There are four words that everyone in the world has said at least once in their lifetime: “let’s start a band”. Bands look like a lot of fun from the outside, there are the live gigs, and being adored by fans, and making a living with your closest friends through sheer talent.
While all of that can be true, there’s also a lot of hard work involved. Fame and recognition don’t just happen, there are a lot of elements that have to work in perfect harmony for things to work out, and the first step is actually getting serious about it. So if you really want to start a band and it’s not just something you say after you’ve had one too many, this is one way to start:
Figuring Out What’s Needed
Metal bands need the whole thing, drums, guitars, bass, and singer. Indie projects should probably add a banjo and probably harmonicas and a token bearded guy. In other words, the genre you want to play will determine the kind of players you need. It could happen that you already have the intention of starting a band with your friend and don’t really want to add anyone else in the mix. Then you still have to figure out if extra software is needed to compensate for the lack of bandmates.
It’s best to determine what you want your music to sound like and then figure out how many people (or how many computers) you’ll need to make it happen. Keep a flexible mind throughout, though. Just because in the beginning you think it’s fine to carry on with 3 members, doesn’t mean in the future you wouldn’t benefit from adding a lot more people.
Get the Word Out
Once you know what you need, let the world know. You can go old school and print a flyer to hang in your local record store (if there are still any left), rehearsal room, bar, or most popular venue. Using social media can also help out a lot, put up a post in your profiles letting people know what you need, and try to go a little beyond your comfort zone and post it up on popular forums for your area.
The absolute best thing you can do, though, is letting all your friends and acquaintances know. Word of mouth will always take you a lot farther than a flyer or a post. One caveat: this is something you should do face to face to avoid coming off as spammy and annoying. No putting up a different flyer every week and tagging all your friends. Have an actual conversation and let everyone know what you’re up to. You never know who they know or if they themselves can help you out.
It’s Time to Jam
So let’s talk auditions. Since you’re starting from scratch you won’t have any songs that newbies can learn, what you can do is set up a list of covers in the style that you would like to play. Pick songs that won’t require a lot of time to learn but that will showcase the abilities of the players. And do schedule in some jamming time.
While knowing someone can correctly play their instrument is important, knowing if you can play together from a chemistry standpoint, is more important. Jamming it out gives you the opportunity to see how you vibe off one another and listen to the kind of sounds that come out organically when you play together. And sometimes that chemistry is a lot more important than technical knowledge.
Once your lineup is set up, hold onto your seats cause the easy part is over. It will be time to write some original songs, figure out your sound, and promote the hell out of your band. That’s when all the hard, continuous work starts.