by MATT BACON >
So today I received an good query from a client texting me about the future of their band. While the context was certainly rather specific what it boiled down to, as far as I understood it was, “What if the showgoing audience genuinely just doesn’t care and would rather just see other types of music?” And that’s a great question. I think part of the frustration of being in a band is any number of plateaus you see yourself hitting that you may have to toil at for months if not years on end to get to the next level. I’m not trying to question the dedication of any bands out there, after all, it’s only sane that you would start to wonder these things after a long period of leveling out. There are a few ways to tackle this question and all of them are, I think, hopeful and certainly ones I hope to expound upon in the future. After all – any client you can seriously discuss the ins and outs of bong creation with is one that you should probably treasure. So let’s see what happens when it looks like the showgoing audience does not care about you or your style of music.
First of all don’t worry – there are probably people out there who care.
I know that it doesn’t always feel like that and I know that it can be rather frustrating a lot of the time, but I assure you, some people out there are probably interested in what you have to do, or at least the concept of what you do. That is to say, if you are confident in your songs and creating music with a degree of professionalism then you are probably going to be able to find at least some success. The issue a lot of bands seem to have, beyond simple songwriting is being unsure of how to present themselves in a way that people who actually matter will check out their music. This is the part that requires a lot of hard work and prayer hat you start to become someone of note. Moreover, you need to remember thing from the context of you target demographic and figure out how you can manipulate that in order to find a way forward for your music within that demographic.
In other words you need to change how your live shows are executed.
Now this sounds really intimidating, but I assure you it’s quite the opposite. Instead it allows you the opportunity to sit down, break down the interests of your consumers and then think about how you can entice them to come out. So if you are playing to, for example, primarily a wine bar crowd, perhaps you could request the wine bar in question to offer a free sampling of a new and rather unique wine in order to stimulate interest. If you are playing folk shows at clubs you can perhaps try and come up with ways to enhance your stage show such that when people think about you they remember how unique you are, rather than think of showgoing as a sort of social obligation. Remember, this isn’t because your band is bad, we already covered that side of things, this is because there are a shit ton of bands out there and cutting through fucking blows.
The other thing that you probably need to do if you find yourself with a seeming lack of interest at people coming out to your shows is to realize that sometimes you ust need to recalibrate your audience. Maybe you’re not targeting the right people. If you’re making money off of a demographic that doesn’t typically attend concerts you need to either consider changing demographics or you need to go back to the drawing board in terms of making money from them. By the same token if you’re targeting a demographic who go to too many shows you once more need to recalibrate in order to make sure that you can find the people who exist in the sweet spot. I know that sounds impossible, but that’sexactly what your favorite most successful bands do. Even on a local level. For example, the New York powerviolence band Pink Mass dress up in bondage gear and have a blasphemous and extreme stage show, it means that the word gets out and suddenly people who don’t normally schlep out for local shows go out of their way to see Pink Mass because they know they are getting exactly that, a show.
This ties into one of the hardest realities I think for a lot of bands to accept.
The places you play and the amount you play is irrelevant if your branding and live show is good enough. My friends in the group Tower are simply the best goddamn live rock and roll band in their city so they don’t give a shit how often they play because they know a 100 people will come out regardless. They’ve been able to prove that they are sufficiently unique and talented such that people will come no matter what the circumstances. The only way to really become really fucking good, godd enough or this to easily happen, is often by playing live a lot and also by calibrating your stage show so that it appeals to some of the core musical desires of your fans. If you can pick apart your stage show from top to bottom and determine what works and what doesn’t then you will succeed. Just look at the greatest rock and roll show on earth, KISS!
When it comes down to it, you and your peers all have a lot of hard wok to do to reach that next level. You need to grind it out and get your live show to a point hat people will come, because if you’re good enough and you can prove your role in the scen to be worthy then they will come. I know that it can be hard with certain demographics but that’s why you need to play to their interests. Remember that it’s ot just about the music these days, it’s about the entire product and being the brand, inside and out. You want people to have a wide variety of effective peripherals that are going to inspire continued interest in what you have to offer. If you can do that tied in with a great performance then empires might well crumble.