Supporting local music is a huge passion of ours and a huge part of what made Live A Little Bit Louder what it is today. We wanted to show people what it's like to be a part of the local music scene and what it means to many people, from many perspectives. In this article, you'll hear responses from both bands and fans about this topic. This project has been in the making for a little while now and we are excited to finally reveal it. That being said, it is still ongoing. If you would like to add your own response to it, contact us and we'll add it to this post. Without further ado, here's the Support Local Music Project. We hope you enjoy it.
Around two years ago, bands I didn't know at the time started to follow me on social media. Fast forward several months later, I had befriended a few of these bands and really started to see how hard local bands work and the importance of supporting local music. Since then, I started to do more to support local bands (some being local to my state, some being from other places). If I found a band I liked, I contacted them on social media saying I enjoyed their music. I would tell a few people that like that type of music about the band. I promoted the band online.
In 2016, I started doing more to support local and independent bands. I began interviewing local bands and writing reviews for their songs, EPs and albums. I started a YouTube channel and made a series of videos dedicated to promoting and recommending local bands. I started going to local shows and meeting people who liked the same bands. I met people online who have found the same passion I have found in discovering, supporting and promoting local bands in any way possible.
I support local music because these bands work so hard and put so much time and effort into crafting something they love and are proud of in the hopes that other people will enjoy it as well, maybe as much as they did. I know I'm just one fan, one person, and with that mindset, what I do can only help give these bands so much more recognition. However, any sort of gesture, big or small, that shows you want to help and support these bands means so much more to them than you know and in their eyes, helps more than you think. One thing I've noticed about local music scenes is that it's like one big community, in a sense. Whether you're a band member or musician performing, or a fan in the crowd, at the end of the day, we're all the same. We're a part of this so-called "community" for the same reason. We all have a common ground: a passion for music. Local music scenes and music scenes in general are (or should be) positive environments where everyone, no matter who they are, can come together and bond over the shared passion for music.
One final point I want to make about this topic is every band started out as a local band. Even names as big as Pierce The Veil or All Time Low or Blink 182 or Green Day all started out as local bands. A band called Forever Came Calling traveled on Warped Tour 2010 and started passing out their EP in to anyone in line who would listen. Fast forward a few years later, they have two albums under their belt and a deal with Pure Noise Records. There are so many bands in that position who are promoting their songs, whether it be in person or online. Next time a band sends you a message to check out their debut song or music video, take five minutes to do it. You may just find your new favorite band who could later on become the next big thing.
-Megan Langley, writer for Live A Little Bit Louder and vocalist/guitarist of Life Reimagined
The reason why people should support local bands is because that'll help them reach success. Everybody starts somewhere and not all bands can reach success by themselves. Local bands need their support from the people who like their music or maybe music in general and want to hear or see something new. So please, support local bands, music, your local scene, in any way that you can.
-Caroline Murdock, writer for Live A Little Bit Louder and vocalist of Velvet Blood
Being in a band in the local hardcore scene of Chicago is very interesting because it's not all about the image of what you look like its about the emotion that you put into your songs. Also not being on the coasts makes it for an interesting sound. It's a melting pot of usually five people who get together and sound how they wanna sound. There's no attitude and ego about it, you do it because you want to do it, but since not being on a coast bands who are from Chicago have to work twice as hard as a band from Los Angeles or New York City to get their foot in the door. There seems to be a more built in audience for bands in those areas. So the only real option for Chicago hardcore bands is to tour nonstop. There are a lot of hardcore bands in the Chicagoland area that a lot of people dont know about that put there heart and soul into what they do and don't really get the credit for what they do, but at the end of the day its all about the message. Whatever that may be about. Peace, Love, Hate, Violence. Noone from this area thinks they're gonna be the next hype band, they think they're gonna be apart of the Chicago scene. Bands here have a lot of pride from where they come from because we know its different. Chicago bands have a lot to offer and people don't sometimes realize how much hard work goes into it. It takes years, but we feel like this is all we have. It's just all sports, hotdogs and hardcore. I speak for all of us in LUCA when we say this is all we have. Growing up anywhere there are groups of kids who feel they have no future and want to make something of that future. If you're from Chicago you have the urge to do it because if you don't you'll end up working at the same place until you're an old person. Watching the Bears loose season after season, wishing you were playing music again.
-Andy Bisceglie, drummer of LUCA
So I live in Newcastle, and at the moment I think the live music scene here is really growing. We have a garage-punk revival that is really booming thanks to a group called No-Fi, and I think it has really boosted the stock of the scene in the eyes of a more national scene. At the same time we also have a few bands that have broken out to more national exposure (Trophy Eyes, Gooch Palms, Introvert) that is also boosting how Newcastle looks. Places like Sydney are currently having the problem of a lack of venues, but thats not the case in Newcastle. For the past few years we have had a few solid venues put on really consistent shows, and it has really allowed the scene to flourish. Playing in a band, I have never had a problem finding a place to play, or people to play with. Which is great, and really helps.
-Spencer Scott, vocalist/bassist of Paper Thin
Being in a new, up and coming band is more fun than it sounds. A lot of people in new bands want the reward of being in a band but don't want to lay the ground work down and put in the hard work to get where they want to be but we love it. We love working hard, we love being so hands on and being in control of our band and the decisions we make. Considering we've both been in bands and playing music for 10+ years, it's refreshing when you can start over new and play music you've been searching for and dying to play for such a long time.
-Kait DiBenedetto, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist of 18th and Addison
I agree 100%. You're free when you're independent and working hard on YOUR terms. There's no middle man bullshit. The creativity is on your hands. The direction of your art is in your hands. It's a blast. We hustle day in and day out. We don't take a day off but it never ever feels like work because we truly love what we do. We don't expect anything. We do it for the love and when you're doing that, you can't help but be stoked and feel successful. It's often a long, discouraging road of course but nothing worth having comes from giving up or taking the easy road. Gotta put that work in & keep the passion alive.
-Tom Kunzman, guitarist/vocalist/bassist of 18th and Addison
The concept of a "local band" is a common musical trope that, although carrying some contextual meaning, hopelessly falls into such non-specific grounds that it necessarily requires elaboration. Even in its most flattering use, the term still carries the implicit perception of a glass ceiling looming above the artist(s) in question; a reminder of another, better world just out of reach. Until an artist can break that construct by proving their talents and worth beyond their hometowns, states and regions, they'll continue on as "locals". Today we live in the musical Wild West. There's virtually no rules or maps to follow. Similarly to the term "local" the ideas of what "indie" or "DIY" continue to morph and mean different things to different people. You see guys like Chance the Rapper who achieve huge mainstream success as an independent artist and then there's all these horror stories of well-established popular artists who are chained down to terrible deals where they are toured to death and hardly make any money. On a personal level for me and the band, existing as a local Iowa City act has its pros and cons. Being a university town that makes up half the city's population, it's a transitional grounds for many people so not a whole lot of bands (or fans) stick around for long. This makes it a bit harder to feel like we're building up our local following sometimes but even though we love Iowa, our goals aren't just to be a good Iowa band. We want more than that. The roots we have here around home can be really helpful but it's important to not become too narrow-sighted or attached to what's going on locally and forget that even though we might have a few cities we draw decent crowds, there's plenty of ground to be gained around the mid west and beyond. It's with this general perspective that we try to keep a positive attitude and celebrate the little successes all while keeping our egos low and working hard at writing better songs, getting out on the road and enjoying the whole process, wherever it might lead.
-Jeff Roalson, vocalist & guitarist of Halfloves
Coming into the local scene aspect of music a little bit later than most was different for me but very integral in shaping a lot of my friendships that have carried on until this day. I met the majority of my friend group from going to local shows and also met the majority of my favourite local bands from frequenting club absinthe in Hamilton on the regular. You truly never know what hidden talents are buried inside of your city and what great friends you'll meet until you immerse yourself into local music as best as you can. I was never a social person and the music scene in Hamilton helped me break out of that shell and discover something that I felt comfortable in. Hamilton will always provide me a sense of comfort musically, and in my general relations with others. There's a true sense of warmth and solidarity in Hamilton and for someone who came into the picture a little bit late, it was quite reassuring. I owe a lot to the Hamilton music scene. One for respecting downstream and treating us with respect but also for showing me that I can be myself and express myself and not feel weird about it. The local music scene has helped me a lot.
- Corbin Giroux, vocalist/guitarist of Downstream
Being in the local scene has allowed me to see the inner workings of the booking process. After spending some time working with venues in a previous internship, I've gotten to see what kinds of things agents and venues are looking for in local bands. It's also given me a standard to set for myself as well as other bands in regards to reliability and communication - two of the most important things up and coming artists need to have. Being a local artist has also helped me discover all of the amazing talent Chicago has to offer. Bands like Real Friends have helped out the community consistently through social media and local support. It's important to keep the passion for music going on a local scale - and even more important for inclusivity within. Organizations like "Defend Girls, Not Pop Punk" have been a huge inspiration for me to challenge the overtly patriarchal tone of the music industry, and invite others to do so as well.
-Bridget Stiebris, drummer of Everyone Says
I'll offer this quote: to successfully tour you must be the biggest pessimist when things are sailing smooth,, and the biggest optimist when times get tough.
-Mike Liorti, vocalist of ROSEDALE
I'm Austin and I play in the band Like Adults. To be apart of the local scene is slightly scary, but has an adrenaline rush like no other. You meet so many bands and musicians who make you feel talentless, most of which sing better, perform better, and have the presence of a God on stage. The scary part is the feeling that you can't keep up. However, the adrenaline rush is when you realize everyone is on the same stage as you. Everyone is doing their best, everyone comes from a different background, and everyone is there to support each other. Granted, you will always have that one band on the bill that sounds like they should already be signed and doing major world tours, but those bands you can't let dictate over what you are doing in your band. For the most part, every band here in Socal are pretty supportive and are all unique. I'm friends with a lot of the bands in this scene, and a lot of them I haven't had a chance to even see yet. As far as the fans go, the fans are always wantin the craziest and most wild show they can find. When you manage to give them that, it's unbelievable. I know a lot of newer bands worry about If they are doing stuff wrong or that they aren't doing enough right things, but honestly, and I can absolutely say from experience, STOP WORRYING ABOUT GETTING BIG. Just have fun. Getting big rarely happens, so instead of worrying about it and needing to prove a point to your unforgiving childhood, just go with the flow, be the most down to earth group of kids you can be, and just have fun. If it is at all stressful because of members or disagreements or anything like that, get out of it and try it again differently.
-Austin Caruana, vocalist & guitarist of Like Adults
I'm Jonathan from Stick Bitz and the biggest apart this scene that I notice is everyone is kind of more focused on getting big and pursuing themselves than actually being apart of a community. Coming off what Austin said, I feel a lot of bands feel intimidated that they're being challenged or stood up when in reality, everyone is just trying to have a good time. You can't control fans or people who come to shows and you just have to keep working at your music because of your love and passion for it, not because you want to be the biggest. It's totally amazing to have that goal and I personally have that goal because I always want to keep pushing myself, but that's not why I play music. I think people regardless of which scene just need to realize we're all on the same team, nobody is fighting you for spotlight. Music should be fun and full of passion and love, not fear or intimidation.
-Jonathan Clack, vocalist/guitarist of Stick Bitz
To me, being in a local band is definitely one of the most meaningful parts of my life. Not only do I put myself out there to do what I love, but I also get to share it with two other guys that have the same passion for music as I do. Being able to turn all your ideas into reality and making a sound that is all your own but also a reflection of all the influential bands that you grew up listening to. Meeting so many people once you begin playing shows and having them react positively to your music is probably one of the best feelings ever. I love to be able to impact people who listen to similar music as me. Or who have the same dreams as me. To me it means dedicating yourself to your dreams and not giving up simply because you don't feel like you'll make it or because society tells you you're wasting your time. This isn't about making it big, it means so much more than that. It means doing what you love to do and holding on. I don't think our purpose is to be a slave for someone else's benefits, it's about doing what you love. Whatever it might be. To me, that's what being in a local band feels like.. just doing what I love.
-Jose Ibarra, vocalist of By Any Means
Being a part of your local scene is a vital part of growth and development for any musician in the punk/hardcore scene. I was 14 when I went to my first ever local show, and I still remember that feeling of awe experiencing local music for the first time. The thing that stands out to me more than anything is the community that I immediately felt while being in that room. Looking back now, five years later, the most important thing for me is to continue creating the same feeling of acceptance that I felt at my first show. Homestead has been playing shows for a little over a year now, and in that time many young teens have told me that it was their first local show. Those are the people that will continue the local scene after I am no longer a part of it. When it comes to local music, people do care about the quality of music, but the main thing they crave is community and acceptance. Being in a band in my local scene is something that I take great pride in, as do all of my peers in all of the bands from our area. We strive to create music that we can be truly proud of. Fans of local music want bands that they can be proud of, bands that can make them take pride in saying “this band is from my town.” We come from Eastern Connecticut, which has a small but diverse local scene. People here support hardcore bands with the same vigor that they support alternative bands, indie bands, and acoustic artists. A scene has been made where genre creates no barrier, but instead a deep appreciation for art is held. If more local scenes could break down genre walls, local music everywhere would thrive. In regards to bands interacting with other bands in the local scene, there is one important thing: support one another. Respect one another’s art. Make as many friends as you can. When musicians support musicians, it benefits everyone and only helps the sense of community be even more present. People need a way to express themselves. Go to local shows, let it be an escape from the real world. Start a local band. Be the freshmen in highschool who can hardly play a song, because in three years, you will be the older teens dominating the scene. To supporters of the scene; you will never understand how much your support means to bands. Going to shows, buying merch, sharing a YouTube video, whatever you can do, it all makes a difference. To musicians in the scene; don’t take the people who do support you for granted. Stay humble, create art you are proud, ask for help from more experienced bands, and remember to enjoy yourself. Support the bands around you, and use your influence to promote positivity. More people look up to you than you know. Don’t let local art die. Support your scene.
-Luke Cloutier, bassist of Homestead
Being apart of a local music scene is great. We are fortunate enough to be from a music scene that has at least 50 bands spanning basically any genre you can think of. As a musician you can get your fix and see talent from all sorts of musicians. You can also learn from these musicians. You can learn what to do, what not to do, how to be a better band and how to engage an audience. The stronger the local scene the better the local shows. The harder everyone works the better the scene is and the more people take notice. Having the respect and comradery that comes along with being in a known local band is a crazy rewarding feeling. It really makes you think you're doing something right if some random person in a bar or restaurant is like "hey aren't you in worst kept secret?" One major negative, and its probably like this across the board, is that some of your peers and colleagues will resent you and shit-talk you if you have any type of success that they haven't had. Another negative is that a lot of people get in bands and automatically become "too cool" to come to shows that they aren't playing. That's not us. At the end of the day we are all still fans. But all in all it's a great thing. It feels like something special that not everyone else can do or be in.
-Jared Miller, guitarist of Worst Kept Secret
Being part of the local music scene is really fun yet really difficult. It's fun because we get to do things we love to do but difficult because it's hard to get our music out there. It's also surprising because we have got some really good feedback which makes us super super happy! We are way more excited than before to write new music just for people to enjoy.
-Lolita, singer of Settled Down
I love it honestly, everyone is always great; whether it be a fan or people we perform with. Its actually nice to be on the other and see people vibing our music. Its awesome seeing new acts we play with as well, theres so many talented people in the "emo revival" scene.
-Alex, guitarist of Settled Down
As a band, we'd say our favorite part of playing locally is seeing familiar faces. We have kids that come out to every single show we play in our home state, to the point where we consider them friends and not just "fans." We're also cool with a ton of the bands based in CT/MA, so playing shows in this area is always a party! It's also cool getting the chance to open for a lot of bigger bands that come around, because that just helps our music reach new people. It's awesome playing to people that have never heard you before, and then seeing them at your next show!
-Jay Grandell, guitarist of Half Hearted
Well I have been a part of the local Chicago scene for about 10ish years now and I have seen so many phases/trends come and go. The MySpace era to this new era of social media where bands have so many outlets and ways to up their fan base. Our hometown area is a pretty tight knit scene where everyone respects and supports eachother (for the most part). In my opinion- any local bands with an ego or feel like they have a sense of entitlement need to take a step back and chill. Our local scene is about the love of music, respect, and supporting one another. It's something everyone looks forward to on the weekend, you know? We personally love being a part of the local scene. We all have full time jobs/school so SPIT is a nice way for us to forget about real life for those 25-30 minutes we play on stage, or even just if it's band practice. Knowing someone is excited to see your band, even though we're just 5 regular dudes... is a really cool feeling. We've only been playing shows since July and we have already met SO many new friends and bands that we are super tight with. We try to be as personal as we can with our music, because we have all been through shit and want to help others know they are not alone with any struggles/problems they have gone through or are still going through.
-Jimmy McClanahan, bassist of SPIT
Being part of a community is important for anyone’s growth in whatever they do whether it’s playing guitar, writing / producing music, making animations or even non-musical things like skateboarding, and becoming involved with your “Local scenes" are a great way to exchange ideas, meet new people, jam, and get better at your craft. Since we're also a more global online community than ever before, people have the opportunity to discover and connect with almost anyone wherever you are on earth, and whether you’re a musician or just a listener, that means much more opportunity to discover and support bands you’d never have been able to listen to before, as well as be listened to by countless people who enjoy your music.
Now for gigging musicians, local most likely will refer to your actual area, county or hometown, but if you just write/produce music and put it online, then your local community could be YouTube or other creative sites such as Newgrounds, or maybe a Facebook group or forum. Local can mean a whole bunch of different things to different people but the bottom line is, it’s important to get involved with and support the growth of your scene. As it grows, you’ll grow too, but only if you get involved in the right way, whether in person or online. That doesn’t mean you need to go to every gig or get involved with every thread online. Just be genuine and show what you care about. If there's bands you like near to you, then definitely go see their shows in the local pubs/bars, and talk to them after the show and tell them how much you enjoyed it, but just as important, if you hear a band on YouTube or SoundCloud, etc... and you like them, leave a comment, send them a message, reply to a tweet. All these little interactions, while seemingly small, are a great motivator for small artists and creative types in general. It's a tough enough world pursuing your art already, but knowing that people out there are listening and enjoying your music is a great feeling, and really helps push you forward to making more music.Over the last few years I’ve been both a gigging musician and a studio musician releasing tracks online and producing/engineering other people’s records both locally and internationally, and there are tons of great things I’ve learnt from my experiences and mistakes. Being part of both those scenes has been at times great and at times a pain in the butt and you’ll meet that with every scene, but overall I wouldn’t be the musician I am today without those experiences and the people I’ve met through them. Having said that, you’re only going to get good things out of something if you put good things in, so here are a few tips/lessons for various situations you could run into when working/playing in your local scene:
Some starter points:
1) Be nice, respect people and don’t be a dick! Simple as that! There is no excuse for not adhering to this, even if not everyone else is doing it. Now that doesn’t mean you have to suck up to everyone, but keep it balanced. Talk to and treat people the way you’d want to be treated. There are times things will get heated, but try to be cool and if it comes to disagreements, try to find a middle ground if you can. That doesn’t mean either you have to be a pushover either, and believe me you don’t want to say “yes” to everything. If someone asks to borrow your equipment and you don’t feel comfortable with it, just tell them exactly that. If you treat people with respect they will (hopefully) treat you with respect too, and in my opinion, being respected is much better than being overly “nice” or a pushover, but of course it all comes to common sense in the situation, and balance. Be friendly and someone people want to hang around with!
2) Communication is key! 90% of misunderstandings and mistakes happen because of lack of communication. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on and be clear about it. Whether it be what songs you’ll be playing at your next gig, to practice times, to which venue, to what equipment you’ll need, to what the deadline is for something. Always have a plan that everyone knows about and be organised.
3) Try to keep your cool: There will be times where people shout or make rude hand gestures but try your best to keep cool. It’s often a stressful workplace being a musician and everyone is in the same boat. If you lose your cool, suck up your pride and apologise. If someone else loses their cool, let them calm down before trying to figure things out.
4) Get things in writing, especially things which involve money, before you start on anything! So important. Make sure everyone’s clear on things before you go into recording an album, signing with anyone, hiring anyone, or selling CDs. How the money is split, costs, what people’s roles are. Exactly what is needed if hiring someone, etc... Having everything in writing makes disputes a whole lot easier to solve and helps keep friendships intact.
5) Help people out if you can. Don’t turn people away for no good reason, at least try to make an effort with people until they give you a reason not to. That doesn’t mean recording an album with someone for free, but if you can offer advice or help someone and they ask you for it, try to find some way to help them even if just a little. If you help them and make them feel good, they’ll remember it! Sometimes you might want to do things for free, and that’s up to you, but don’t feel you ever need to do it either. Some people will take advantage of you, and other’s will remember you and become great friends.
For gigging musicians:
1) Respect the venue, promoters, organisers etc... You may go to a new venue and find out you really don’t get along with the organisers or venue staff, but as best as you can, just try to made best of the situation and if it’s really not great, just don’t play there again (or play with those organisers). Some examples of my experience: being shouted at by the bar staff during sound check because of miscommunications with the organisers and in the end having to go on without a proper one. It's completely out of our control, but you have to respect the venue. It is much better to not play at a venue on your own terms than making it onto their banned list. Don’t trash the place, clear up when you’re done and don’t give the venue or organisers any reason not to want you back, even if you don’t ever want to come back. In terms of organisers, I once turned up to a gig after being promised there’d be a bass amp, to not only no bass amp, but no monitors for the vocals too. Bad organisation, but you have to be prepared for these things. Don’t get in a strop or make a fuss because that never solves anything, just try to find a solution, and talk it out calmly, which brings me onto the next point.
2) Try to make friends with the live sound engineer! The sound engineer can be your best friend when it comes to gigs or your worst enemy, as they have the power to make you sound great or a mess (depending on their skill and disposition). First of all, say hello, introduce yourself and always say thank you to them at the end of the night. If you make them feel good, then they’ll remember you and help you to sound great the next time you’re gigging with them too. Make sure you’re prepared and ready for your sound check, and if you’re unhappy with the way you sound in the monitors, just let them know calmly and try to work something out with them. Ask and suggest changes, don’t command them. If in doubt, always try to compromise, and make life easier for them. You’re only playing one set, they’re probably gonna be mixing 4 depending on the night’s line-up! And swiftly onto the next point:
3) Support the other bands! Stay to watch everyone else if you can and that goes for whether you’re playing or you’re going just to watch your mates play. Don’t turn up, play and the leave, that’s not cool. Talk to the other bands, shake their hands, congratulate them on their sets, maybe swap CDs with them, ask about where they got recorded or their gear or their story if you’re interested. Talking to people and showing them you’re interested is the best way to keep their spirits high! On a side note, take a mental note of their stage presence: What looks good when you’re gigging, are they displaying a unified band image? In order to put on a good show you’ve got to understand and dissect what a good / bad show is first and the only way to do that is by watching more gigs and paying attention to your peers!
4) Be prepared! Be as prepared for anything when you’re gigging as you can: a busted cable, strings shortage of microphones (bring spares). Things go wrong and it’s up to you as a musician to try and make that as less of a problem as you. Be organised too. You don’t want to spend half an hour setting up between sets. Make sure you can get on and off stage as quickly and efficiently as possible. People probably won’t thank you for any of this tip, but they sure as heck will remember you if you don’t use it (not in a good way). Also, know what you’re going to play beforehand, and practice! There will be some adlibs in your set, but for the most part, it’s always a good idea to have a solid plan.
5) Talk to your audience! There are some bands which will simply play their songs and leave which can be fine, but you want to fire up your audience with energy and get them singing /clapping along! Be an exciting show. Thank your audience and thank people in front of your audience. It may not be a song, but if you’ve got a mic in your hand, you want to show the best sides of not just your music, but your personality (ie: being thankful).
In the studio (musicians, producers & engineers):
1) Again: be nice to your engineer/producer. This time though communication is more important than ever before as they will be the ones to shape your record, a hard and permanent piece of your music. If you don’t like the way something sounds try to go through it with them and work out how to make it sound the way you want it. Detailed and constructive feedback is essential. “I don’t like it”, is about as useful as just giving them a banana. As an engineer / producer too, your duty is to serve the musicians hiring you, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean you have to accept it if they’re abusive towards you. Again, communication is key here.
2) Be quick and efficient in terms of time. Don’t waste people’s time, whether that be messing around instead of recording, showing off your equipment instead of writing, or dawdling through the mix because you’re not sure whether to use compressor A or B with -1.1 or -1.2 dB gain reduction. Be quick and efficient at your job and don’t keep people waiting.
3) Keep people informed. If there are changes to plan or delays, let people know. Keep people updated on the progress of your mix if you’re the engineer. Simple and clear communication solves many a problem!
4) When picking a producer or engineer, listen to their work and make sure they are someone that you can see your sound in. Don’t just hire any random person and hope for the best. If they can’t make you sound the way you want your record to sound then that’s partially your fault. You probably wouldn’t hire a manga artist to do an oil canvas family portrait and the same goes for your music. In the same token, if you’re an engineer and a musician comes to you (or you’re looking for musicians) let them know if you don’t think you’re the right producer for them, even if it means losing out on business. If you’re primarily a jazz producer, don’t take in a death metal band and hope for the best. Your job is to make a musician sound their best and if you don’t think you can do that then it’s not right for you to blindly accept a job. Also if you don’t even like the music they’re making, it’s probably not good to work with them either. Just a little bit of research, honesty and communication can help prevent wasted money, time, headaches and ruined relationships.
5) Appoint one point of communication. This is incredibly important if you’re in a band and working with an engineer or producer in the studio. Don’t have everyone send their feedback on a mix to the engineer. Get the band together and go through the latest version of the track together and make a list of what you’d like changed as a band. If you have disagreements between band members work that out with each other, and maybe discuss it the producer or engineer if you really can’t decide. It’s not helpful at all to receive an email from the guitarist with “Turn guitar up, turn vocals down”, and another email from the vocalist saying “Guitar too loud, vocals need to come up." Decide on what you’d like as a band before sending feedback /changes to be made.
1) Show people your support! Subscribe, leave comments, send people messages which aren’t just spamming your new album at them, get involved with discussions (if you have anything to add), leave reviews, lend people a hand and make sure you answer requests even if to say, no thank you. No one likes to be left hanging. Remember though only give people advice if they ask for it or if it’s a review. If you have to be critical, be constructive, no one likes hate for the sake of hate. If you don’t like something or don’t have anything constructive or supportive to say, don’t comment. Songs are put up for people’s enjoyment and if you don’t enjoy it, then it’s not for you. Just because you can post/comment, doesn’t mean you always should.
2) Collaborate and offer to help if you’d like. Some of the best friends I’ve made online have been through free and paid collaborations either me reaching out to them, or them reaching out to myself, and if you get along with these people and nurture your relationship, then you’ll grow as people together. Collaboration is a great way to see a new spin on things too and can greatly help you come up with new ideas you’d never have thought of before.
3) Stay in touch, if you meet great people online, whether collaborating or not, stay in touch and don’t always make things about work or music. Be friendly, be likeable and be reliable. Be a person that they’re always happy to hear from!
4) If you can, support the communities directly. If you’re on YouTube, turn your ad blocker off! Make sure that these people who you love to listen to can continue to put out music. If you have spare money, follow them on Patreon, or donate to their Kickstarter, etc... or just buy an album. As much as they love making music, they’ve got to eat too!
5) Respect the rules of your community! Rules are there for good reason so obey them or leave. Again, better to leave a forum on your own terms than get banned.
6) Respect other artists and users. Don’t post stuff up which isn’t yours and if you want to make a video with someone’s music in, or sample them, etc... contact them first and ask permission, if they say no, respect that, and if they say yes, remember to credit them correctly and link back to their page, site, etc... It’s common decency.
7) I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, just please be a decent person! Online anonymity has give tons of people a mask to be abusive, nasty and downright despicable human beings online. Don’t be one of them. It’s not helpful, necessary, or nice. Ask yourself: would I act this way in a face to face conversation. If the answer is no, then just don’t post. Whether big or small, good or bad, you will be remembered by the people whose lives you touched. Try to leave them with good memories.
Lots to take in there, but I firmly believe that by following these nuggets of advice (and there’s always more to learn) you’ll be on a great start to making a positive difference in your community, and in turn it will bring out a positive difference in you! Supporting and being part of your local scene is a great way to grow as a musician and a fun way to meet new people and get better at what you do, and if you’ve not got a local scene to go to yet, either go out and see a local gig, or come over to Newgrounds, listen to some music, play some games, watch some animations and meet some great creators over there (I’m “Jabun” there if you need a first friend). Be excellent to eachother, be the change you wish to see in the world, and keep making music!
-Nick Standing, Jabun / Better Than The Book
Supporting local bands is vital to the alternative and rock industries because it helps bring well-deserving and talented bands closer to the forefront where new fans can discover their music, which may be just as enjoyable and well produced as the big guys like Pierce The Veil, State Champs, and others put out. Some people believe that if a band doesn't have a lot of fans, that it must mean they aren't very good, and in turn, never even give them a chance, and listen. I personally search for up-and-coming bands for Obscene Sound; a website covering online band news, reviews, and interviews. Through doing this, I regularly discover bands I have never heard of, that are working hard and playing locally for a shot at their big break. Some are extremely talented, and I now listen to them daily! By supporting local bands, you are helping fulfill a dream that some have been working to reach for years. No band can accomplish anything without their fans' support. For example, in 2015, Waterparks was just a few guys with big dreams, handing out fliers to fans who were standing in line to see Sleeping With Sirens in concert. By late 2016, they got to tour as a supporting act for Sleeping With Sirens on the “End The Madness Tour.” It is people like you, that are willing to buy their merch, go to their concerts, and check out their music, that get them to the top. One day, the bands that currently rule this industry, will leave, retire, and breakup. Who will replace them? Bands who started locally, and worked their way to the top. After all, even big names like Bring Me The Horizon and Neck Deep were just local bands in their early days too. So next time you see or are referred to an up-and-coming local band, take a moment of your time to listen to just one song. You may be surprised at what talent you discover!