Words by Joshua Eckersley, The Rockefeller Frequency.
In this modern age, it has become a rite of passage to join forces with your hapless mates at some stage in your life and start a band. Just ask the least musical person in the room and they’ll most likely admit to playing bass for at least three half-decent gigs on “indie night” in the valley.
A lot of us will retire our skinny jeans before getting too deep in the seedy world of the independent music scene, trading jam rooms for jam-filled donuts as we sit in our work cubicles and celebrate every fucking occurrence with a morning tea. But for those of us that stick to our guns and pursue music for more than one semester, here are some helpful hints to avoiding the most common pitfalls for up and coming bands.
Up-and-coming bands do a lot of stupid shit. Brisbane-based outfit The Rockefeller Frequency are here to help you avoid these all-too-common pitfalls.
1) Band paying “mates-rates” for film clip is disappointed with the final product.
Many bands have fallen victim to this all-too-common scenario. It involves an overly confident first-year film student, usually named Chris, who convinces unsuspecting musicians he can make them look cool for next to nothing. The sad truth of the matter is, if you don’t already look cool, there is very little Chris can do to change that. So maybe keep your $500, pay for a gym membership and matching haircuts instead, and then just use your phone to shoot your own film clip. Sorry, Chris.
2) Politically minded singer does not understand basic concepts of government.
There is no hotter commodity than having a politically engaged and woke singer to front your newly formed indie-rock band. This is especially true when the bulk of their lyrics can be conveniently “open to interpretation” to people much smarter than them. But before you start answering too many hard-hitting questions on your local radio station, it may be prudent for your singer to spend a few precious hours on Sunday morning watching Insiders, polishing up on some basic political concepts. And if you miss an episode on account of being too hung over, you can always catch up whilst the rest of the band load in all of that heavy gear at any of the gigs you’ve got coming up.
3) Musician invites work colleagues to first gig. Instantly regrets it.
There is a lot to be said about keeping your personal and professional lives separated. At your first gig, the last thing you want to worry about as you manifest your glorious artistic vision into a sweaty, noisy mess, is making small talk at an empty bar with your boss. Best to keep it all on the down-low until your band organically grows into an uncontainable beast. Then when your boss asks, you can nonchalantly invite them to your next gig, knowing full well you’ll spend the entire night backstage doing mushrooms with Rory from Gaslight Radio, whilst your boss laments his wasted youth from the back of the club.
4) Singer maintains he is “not nervous”. Smashes 4 beers before soundcheck.
It’s challenging being the lead singer in a band. They are the focal point, and often the deciding factor on whether a band makes it big or not. With all of this attention comes pressure to perform, to deliver, and to use clever rhyming words that aren’t easily attributable to some other jerk. It’s a rollercoaster ride of nerves and hence the booze makes it seem a little easier to cope.
I thought I’d have a more amusing way to end this last point, but I don’t. Let’s just say this: Maybe only have 3 beers before soundcheck, alright? How’s that sound? Achievable? You’re not Jimmy Barnes, you know?
The Rockefeller Frequency’s new single The Sheep and the Wolf is available now. Listen here.