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.
We’re all thinking of ways to slow down time, aren’t we? Whether we like it not, we can’t slow it down but we can figure out a way to use our time efficiently. Thanks to Katie Garibaldi, she breaks down how she manages to balance her personal life and work. We’re pretty sure this is something everyone should read. Check it out HERE.