“Our band does not conform to genres, so don’t put us in a box”
“We sound like unicorn farts and memories of World War 3”
“Unlike anything you’ve heard before…”
You’re a fucking moron if you actually think that you are THAT unique.
Yes, this is a rant about bands who think that they are the first ones to ever try to be original in describing their sound. Read a few “upcoming” bands’ bios, and odds are you’ll find some wannabe creative drivel that simply ends up being a nonsensical waste of time.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get creative when describing your band. I would probably give a post-modern grunge jazz fusion band that sounds like unicorn farts and WW3 a listen. But that’s just it. It’s a post-modern grunge jazz fusion whatever band. I have at least a vague idea of where to place them. With relative certainty I can say that they will probably not sound like Kurt Darren. The space for this (admittedly mostly pretentious and/or silly) creativity, is in the “about” section of your bio. Not the genre description.
Why is this important?
Well, to get gigs, for starters. Booking agents, venues’ entertainment managers, festival organisers and all those nice people who give you gigs, don’t know who you are. They don’t know what you sound like, and they most certainly don’t have time to sit and go through all your friends’ cellphone videos of your performances to figure out where and when to book you. These organisers are your friends. They WANT to make sure that your band fits the general vibe of the event. If you’re a black metal band, booking you to open for Jan Blohm is probably not going to work out, even though your bio stated that your genre is “poetic interpretations of dark souls” (or some kak like that).
Secondly, a proper attempt at indicating your genre is important for basic marketing purposes. Facebook (for instance) is more likely to suggest your page to fans of your (actual) genre if it correlates to genres of other bands that an individual might follow.
My rant is not only applicable to the little “genre” box on whichever platform you prefer posting your presence, but also to the “sounds like” bit. I know you don’t like hearing this, but odds are that you really aren’t the first to ever sound like you do. The easiest way for me to know what I let myself in for when booking you, is to reference more well-known acts. Even if you have to say you sound something like the love-child that popped up after Ed Sheeran boned Elvis, that would at the very least give me some indication as to what to expect. Just make sure (and this is important) that you actually do sound like that. Remember, sounding LIKE someone does not make you any less creative. It simply means you share a genre, possibly some characteristics. If you say you sound like Flyleaf, but your only correlation is that you have a female vocalist in the mix, you’re an idiot.
There are more than 1200 different music genres. If that’s not enough for you, you can always hyphenate.
If you have even read this far [drummers, if your bassist read this to you (laughs at obligatory overused muso-joke)], and you feel I’m a dick… well, you’re probably right.
At least you now know where to place me.
Can I say the same about you?