Comments Off on This long hard road to… what? Part I: Beginning Band Structure

This long hard road to… what?

Part I: Beginning Band Structure:

The foundation of a group of people with a common goal.

Creating original music and getting it heard. Make sure everyone understands the amount to sacrifice it takes to get it heard before investing your time. That’s very hard to do, as you will see down the road, when it really takes sacrifice to get to a new level of opportunities. That’s when most bands will lose a member (or several), and the bands that make it, get over the hurdle. The bands that don’t, collapse under that stress and break up, move on, or worse, stop playing music altogether. Don’t be a bitch, everything in life has hurdles, these ones allow you to play your own damn music for a career. Fuck no, it isn’t easy to generate income from essentially nothing, but it can be done with structure and some business savvy.

First you must write some music people want to hear. Focus on 25-35 minutes worth until a frothing demand for more. Please. Please. PLEASE spend obscene amounts of time on creation and development of songs at practice and individually on your own time. So many bands rush it, and don’t spend that time to truly craft a good song. To me there’s nothing worse than a live band with one solid, developed song and bunch of sloppy crap around it. Ideally you should have studio ready music before you even play a show. In a perfect world, have that studio ready music in the studio and get one-three songs recorded. That way when you do play, the people have something to take home, and more likely to remember you – but that comes after this:

Having members that can support themselves is key. Sure a lot of us go through a firing or shitty job you quit, but spot the trends early of a slacker that’s constantly changing jobs. Taking care of business at work allows you to gain flexibility of scheduling for practice, gigs, and recording sessions. I never had an issue with getting days I needed off, because I was always up front, and ensured that when I was there, I made up for the constant scheduling needs.

What if a band member has a career job that he just cannot be flexible with? Most gigs, recording sessions are scheduled weeks and months in advance, so that’s when being up front with your job is vital. If they are unwilling or truly unable to be flexible, this person probably will not be able to take advantage of opportunities that can really help your band. Some of which pop up suddenly with very short notice. Another route is getting a back up musician that can cover in case they have to miss gigs or quick opps. Your local music scene is full of talented musicians looking to play as much as possible, and can pick up music quick.

Schedule practice as often as possible, especially during normal local show times to better ensure availability of the band from the get go. There’s a lot of great gig opportunities that come down during the weekdays, so don’t put all your groupies in on one bed on the weekends. There are music fans that are off during the week in all markets, reach them all!

Ok jobs and practice squared away? Well, now ensure you all have a plan of sharing the costs of being in an independent band. You will need photos, websites, graphic design, merch, recordings, logos, videos, and more along the way. Best way is splitting it evenly amongst all in the band. Each member should be responsible for their own instrument/equipment, transportation and cover their own tabs separately (remember that whole sacrifice shit I mentioned?). Then cover these things, and make sure you aren’t stacking everything at once, as although your band members should have jobs, they may not all make the same amount. Granted there are bands with richie riches that can fund things as quickly as three snaps in a z like formation. Focus on purchasing recordings first, then deciding an image for the band.

Many bands start getting social networking and try to get gigs established before actually getting some music recorded. I think its a waste of time. You need to have a product before you start selling. As a manager and promoter, there’s nothing worse than getting a submission from a band with no music to hear. Sure once you get a gig you can get some fans without a demo, but do you really want to work that much harder, when you should be focusing on getting everything locked down structurally?

Now with all that nonsense out of the way, set some short term and long term goals. Where do you want to be in a year? 6 months? Etc. There are so many roads a band can go, and so many ways to be heard. Start with dominating your local area. And to do that you will need to promote your little ass off.

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