It’s a new year, which means the perfect chance to break out of your musical mold and try something completely different. Starting a new project is equal parts exciting and exhausting, so we’ve come up with a list of helpful do’s and don’ts for starting a new band.
Ask Yourself, “What kind of music do I want to make?”
This might seem like an obvious starting point, but if you’re thinking about doing something new, it’s essential that you have some sort of framework. Are you looking to ditch your guitars for turntables and see what EDM is all about? Or are you burnt out on oscillators and want to dust off your 6-string? The clearer you are about what kind of music you want to make, the easier it will be to get started.
But Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
It’s important to not let your initial ideas about a new project get completely cast in stone. Because the project is new, your sound is going to inevitably evolve, and that’s a good thing! While it’s important to have a well-defined vision for a project, don’t get upset or frustrated if you end up somewhere different after a few rehearsals or shows.
Choose a (Somewhat) Practical Name
Google is a fantastic tool for any music fan, but naming your band something like “Chair” or “Fantaztik Adv3nturz” is not going to make it any easier for them to find you with it. Sure, you don’t want to limit your artistic vision, but with millions of new bands on ReverbNation alone, the more accessible your band becomes even in just a simple search, the better.
Register Email and Social Media Accounts
Even if you are still kicking around a few names, go ahead and register an email account, Facebook page, Twitter account, and ReverbNation account for those potential names. Doing that is free and only takes a few minutes, so you might as well cover your bases.
Record Some Demos
Once you’ve got some finished material, record some demos as soon as you can. Today’s home recording equipment is not only better than it ever has been, but it’s more affordable, too. There are lots of great (and free) recording programs like Auadacity available to use. Or, if you’d rather have a polished sound from the start, pool your resources for a studio session to knock out a song or two — just make sure you and your bandmates are well-rehearsed and ready to record before the session.
Take A Decent Photo
Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, and the cameras on even the basic models are capable of taking a decent photo. Fans like to see the artist they’re listening to, even if it’s not the most imaginative or elaborate photo.
Establish a Band “Mission Statement”
It’s important to establish early on a few things like how serious you want the project to be or who has creative control of the project. Is this going to be a band that just plays a few local shows a year and rehearses mainly as an excuse to hang out with friends? Totally fine! Just make sure everyone in the band is on the same page. Similarly, if this project is going to get “serious” and require lots of time and financial investment, your bandmates should be aware.
Spread the Word to Previous Fans
Chances are you’ve probably had some previous band experience, or at least you have enough friends on Facebook who know you play music. The best way to get some early buzz going about your new project is to let those fans know that you’re working on something new. Just make sure your old bandmates are OK with you promoting your new project on older social media accounts before you use that existing fanbase.
Set a Deadline
The most effective way to make sure that any new project gets off the ground is to set a deadline for yourself. Whether it’s booking a show, scheduling a studio session, or announcing a release date, having a set due date for something is the best way to keep yourself on track.
Have any other advice? Let us know in the comments!
Tips compiled by Ryan Trauley (lead singer, Hotline), Mike Robinson (bassist, Annuals; lead singer, First Person Plural), Nathan Price (guitar player, Lilac Shadows; bassist, The Lollipops) and Sam Logan (singer & guitarist, Lilac Shadows).