Last week, we did our first interview for a blog. We’re a three-month old band.
We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to put ourselves in front of a new audience, and it was actually a fun process. I’m looking forward to seeing the results once they’re online – I’ll post a link as soon as it’s live. But we haven’t got any recordings done that actually sound like us, yet. We’ve put some basic demos online, mainly to share between ourselves than anything else, but that’s about it. And yet we’ve been interviewed, albeit as part of a series on new bands.
It’s crazy how the internet has changed things for musicians, both for better and worse. Marketing yourself online is an early part of the process. Young bands turn to the internet to find their fame as much as the gig circuit. For some, it’s even replaced the gig circuit.
When we were putting this band together, I went on some ‘join my band’ type sites to see if I could find some additional members. We tried out a few people, none quite worked out until we met Dan, who was put onto us by the guy who runs the practice space we use.
The thing I was shocked at, going on those band sites, was how many people seemed unwilling to work at building an audience. Quite a few people said something along the lines of: “I want to be in a band that build a following online before we play anywhere. Then we can avoid playing pubs or stuff like that.”
Well good for them, I wish them luck. But it seems to me that they’re missing the point of playing in pubs (and I don’t really get why that’s bad – some of the best venues to play in London are in pubs). Working your way up to larger venues by playing regularly give you a chance to hone your show, and improve your songs as you road test them. Playing the songs will become second nature, which will also result in better recordings.
We also noticed that people expected us to have really professional sounding recordings of our songs before they would consider playing with us. Basic demos of the songs didn’t seem to cut it. Making great quality recordings of your music is a lot easier these days with software such as Garageband. As a result, there is now lots of interesting and really creative music from unexpected places all over the world. But maybe for some, it’s diminished the imagination somewhat.
Don’t get me wrong – the internet is an amazing resource for independent artists. You can build a relationship with your fanbase in a way that you just couldn’t really do before the internet. You can sell your records and merch on your terms, and reach a global audience, without it costing a fortune. It’s great. All I’m saying is, it’s not the answer to everything.
So we’re going to use the internet to introduce people to our music as much as we’ll use our shows. But it’d be a mistake to see it as the easy road to a bigger fanbase.