Essential Steps You Need to Take to Get Your New Band Off the Ground
Getting your new band off the ground isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound that easy in the first place. So where do you start? With so many great bands out there, it’s not always easy giving people a reason why you’re special or why your songs are worth their precious listening time. However daunting it may seem, it is possible, and you can do it. Follow these essential first steps to get your band off the ground now.
1. Choose a strong band name
The first thing you need, of course, is a name. A great band name should be catchy, original, and above all else, it should give an accurate picture of what your band is all about. Try not to stress out about finding the perfect band name instantly. Relax, jot down ideas when you have them, and take your time choosing a name you’re going to be proud to stand behind.
2. Decide on your sound
One of the biggest killers of bands with great potential is when “creative differences” arise and completely destroy productivy and your momentum. When you’re first starting out, it’s a great idea to make a simple decision as a group as to what you want the band to be all about. This will sidestep a ton of confrontation down the line and provide direction to work with. As time goes on, it’s important to keep an open mind to healthy change and growth, but in the early stages, it’s a wise choice to agree on focusing the group’s energy in a particular direction.
3. Decide on your image
Hand in hand with the sound of your band is your image. Ideally, the musical decisions dictate the branding ones, but either way, image really is half the experience. By taking the small amount of time necessary to decide how you want the band to look, you’ve suddenly doubled your marketability. You don’t need to all wear matching bowties like a barbershop quartet, but hey, if it’s appropriate, go for it!
4. Create and sign a band agreement
Sooner or later, you’ll thank yourself for writing up a band agreement. A band agreement is a contract agreed upon by all members of the band that can outline responsibilities, schedule commitments, song ownership, finances, and more. You may never need to use it, but it’s always a smart choice to be prepared.
5. Write your first songs
Once all the preparations are set, it’s time to get down to the music and start writing songs with your new band. Songwriting can sometimes be intimidating because you’re putting yourself out there to be judged by anyone, but try your best to keep those thoughts out of your head when writing, as they’ll only hold you back. Don’t get frustrated if things don’t come out perfect on the first try. As time goes on, you will undoubtedly progress and grow as a songwriter. In the beginning, focus on sending people a clear, honest message on what your band is all about.
6. Agree on a rehearsal schedule – and stick to it
Just like how you’ve gotten good at your instrument by practicing, your band can only get good by rehearsing consistently. The sooner you schedule regular rehearsals, the sooner your band is going to be on the fast track to glory (or at the very least, stop sucking). Round up the crew, fire up iCal, and set those biweekly dates ASAP.
7. Get your online presence up and running
You’re a band in the 21st century – act like it! Bands communicate the same way as everyone else: the internet. Set up a tightly knit social media presence, website, and EPK, and use them to their full capacity to reach out to potential fans and industry people. Just make sure you follow these steps in order and have your image planned out before you go posting bathroom selfies to your Instagram.
8. Create your email list
The wise older brother to modern social media, the email list is the old-school steadfast method to reach out to your soon-to-be fans. In a world where organic Facebook reach is dwindling more and more, this is a tried-and-true method to reach out to fans directly – don’t sleep on it.
9. Book your first gig
The time has come. You’re ready for the stage. It’s time to book your first gig, but the most important thing is to do it right. Choose the venue, the line-up, and the date wisely. You want people to go home talking about how it was the night of their lives, how they can’t wait to do it again, and mostly… about you! Don’t rush your first gig. Make it a memorable occasion, and you’ll have many more to savor.
10. Record your music
Finally, the recording process. You gotta have music to get your band off the ground, and that music’s gotta be good. Before you record, find yourself an engineer you trust. This is going to make the difference between an amazing experience and a near-death experience. You might get a couple gray hairs during the recording process, but when you hear the final product of something you wrote, there’s truly no feeling like it.