You’ve finally decided to take on the big, bad world and get your music out there. The tunes are down, the songs written and the urge to hear it go big is taking hold of every waking moment of your life. Now to find the right people to play, perform and record with.
So where does one begin?
Get in a jam: If you’ve already been jamming with musicians and have a good equation with a few, it’s fairly easy. But if you haven’t, asking around is a great option. Go to gigs and jamming sessions where musicians play together impromptu and listen to a few. Does that bassist seem like she has the right feel? Does that drummer get it just right without trying too hard? Walk up to them and speak about your project. Mostly the camaraderie that is formed between fellow travellers makes the rest easy.
Ask and you shall…: The next or even the first step could be to ask musicians in the scene about other musicians. Is the vocalist you had in mind easy to work with? Does that guitarist come on time for all rehearsals? Tardiness when all you want to do is play can be a big pain in the wrong place. So, all the more reason to make sure you set the right example when you get started.
Take it everywhere: Facebook maybe the obvious choice with musician groups mushrooming all over it but what about the reclusive genius on the guitar who shuns it all? Finding him or her might be easier in a music instrument shop, or a music school (where they learn or teach).
Make a small poster. Be clear and specific about your project. Say what you’re looking for and how to find you. Post links if you can about your work so far. Saves time by the buckets and tells people you know what you want.
Where do they hang: The jam rooms are some of the best places to source your crew. Most will have a notification board for schedules and such ads. Pin up your poster ad there but also ask the jam room staff, too, about whatever they know about the different musicians who use the place. They are some of the best sources of information because, you guessed it, most people don’t notice them but they watch everything. Don’t think they listen? Some of them do. The studios are good places for this, too.
Go All Out: Notice that little teashop near the jam room, that discreet café in the area with many music shops? The venues that hold regular gigs? All are good candidates for your poster to adorn some (permitted) space. Ask before you paste or pin that poster. There may be many other places where you could find your dream crew.
Getting Down to Business
Once you’ve got talking, there are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Be specific but open: In what you tell them in the first few conversations, be as specific as you can about your project. Share your ideas, be open to suggestions and know that you’re talking to another creative mind.
- Be upfront: Be very clear about the commitments that you are going to be asking of the bandmates. How many times in the week would you have rehearsals? For how long?
- Knowing each other: Take the time to find out people who you genuinely like because all of you will be spending a lot of time together. Whether it is long travel together to that festival gig, the hours locked in the jam pad, struggling over creative choices – it will all be a lot easier if you can bond over something, including and beyond the music you create.
- Money, it’s a gas: Be that as it may but certain things need to be clear. Be upfront about what’s the amount of money you all need to commit to hire rehearsal spaces, record tracks, create promotional material and sundry expenses.
- Professionals are us: Let everyone know that there is a certain amount of professionalism that is expected. Band members need to be on time, prepared for the rehearsals or the show, with all their skills and wits about them. And if you expect them to be sober for all band jams, shows and other appearances, discuss your intoxication policy upfront.
Did we miss something? Do you have suggestions on finding band mates, other innovative ways to reach the people you need to? Please share your creative and constructive feedback in the comments below.