A month ago Royal Blood released their second album How Did We Get So Dark? Just like their debut, the album went to number 1 in the UK charts and has continued to enjoy success ever since.
As a struggling musician I’m always comforted when I think about Royal Blood by the fact that they started out the same as most of us, playing to next to no-one upstairs in the old function rooms of pubs in nearby towns and cities. In fact you can still go on to Royal Blood’s Facebook page and look up some of their old events, such as this one in The Hydrant, Brighton.
I wonder how many of the 4 confirmed and 2 interested people heading out on a cold November night nearly 5 years ago went home that night and told their friends / flatmates / family about a band they saw that were really good. I wonder how many bought an EP or a t-shirt, and went on to support the band for years to come.
Hailing from the then sleepy seaside town of Worthing the duo, according to the Telegraph, went on to play “a lot of open-mic nights with acoustic singer-songwriters” before setting up camp in a Brighton rehearsal studio and signing a deal with Warner.
The details of this pretty substantial leap from renting a practice space next to a bus station for £10 an hour and being picked up by one of the world’s biggest record labels are absent on the bands Wikipedia page. But I’m working on the assumption that they put a hell of a lot of work in somewhere in the middle there and got a fair bit of luck along the way. And fair play to them.
Not all of us will go on to get record deals with Warner (sorry!). But that doesn’t mean we can’t all follow in Royal Blood’s footsteps and become successful in our own right by putting in a bit more work.
So with that in mind, here are my top 3 EASY tips to help struggling musicians become more successful…
1. Play every gig like it’s Wembley
My band once ‘headlined’ (played last – there’s no such thing as headlining at this level!) on a Sunday night that ran so late that by the time we got on we were playing to our girlfriends and the staff. We made a decision beforehand to play it like it was Wembley and 2 people came in from the street and danced all night because ‘the band sounded like they had loads of energy’. We even got them up on stage at one point, they felt like rock stars. One of them joined our mailing list.
2. Start a mailing list
Get everyone who comes to your gigs to join up on entry. E-mail them every now and again, tell them about your next gig / album / t-shirt. No-one else will do it for you, but the good news is it’s easy, and worth it when they buy a CD or come to your next gig!
3. Be someone else’s crowd
It’s part of your job description as a musician to go out and watch other bands. Be their crowd, support them, and support your local scene. Just pick any random gig near you that sounds vaguely interesting and go to it. You will be inspired, informed, and more interesting for doing this. Not to mention the fact that people will start to recognise you on the scene, which is great marketing!
I quite like Royal Blood. But in truth I’ve seen 100s of bands in pubs, clubs, fields, and bedrooms that in my opinion are better musicians, write better songs, and are just as worthy of their success. We won’t all get signed to a major record label, but you never know… follow these simple tips and maybe someone from Warner will mark themselves as ‘interested’ at your next gig.
Originally published on www.gigride.live