Tag Archives: music

Band Basics: How to get booked, level 1.

11 Oct
I deal with a ton of messages and emails from artists or agents looking to get booked at places. Most of them suck balls, and not in a fun way. (Coz that might be more useful than the application they sent)
**Skip to the bottom if you’re too lazy to read all the points**
Now, I’m not saying every artist should be a marketing genius, or that every agent/manager should be amazing at what they do. But common sense is worth more than a degree in entertainment management or whatever qualification it is that people waste their money on.
If you want to be considered for an event/venue, try the following few basics. Logically, there’s a bit more to doing things properly, but if you just start with these points, you’re better than 80% of your peers/competitors:
1. Write a coherent message. Seriously, just freaking read what you wrote afterwards. Imagine this is a job application. Or the first time you’re meeting your lover’s parentals.
stupidpeople2. Keep it short and sweet. I have not met a single venue owner/booking manager who have ever read an entire band’s bio in an initial mail. Nobody gives a shit where the drummer’s grandma was born or that the pianist started playing on a plastic banjo at the age of 2. That’s the type of shit fans MIGHT read once they already like the band/artist.
3. Info that’s needed: Who you are/who you represent. Short summary of artist bio “Kosie is a country singer from Vereeniging, who plays a lot of sokkie covers and some catchy originals. He can either perform solo with his ukelele and backtracks, or with his 3 piece band called Kosie’s Koeksisters.” Then briefly mention if you are open to playing door deals, or if your intent is to charge a fixed fee for your performance. I realise that not everybody feels comfortable doing this. But it makes my life much easier when I know what you want. Don’t feel obliged to give a set fee yet, as you don’t want to lose a potential booking because you got greedy in your mail. Also, just the fact that you have to apply for a spot, means that you are probably not worth that amount yet.
3b. You might mention a few notable venues/events that are relevant to the one you’re contacting. And for the love of fuck, your artist didn’t “share a stage with Francois van Coke” if he played at 10:00 and Fokof headlined at 23:00.
3c. CONTACT INFO. Cell and email. Basics, but often forgotten.
4. Links, not attachments. Links to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Only attachment should be a photo worked into the message.
5. Do your research. It’s all good that you’re trying to get your music(ian) into as many places as possible, but at least open the event or venue’s page before you message them. II just received yet another request this morning for an Afrikaans sokkie-poppie to play at a rock venue. Seriously?
5b. Research will help you to sound more intelligent. If there’s a detailed mention in the event description informing you who to mail for artist applications, and you send a message (or worse, post on the FB event) asking that very question, I will laugh at you (and hate you at the same time). Again, it’s not only me. Ask anyone that has to deal with that level of lazy stupidity from 40 bands per day for a week after an event is announced.
5c. When should you approach a festival? Generally when they announce that artist submissions are open. Not a freaking week before the event, or if it’s annual, give at least a month after the event before bugging organisers about the next one.
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Bonus point: Build relationship with the relevant people. This point, much like the others, actually deserves a post of its own. But for now, just realise that networking is important, and you’re more likely to get booked if you have had a beer/tequila/conversation with the decision maker in question.
Again, there’s a bit more to the game than just the mentioned points, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
TL;DR?
Just remember this
  • Common sense.
  • Keep it short, info relevant and links to what’s more.
  • Do your research.
  • Network.
If you think this post might help bands be better, please share it.
Also, please do give feedback/input if you have any. There’s a lot more that can be added to what I said, so feel free to do it.
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Punk went Pop

11 Jul

As y’all know, life can get a little bit busy sometimes. Now, add a new girlfriend, 3 major campaigns, and Pokemon GO to the mix, and you have no time to write anything other than an email to your boss saying that you found Pikachu on date night.

I am, however, home alone tonight; and the Pokemon GO servers are experiencing problems. So, I decided to catch up on some writing.

As you may, or may not, know, there was quite an interesting tour doing the rounds in SA over the past couple of weeks. Yes, I am referring to Punk Goes Pop. An awesome collection of punk bands taking Top 40 pop songs, and teaching them what life is all about.

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The tour stopped by Aandklas Hatfield on the 1st of July, and as you should know by now, Aandklas is where I spend most of my time (when I’m not in the office, at my girlfriend’s, or walking after the ever elusive Growlithe).

The trio of bands that made up the show was CrashCarBurn, Held On Till May, and Made for Broadway. Now, the last two I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing live before this show, and boy, was I missing out!? These young guns nearly brought the house down with their unquenchable lust for life. An utter pleasure to see, was how these kids breathed new life into a genre whose survival has been the topic of many conversations. So let’s set the record straight right now:

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Held On Till May must have been the highlight of the show for me, with their straight-out-of-a-Sex-Pistols-documentary stage presence and their interactions with the girls in the front row, many of whom I saw trying to get their underwear off to throw on stage. The drummer reminded me most of Iggy Pop and his ilk, losing his shirt halfway through the performance, and chucking wood-chippered drumsticks into the crowd.

The headliners brought a massive tweak* to the way we know pop songs. CrashCarBurn has always been an awesome pleasure to see live, always taking me back to 8th grade, with the sneakers that were too loose to do anything but drag your feet. Any show where you get to see these guys will always go down as a ripper of a performance. Hearing them having a go at Jacaranda’s Highschool Hits was absolutely astounding!

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All in all this was an amazing night out. I got to experience an awesome gig with my gorgeous girlfriend (no seriously, she is breathtaking!) and many of my friends, getting to experience the future of the punk genre in SA, which I am honestly extremely excited to follow, and getting taken back to the days of House Parties* and halfpipes.

I am seriously looking forward to the next installment of Punk Goes Pop, and I hope that the line-up will one day grow to a full three-day festival, where we can mosh, get drunk and pass out, you know, like the old days…

 

 

 

 

*See what I did there?

Dear Band: You are not unique.

9 Jul

“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.

oh-god-who-am-iYes, 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).

pooptatoSecondly, 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?

Music Genres

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