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How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:24 am
by TrondC
Hi all, It's been ages since I've been active around here, have been beyond busy moving house, new school, exra work, tons of headaches and my gilfriend has moved to the other side of the world for atleast 5 months working, and I just didn't have time to make music or hand around here.. I'm glad to see the growth of this site tho, lots of new people, each brining in their excperiences that add to the community. This site has crushed the Korg forums ages ago, and it's starting to get quite big :thumbs:

Anyway, now that things are (hopefully) calming down, I've been watching with great interest Ruso's recent sucsess with playing live, getting in touch with people in music, radio, festivals etc. Much deseved man, really glad far ya :)

And this has got me thinking. I live in a medium sized (well, by Norwegian standards, big) city, population ca 150K. I've spent the last 6 months gathering information on where to play live, who to contact, in short, getting "into" the musical community of the city. What I found, was that there is a much bigger community for electronic music than I thougt, I've discovered great local artists and got to know some very cool DJ's and musicians.

However, actually getting a gig is still harder than french kissing a cobra, to put it in Carmageddon language. I feel I've done it all: I've contacted every freaking venue that I can imagine playing my music, sent demo's in both mp3 and CD'r format, talked to DJ's, friends, I've even sent e-mails to about 20 festivals, and the response is ear deafening silence. I got ONE gig in the 6-month period, and it's been dead quiet.

My point? I'm losing faith in that I have anything at all to offer. I've got nothing but good responses from my liveset and recent music, leading me to believe that maybe I am making something that atleast someone would listen to. I'm liking my own music more by every track, and I think I can say that what I do is atleast average. Now, even average bands do get to play more than one live show in 6 months, for sure? Point is, I'm starting to think that I'm doing wither one of two things wrong.

1. I don't know at all how to promote myself. I fool myself thinking I've got in touch with the important people, but I haven't. If this is the case, I feel beyond lost, as it feels I've done what can be done, and have no idea how to progress further.

2. My mysic is uninteresting to venues, DJ's and radio stations. I've got interest from both music labels and a sample site, but none from venues (and the venue I did play, I've heard nothing, but another local band did three gigs there in the same time, so it's safe to say they were not impressed)

now, this may seem like a lot of whining, but I find myself in a place where I have no idea if there is a point in even trying anymore. I love making music, but it's an expensive hobby, and I DO want to play out live.

so, (long post, sorry), what are your ways of getting to play? how much time do you spend promoting yourself, taking to the right people etc? I know there are lots of live artists on this board, how do you do it?

thanx for reading my looong whine ;)

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:33 am
by Borg
Hi there, my Scandinavian friend. :)

I feel with you, man. I don't have any experience from getting myself any gigs, except for my DJing. But I hardly put any effort into getting those gigs. It was nothing but the word about me from mouth to mouth via my friends.

So, I don't really have any good tips for you, but I'm curious about what others have to say about this.

Ta hand om dig!

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:37 am
by StellarJay[aka Ruso]
Tron, at this point you are considered an unknown artist to local production companies. What you gotta do is catch one of them with a catchy email with your best demo, photos and other propaganda that will make you look professional and like you know what you're doing.

Go onto a local website that has a schedule of upcoming events and see what production is putting it on.... look a month ahead at least because the shows that are coming up soon are usually totally booked out.

Keep trying eventually one will bite..... once one bites... you can tell others that you played a set at an event... when you play a few you can start calling yourself an "established artist".

Even though you really aren't some of them will bite it.....

Once your show gets good enough and people that invite you to play are very very impressed you can start hinting them that you would like to become a part of their crew. The ultimate goal is to get your ass either onto a major crew that puts on a lot of shows.... or a record label that will sell enough of your tracks for people to know you.

Good luck bro... Playing gigs is totally different then production... you will be be surprised how quickly you will be redoing your tracks to match bit sound systems and making your stuff sound killer.

Good luck bro!

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:33 pm
by Borg
Ruso, what do you mean with being a part of a "crew"?

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:49 pm
by StellarJay[aka Ruso]
There are crews... they call themselves production companies and they put on the shows....

If you look at techno events in your area they will usually have a company logo for example "Zodiac 9 Events" or "Kaoss Theory events".

This could also be the people that own a club (if they are the ones that do the bookings).

These are the people that rent the space, and either own or rent equipment.... they are the ones that are putting on the show, and chances are do multiple shows. Basically you want to get into their circle so they book you on a regular basis.

Good luck.

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:49 pm
by StellarJay[aka Ruso]
The point is:

Look for postings for upcoming parties and send them your work asking if they have an extra spot for a talented performance artist. :gunz:

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:04 pm
by Borg
Alright. I think I get it. Thanks, man.

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:57 pm
by hseiken
I've not done an electronic show ever, but I did used to be in a ska/punk band for about 6 months and we were able to get our shows just because the lead singer was the biggest bullshitter I've ever met. We never got paid in anything but a couple of bucks and beer, but it was fun so we kept doing it. I think part of why we kept getting shows was because of the fact we didnt really give a damn about the money at all. Also, a couple of places we played, we offered up friend's bands so we practically threw a nights show at damn near no cost to the bar/club owners. Eventually, after the singer had spread around enough flyers and such and we played enough shows, we got a gig at a place that was sort of like a pre-launch pad for the biggest indie venue in the city. We ended up acing that well enough (and got paid the largest amount ever at that point) and it led to us getting stage time at the said premier indie rock club in the city (the stage had seen the likes of Drowning Pool, Blue October, etc.). Unfortunately, they couldn't fit us in before I was to leave for the Navy so we unfortunately had to turn it down...but I say be really outgoing, bullshit a lot (I don't remember ever having any sort of halfway decent demo or anything...but I think we had a gimmick that interested people...we were anything but serious and about having a good time more than playing a good tune) and have some friends that maybe can do a double or triple bill with you and offer to play for beer or something. The less money you cost, it seems, the more likely someone will be willing to give you time...that's why kareoke is so's basically free entertainment for the bar (hell, places that charge basically make the entertainers pay THEM!) free shows for a while, get some exposure and possibly have something that stands out. For us, it was definitely the lead singer that would have bizarre exchanges with the audience between the shows and generally make us all look like dorks just having a good time with the audience (which we basically were, I guess...)

Maybe that helps a bit? I think electronic music and guitar based music probably differ a little bit in the way gig-snatching works, though...

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:38 pm
by StellarJay[aka Ruso]
If your music is up to it, there's no need to bullshit :-D but over-exaggerating a bit is not a bad idea.

Re: How do you get to do your gigs?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:20 pm
by Blue Monster 65
Network, network, network.

Talk to the bands you're seeing and ask if you can open for them. Give 'em your demo.

Ask at the door of the club, bar, etc. you're going to who books shows there. Give 'em your demo and ask them for the opportunity to play there.

See a cool place you'd like to play? Ask some who works there who you should talk to about playing there. Give 'em your demo and ask them to listen to it before you play there.

There's no need to bullshit - just talk to people, ask, and be persistent. Don't be a pest, but be persistent. Eventually it'll happen.