Are you starting a band but have no idea how to get ahead? Need some help getting things done yourself to get your band noticed? Thankfully, Metal Insider has DIY expert Nicole Hollis-Vitale on board to help! She has invaluable experience working with developing acts as publicity, radio and street team manager and overall band mother at powerhouse hardcore label Deathwish Inc.
Got any questions you need answered before taking your show on the road? Send an e-mail to nicole [at] metalinsider [dot] net. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are explicitly those of Nicole Hollis-Vitale and not of Deathwish Inc or its employees.
So you’ve started a band. You’ve played a few shows, you’ve got a five-song demo tape, your girlfriends and buddies think you’re just great. Now what do you do? Over the years I’ve seen bands come and go and grow and fail. In this blog, I will relay to you what I think you can do, on your own, to help your band succeed.
I won’t even get into talking about the type of music you’re playing or whether it’s good or bad. I’d hope to assume you are trying hard to write music you love to play and that sets you apart from the rest. If you are copping other people’s riffs and styles, you’d better be amazing at it, or you probably won’t be going anywhere.
Learn how to play your instruments efficiently. Practice makes perfect. Find a way to record your practices, video tape performances and practice your songs on your own (even when the rest of your band isn’t around). In hardcore, it’s all about the live show. You want people to remember your band and look forward to seeing you over and over.
Your local scene is incredibly important. The thought of touring the US, Europe and the rest of the world is incredibly appealing, but you have to start at home. Play shows in your city frequently. You don’t want to over-saturate your local audience, but you want to make them familiar with you. In the Northeast, it’s a bit easier, because there are so many different cities to play within a ten-hour radius. But wherever you are, spend some time on weekends playing in your surrounding cities/states. Once you’ve got a good local following and some hometown hype around you, then you can move on to other places.
Having trouble getting on local shows? Usually promoters have a million other local bands that want to play the “big” show coming through that month. You have to think about your actions and how involved you are in your scene. Nothing is more important for the growth of your band than the people around you, so be good to them. Do you go to all the shows that happen in your city? Do you know who puts them on? Do you make friends with the touring bands?
We all know that networking is important, but you may think that only applies in a corporate world. Without being incredibly corny or shallow, make sure that you make acquaintances with other bands and promoters. If you aren’t involved in your local scene as a fan and supporter, how can you expect your local scene to support you? Go to shows, offer to help to your local promoters, offer touring bands places to stay (if you have the means). These people will remember your help and your actions when it’s time to toss back a favor and put your band on a show. Bands touring through your area are a viable resource as well, because they can possibly hook you up with shows and spread the word for you in their city.