Relationship’s are difficult enough to maintain with just one other person, add a few more into the mix, each with a conflicting artistic vision for something that means the world to them, it’s no wonder that not all bands stay together forever. Not forgetting the fact that talented musicians are at a premium, so people’s heads may get turned by other opportunities. Here are some things to remember when looking for a new band member.
We’re not talking about whether or not he or she wears a cravat and funky red shoes, we mean playing style. Your band will have a sound that you want to supplement but you will not want a complete shift. It’s probably obvious not to recruit a Jazz guitarist to a Black Metal band (although that is not us saying that will never work, keep an open mind), but you may want someone who leaves space, fills it, a shoegazy feel player, a mechanical Matt Bellamy-esque player, a sonically diverse guitarist like Tom Morello or you may not even know what you are looking for when you start looking, but rest assured you will certainly know by the time you have auditioned a few people. There are different fits for different bands. Make sure you are vigilant when listening to them play. This is probably the most important thing to think about.
It’s great finding a musician that you get on well with, whose playing you really like and who is keen on the band, but should it turn out that your brilliant new guitarist lives in Warsaw and your band is based in Milan you should realise fairly quickly that this is not going to work. Obviously this is an exaggeration, but you should be careful in making sure that the band has the proximity to rehearse as often as you need to.
It is not uncommon for certain musicians to be involved in more than one project at a time so when inviting a musician to join you in your bands quest for greatness make sure that they are going to be available for rehearsals, writing sessions, gigs. If they are also gigging with other people and they play with them instead of with you it could lead to tension. As long as there are rules set up, you both understand each other and that there is a system, you should be able to avoid angst.
You want passion from everyone in your band. You want to know that every single member is behind the project and is going to give time, focus and effort in a way that only somebody passionate about the music can do. You do not want someone who is biding their time, who is lazy, or is just a mercenary with you for the wrong reasons. Make sure that any enthusiasm you have for a musician is mutual.
Ok. So you have found a band member. This is the best player you have ever met, they’re local, they love the band and their availability matches yours totally. Only one problem. You hate each other personally. You just do not get along. Musically its great to begin with, but these problems with each others personalities begin to fester and rise to the surface affecting the music. It’ll never end well. If playing style and musical fit into the band is the most important thing, finding someone you get along with is a very close second. Make sure you have plenty of band meetings and drinks before any final decisions are made, you need to be sure you want the player and the person in the band.
Ok so you’ve got a band together, now what. Read Building A Fanbase – Decoded