Being in a band is a trade off of doing things you enjoy against doing things you really don’t enjoy, at all. We call it ‘Band Admin’. It sucks.
We all hate doing it and it’s a source of constant internal bickering. We all want to do the fun stuff but, we all have very limited tolerance for how much we’re willing to do before the effort/pay off scales tilt and it’s no longer worth it. As an example, let’s look at playing a gig.
You book the gig, you’re excited. You find out that the house back line consists of a kick drum, a rack tom, a floor tom and a PA. That means the bands need to bring and share all the amps, all the stands for the kit, the stool for the kit and basically anything else they may need. No worries. You got time. It’s 3 weeks away.
You’ll probably wait for a bit thinking, the promoter or one of the other bands will initiate this, right? It’s not going to have to be me who organises this, surely? You’ll probably give it till the day before until you crack and send out the messages.
There are very few bands in London who have their own transport because, well, money. Some of them don’t even have their own kit because, well, money.
This gear acquisition can go smoothly, e.g. headline band says they’re bringing everything and are super happy to share, or it can go horribly. None of the bands can bring all of the stuff but ok, we can all bring a bit of it, right? Yeah, definitely.
Band 1 can bring the drum stool………..brilliant 1 thing off the list. Anything else? No. ok.
Band 2 can bring a guitar amp. Hallelujah! It’s a shit amp but, hey, it’s an amp. Brilliant.
Band 3 can bring a snare stand and 1 cymbal stand. Yes! That just leaves 1 cymbal stand, 1 guitar amp and 1 bass amp for the last band to bring. That’s when you realise the last band is you. You can bring a guitar amp and the cymbal stand. Great! That’s it!
Wait, no. Bass amp. Crap. Well we can DI the bass and just run it through the PA, that’ll have to do, right? But no. Band number 2 kicks off about the lack of bass amp as they need it for their crazy effects pedal or whatever. Sure dude, well you find a hire place and go fetch it then and sort it out. No? You’re just going to pull out of the gig instead? Brilliant. Wave goodbye to that 2nd guitar amp people.
So, you’re left with a missing guitar amp and slot in the line up. It’s too late to fill the slot so you end up having to hire the second guitar amp from somewhere as close to the venue as possible and drag it, your other guitar amp, cymbal stand and all the rest of your crap to the venue.
But it’s ok, you’re there. On time, with the back line. The sound engineer isn’t there yet but, no worries. You look at the stage, it looks huge. But it’s empty. Where’s the poxy house backline?! The bare bones drum kit and PA system are missing. They remaining missing until the sound guy gets there 40 minutes late and scrambles to set and mic all the stuff up.
No one gets a sound check because of the delay and everyone is annoyed.
The promoter rocks up 30 minutes after the doors open and demands money from your friends and fans who are already in the room who arrived when you told them to because that’s what the promoter told you (thanks friends and fans, we love you).
You get a line check on stage.
When you’re done, you get kicked out the venue with barely 5 minutes to socialise and sell your merch because their license is up. The other bands haven’t chipped in for the amp hire like they said they would, the promoter has palmed a tenner on you and told you that’s your door cut and everyone is left feeling rather agitated.
It’s ok though, you’ve got another gig in 3 weeks and that venue has all the backline for that one, right?
You all know we have made 1 music video already (for our track ‘Summit’ and you can watch it here). It was the very first video we had ever made so presented a pretty steep learning curve for us in terms of what you can achieve in a certain time frame with a certain amount of people and how the efficiency n the day can be improved exponentially with careful planning.
This time round, we made sure we’d put in the necessary leg work to get the most out of the day by doing approximately 400% more preparation than we did for Summit. Along with the director and producer, we drew up super detailed time plans, shot lists, kit lists, venue specs and so when it came to the actual shoot, we genuinely felt that if anything went wrong, we’d got it covered.
We had booked the whole day Studio One at the very friendly and accommodating Resident Studios in Willesden Green. One of the major pluses that Resident had over other venues was that they had in house lights we could hire. Lighting proved to be one of the major issues on the Summit shoot as it’s expensive to hire and someone has to be responsible for it the whole day. Additionally, Studio 1 is totally devoid of natural light which meant it was really easy to control lighting the whole day. Genuinely really lovely team and very reasonable too.
It was a very long day. Haider and Lauren were, simply, machines. We all worked our arses off and shot from 10am to 7pm before finally calling it a wrap. We all left with the satisfying feeling of a job well done.
Now, we wait for the final edit and release of our next single; Imperfect.
Here’s a fun fact, there’s no instruction book for being in a band. For the most part everything involves taking a punt, getting something wrong or right, learning from the mistakes/success and trying again.
90% of advice is opinion based. You get so many different viewpoints from numerous sources that you end up spinning in circles wondering which way is up. Take for example advice on how frequently you should play live shows. We’ve been told all of the following:
Why are you playing live shows at all? You don’t have enough stuff recorded
Play as much as you can, get yourself out there to build your fan base
Don’t play too often because if you play too much you’ll not draw a crowd to every show
Don’t play anything 3 weeks either side of a gig or we won’t book you
Out of all those opinions, you tell me what the hell we should do? It’s a minefield!
What you end up doing is what you think is the lesser of ll the evils presented and getting on with it. You never really know if you’re doing the right thing but, doing anything is better than not doing anything, right? WRONG! More opinions will tell you that you can do more damage than good by getting out there.
This leaves us feeling a bit WTF?! about the whole thing.
Doubting your abilities becomes a regular thing and you’re periodically convinced you must actually be bad at writing and performing music because only 5 people have downloaded your EP despite the fact that you’ve promoted the ass off it and it having gotten, not world shatteringly good reviews but, pretty decent ones.
Doubting the processes you followed is next on the list. You end up questioning and arguing about literally, every penny you spend because everything is just a black hole of cash; It goes in but never comes back out.
Eventually, after beating yourself up about everything for extended periods of time, you end up back in the same place you started; Listening to opinion based advice on what you should and should not do that covers every perspective you could possibly imagine and being none the wiser. So you spend some more money on something that you think might work and hope to fuck it does.
One of the things we know we’re really bad at is photos. We take horrible photos. We’ve no idea what to do with our faces or bodies in photographs.
We’re always pretty confident that our live shows make up for our ineptitude in many other spheres so when the Chris a.k.a. http://www.imageplotter.com showed up to a gig at The Amersham Arms with her camera, we were pretty confident we would nail the photos. We though, we got this! We know what we’re doing live. It’s all good. We’re on it.
We were not disappointed and, being the kinds of people we are, this is our favourite shot.
To see the full collection, please go to Chris’ site here
We have been making ourselves busy in front of microphones and video cameras in the past few weeks. We had an exciting day trip to Southend-On-Sea to record a track with TnT Sound Studio FOR FREE! Sometimes, when you enter a competition on Facebook, it actually comes through. We hired a car and everything. Was dead exciting.
We’re pretty excited to hear the end result when Tom has finished his magic work.
We also had a day at Resident Studios in Willesden Green to film a music video for our upcoming single. We worked with the amazing Haider and Lauren over a gruelling 8 hours of giving it everything we’ve got. It’s all under wraps right now but keep your eyes peeled
A bit ago, Emma was very proud of herself for setting up an online store where people can buy merch from. No, seriously. It was a great personal achievement and meant she could archive a card on the trello board so, it was a very good, exciting thing.
Since then, no one has bought anything and this makes Emma feel a bit sad. If you’re feeling charitable and want to buy some swag from the store, it’ll cheer Emma up. I mean, look how proud she is of her merch display:
So, Ben broke his leg. We all know. He’s told us about it at length but, happy news, IT’S FIXED! No more pot, no more gig embargo. We’re back!
We kicked the year off with an amazing gig at 12 Bar (which has now sadly closed) with a girl heavy line up. Between Fox Palmer, us and Mercy, we totally outnumbered the boys. That’s never happened before.
Next up was a gig Upstairs @ The Garage. We went old school and made flyers which we handed out in the freezing cold.
We were lucky enough to share the stage with Massmatiks and Lancaster. Both of whom were amazing. We’ll be going back to see Massmatiks play at their upcoming London gigs for sure. Lancaster is a bit trickier seeing as they’re Spanish.
Then came the fabulous punk rock all dayer which flipped the V’s at Valentines day at The Fiddler’s Elbow. Then the Fiddler’s Elbow were very lovely about us on Facebook. No, really!!
Coming up, we’ve got the following gigs:
11th Match @ The Amersham Arm, New Cross
26th March @ Somewhere in Tottenham (if the promoter could email me back, that’d be great)
14th April @ The Traitors Gate, Grays (FIRST EVER ESSEX GIG!)
Everyone says keeping fit is important and blah blah blah, well, I’ve news for you: It’s not.
Ben was keeping fit, playing football. He got tackled and fell over, as football players tend to do when a light breeze has gone past them but, no, this was no light breeze. This was a pretty bad fall over. In fact, this was so bad, he couldn’t really get back up again.
Off to hospital he went with one ankle looking considerably bigger than the other one. Don’t believe us? Well, spot the difference then:
An x-ray concluded that sports had broken his fibula at the base near the ankle. Unfortunately, the swelling was too bad to assess it properly so he got sent home to rest before they could decide if they needed to pin his leg or not.
We’ve played at The King Eddies pub in Stratford a few times (at the open mic night) but only ever acoustic. When Flat 50 approached us to play as part of their monthly ‘Artery and Trove’ night, we snapped their hands off. It’s not often we get to play at any of the bus stops that connects our houses so we’d have been stupid not to play. We rolled out the big guns (i.e. Ben, a drum kit and amplifiers) and had a freaking awesome time. I think the pictures probably speak for themselves. Thanks for coming along!!!