Being a ‘local band’ might seem like bizarre terminology seeing as all bands are local to somewhere. Musical communities produce friendships, love and great music, the relationships that bands share galvanisise one another to improve and engenders an environment of common creativity.
Whether it be the early naughties Manchester music scene that Richard Hawley, Elbow and I Am Kloot blossomed in. The West-London music scene of the last few years that has seen Laura Marling, Noah And The Whale, The Vaccines and Mumford And Sons rise irresistibly. 70’s Laurel Canyon saw The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills And Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Carol King to name but a few, all come to prominence. Being a part of a scene like this can give you solid foundation from which to grow.
1. Be a part of the community.
Being encouraging, kind and amiable may seem like obvious things to do but so many new artists seem to have ideas of themselves as angry young rockstars thinking that this forced attitude will help to create the illusion of themselves as bad boys. It won’t. People will lose interest in you, avoid you and it just isn’t nice. Going to other local bands gigs and being supportive will create a positive nature of cooperation.
2. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
With so many things for a band to think about when they are coming up it can be hard to know what to focus on. Now this might sound simplistic to the point of madness but … Don’t forget to be good! Now obviously it is always a bands intention to be good, but sometimes the importance of songwriting and musical ability can get lost behind things like, “Do our haircuts match? Is ‘Bacon Rollercoaster’ a good band name? Is that poster really right for us?” All you need to worry about is getting in the rehearsal studio and playing and getting together and writing. This is the invaluable foundation of everyone who has ever been great.
3. Don’t overdo it.
It might feel like gigging all the time is definitely the way to grow a fanbase. The more you gig, the more fans, the more fans, the more gigs. Wrong. There are not an unlimited number of people in the area and therefore if you gig too much in one place, people will stop coming. You will be doing a lot of gigs at a low level. If you do one show in your town every 2 months then your gig is an event that you fans look forward to, there are less shows to put energy into promoting and the quality of shows will be greater as both you and your fans will be more up for it.
4. Value the importance that physical promotion still has.
You can tweet and facebook till your eyes dry up, fall out and your left bashing your keyboard desperately trying to tell the world you just had a cup of tea but really nothing will help boost sales for gigs or your fanbase like physical and social interaction. A good poster put up in the right place or somebody flyered on the street will have you and your band burnt into their memory for so much longer than had they just come across a facebook post. The real physical world means something and cannot be ignored so easily.
5. Touring is only impressive if people show up.
Many bands nowadays view touring as a right of passage that is due immediately. Bands will often book tours in places before they have even done the smallest things to even make sure there is anyone in these areas that will buy a ticket. Touring will only make you successful if there are people in these places that actually want to see you. Make sure you’ve built a solid foundation first and then consider moving forward onto touring