How To Make It As A Band – guest blog by Christine Backer
There are likely to be thousands of articles, books and videos out there telling you how to become a successful band. Each of these will have their own merit, and no doubt some great ideas for getting your band together and becoming successful. This article, however, aims to tell you the stuff you won’t read about anywhere else. (note – you will also have to be quite good at writing and playing music).
Choose The Right Members
When you first come to put your band together there are a few things to think about. Obviously you will want people who are the best at playing their instruments and who can work well together writing music. But it doesn’t stop here. One of the most important things for a band starting out is that you all get along with each other. Once you are as big as Metallica it honestly doesn’t matter anymore if you despise each other and only come together to play to thousands. However, starting out you are going to spend a hell of a lot of time stuffed in the back of ex-postal vans travelling between coastal towns no one has ever heard of. If you hate each other now just imagine how much you are going to hate each other three days from now when that funny smell stops being funny and you are arguing over the last Dorito.
Another thing to think about is the look of the band altogether. It may be too early to start thinking press shots just now, but if you are aiming for the top try and imagine your faces on a magazine spread. For example, think about three very famous bands off the top of your head right now. It’s fine, I’ll wait. Now choose the most attractive member. There will be one, and it won’t be the drummer.(hey Christine …I dont agree with this, I know loads of gorgeous drummers – felix ) You can write the most mesmerising music in the world but if you don’t have at least one band member who will look incredible pouting away on the cover of a music magazine you will never be on one. If this is an issue, buy some masks and work on your ‘scary’ side.
Make Friends With The Press
This does not mean you should gatecrash BBC parties (although the associated tabloid coverage might be helpful), but instead start chatting up your local news and reviews people. Online blogs and magazines are a fantastic way to get your stuff reviewed and help you to reach a larger audience and certain sites will be more than happy to send a reviewer to gigs as well. Keep any contacts updated with what you have coming up and offer free entry to your gigs to press members who are willing to plug the gig or do a review on their site. Once the online sites start picking you up you’ll find that print press isn’t far behind!
Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourselves!
The absolute killer of bands on the rise is the very second they think they’ve ‘made it’. Until you have an entourage of hundreds and are playing sold out dates at Wembley Stadium, believe me, you haven’t made it. Thinking that you are more important than you are and acting like a group of divas will absolutely kill your name in the music industry. A lot of bands will trash venues and promoters for not bringing huge crowds to their gigs, but this is not their job, it is yours. If you badmouth the people that are willing to put you on then you will soon find that no one will. Then it’s back to your parents basement for you with nothing but the memories.
You will also find that diva-like behaviour sets you back a lot in a very short space of time. Your job is to show up on time, play the gig you have been signed up for and then pack up quietly and go away. Have a good time, absolutely, but don’t forget that being in a band is still a job and that you are there to make sure your audience has a good time, not be waited on hand and foot. If you don’t like the equipment that has been provided, bring your own, and if you want free beer then open a brewery.