How To Start A Band
Want to form a band but are unsure where to begin? Don’t worry. The process of forming a band doesn’t have to be scary and intimidating. Simply put, it requires a lot of coordination, communication, and (quite regularly) some compromise.
If you’re already a successful artist in your own right, joining a band can be a great way to expand your network of musical contacts, find your own inner circle, and just plain have fun. So read on to find out more about how to start a band and see where this idea can take you.
Find Band Members
Finding a group of people to get together and jam with is very different from being picky about who you work on a serious project with. Conflicts arise as individuals start working together. Ideally, you should look for people with whom you have (or can easily develop) genuine connections. Because you’ll be spending so much time together, it’s important that your bandmates are people you actually enjoy being around.
You shouldn’t just consider each musician’s character, but also their musical abilities and preferences. The people you pick to be in your band will have a significant impact on your future sound, reputation, and choice of musical genre. Therefore, it would be a waste of time to seek out a Baroque harpist if you want to put together a five-piece indie rock band, and if you intend to play metal, you’ll want to find people with the right skills, such as understanding the best impulse responses for metal.
Which types of people (personality-wise, skill-wise, and in terms of the instruments they play) would be the best fit for the group, and which would not? Here are some suggestions for how to get people interested in joining your band:
Posters and flyers reading “Band Member Wanted” placed strategically around town are an old but effective method of casting a wide net among the musical community in your area.
You can also use word-of-mouth to your advantage by talking to other musicians you know to see if any of them are interested or know anyone who is.
Spread the word on social media; this is likely your best bet for recruiting new band members. Make a post to your Instagram Story or a Facebook Group and tell users to direct message you if they’re interested.
Find Your Uniqueness
Finding your own distinct sound and style is essential to building a successful and lasting band. One aspect of originality is understanding how to establish a name for your band in the music industry.
The first time a band plays together is a great time to try out different sounds and see which ones work best. You’ll have a much clearer idea of the sound you want to create and the persona you want to project if you take the time to talk about your musical influences, inspirations, and favorite artists.
It’s probably a good idea to base your sound on the genres of music you’re already familiar with and comfortable making if any of your band members have previously released or written music. Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t try new things down the line, but for now, it’s important to focus on developing a strong sense of who you are as a band and what makes you unique.
Choose A Memorable Band Name
Choosing the right name for your band is crucial to increasing your band’s visibility and solidifying its identity. You might be surprised at how quickly you come up with a great name after bouncing ideas off one another.
The possibilities for coming up with a band name that is special to you and your fellow musicians are practically endless. To make sure the names you’re considering are available, it’s a good idea to run them through Google. It’s better to find out now than when you try to trademark your band name and find out to your dismay that many of them are already taken. Speaking of Google, it’s a good idea to pick a name that can be searched. That is, don’t pick something so vague that when people look it up online, they’ll get a ton of results.
Have A Band Commitment
This might sound a little too serious and business-like, but it’s very important for the band to have a set of rules that explain how it will actually work. This agreement does not have to be as serious as a ten-page formal document that is signed and dated as a legally binding agreement, for example. It can be an open discussion where everyone agrees on some rules that can’t be changed to keep everyone happy and the band moving forward.
Here are some things you might want to agree on:
How much time are you willing to put into rehearsals, gigs, etc. each week? Can you all get together at set times that work for everyone?
Who will be in charge of things like public relations, getting booked, talking to promoters, keeping the books, paying taxes, etc.?
Who will own the songs and what rights do they have? How will this change the way you get your royalties or performance cuts?
All of these things will need to be talked about and decided on in depth and well in advance to avoid awkward situations or bumping heads later on.
Songwriting can be difficult when you and your bandmates have never performed together before. But that’s fine. No one expects you to have a hit with your first few songs. If you don’t want to, you don’t even have to release them. The goal of these warm up songs is to become comfortable singing and playing together before moving on to more advanced material.
Cover songs can be played and released quickly, allowing you to build a short set list that could work for a gig or performance. It’s common for bands to have one or more designated songwriters, so it’s important to establish roles early on in the process. Collaboration is essential.