By Drew DePietro of BandHacks.
Every band needs to build relationships within their community. Whether it’s with promoters, other bands or production companies and the people within the community. Without good relationships between all the aforementioned your band is probably destined for failure. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and great fortune of learning the ins and outs of a music community through first hand experience. I’ve been involved in promotion for almost a decade and have cross promoted with other promoters in the community hundreds of times over. But probably the best experience I’ve gotten has been through all the local production companies I’ve been lucky enough to work for and with over the years.
noun 1. the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.
Production companies are quite literally the backbone of any event that’s in existence. Wrestling, conferences, awards ceremonies, concerts, you name it, a production company is involved. If you want your band to have a slight edge, you’re going to want to get in tight with at least one production company in your area. Not only will it offer great learning experiences in regards to the sound/lighting aspects of a show, but you’ll also create a solid relationship in which you can reap some extra benefits i.e; discounted costs for production, extra gear or lighting etc.
If you’re a local band, you need to begin by working with the promoter. This includes promoting the event just as much if not more than the promoter. This should be a very obvious point, but honestly, people are stupid, and chances are, if you’re reading this you fall into the stupid category by default(no offense bruh). Your “job” as a local band isn’t to show up and play. Your “job” is to get people to the show.
You might be asking yourself, “But how does that make any sense? We started this band so we can play shows.”
And the answer to that is, because you’re a local band
. Plain and simple.
You know your scene, you know the people that go to shows. As the local band it’s your job to get those people TO THE SHOW. And the only way to do that is to promote the show alongside the promoter.
Things to do include but are not limited to;
Stay in constant contact with the promoter, in case things change(which they almost always do)
Do not rely solely on social networking to promote the show(too many bands now spam their friends with event invitations and then wonder why only 1/4 of those people attended)
Tell, don’t ask, the promoter for a high res .jpg of the show flyer to print out hand out flyers. You know those little ones that fit 4 per page? Yeah, those ones. Print the living shit out of them and drop them off everywhere, keep them in your coat and give them to anyone you see wearing a band shirt or even remotely looks like they might be interested in the show. Hell, throw them off of buildings if that’s your thing.
Just make sure you’re getting the word out there that there’s a show, and you’re playing, and that they need to be there.
These are just a few “preshow” things for your band to do that will not only help with attendance for the event, but will also build a strong relationship and trust with the promoter. And that’s important. If a promoter sees that your band is doing nothing to assist with the show(and they know, trust me) the chances of them offering another show will drop dramatically.
More often than not, bands coming through your city, or any city for that matter, have next to no fan base in your area. That’s why they’re touring, to build their fan base. So they can’t possibly be counted on to promote the event to any extent of what you as a local band have the capacity for. If they did, they wouldn’t need you opening for them.
Another great, and probably obvious to most, way to build good relationships with not only the promoter but the production company if you’re a local band is to BE ON TIME. Not very many things are more frustrating and detrimental than when as a promoter you tell the bands that “load in times are at x o’clock, and that sound check is at y o’clock” and the local bands with less than 10 minutes of driving to get to the venue show up at doors.
Actually, come to think of it, nothing is fucking worse than that. If you can’t have your band at the venue on time in your own city, how can you possibly expect to be taken seriously? Get to the venue on fucking time. End of story. There’s literally nothing else to add to this point, and if you think there is, you’re wrong. Just fucking wrong.
Now let’s get into some things about the production company. First, generally, they aren’t cheap. If the promoter has half a brain, and half as much business sense, they’re going to be getting a quality system and lighting. If as a local band you want to strengthen your already great relationship with the promoter because you’ve been doing what I said earlier in this article, ask them what time the production crew is supposed to load in, and have your entire band there 15 minutes early to assist with the load in and setup. Not only will this facilitate the entire process and potentially allow for early sound checks for all the bands, but it will more than likely lower some costs for the promoter, and the sound guy will have a little bit more respect for your band.
When the show is done, your band stays behind to help tear down and load in. This is something that too many local bands ignore and think they’re “too good” for.
And the fact is, if you’re one of those people or bands. You’re fucking wrong. Again.
If you plan to make music your career, you’re going to have to get used to slinging gear and lugging road cases back and forth, in and out of trucks and venues.
It comes with the territory, and the sooner you get over that ego, the smoother things will go for you.
Not only will helping the production crew help the show run smoothly, but it will build a relationship with them, as the whole point of this article describes. Over time, when your band is in a pinch and you need to rent a PA or some lighting equipment, and your band is a little short on funds because you just got that sick new music video made, they’ll remember. And if they remember, chances are they’ll be willing to offer discounts or offer the gear in exchange for some help with a different gig they may have booked in the future.
And that, I think, is a pretty damn good trade for your band.
All in all, these are just a few small, sometimes tiring and physically demanding things that you and your band can do within your local scene to not only build great standing relationships with promoters and production companies. But they will also help build a strong reputation for your band as being a committed and important aspect of the scene.