After a bit of private practice, you're ready to get out of the bedroom, find some musicians and get into the rehearsal studios. Here are our Meet and Jam Top Ten Tips on Forming a Band.
1. Find musicians
It’s crucial to take time finding the right people before you start one of the most enjoyable journeys a musician can have. Well, what better place to start than Meet and Jam? The better the profile - kitted out with audio and video, the easier and more accountable the process will be. It will help put an end to the three hour rehearsal with someone you know straight away is not the right fit. Put yourself out there online as much as possible, get your profile right and make it clear what your boundaries are, BUT be open minded to what just might work. You could just be creating the next big thing.
2. Jam together to work out a direction
Once you’ve sorted the line-up, take your time to get to know each other and jam. This is an incredibly important process and getting to know each other socially is just as important as getting to know each other musically. Your genre will come naturally when you all start to like the same jams. This is an exciting moment, the day you discover ‘your sound’.
3. Write some songs
There will normally be one person who comes up with the ideas but every band member’s part is crucial in crafting a song. Work out this balance. Who has done what in creating the material you all like the most? Become comfortable with your roles in the writing process, then the songs will flow. Build your set list until you have 6-8 songs you want the world to hear.
4. Rehearse properly
Full band rehearsals are vital. It’s great to all face each other in a circle and watch each other when you’re getting to grips with the songs. A nod into the chorus or middle weight is actually crucial to become confident BUT when you’re happy and you can play the songs in your sleep, set the room up like a gig. Get all the transitions perfect as if that click track is ticking over in your head - and don’t be afraid to stop mid song and have a discussion about the tiniest things. It will make you a better live band.
5. Sort out your image
Some musicians will embrace this part and others will shy away but even if it’s a bit awkward at first, getting your look right will only make you a step closer to being the real deal. This doesn’t mean you should try too hard, you have to be yourself, but image is undeniably important. And if it looks like you’ve made no effort when really you have then even better! Don’t leave it until ten gigs down the line to look unified. When my band finally listened to our manager and stopped playing in any old T-shirts we finally understood!
6. Put together your ‘EPK’
Write a couple of paragraphs on your band, record something, take some photos and your EPK (electronic press kit) is born. Recording songs has never been easier and you don’t have to spend money on professional recordings until you are ready. Use Garageband if you have access to it, or even just use some live recordings on your iPhone that you are happy with. People are used to this now, and when on a budget in your early days, less can often be more.
7. Create your online profiles
These profiles can use the same content as your EPK to begin with. Both will evolve as you evolve and get better as you get better. There are so many online channels nowadays to get your music out there. Use all of them! Facebook and You Tube are essential and the more content the better. Engage with your audience, let people see as much as possible - photos, gigs eventually and rehearsals even. Involve them in your story. It will start with your friends but will spread fast so start early!
8. Book some gigs
You have your songs, you are well rehearsed, you have your look, you have content online, now it’s time to send out your EPK to promoters. Be professional about your approach - they want you to bring lots of people down to the venue sure, but you have to start somewhere. Choose the right venues, promote the gigs as early as possible on Facebook and amongst your friends, play a good gig and the rest will follow.
9. Get a GOOD manager
Take time finding the right person to manage your band. If you are going to give someone a 20% cut of everything you do, it can’t just be a mate who thinks he might be ok at it. Managers need to keep on top of the path you should take, the gigs you should play, the people that need to be spoken to on the night and the next day. They need to have your best interests at heart, keep you focused and collect the money at the end of the night. If you’re taking care of the music side of things, then the better the manager the further you’ll go.
10. Enjoy it and don’t give up
Inevitably during the rollercoaster ride of being in a band, unless you’re very lucky, there may be a natural shift of members and there will be differences of opinion. There will be gigs where you wonder why you do it all and many hurdles to overcome. Always remember when times get tough that it is worth it for that feeling just before you play your last song having won over a crowd, for the moment you hear the final mix of your latest demo and for the laughs in the transit van on the way back from your UK tour. The journey is inevitably always more fun than the destination. Enjoy it.
This story is featured on the Meet and Jam website.