Hi! The Ones You Forgot here, stopping by to give a little piece of #WednesdayWisdom to all those looking to get started in the music world.
Though we’ve been a band for over 5 years now, we find ourselves learning new things every day. When you build it from the ground up (especially when half of the members have never been in a band before), there can be a fair share of bumps in the road. Some lessons are incredibly important to learn on your own, but we would love to share a few tips that might help make your musical journey a little easier.
Focus on your art first.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the overwhelming amount of other aspects in a music career. From booking, networking and performing, to marketing, branding, and merchandising, there is a whole plethora of things that find their way onto an artist’s to-do list. Without a doubt, these are all very important parts, but it is so important to routinely step back and make sure that the first thing you do is write songs you LOVE! Your art is the center of your career in music, because, well, IT IS THE MUSIC! When you genuinely enjoy what you’re making, all of the components of the business side will come easier. You’ll also be proud of yourself when your art finally makes it out into the world, which is an awesome feeling.
2. Stay organized.
This is crucial for every aspect of the band. When you stay organized, you will pat yourself on the back in the long run. Whether you are in a group or a solo act, you are going to collaborate with others in some way, shape or form. Organization makes the collaboration run a lot smoother, and that can only enhance the creative experience! We recommend making checklists, drawing up timelines for important dates and plans, keeping the van tidy on tour, always keeping tight communication, etc. They may seem like tiny and obvious tasks, but they will make everyone’s day that much easier, especially when you have a lot going on.
3. Be professional and respectful.
Your parents probably taught you this one, but hey, that’s because it’s important!
Professionalism and respect speak for themselves, and should be given for all parts of your life, not just your music career.
4. Have fun.
It may be the cliche thing to say, but it’s true! Making art and sharing it with the world should be a happy experience for you. Yes, the music industry can be stressful, but for us, we know that none of that matters the moment we hit the stage. It’s all about enjoying ourselves and making sure that the crowd does too. If you feel like you’ve lost that feeling, it’s okay! Take a break, relax, and revisit it when you’re ready. Nothing is worth purposely putting yourself in a bad place mentally.
That’s all for our little rendition of #WisdomWednesday! Huge thanks to the Muddy Paw team for asking us to share some advice.
By: Nick Manduley
So you’ve decided to finally start a band! Maybe you’ve been wanting to do this for a while, or maybe deciding to start a musical project was a bit of a new development for you. Either way, you know this is something you want to do, and you want to take this band as far as you can take it. Here’s a few things you should understand before you start searching for bandmates or thinking about hitting the studio.
1. You need bandmates you have chemistry with.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to actually like, respect, and enjoy making music with the people in your band. Ideally these are people you consider family; some of the best friends you’ve ever had. You should all be on the same page about the kind of music you want to create; writing and practicing should be something you view as fun, not simply work! Having good chemistry with your bandmates is vital to writing good songs- and just enjoying being in a band in general.
2. The Three P’s
Let’s say you’ve dreamt about being in a band your whole life, and now you’re finally at the stage in your life where you’re ready to start a band that you want to take as far as you possibly can. Well, chances are you’re not gonna blow up overnight. Or in a week, month, a year, two years…. My point is that if you’re trying to go somewhere with your band, you need to have patience, perseverance, and passion.
(1) Patience. Writing, recording, and promoting an album, single, or EP can be exhausting and time consuming. Always remember to pace yourself; the mental and physical health of you and your bandmates should always come first. Let’s say you’ve got a debut single or EP completely recorded and ready to go, you’ve marketed and promoted the hell out of it, you’ve racked up loads of likes and follows on your socials, maybe even the preview you posted of the music video you made for your single got a decent amount of views. Release day finally comes, you’re checking Spotify plays, views of your music video, your bandcamp stats, etcetera- and it’s not what you hoped. Maybe it’s nowhere near what you hoped, not even a little. This may leave you with a bit of a sour feeling, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! You’ve got march to the beat of your own drum, sure, but the thing is you actually have to keep marching; which leads me to……
(2) Perseverance! Keep moving forward, keep playing shows, keep writing music, keep at it! If writing/playing music is what makes you happy, then by all means you should keep doing that, no matter what. The world will not suffer from a surplus of music. How long it takes for you to “blow up” shouldn’t matter really at the end of the day, and as long as you’ve got a….
(3) Passion for what you’re doing, you’ll continue to move forward at your own pace!
3. Be realistic.
Let’s say you want a really professional sounding single or album. Or maybe you want a professionally shot music video. Or maybe you want to hire a PR firm to run a campaign for your next release (wink-wink!). The fact of the matter is that these things cost money- a lot of money. Of course, spending money on stuff like this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re a band that’s just starting out, you should be asking yourself whether or not that professional recording/pro-shot video/expensive PR campaign is something you legitimately need (or can afford) at this stage in your band’s life. Look into doing these things yourself; record your own music, film your own videos, advertise yourself. It’ll save you money and give you loads of good experience.
It’s also important to recognize when something like a professionally shot music video or a professional PR campaign may be right for you. Let’s say your band is 3-5 years old, you’ve got an album or two under your belt, and you think it’s time to take your next release to a more professional level. Put together a budget and see what you can afford, and consider what specific services may be of most use to you.
4. Be kind, especially when there’s a networking opportunity in your midst.
Call me a dirty hippie, but I completely subscribe to the notion that we, the human race, are all one; and therefore, when you hurt others, you’re also hurting yourself. That’s why it’s important to put your best foot forward, to do good things without expecting a reward, and to do your best to put out positive energy into the world around you. Specifically at any shows you play! Talk to the other bands, watch their sets, make friends! These people can get you connections to folks in your local scene who record music, shoot videos, etc. Being active in your local scene can do a lot for your band; these are the people you want to be interacting with when you’re just starting out! Also, attend local shows in your area that your band isn’t billed on. Go out to support your friends bands, because one day you might need their support too.
“The summit itself, which is currently wrapping up (September 13-30), was a free digital conference which brought 40+ professionals right to the homes of those attending. Each masterclass focused on both advice and actionable items, designed to help those like myself, who are maybe struggling with their next steps.”
Shuffle Beat Music recently featured Steve Palfreyman of the Music Launch Summit on their blog. The interview discusses the summit itself as well as Palfreyman’s thoughts on the industry. Click here to check it out!
Need some tunes to kick off your 4th of July in style? Discover new music with our June Monthly Music Mashup, they will surely light up your holiday weekend.
This month’s playlist features:
A Story Told
The Weekend Classic
We Were Kids