Okay, so it’s come to my attention that some people think I’ve “made it”. What “it” actually is could be debated, but I get more than a fair share of emails asking how the hell I got into Infest or Black Sun or Billy’s Drive-a-rama Park-n-Bowl for shows, how I got signed, why anyone actually reads the shit I post, etc.
I’ll preface this by saying that I in no way think I’ve really “made” all that much, as it’s always an uphill battle to be heard, pimped, and supported in not only a fucked up industry (music) but in a fucked up NICHE industry (industrial). I’ve sold out of a very limited run of CDs (for which I’m grateful, as it paid my label back and people on the whole seemed to enjoy it and I’m putting another one out) and get to play to, on the whole, enthusiastic crowds, so please don’t take what I say as ego-driven. I’m just responding to what people have asked.
So, in short, ways to help you “make it”.
1) Pay Your Dues.
Be patient and appreciative of every new fan and every play a song gets. It ideally will build.
Note that there’s a big difference between networking and kissing someone’s ass for a favor. Sucking up is sometimes necessary, but being cool and developing actual friendships helps more. If you want to be treated like an equal act like it. Passing a CD along with a “Hey, if you have a second could you check this out?” rather than a “Pleeeeeeaaase listen to thisIhopeyalikeitI’mamassivefan!!!!” shows that you’ve got some confidence. Personally, I try to help pals out more than someone sucking up to me (which I also find funny– you’re sucking up to ME?!?) and always pimp those who I think can impress people.
Second note– get rid of any ego or attitude you might have right off the fucking bat. The last thing any band/project, especially an established one, needs is a new kid on the block acting like a jagoff. Do your thing and be cool and let the doors open. Believe me, it helps.
3) You’re Most Likely Not As Good Yet As You Think You Are.
It’s kinda strange to say, but when I finished that track what is now known as Caustic became solidified.
So take criticism and, again, keep your ego in check. You will undoubtably eventually be your own worst critic, and take every victory and trick you learn as an accomplishment, but also know that in the realm of ALL bands it still may not be too great. Keep working on it, as it’ll get better.
4) The Power of Self-Promotion
So add people on MySpace. Post shit all over Vampirefreaks. Annoy people on rec.music.industrial. Plug it up on Side-Line. It all helps. I probably pimp harder than 95% of the bands in this lil’ scene, as it’s fun to me and I enjoy it, so if anyone asks how I “made it” I generally list that and the above as the reasons. Personally musically I feel I have a long way to go, but I’m enjoying what I’m doing and getting the word out, to me, accounts for the reason I get to do shows all over the place.
If people don’t know you exist how the hell are they gonna know about your music? We aren’t all Fallout Boy, with massive word of mouth and a marketing budget of even $100. Legwork is necessary to get signed (and even more is necessary to push an actual CD). Don’t be lazy. The work you put in, if you focus it correctly and the quality in your music is there (See #3 for a reminder on that) then there will be a payoff. A lot of labels big and small look for hardworking bands that are relentless in their passion for pushing their music and doing tons of shows (TERRORFAKT, anyone?).
5) Get Lucky As Fuck