JUST don’t DO IT!

November 7, 2008

What else do you do in your band?

You play an instrument, sing, or perhaps you’re the drummer with aspirations of becoming a musician one day.

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What other roles have you taken on?

I’ve been in bands where I was booking agent, press agent, tour manager, web developer, fan list administrator, even accountant, just to list a few.

I had one of those “aha” moments recently. These roles are not why I’m in a band!

I’m a musician and playing drums for my band is what I do. I’m just not interested in any of those other roles anymore.

You know what? That’s how it should be!

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If you’re currently your bands booking agent and you’re frustrated with all the time and energy it burns, then simply stop! There is always someone else who will enjoy the role. If it’s not within the band, then do a little work and find them.

The point is that you don’t have to take on any role that you don’t want, just because someone has to do it. Find someone that wants to do it instead

If you do take on any non playing roles, keep in mind that people are relying on you, so make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.

a different path

November 5, 2008

 

 

Be open to exploring new ideas within your songs. Just because you wrote a song a certain way, doesn’t make it the definitive version. Try any idea that comes to mind, just to see what happens. Mess with arrangements, find new interesting parts to colour the song with.

 

 

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You might be pleasantly surprised with what you find when you head down a different path.   

What’s your plan?

November 4, 2008

What is your band plan?
What are your goals for this week, next week, next month, and in 5 years time?

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What, you  don’t have any? So, how will you know that you’re moving forward and growing as a band?
If you don’t a have group goals you could be surprised with each member’s definition of success.

One band member might define success as achieving his life long goal of recording a CD and selling just 1 copy. Another member defines success as having his music played on the radio, whilst another  deems  sales of anything less than  5000 copies a failure!

We all have our individual dreams within a band, but if the band doesn’t come up with some common goals, things will get ugly!


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So, get really specific with your band goals and map them out.

You’ve played a few gigs and all your friends and family tell you how great you are and that if you had a CD they would be the first to buy a copy.  You get all excited, as it’s the next step towards world domination.

So, what’s the plan?

What’s the budget, and all the minutiae that’s involved in recording and pressing a cd?
With an open ended project, that is the self funded CD, there is the danger of the “project” dragging on for ever and a day as you work towards perfection.  When  after months you finally emerge with opus in hand, you find that your small yet loyal fan base has virtually forgotten you. Bands you  shared gigs with thought you  had split up, as your website hasn’t been updated in over 6 months. You find yourself having to start all over again.

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A great idea that some writers employ, is to design the cover and layout of their new book before they start writing a word. This really helps the process, as just having that “finished” book in their hands makes the whole project tangible.
Do the same with your CD. Design the physical product, name it, write all the linear notes and then make a physical copy. Details can change at any point, but having a semblance of the final product might help you.

Your cd is eventually finished and you now want it played on the radio. Time to get specific again. Which radio stations to you  want to play it? Who are the djs at your chosen stations that you want to play your cd?

You’re now tired of managing the band yourselves and want a manager. Ok, which manager do you want? Who is he? Who is he managing now? Get specific. If you feel you  need a manager, work out who he is and find him.

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You’re done with playing to your 10 friends and an empty room. You want support gigs with some of the bigger bands in town. You know the drill by now. Which band do you want to support and where do you want to support them?

Get the picture yet? Start asking really detailed, specific questions about what it is you want as band and you might just find the answers you need…

3 Things!

November 4, 2008

What 3 things are you doing today, to move your band towards your goal?

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What 3 things did you do yesterday?

What 3 things are you going to do tomorrow?

Even Kurt had a plan!

October 31, 2008

If you’re in a band, you need to read this!

http://lateralaction.com/articles/kurt-cobain-startup-success/

Twitter and the band!

October 29, 2008

The thing I like most about twitter, is that it’s a perfect example of permission marketing.

In this era of rampant spam and general information overload, it’s crucial that you have permission from your fans before you start engaging them. Even then you need to be reserved and not intrude into their lives. I’m still not convinced that I need to know what people just had for dinner, but I’m sure twitter will evolve.

You’re in the studio, recording some tracks, so why not get your fans involved by posting takes as you track them. Send a tweet to your fans and you can get feedback in real time.

Sure, you may not want fan input on all your recordings, so how a bout you “give” your fans a track? Pick a song that you’re recording and stream the process online in real time, with fans giving their input in real time via twitter.

Ask your twitter fans to help you with the song list on the day of a show, or any requests that they want to hear at the gig.

Ask fans to send you mini reviews via twitter during the gig itself. It could even make for interesting banter between songs, who knows?

Put on a show or an after show party just for your twitter fans. This is all about adding value to the experience for your fans. Make certain things exclusive to twitter fans, not available on your website or your other social networks. Remember, we’re talking hard core fans here, not just the casual listener. The hardcore fan wants to hear from you, so make them feel special, because the are!

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but I’ve no doubt that as more artists embrace twitter, the innovators will create a bunch of cool tools to enhance the experience. I love those little innovators!

You can find me on twitter : http://twitter.com/dannybob

oh, I’m about to have steak for dinner

Go with the flow

October 28, 2008

In his book, Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

For a musician, flow is that wonderful feeling you get when the whole band just falls into alignment. Everyone is in the “the zone”, to use a sporting parlance.

Basketball players describe the zone as being that magical day, when you can simply do no wrong. Every move feels effortless and you simply can’t miss a shot. You see the ball in the hoop the moment it leaves your hand. It all just flows in what appears to be slow motion.

How do we find flow? What can musicians do to create an environment that encourages flow when playing music?

GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD!!!

When playing music with others, you need to get out of you own head space and into the room and listen to what’s happening around you.

All too often we’re caught up in our own parts , neglecting to listen to what the rest of the band is playing and how we fit in with the landscape.

We spend hour after hour practicing, honing our craft, at home on our own and it’s easy to stay in that mindset when we’re in a band situation.

Once in a band environment, it’s time to step out of ourselves and listen! Lock into the groove, relax and just let it all flow!

Work at integrating flow into your life at every opportunity. Simple tasks, such as washing dishes can become a flow experience if you just let go and focus on what it is you’re doing. Be like the Karate Kid. Remember Mr. Miyagi and all that “wax on, wax off”? He was teaching young Ralph how to find flow in the simplest of tasks. Just don’t start pulling out that stupid pose, yes you know the one!

The difference between a bunch of guys grinding their way through a song, all in their own worlds and a cohesive unit locked together, painting the same picture, is massive. These are the gigs when you walk off stage to comments of “you guys were so f**cking tight tonight!”

You know those moments, when you forget time and it all just feels right? That’s flow…

Don’t be a follower!

October 27, 2008

Have you noticed how these days you’re invited to follow people everywhere you turn online? You can follow your favorite thinkers on twitter, your favorite artists via their websites and blogs.

I love the fact that every morning I can open my google reader and pour the latest musings from my favorite thinkers into my brain, along with that early morning coffee high.

We live in the most amazing of times. The internet is full of brilliant resources and mentors for today’s musician. All you have to do is seek them out.

When you find a few that really resonate with you, don’t become a follower, be a student instead! Study them, their work, ideas, and thoughts, learn all you can and then infuse it into your own life, but don’t become a follower. It’s an unproductive and even dangerous strategy.

If you build it, will they come?

October 27, 2008

You have the myspace page, your band facebook page is up and running. The tech savvy of you, even have your own website. You’ve spent all your collective savings, even maxed out a credit card or two, just to get that CD finished.

So, now what? No one really cares, do they? Radio won’t play it; no one is coming to your gigs, and now that your 20 friends have all bought a CD, what happens to the remaining 480 in those boxes under your bed? It’s a great CD, you’re a great band!

But, you’re different, this is something special, right? C’mon, how hard are you really working at this band thing?

Are you really, really, I mean, really working at this? With over 8 million artists on myspace alone, the world doesn’t want just another band. Just going with the flow and putting yourself out there, with a “build it and they will come” mindset, doesn’t cut it anymore!

What are you doing to be extraordinary?