Attention Local Bands: If You Want To Make It, Here’s Some Advice
Bands ask me all the time, how can I get my band signed to a record label? Here are a couple of suggestions that any artist in any genre can use.
I don't profess to know all the answers about how an artist can make it big, but there is something in common that all major artists who become stars have. It may seem too simple for some artists to understand but the biggest bands in the world share these qualities:
1. Have Their Own Audio Signature
What I mean by audio signature is, if you look at bands like Metallica, Nirvana, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Guns 'N Roses, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Green Day, Disturbed, Rolling Stones, Tool, Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers and there are many more I could list but for time's sake, look at that list. All of these bands do not sound like one another. You may not know the song when you hear them on the radio but you know who the artist is. That is because they don't sound like the bands from the previous 10 years at the time they created their sound. They all made the attempt to create their own audio signature.
Part of the qualities each of these bands I used in the example above is their singer has their own sound. Their guitarist has their own tone, riffs, and style. Their drummer has a unique setup, style, and technique. Their bass player has their own tone, riffs, and style. If you don't believe me that bass players stand out, listen to Tool, Rush, Primus, and the Chili Peppers.
2. Have Their Own Image
When you look at any superstar in any genre, not only do they have an audio signature, they have their own image.
When you see images of Kiss, Elvis, Slipknot, Lady Gaga, Prince, Madonna, Garth Brooks, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Queen, Michael Jackson, and hundreds of other artists are considered some of the greatest entertainers of all time, again you may not know all the names of the songs but when you see them you know who they are.
All though this is the most important part that all the greats have in common and that is GREAT SONGS. Songs that don't sound like other artists. Granted every artist is influenced by someone and usually more than one artist or musician but just because they have influences they do their best to not try and sound like them.
Yes, some of the artists above have some songwriters outside of the band but usually in the early stages of their careers, it is the music they wrote and performed that got them noticed.
Songs tell stories, provide a variety of emotions but to really stand out from the rest, you have to move the masses with your storytelling while being original at the same time.
There is no formula for this, no shortcut, and some people are just born with a gift and yes sometimes there is a bit of luck that gets an artist noticed, but at the end of the day, the songs have to be great and move others the first time they hear it.
The reason I am not a big fan of the huge three-day festivals is that they are diluted with a bunch of bands that sound just like one another, they say the same thing on stage, look like the last band and most people walk away and remember nothing.
I remember seeing the newer band Nothing More for the first time at one of those three-day festivals. The singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer were all great musicians who each had an audio signature. Their songs didn't sound like any of the other performers for the whole weekend, but their presentation was what I remembered the most. They put a bass guitar on a custom-made stand that all the members played together at the same time while this thing would swing around in circles. Although there were some major artists that most people came to see that day, Nothing More was the band everyone talked about that weekend who caught their set.
I'm not saying you have to come up with some wild outrageous setup, there are many giant artists who just need a microphone and an acoustic guitar and will blow an audience's mind.
It matters what you say in between the songs, the songs matter but also how you perform them matters as well.
I know the suggestions above may seem generalized but they are true. Some have said now for years that rock is dead. It's not dead, there are fewer bands out of the masses of artists that have all four boxes checked above. So do your best to be original while being you at the same time.
Yes, it is possible to have all four boxes checked and nothing comes of your music career. That being said and paraphrasing Dave Grohl, don't let people keep you down, go after your dreams but at the same time do the work to hone in your craft, but put the time in, not just in your basement but in the clubs and if you have those four boxes checked you will resonate as an artist with the fans. The labels, managers, and agents will come to get you when you are resonating with the fans.
Making music that excites others is one of the greatest gifts an artist can give. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you are trying to create.