.
4) Exposure and your product - have a smashing product and the right exposure and things will sort themselves out easier than just trying to promote your band without having an outstanding product. Wait LONGER and invest in your musical production, rather than releasing a product with which you're not entirely happy!
After having the product, and by this I mean:
- a video - this helps a lot, especially if it's done right and has good quality to back it up - nowadays, you can
- visual identity
- merchandise - not necessarily from the very beginning
...you need to make your product/ band available online through the aid of:
- a website
- a Facebook page
- a Youtube Channel
This is the LEAST which you should take care of and after this, you should think about getting on as many online music selling sites as possible - people need to have a possibility of buying your product.
I also want to recommend a book - The new rules of PR and Marketing, written by a dude named David Meerman Scott. It can help you A LOT if you are able to extrapolate the things written in there and apply them to your product smile.gif
These are just a few thoughts which I plan on extending in the coming weeks
Tonymiro: a Professional AES registered Mastering Engineer insight
-I'd strongly suggest that you have the music professionally recorded, mixed and mastered (though I would say that). Seriously, whilst many people home record very few actually have the time, skills and equipment to be able to do this at a high enough quality. There are an awful lot of music tracks around where the musicianship and arrangements are let down by poor or indifferent sound engineering.
-Getting the product professionally recorded/mixed/mastered may seem expensive at first but it generally will pay for itself and may be the real diffrence between an ok product and a great one.
-Investigate digital re-distributors as their job is to get your music on to as many music selling sites as possible and most of them will send your stuff to ITunes/Amazon etc for distribution. Look in to them carefully though as some will do more then others and they all tend to charge different amounts for their services. Be aware that most/all will expect you to have stuff like ISRC and bar codes and if you don't then they may apply their own. Some can provide a mastering service but you may well be better off getting your product mastered independently.