Published on June 24th, 2014 | by Dylan Lott1
5 Obvious Things Your Band Is Doing Totally Wrong
Have you ever looked back on your high school years and thought “What the fuck was I thinking?” If you answered yes, you are both human and you breathe air. If you answered no, please ask the question again until your answer is yes.
The same applies to the music industry. Too many bands are too afraid of setting a high standard of quality to put a foot down and be stalwart in the resolve of being not just a quality creative
Here’s what you’re doing wrong, it’s not all of it… But it’s a good start.
5. Letting The Illiterate Band Member Post On Your Facebook
EVERY BAND HAS OR HAS HAD THIS GUY. The difference is, sometimes they’re smart enough to not post on the band’s social media. Other times, the band is smart enough to change the password to his email when he’s not looking. Or break his computer and destroy this unemployed little shit’s phone.
It’s not impossible to be successful and have this guy, but you need to watch out for him. He can do some real damage.
They always have the best of intentions, too. It goes beyond just the band’s collective media – but his own personal media, which is also an extension of the band’s marketing. He sits down thinking he’s gonna get everyone to vote for his band to play da Warp’ Toor and get totally famous in the process.
So how do I rectify the problem?
Well, I’m sure he’s such a good friend, and you’re letting it slide because you love him so much.
If he really is your friend: fix the problem. Tell him it’s a problem, tell him why and make sure he knows that it isn’t anything personal but the band looks fucking retarded when he opens his mouth. If you’re nice, tell him you still want his contribution, but you want to proofread it. Being nice won’t get your band anywhere though. You have to make the hard choices. Sometimes, this seems like one of them. It’s not a stretch to give someone the boot for being an imbecile. Your success is largely dependent upon your presentation, both on the stage and off of it.
4. Talking On Stage While It’s Still Loud
First off, let’s start this one by saying some bands can get away with this and every word they will hear will be heard by everyone in the crowd. By some bands, I mean the bands that are playing in arenas. Sometimes at the high end all ages venue level (700-800 person on a sell-out) it can even be kind of audible.
But, you’re probably not in any of those bands. Those bands didn’t sell shirts by getting on stage and talking about them. They sold shirts by making quality fucking shirts. If you think Chelsea Grin got big based on music alone, I would like to direct you to any Hot Topic in the world. You’re wrong.
Your vocalist is on stage and all anyone in the crowd can hear is some out of breath panting that makes us think he needs a gym membership more than a recording contract. I get that you just pointed to the merch table. I understand your point. The merch table is there. We all walked past it on the way in to this venue.
It’s possible to hear what you’re saying, sure. Not while the instruments are going. This is an expansion of the thought that sometimes the heaviest thing your band can do is nothing at all. Until you have choreographed the part of this set around 50,000 dollars worth of audio equipment, please shut the fuck up and talk to all 24 people in the crowd about your social media and merch like a decent human being.
3. Cutting Expenses on Graphic Design
So your band has the coolest windbreakers to wear on stage. You guys live large, you invest money on the latest and greatest technology, drink lots and lots of fucking Starbucks, buy every new release video game and you probably have dual 6505+’s with Mesa cabs for your guitar section, coupled with an Ampeg SVT810/SVT-4 Pro in the bass department.
But you look like shit. Somewhere down the road, your band decided to put money into promo shoots, a logo, probably some flyers and things like that. You chose a superb graphics designer too, his material sells.
Until he came back with your quote and you told him no. Why? The cost. This one is simple. If you cut corners, expect to be cut. This is the most defined representation of your band. A unique, marketable logo is just as important as a good sound in terms of technical success.
2. Touring Too Early
Touring is the most strenuous thing a band can possibly put themselves through. It’s not even just the actual tour. Booking a tour is widely regarded as one of the most difficult things you can possibly do in music. There’s a reason for that, it takes years of preparation for everyone involved. I’m gonna be simple and sweet here.
-Don’t tour unless you have merch.
-Don’t tour unless you have new, recorded material of high quality to promote.
-Don’t tour outside of your native region until you’re seeing success in every area of your native region. If promoters are difficult to convince on your band the next state over – reevaluate that national tour. It’s not a good idea.
-Don’t tour unless you have solid, reliable equipment both on and offstage. That means the broken down van needs replaced and your trailer is probably not good for a tour if it’s gonna fall apart.
-Don’t tour unless you get a positive response at EVERY LOCAL SHOW WITHOUT FAIL.
-Don’t headline your first tour.
– Don’t tour unless you have an emergency fund saved up to cover your ass. Dates WILL fall through.
There is no fudge room on this list here. This is a list of absolution. Your band will fall apart at the seams if you do any of those things wrong. Talk to anyone who has ever been involved with a failed tour before, they will tell you – a tour is an animal and a testament to the strength of your band, your friendship with your band mates and the longevity of your act. Don’t fuck up the first one.
1. Tact of Marketing
Tact of marketing is a subject that a lot of people have preached about, and yet no one seems to grasp. How big do you want your band to be? The biggest in the world? Would Walmart be okay with selling any of your merch? Okay, cool, I brought you down a notch. It’s reasonable to get your merch into major chains. The next time you print anything, say anything, or do ANYTHING, ask yourself “Would Hot Topic do it? Would AP have a positive response to this?”
Actually take a step back and think “Is this like something I can see anyone wearing?” Do internal trials – your circle of friends is not the best representation. Start from there and ask people on a one-to-one basis how they feel about it. Don’t take offense, you’re not looking to defend – you’re looking to grow.
The art of having tact is being able to feed your worst enemy a shit-filled sandwich and have them enjoy it.
It’s like getting a glaring typo in a tattoo. Enough said. Don’t do it.