An entertaining Guardian Music Blog piece by a band called Mazes about the 10 golden rules of being in a DIY indie band. It’s about independent bands touring the club circuit rather than “indie” as a style of music, so many of these are application to any genre. The whole thing’s worth reading (As is typical, the comments rather less so), but there are a few that jump out.
1: You probably don’t need a sound engineer
The in-house engineer at the venue invariably knows the room and sound desk better than the guy you’re paying £100 a day to drink your rider. No offence to travelling engineers, but anyone who would rather sit in a van all day for less money than they’d get for showing up to a static venue at 6pm is a sociopath
Well, perhaps not so much this one. Certainly for prog bands playing small clubs, the sound engineer is as important as anyone on stage, and can be the difference between a great gig and an unlistenable one.
I can speak from the experience having been to many gigs in small clubs, and seen people who either (a) don’t know the room or (b) don’t know the music, and screw it up very, very badly.
If your band is, to quote a musician I know, “Crash bang wallop, you’ve my Wonderwall thank you goodnight”, then it might not matter, but if the music is any more sophisticated than that…
6. Don’t slag off other bands
They will find out, or, when you bump into them buying kale in at the grocer’s and they tell you they like your new record, you will feel like dying.
Let’s not mention any names, shall we? Also don’t forget some of their fans might also be your own fans…
10. Have fun
The record industry was ruined by expense accounts and arrogance. Don’t even try to make money or think about quitting your day job. You should be doing this because you want to experience new things, to see new places, to meet like-minded people and to scratch the creative itch many of us have … the primal misguided quest to leave something when you die or for people to think you’re “cool”. Make music that you’d like to hear.
The last line needs to be engraved on the heart of everyone who wants to make great music.