Advice For: Quiet Young Musicians Into Heavy Music That Struggle To Form Bands
Music is extroverted and you're an introvert but you still want to play music? Please do so. You might not be a rockstar-like extrovert but you can still be an introverted rebel. Music needs you quiet rebels.
1. WE WANT TO GIG BUT OUR AGE IS IN THE WAY If you are under 25 and struggle to from a band. Age should be no barrier to members for your band.
The mentality I've seen and that I used to have is 'we all need to all be over 18 so we can gig everywhere.'
When you are forming a band it will take longer than you can ever imagine to be gig ready or have the right people. Having members at 16. That gives your band two years to get good. Two years to buy good equipment. Two years to stabilize your line up.
A stable band with two years experience and good equipment is much more likely to gig than the band with no experience and no equipment.
2. WE CAN'T GET MEMBERS! If you can't find a drummer. Just be more creative. Make music without them.
There is a world of opportunity without a drummer. You can play more venues and don't have to worry about drum hire or hiring transport for gigs. Even playing extreme metal if you can't find a drummer, please don't stop! Create some fantastic music. Doesn't matter the style it is if you can make some great intense songs or do a good job with covers without a drummer then by the time you have the right drummer whether it's a year or two or more if you kept on moving there is a high probability your full line up will sound absolutely great.
If you can't find a bassist or drummer. Do some nice folky viking black death metal style songs on acoustic guitars. Your acoustic extreme metal acoustic songs will be huge breath of fresh air from the usual repetitive pop acoustic songs and those inaudible obscure extreme metal demos people hear every day. Importantly you are doing music. Yes actually doing music.
If you can't find a singer do some spoken word or poems with your music. Or create industrial noise drones with voices overs. Do Rammstine style songs or covers and put a deep voice on. You can't all be bad singers. Even just leave out the pig squeals and death growls and go clean in songs until you get a singer. Or you can go down the instrumental route like Steve Vai or The Shadows but just make sure you're creating songs and not jamming.
If you can't find a guitarist (a good guitarist). Take some inspiration from Royal Blood
These are just some suggestions. All that matters is you keep on going. Even if it's just turning up to the same old rehearsal. The best musicians to walk this earth always do that.
3. WHAT STYLE ARE WE? When it comes to forming a band. Be less regimented. Music is an art form that needs to progress to sound fresh. 'Have your influences' but play to a style that everyone can do or what everyone has the most fun doing. Not every guitarist can play technical death metal solos, not every drummer can play Slayer blast beats, not every bass player can do a Les Claypool and not every singer can hit all the notes Rob Halford can. I'm not saying stick to doing safe covers of Black Sabbath's Paranoid over and over. Challenge yourself with covers but don't over do it with technicality in the first month unless you know all the members can do them.
Give it all time. As long as people are turning up and trying to play the song once a week or every two weeks you are doing very well for yourself. No really, you are! It might not be power metal, death, black, screamo or whatever but it can be a start and hopefully you end up creating a brand new style others would want to aspire to.
4. IT'S A NEW MEMBER EVERY WEEK Musicians are unreliable and very hard to find. Most you will find are already in other bands and many others you will find are incredibly mad or horrible to work with. So when you are choosing members for your band do not worry and rush the member finding process. Take time to appreciate what members you have. It's not worth rushing through people, rushing towards gigs with members not fully up for taking on the world. If any member isn't turning up at the start then they won't turn up for that big gig you will have in the future. You might not see it now but your band that may only be you and the other person. That is your band. YOUR BAND. If you can maintain just that two person band just now you are doing one fantastic job.
5. FIVE LOST PEOPLE IN A ROOM. OR MORE LIKELY. FIVE LOST PEOPLE ON A FACEBOOK CHAT This is the hardest point to being in band ever. The common scenarios, we're trying to start things but can't. Do we need a leader? Is our leader being an ass a good or bad thing? Someone isn't turning up. Someone keeps disagreeing. Who's writing the songs? No-one listens... Every band will go through these scenarios very frequently.
All I can do here is point out
Don't be bitter.
Bands are bitches. Some are for you. Some against you.
If you find yourself an unemployed musician. That doesn't mean you're any better or worse than anyone else. I've seen some the great musicians bandless. In my own experiences it's nothing to do with skill when you're no longer in a band. It's usually hard luck. Not even arguements or personality clashes. It's just hard luck. Nothing personal.
If the band gets past the facebook chat stage with members turning up at rehearsals then it's a good band. Keep it going.
6. ROUNDING OFF
Smile, look and feel good on-stage. Tonight's gig could always be your best ever or last. Your current band. Wether it's a college, school, project band, theatre or a normal band it might be the best band you've ever been in. The smallest amount of enjoyment is something to be proud off. If it's the worst band you've been in then the next band could be greatest band you've ever been in.
If you frequently can't smile or laugh for brief moment on-stage or in rehearsal then it may be time to move on or try something new.
If you're just starting out. Well done and keep at it.
It may take longer than you think to find your first band or first good band. Look out for music clubs as well as the usual online musician sites. Music clubs have an advantage that the people turning up are more likely to be like you. They want to start bands but just can't find anyone.
Check up with music colleges. They may run weekend clubs for less experienced musicians to pick up new skills and to jam with other young musicians. Every new song, riff, beat and musician you come across is more experience. That's goes for all young and old musicians.
Stick with it quiet and introverted people. Just because everyone else but you is flying in and out of bands on a regular basis doesn't mean you can't do your stuff.
There is no plain sailing in this business. All my advice in this article is from every possible thing gone wrong.
Stefan (A Musician With Asperger's Syndrome)