Whether you are a solo artist who wants a tight group of musicians to fulfill your vision to compliment your vocal skills, or a singer-songwriter who wants to crystalize ideas with collaboration – you need a great band to do it!
Advertise your need for band members. You can do this on specialty forums, on your area’s craigslist, or the old fashioned way – by printing out a flyer and sticking it to the bulletin board in your local music shop. Include what you are looking for (i.e. a bassist, drummer, or guitarist) and what kind of skills are required. If you are a beginner, don’t ask for expert level musicians unless you’re pretty sure you can keep up with them. Meet the candidates and gauge whether or not you are compatible (ask what kind of music they enjoy, and what styles they feel comfortable playing). If you are a solo artist looking for a talented backing band, you may need to compensate the band for their time – otherwise, you’ll have to rely on friends to develop the talent and sound you need for free.
Practice, Practice, Practice
After you’ve decided on your band members, get into the garage (or practice space) and start practicing! You can’t be a band if you cannot play songs together. Start by playing cover songs that everybody enjoys to get a feel for your new band’s talents. Then introduce your own material, and ask for input. Collaborating with a band can make your work shine, especially if you let others’ skills and passion come through in the music. This practice period will also allow you to figure out if you truly can work together with your new band members on a musical level.
Pick a Name
This name will follow you everywhere, so make sure it’s a good one! If you’re a solo artist, you can use your real name or decide to work under an alter ego.
Agree on a Look
As much as we hate to admit it, looks matter. That’s not saying that your band has to be all handsome young people. Rather, your band should have a look that agrees with the genre of music you play. You do not want to look like a bunch of goth punks while playing country music (unless you are purposefully creating a playful theme). You don’t have to go all out Beatles and wear matching suits, but each member can at least agree not stray too far from one style. Don’t forget to add photos to your social network so people can put faces together with your band.
Start small – a birthday party, an end of the year bash, or a block party can all make a great stage for a new band who is just starting out. Ask your friends and family to keep their ears open for potential gigs. You can also try to play at open mic nights, community talent shows, or family reunions. Don’t think you’re going to be rocking out in your local club right from the start. But when the time is right, approach booking personnel and offer your services. If you have footage of your last show (even if it was at a teenager’s birthday party), email it around to people who might be able to set up shows. Guerilla shows in alleyways, under bridges, and in backyards are common in towns with thriving rock and roll scenes. If you are a more classic singing act with a backing band, offer your services for weddings and special occasions.
Spread the Word
Don’t forget how powerful word of mouth can be. Flyers, social media profiles, and your friends can all come in handy when advertising your next show – or the fact that you have music available. Cross-link all your social media profiles so that someone who stumbles on each of the band members on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., can instantly find your songs or band on sites like TalentWatch, Reverbnation, Bandcamp, or YouTube. These resources are also important for venue bookers deciding on bands. Encourage your fans to spread the word and share your posts.