The importance of treating your band as a team.


The garage dream: three to five friends, who met on high school or college, start jamming on a garage, a producer happens to walk by or hears a poorly recorded demo founded with lunch money and falls in love with band. Money starts pouring in, tours happen and stardom simply knocks on the door. A nice career, and all the effort is only on composing and rocking as hard as you can on stage.

A nice myth.

In reality, you will deal with flaky musicians, people who do not want to give themselves to the project, either in money, emotions or time but still want to be a rock star. You will deal with deluded people who spent five or ten years polishing their skills on their bedroom, and demand instantaneous recognition for it. You will have to deal with cliques, with being an outcast inside the music style you identify with. You will deal with greedy producers. You will have to learn about the logistics of making shirts, making CDs and how to calculate the costs of doing a tour. You’ll have to learn how to market yourself, because without it, your music means next to nothing. You won’t find a manual on how to do it, and worse, most bands will flat-out lie about the need of learning this stuff, making you feel like crap for not “making it”.

If you believe the lie, the myth of being “discovered”, you will become unmotivated and bitter. You need to destroy this myth inside your head and heart.

You need to get over the mentality that you can get something for nothing.
The world owes you nothing.

So, since the world owns you nothing, and you won’t be discovered overnight, you need to reframe how you think about things. You need to disabuse yourself of the illusion that you failed if your band has changed lineups. You need people who share the same vision, and passion as you, regardless where they are located in the world. Yes, the world! The web, and the new softwares opened new vistas for collaborations. You need to think about how you want to present your art. Do you want to be a touring band? A studio band? How often do you want to produce? How often do you want to perform? Notice that a band is not highly unlike the buzzword de jour: a startup.

You need a team, rather than just a band. You need people who will, no screw that, who are eager to do all the side stuff needed for a band to flourish. People excited to do the visual art, another who wants to study marketing and so on. Because a band is just concerned with playing and dressing like a peacock for shows. You need people who are willing to put that extra. And those people are hard to find. You need to be realistic, and assess the people you are collaborating right now, and try to foresee where you are going given the current team. Take a hard look into your aspirations and take your time to build your team. You don’t even need to get everyone right in the first try.

What you need is a core group.

Let’s say, that your art needs four people to be properly executed. You need at least one more person, who will shoulder some tasks, get ideas flowing for songs or for the visual part of the band. The other two can be just live musicians. Or musicians located in the city you will be playing. The possibilities are endless, and many people are willing to play in the style they love just for fun. I’m trying to get you thinking, rather than give hard and fast rules.

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