Recently I have been in contact with some new and upcoming bands. They’re super talented and are producing some great music, however, a few of them are also super young and I have a few bits of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own band…
1.Work f*cking hard
You want people to take you seriously? Then be serious. The music industry isn’t a school talent show, you’re not going to get a medal just for trying and no-one is going to hand you a record deal on a plate. I’ve seen so many people talk about their band like its the next Oasis which is great, believe in yourself, but on the other hand, you’ve gotta be willing to work as hard as Oasis did. You have to do every support, travel to every minor festival, do gigs for next to nothing and be willing to stand outside in the rain handing out CDs and cards just for the chance that one more person might listen to you.
2. Take control
I get it. Your mum/dad/uncle/brother wants to help you in every way they can, but remember this is your band, not theirs. This is normally only an issue when the band in question is particularly young and obviously want help from the adults they trust to give them a bit of guidance but there has to be a line. If I’m booking a gig I wanna talk to you. I’m not really interested what Uncle Fred -who- was -once- in- a -band -but- now -works- in -accounting thinks is best for you. I wanna know what you think, who you are, what you care about. It’s only going to hinder you because once it really is you out there, how will you know who to talk to? Who can you talk to if you’ve made no relationships? If Dad is the manager then great, but that doesn’t mean I only wanna hear from Dad. Sometimes you’ve gotta grow up and say “Hey, I can do this myself”.
3. Write some originals
So you’re talented. You can copy every song under the sun, you’ve learned how to make your instrument/voice sound half decent. Great. Now stop doing covers. Write something yourself. Don’t just write 1 song, write 10, 20, 100. Chris Buxton of the Covasettes once said to me “Your first 10 songs will be shit. Everyones are. But that’s okay, you just keep writing till they’re good.” You won’t get a single proper gig until you have your own music. Bars like Bootleg Social, Jimmys, The Cavern, and pretty much every other music bar won’t even take the time to listen to you if you don’t write your own music. If I wanted to hear something that’s already been done I’d go to Spotify.
4. Stage Presence
This is a make or break for every band. Think of every great frontman ever. Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Axl Rose, Ian Brown etc. They’re all different but they all know who they are and give a show and a half. So if you’re cool and calm or running about the stage, no matter what your style… Own. It. People are paying to see you, so let them see you. No-one wants to watch 4 students stood on stage looking like they can’t wait for it to end. Believe you’re the best band on the planet and we’ll believe it too.
5. Make yourself known
Definitely easier to say than do but make a start. Be active on social media, especially Twitter, and Instagram. Interact with other bands, with blogs, with fans. Tweet pictures and videos and sneak peaks and behind the scenes and when you’re recording and practicing. Everything. Its the old cliche but it’s not what you know its who you know and this couldn’t be truer in the music industry. People want to know what you’re doing, and when you’re brand new there are 100 other new bands who are just as good as you to choose to look out so stand out. Be different. Be in your face. The Hunna were everywhere and it did everyone’s head in, but thanks to it they’ve been on worldwide tours and have their 3rd album coming out. So annoy people with how much you tweet, we love it really.
Those are my 5 most important tips for any brand new bands who are trying to make it work. Stick to those basic rules and you should do alright… if you’re good that is…