In my last article I was stressing on the necessity to improve your bands’ live performance by playing as many shows as possible. You may debate that this is a difficult task to stat with: why should you invest time and money to travel with your band, when you can just buy a RTW ticket and set off for the world tomorrow??
Well, it is mainly because you would experience travel under a completely different perspective. According to the Indie Travel Manifesto we emphasize at Vagabonding, playing music as a means to long term travel can bring you to experience a foreign culture very insightfully.
So, how to get serious? I have previously said that you need to hone your skills and be unique as a band/artist. People do not need clones anymore, so try to be yourself. Taking a distance from your idols is always the most difficult accomplishment, but trust me, it pays off. This is the first, most difficult step which may take several years to realize. Undoubtedly, after “paying the dues”, your experience will make you confident enough to switch to a more serious approach.
Get a website. An artist with no website may as well quit music altogether, these days. A Facebook page is not enough… get a blog site such as the free ones at WordPress.org or Blogger.com, and invest some time to talk about your band. Make a good impression, and please use streaming services to upload your music. If you have, videos will complete the portfolio even better. Use a subscriber mailing list service to send monthly updates to your fans… even if they are 5 just now, they will grow, especially when they are approached by an internet savvy band.
Put a press kit together, which means put a logo, band picture, a brief bio and a few clips taken from some of your band’s best reviews – live shows or demo/official recordings – in a nice layout, and do not forget to insert your contact details. Save it as a .pdf file and you will be ready for the next step.
Contact promoters and clubs If you have been following a music trend for a while, you will know which agencies are normally booking shows, and which clubs are the best for your niche. Now it’s time to start sending that press kit around: write a nice paragraph about your band, be precise and enthusiastic, but do not brag too much. You may e-mail it together with the .pdf and possibly add a couple links to some video page where you have previously uploaded your .avi files. This works greatly as a promotional tool, although an email tends to be trashed quite quickly in most cases. You may therefore consider putting together a hard copy of your press kit: print the .pdf out –use nice paper, but not too glossy or you may risk to look like a poser band and automatically get more expensively trashed – , burn three or four songs on a CD – and PLEASE write the band’s name and your contact address on it! – and send a physical package. For most clubs, this way is much preferred as promoters love to get their hands on real material. Later you may follow up with emails.
This is in brief the way to go, walking you up the first steps on that “Stairway to Heaven”. This tips work greatly both locally and internationally, as you may want to contact some promoters to try to get some shows in a specific area of the world. During my prime time, using this method I got my band a full-length record deal with a Dutch label. This followed up with a tour of the Netherlands and Belgium. We hit the right public and we kept going back to the region every year for almost a decade… so please, trust the power of the steps described above, and good luck to get yourself out of the woodwork… always remember: planet Earth is big enough to have a bunch of people going crazy over your music somewhere!!! This is the amazing reality of the underground rock scene!!