a survival guide for bands
PERSONIFY It is ok to fear the man. However you should not fear some of the words “the man” uses. Ultimately you have two options with your music. Make it a hobby, or make it commercial.
GRAPHIC LEGEND BAND LINK
POPE OF YES
and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. Buzz brings professional design directly to new bands, helping new musicians distinguish themselves. Buzz distills and distributes essential wisdom gathered from fans, bands and industr y professionals. art director STEFAN ARONSEN assistant designer ZEN ZENITH: PLEASE DO NO FIGHT executive editor IAN TUTTLE field editor BR ANDILEIGHA ROBIN STR ACNER collaboration OLIVIA PARIOT: WIRETAP MUSIC collaboration MIKE G: WIRETAP MUSIC fourth executive advisor LIAN NG third executive advisor CAROLINA DE BART0LO second executive advisor TROY ALDERS first executive advisor BR AD RHODES photo assistant AMY SCANDURR A photo assistant STEPHANIE TR APP contributing writer KENDALL DIX: ATTORNEY AT LAW contributing writer LINDSAY GARFIELD: OR, THE WHALE contributing writer IAN STAHL: ER A ESCAPE contributing writer AMY WILSON: CPA IN TR AINING special thanks to MOM & DAD, BROTHER, SISTER, FAMILY, FRIENDS, JACOB HENNESSEY-RUBIN: MOR AL SUPPORT, OLIVIA: WIRETAP MUSIC, ANTON: JUDGEMENT DAY, GR ANT: BATTLEHOOCH, ZEN: PLEASE DO NOT FIGHT, PETER: EAROFTHEBEHOLDER, JUSTIN: PUNCHFACE, DAMON: PAR ANOIDS, PEARL STARBIRD, NIANA LIU: WATERCOLOR MAPS, CASEY KOERNER: ARTIST, LAR A DE GARIE: ARTIST web design STEFAN ARONSEN digital director JASON ROBINSON web editor MICHAEL HER AUF web video YOUTUBE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network MYSPACE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network FACEBOOK.COM/SFINTERCOM president STEFAN ARONSEN email STEFAN@SF-INTER.COM phone 415.894.2302 consultant OLIVIA PARIOT consultant MIKE G mailing address PO BOX 423525 SAN FR ANCISCO, CA 94142 general info INFO@SF-INTER.COM office number 415.894.2302 web SF-INTER.COM BUZZ MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY SF INTERCOM AND FEATURES WIRETAPMUSIC.COM The goal is to help new bands and struggling bands become more viably successful. Buzz utilizes existing social networks to connect with bands; this ties the book into a rich web presence that ser ves as an interactive clearinghouse. Buzz is the lifeline linking bands to their audiences, venues, labels, and producers.
art director executive editor web
Stefan Aronsen Ian Tut tle sf-inter.com/ buzz
• PO BOX (32) • MYMail (34) • DEADTWEETS (38)
• SF POTRERO 94107 (44) • Busking (50)
• • • • •
the scene & be seen
CD DESIGN (56) 1st How-To (58) 2ND How-To (60) Insiders Scoop (62) JOURNAL REVIEW (66)
• L AW PROTECTS AGAINST … (70) • STOP FOOLING YOURSELF (72) • I AM NOT TRIXIE RASPUTIN (74) • TEN SURVIVAL TIPS (78) • EARSOF THEBEHOLDER (94) • IPICKMYNOSE (95) • L ast Words (102)
CONTRIBUTORS Troy Alders: Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org An art director at LucasFilms and teacher at the San Francisco Academy of Art, Alders ser ved as a sounding board and filter throughout SF Intercom’s development. Favoring simplicity over noise, Alders took Aronsen’s original goal of “I want to fix the music industr y” and honed it do a doable task: “I will create a sur vival guide.” Overf lowing with an electric energ y, Alders is good for advice on ever ything from hairstyles to relationships.
Stephanie “REGS” TRAPP: Photographer email@example.com There’s an intimate power in small spaces. “Regs” trains her street-savvy eye on the ubiquitous and shrinks it, making it personal. She is responsible for the Dead Tweet photos throughout Buzz Magazine. She spends her time working on her own photography, photo assignments for SF Station, and taking in as much local indie music as possible. Babysitting provides a positive and lively balance to her typical photographic material.
Kendall dix: Contributor firstname.lastname@example.org This jovial Midwesterner found his true home in San Francisco, where he once offered tickets to a sold-out concert on Live 105 to anyone who could help him land a job. His voracious appetite for local culture and music made him a valuable companion throughout Buzz Magazine’s development, and his law degree is still getting better with age, ready to be tapped by a discerning employer.
jacob hennessey-rubin: Design support email@example.com There’s something profound in that first friendship in a new city. Hennessey-Rubin has remained a constructive, insightful ally to Aronsen and SF Intercom even as his personal focus has shifted from graphic to industrial design. Acting as a personal curator of over 200 blogs, Hennessy-Rubin kept Aronsen’s own finger firmly planted on the indie music pulse.
Special thanks: stephanie trapp, amy scandurra, olivia: wiretap music, jayson: music for animals, peter: earsofthebeholder, cor y: absolutely kosher records, petros: dizzy balloon, kimi: lilofee, laura: foxtails brigade, daemon: paranoids, vincent lo - astro studios, jason: maus haus, grant: battlehooch, ian: era escape, shayna rader: editor
stefan aronsen: art director & editor-in-chief firstname.lastname@example.org Stefan grew up surrounded by a musically gifted family and he was inspired by their passion for music. He figured it was his calling to be a musician. At a young age he took up drums, it went poorly. He wasn’t fazed, he figured he wasn’t a percussionist, he moved on to the clarinet. He could hear ever ything he did wrong, but nothing he did right, clearly wind instruments weren’t for him. He did this with 4 other instruments until finally he realized he wasn’t a musician at all. OPENING WORDS: BUZZ … Hey! It’s Stefan, let me in! I’ve come to help make bands more successful. How am I going to that? Well … not alone! Obviously! SF has a community of fans, bands and industry professionals with solid advice to make you a better you. That’s right Buzz is here to help you avoid making the same mistakes others before you have already made. Why should the same mistake be made twice? IT SHOULDN’T.
ZEN ZENITH: ASSISTANT DESIGNER email@example.com Home-schooled and hugely huggable, Zenith is lead singer of the talented indie band Please Do Not Fight. His eye for clean design kept Buzz Magazine looking sharp. His personal involvement in the indie music scene kept its voice authentic. His spirit aided SF Intercom morale when obstacles presented. Zenith splits his time equally among making music, teaching guitar, and leading events for fellow “unschooled” folks.
SUGAR AND GOLD
MUSIC FOR ANIMALS
By emphasizing advice from existing bands, spotlighting venues that cater to indie music, and building a network of resources designed with the indie musician in mind, Buzz targets a niche market.
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I don’t think there’s a general answer for everyone, though there are probably some commonalities. CORY: Absolutely Kosher Records
STOP FOOLING YOURSELF
YOU CAN MAKE IT AWESOME
THE NEX T LEVEL
People see what they want to see … but
Make sure you’re acting in a way that
Well, when Rob and I first started mak-
you can play with that and stretch their
you want your band to be represented.
ing music there wasn’t even the thought
reality a bit with sound and sight. Of-
Plan out things like when and where
of a band or a live show, we just wanted
ten times the 2 are one in the same and
you’re playing and how often and when
always complimentary. The songs we
you’ll release new material. You have
perform aren’t written nor recorded in
to watch yourself because others are
a day-to-day; atmosphere-it is an alter-
always watching you. The only person
nate reality with strong emotional and
who can mess ever ything up is the
chemical charges. Writing music is ex-
same person who can make it all awe-
In essence, we want to be a really con-
traordinary and sometimes transcen-
ceptual-media oriented band, and I’m
dental, so clothes and external props can help to complete the picture of this
PETRO: Dizzy Balloon
place you were when you wrote the song. Both mentally and physically. JAY: Music For Animals
GO ORGANIC Forming a band is an organic process and ever y band develops differently. The look, feel, style, name, etc. are all part of that. It’s the business behind the band that can be controlled. PETER: Earsofthebeholder.com
032 PERSONA - STEP 5
However, once we had written a couple of songs, it was obvious that we wanted to take it to the next level.
huge on stor y-telling so for us ever ything ties in together. Ever y band is different, but for us, it
was important to have a stor y and a
Differentiate yourself from all the other
theme from the get-go — —-ever ything
bands out there so that people will al-
since then has been evolving from that
ways remember you. A persona makes
initial fair y-tale of Princess Lilofee.
you yourself, it is a representation of
Whatever shape a band decides to take,
yourself, and that makes you unique. VINCENT LO: Astro Studios
I think the most important thing is to really stand behind what you are doing. In this day and age, you can get away with almost anything as an artist, as long as you back it up 100%. KIMI: Lilofee
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE, PRACTICE , PRACTICE, PRACTICE Things pretty much never go as planned. I guess the best advice I can give is to just make sure whatever it is that you create is the best it can possibly be and is real and true. I hate when stuff is fake except candy f lavors. Ever ything else should eventually just fall into place somehow I reckon, I mean I sure hope. OH! Make sure you practice as much as possible. LAUR A: Foxtails Brigade
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maus haus Concrete / Dub / Crunk
Here’s my personal list of do’s and don’ts, I wouldn’t call them survival tips though. 1) Don’t depend on your friends to come to every show — unlike you, your friends have lives outside of your band (like their own band) & you shouldn’t expect them to see you any more than they’d see any other band they’d like. The whole point of you having a band is to turn people onto something they’d like based SOLELY on the music. 2) When you book shows, make every show special, and don’t play every week. If you really just love playing shows, drive to Santa Cruz, Davis, Sacramento, San Jose, Fresno, or any other town where they’re not constantly being bombarded by awesome music. 3) DO go out to other local shows and meet people in real life & give them a card so they remember when they’re hung-over the next day. Don’t be a walking advertisement, though, people are usually weary of shameless self-promotion—talk to people in other bands, not just the bands who are playing who have 100 other people to talk to that night. It’s important not to look desperate, but networking is helpful. 4) Networking isn’t everything! Post flyers in real life. If you’re relatively unknown, make sure the flyer looks good and maybe gives people an idea of the “vibe” of the music. Spend time on the flyer, don’t just throw together some lame clip art. It’ll immediately look like a lame show they won’t want to go to. Don’t spend money on cheesy glossy postcards: that’s total cheese. Don’t post your flyers on other bands’ Myspace: it really doesn’t work. Bands with real fans will only be annoyed, and bands whose comments are flyer graveyards typically don’t have that many real fans. Use that time sending your music to people who write blogs about music & get some descriptive feedback. Hit up the newspapers, people still read those, and it adds credibility.
034 PERSONA - STEP 5
4a) If you really love spending a lot of time on Myspace, find bands in other nearby towns that you think will like what you’re doing, and do a SHOW TRADE. If you just try to open for more-established bands, you don’t really have any bargaining power—they’ll only help you out if they’re REALLY impressed by the merits of your music, I promise. If they don’t get back to you, don’t assume they think you suck, because people are busy & don’t have time to listen to every band that friend-adds them. 5) Play art openings & house parties—you’ll find people there that would never go see a local show at a dive bar EVER (usually because they don’t have money or give a shit) but you can be the pleasant surprise. When you play free gigs, have a donation can, and always have a flyer for your next booked show. Bring a mailing list to the house party, as long as you’re playing the house party. Mailing lists DO WORK. 6) Check local sites such as The List, Wiretap Music, Sonicliving, etc. and make sure your show is listed. 7) Know what you’re going to get paid BEFORE you play the show—get a guarantee or a guaranteed percentage. Free shows are fine, especially if you’re trying to be heard, but know that you’re worth something & know that you’re giving your talent for free. If you’re playing two shows, and one you’re going to get paid, and the other you’re not, PROMOTE the paying one. (Especially if you’re headlining.) 7a) KNOW WHAT ORDER everyone’s playing in advance, at least a week before or more. Make sure everyone agrees so you’re not fighting about it once you get there. This shit happens all the time, especially at small joints like the Knockout, Edinburgh Castle, even Hemlock. It equals a lot of bad energy and some band bitching on stage to 12 people how they’re sorry to be playing at midnight on a Tuesday. BTW: No one should play at midnight on a Tuesday, and if everyone in a band in San Francisco boycotts this, it’ll just stop existing.
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8) Think nationally. Write really good songs, record them really well, get advice from friends about how to improve them (even if they’re not musicians, everyone’s a critic), make what you’re doing FRESH and interesting, and think big. You can only get so far with San Francisco, period, and if you want to eventually be known in lots of places, you need to spend time letting people know you in lots of places. I learned this one the hard way, because there’s a point in every band’s career where you’ve been in every newspaper & website, and the amount of people interested seems to plateau. It’s hard & it’s sometimes expensive, but touring bands that tour constantly are usually the ones that go the furthest, because record labels know that you’ll be selling their records door to door for them, and booking agents know that you’ll be a steady stream of work for them. Just make sure that before you pack up the van, you really believe in what you’re doing. You might ask “am I trying to communicate something special/unique, or do would I want to listen to this if I wasn’t in this band?” if you’re not sure, get back into the space & don’t come back until you’re pleased with your MUSIC! If you really truly know in your heart that it’s good, then there WILL be an audience—it just takes tons of thankless work, e-mailing, and unpaid hours to get it to them. But don’t forget, this is your dream! (Jason Kick, member of Maus Haus & The Lovely Public)
036 PERSONA - STEP 5
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sfintercom TIP: Most bands don’t need a website. Buy your domain name and forward that address to Myspace, Facebook, Youtube or Twitter less than 5 seconds ago from web
tylerhagenME LOOKS LIKE THE CAPS LOCK IS ON. 1 day ago from web
brokeassstuart Things I hate: when people wear shirts of bands they don’t actually care about. Irony should have limits dammit!!! 1 day ago from web
brokeassstuart Truthfully, with all the potential for being stepped on, blue suede shoes just don’t seem worth the aggravation 1 day ago from web
Benangel Business Tip: Manage ur emotions. How often do u see pro’s lose it. Ok, except maybe elton John. Now there’s a queen! 1 day ago from web
anthonyrstevens protip: when crafting a press release, don’t proclaim yourself as a thought leader in a paragraph containing two grammer errors. 1 day ago from web
newandused @sfintercom As The Passionistas told me, Google-ability is very important with your band name. 1 day ago from web
CareersSTL Quick Tip: Change your email to something more professional, and get any music off your voicemail. Just until you find your new job. 1 day ago from web
sirjohncard Pro tip: If you are going to be speaking on a call with hundreds of listeners, you MIGHT want to prepare beforehand. Just sayin’. 1 day ago from web
whoissyntax Tax tip 28 - People don’t need superman vision to see through bullshit. 1 day ago from web
Photo by Stephanie Trapp: www.StephanieTrapp.com
SCENE OF ACTION
BOOKING SHOWS The hardest part 0f booking shows is knowing where to book shows. Attached are a couple good venues in: POTRERO
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BOOKING SHOWS: SF POTRERO 94107 if you go to the top of POTRERO on a clear day, you can see all of the mission, and parts of downtown.
Bot tom of the Hill
Way out in the dogpatch boonies you’ll
If you’re sure your band can bring in 300+
Time-tested and top talent approved,
come across this 1970’s plane crash with
and you want to blow somebody’s roof
Bottom of the Hill’s insides look like a
relief and delight. Upstairs is a typical
off, book Mighty. The venue hosts many
rooftop mid-earthquake. This is a per-
bar. The downstairs is a legit airplane
DJ, Noise Pop, and other high-volume
fect venue for medium-sized indie bands
cabin. Retox is the perfect venue for a
shows out in its isolated Potrero locale.
but advertising is key as it will feel emp-
basement house party … only in some-
ty if only 20 people show up. An elevated
one else’s basement … which happens to have airplane portal windows.
119 Utah Street San Francisco, CA 94103
cross street: 15th Street
628 20th St San Francisco, CA 94107 cross street: 3rd St
district: Potrero Hill Tel: 415.626.001
stage, smoking patio, great bar, and tasty kitchen round out a solid spot.
www.bottomofthehill.com 1233 17th Street San Francisco, CA 94107 cross street: Missouri
district: Potrero Hill
district: Potrero Hill
044 PERSONA - STEP 5
Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/category/venues
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046 PERSONA - STEP 5
BOOKING SHOWS: SF POTRERO 94107
The Yankee doesn’t usually host shows,
A quirky cross between a boyscout hall
known more for ser ving amazing soup
from its swinging bar doors down to
and a bingo swing-dance room, the Ver-
and playing all the major games on TV,
its grung y bathroom. The bar is dark
di Club mostly hosts Big Band events. A
but if Fritz takes an interest in your
and ser ves drinks for countless indie
nice, separate bar, and elevated stage,
project he’ll make an exception. Highly
though, ensure an amazing concert ex-
recommended for bands that can put
events. How can you not agree with its
perience if you have a jazz band or a
down a security deposit and draw 50-
self-proclamation as “San Francisco’s
solid vision of how to take advantage
100 fans. (And if you can’t muster up
Premier Dive Venue.”
of the space.
those sorts of troops, Fritz will be the
www.theeparkside.com 1600 17th Street San Francisco, CA 94107 cross street: Wisconsin district: Potrero Hill
www.posthoc.com/verdiclub.htm 2424 Mariposa San Francisco, CA 94110 cross street: Potrero Avenue district: Potrero Hill
first to tell you to go back to playing your friends basements).
www.theyankee.com 100 Connecticut St. San Francisco, CA 94107 cross street: 17th Street district: Potrero Hill
The Verdi Club screams
Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/category/venues
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BOOKING SHOWS: SF POTRERO 94107
There is no secrecy as to what can be determined as “our success”. We just play our asses off, walk our own path, do the groundwork, and generally kind of just work it out. ABOUT US: 1. we started playing cause we love to play 2. the only step to success is to do it to it 3. no regrets 4. greatest success is baring my soul unquestioningly (if that is a word) D: The Ferocious Few
050 PERSONA - STEP 5
ON THE STREET BUSKING STEFAN ARONSeN: SF-INTER.COM
They didn’t call in advance, tickets weren’t sold and nobody knew they were coming. however, today on the streets of SF Battlehooch played live for hundreds of people. How? We’re also pretty lousy at getting media/ blog attention in the bay area, so we wanted to do some original-type promoting. 1. We started playing on the street because we were tired of playing in clubs and bars mostly. most of our shows were 21+ and we wanted to play to an all age audience. we also knew that there was nothing out there on the streets like us, so when we imagined all the possibilities of what could happen if we set up on a corner like 16th and valencia, made us laugh … (we generally like to make normal situations as vivacious as possible). 2. Play with your friends, make a band or an event out of it … absurdity, originality, transcendence, sense of humor, visually stimulating … those are my five successful requirements. 3. No regrets. ever y street performance teaches you something new … ever y time we go out there, we get different crowds (which means different responses), we meet new people, we LAUGH a ton. I’ve referred to the word laugh twice now, that’s because i want to emphasize that we’re having an unmeasurable amount of fun when we play. 4. Our greatest success is this quote i just looked up: ”The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.” –Dale Carnegie Basically, we’re like magnets for fantastic! Hope this helps. GR ANT: Battlehooch www.facebook.com/ battlehooch
Above, far left: POTRERO - San Francisco neighborhood Watercolor painting by Niana Liu: www.nianaliu.com
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As soon as you sound good, you need to look good. having a good persona iS key to success.
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let me start by saying, “i Heart your music,” if you check my playlist i play it all the time. I just think you should know that your hand writing sucks and your blank CD isn’t helping me get in contact with you … what if I was a big shot record producer. is this cd how you want to be remembered? NO!
ADVICE: You have no money for CD packaging and your craft sucks ... That doesn’t mean you should stop making CDs at home ... it means you should stop sucking!!! Get your boyfriend/girlfriend or somebody with good handwriting to put your band name, a contact person, a phone number and a web address on all CDs hand-made and professional.
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058 PERSONA - STEP 5
Donâ€™t book a show in a venue you canâ€™t fill. It is better to book a small venue and pack it out, rather than book a large venue and play for a couple friends.
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060 PERSONA - STEP 5
Portions of the inside scoop were inspired by The Indie Band Surivial Guide by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan - www.indieguide.com/
Youâ€™re not impressing anybody by playing a great show to little or no audience. Bookers will remember you, and you might not get to play that venue when your band is big enough to fill it.
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over and over and over And… STEFAN ARONSEN: SF INTERCOM
Identity is a super complicated thing. when you first glance at these marks you may see the same symbol over and over and over. however … when I look at them I see tons of tiny unique differences. There is no formula to create the perfect persona. It will take a lot of trial and error before you find the perfect mark, the perfect fit, that sexy pop. Perhaps your mark can best be compared to hipster jeans. Those fuckers are so tight I can see your balls … the messed up thing is that you wanted that. How many pairs of jeans did you tr y on before you felt that click. There is always that moment when you know you’ve found a perfect match. You won’t settle till you find those perfect jeans. Don’t settle till you find that perfect mark. Tr ying free drawing the same way that writers free write. If you keep drawing scribbles eventually your scribbles become circles, your circles become squares and then “POP” you’ve got wings, a banner and a great tag line. Now go get them tiger.
062 PERSONA - STEP 5
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064 PERSONA - STEP 5
I’m not sure why musicians shudder when they hear the word branding … but they do … so to trick them into acceptance I use the word persona. Musicians love that word! I think it’s an ego thing.
to the b
find. O tential
in San F
traditio ble tv. media are so
plannin to me, signed
Your persona is important. You don’t always have to create
it … but you do need to control it. A band must consider how
they do and do not want to be seen. Personally I like it when
help a l
a band has a street look and a separate stage look. When a
band hits the stage with outfits that match there sound I
know they came to rock. When they arrive with outfits louder than life I know I’m going to have a good time!
In your next meeting … because you have meetings … I want
you to talk about your persona! Somebody in the band has an
opinion. I want you to talk about why it is you’re so scared to
look good when you’re on stage.
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Law protects against sabotage
kendaLl dix attorney at law
Don’t go overboard with marking your territory. You don’t want to be the next Metallica and end up with a reputation for suing your fans.
It probably goes without saying that a band’s image can be as
Unless you have a lot of time, somebody else is going to have
important as its sound. Just ask The Sex Pistols, or more spe-
to do a lot of your marketing for you. If you decide to sign
cifically Sid Vicious. The guy could barely play an instrument
with a label, it’s going to be the label doing it for you. In just
and ended up as the public face of one of the more culturally
about ever y recording contact, there will be clauses address-
significant bands of the last fifty years*. And while you don’t
ing who controls the band’s likeness and name and how they
have to trash hotel rooms or take a crap on stage to achieve
can be used. Taking a hands-off approach could lead to the
success, it’s important that a band control its image for a
label making your album cover for you.
d do not
m to say
r, do not
s it may
If you don’t want your label making tacky T-shirts with your
1. Integrity. If Dr. Dre had just gone for the money and left
faces and giving them away at your local amusement park on
his image up to somebody else, he’d still be wearing se-
Christian Family Day, you better make damn sure you put in
quined gloves and doing choreographed dance numbers for
your contract that you control your image. Likewise, make
the Wrecking Cru. He wisely decided to take control of his
sure that you and the label understand who has the final
image and went on the establish NWA and took hip hop in
say on public appearances if you don’t want to be performing
an entirely new direction. When you control your image, you
at that amusement park next to the shitty shirts. The same
control how the public perceives you.
goes for lending one of your songs in a TV commercial. Again, make sure it’s in your contract. Don’t go overboard with marking your territor y. You don’t want to be the next Metallica and end up with a reputation for suing your fans.
066 PERSONA - STEP 5
The art on this page was created by Casey Koerner: www.caseykoerner.com/
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e silver, the sil-
e king’s a place
STOP FOOLING YOURSELF!!! IAN STAHL: ERA ESCAPE
why are you pretending persona isn’t important? why are you lying to yourself? Do yourself a favor, shape up or get out of my face. You can’t pretend persona isn’t impor- Be Yourself:
While I don’t have a large ego and can
tant. Look at Obama, Brittany Spears, Yes people will like talking about you
usually let things go pretty fast, after
Keane, MJ, ANYONE on a stage. For some if your obnoxious. Yes gossip sucks but
Mr. Rude Drummer I honestly didn’t
reason the public loves to keep their eye people do it. Yes the truth is what you
want their bands stupid CD. I have a
on and pick apart those in the spot light. do affects the whole band. Having said
whole stack at home I haven’t even lis-
Especially if they deser ve it. This is true that, live your life (actually a quote
tened to yet. Let alone put in any of the
on both large and smaller scales.
DJ’s/Music Producer’s mail boxes.
Be Aware: I was at a show a few months ago and the new bassist of a pretty popular and well established local band got pretty drunk. He was running around, loudly slurring his words, grabbing girls, the whole
from the drunken bassist). Say what you feel is important to say, give the gift of who you really are to the world. Being wise (I.E. astute, aware, careful, clever, cunning, discerning, discreet, enlightened, foresighted) doesn’t mean being fake.
Be smart: Conversely I have seen several bands gather a huge fan base by little more than their char ms. It’s actually pretty genius, they hang outside after shows with their f liers and f lirt. A lot of
nine yards. Then something happened Be Nice:
times young concert goers don’t even
that still, to this day, makes me laugh. I was working a show at Bottom of the
really know what kind of music they
The lead guitarist (who had been in the Hill and the drummer from a certain
like yet, and are just at a show because
band for years and worked his sweat band was rude to me. Now I may be just
the scene is exciting. So if you walk up
and blood into it’s success), walks over a lowly promotions assistant at a radio
to a g irl, act like you think their cute,
to the drunken bassist and puts a hand station, but he didn’t know that. Even if
g ive them a f lier and ask them to come
on his shoulder. Smiling, and looking I was just a fan, it’s always a bad move
to your show … I have been freaking
, or he
across the room as if he was just shar- to give people attitude.
amazed at how well this works for
ing a joke with a friend, begins to speak
growing a fan base.
lowly into his bassist’s ear. The bassist
Later on at this show, I was taking down signs and the lead singer (Ah the lead
Don’t live to please ever ybody, but
singer, a breed somehow naturally pro-
people are watching you. So don’t be
Magically the obnoxious bassist disap- ficient at schmoozing and BS), knowing
a fool. You don’t have to be fake, but
pears and his twin “Non Freakaziod that I worked at a radio station he would
for goodness sakes have a care. Don’t
Buffoon Bassist” takes his place for the like his band to be on, ran up smiling,
make your girlfriend worr y, but you can
rest of the night.
started helping me take down signs,
catch many f lies with just a little bit of
and asked if he could give me a free cd.
honey. So don’t be a jerk.
smile fades, and he nods his head.
068 PERSONA - STEP 5
069 BUZZ by SF Intercom
. As the
ver, and wicked
I am not trixie rasputin josie shrader is trixie rasputin
There is nothing worse than going to a show where a singer/songwriter is telling you about some terrible time in his or her life, and all you can think is â€œgeez, this is more boring than learning sex-ed from my 75 year old science teacher in the 6th grade!â€?
Sorr y folks, but being an entertainer (read: songwriter)
This takes a lot of finesse, as most of us are actually bor-
means entertaining your audience. It does not mean stand-
ing, whiney, pathetic brats that long to be famous for all
re a no-
ing at the front of the room in a tee shirt and bemoaning
the wrong reasons. But if you are still crazy enough to want
your pathetic childhood. It means giving people of piece of
to be a performer, know this: you must bring a PERSONA to
d if your
yourself that they want to remember and experience more
the stage, and not the REAL YOU. In fact the more notorious
e with a
the persona, the better, because all of the fans out there
070 PERSONA - STEP 5
are looking for a wild ride when they come to your show. If
world with her music. The only way this could be achieved
they aren’t then you are REALLY boring, and should use a
was for the nice girl to create a ver y impolite and engaging
stage name like Michael Bolton or Amy Grant to streamline
character (Trixie) to be her rep out there on stage. Trixie hap-
the process for ever yone.
pens to be a hell of a lot more interesting than the real person
Now there is a girl out there named Trixie Rasputin, and she is kind of a self proclaimed badass. Her real name is not Trixie, nor does she get paid to wear slutty outfits. And yet, at ever y show she’ll be wearing something that will simultaneously give you a boner AND make you feel like it’s your fault for being creepy. This is all intentional however, because Trixie is an alter ego of a person who is really quite nice and polite, but with an insatiable need to write, sing, and torture the
inside of her, mainly because she is imper vious to emotion, criticism, and embarrassment. That’s the point of persona. It’s absolutely essential for any musician to practice choking off the real person and letting their inner problem child out of the cage. If musicians don’t do that, we’ll be forever stuck listening to people like Michelle Branch tell us how hard it is to be pretty, white, and young in an industr y that favors people who are pretty, white, and young. SHEESH.
071 BUZZ by SF Intercom
BUZZ GUIDE Bands are afraid of the word brand. So with that in mind I say “You don’t need to brand yourself as long as your create a strong persona.”
074 PERSONA - STEP 5
075 BUZZ by SF Intercom
m a n ” u s e s . u lt i m at e ly y o u h a v e t w o o p t i o n s w i t h y o u r m u s i c : m a k e
1 _ IT IS OK TO BE COMMERCI A L: i t i s o k t o f e a r t h e m a n . h o w e v e r y o u s h o u l d n o t f e a r
i t a h o b b y , o r m a k e i t c o m m e r c i a l ly v i a b l e .
some of the words
m ay b e a w o n d e r f u l ly ta l e n t e d b a n d , b u t i f y o u r g r a p h i c s s u c k , p e o p l e a r e g o i n g t o a s s u m e
2 _ MAK E SMART DESIGN CHOICES: p o o r d e s i g n c h o i c e s w i l l r e f l e c t p o o r ly o n y o u . y o u
y o u r s o u n d s u c k s . i f y o u ’ r e n o t g o o d at d e s i g n , h i r e a d e s i g n e r .
076 PERSONA - STEP 5
MAKE SMART DESIGN CHOICES
077 BUZZ by SF Intercom
the y a re more you th a n you. e v en if you don’t k now
3 _ BU Y YOUR DOM A IN N A ME: y o u a r e n ’ t t r u ly y o u u n t i l y o u o w n y o u r n a m e . a s s o o n a s
how to design a web site you need to own your domain name.
somebody buys your domain name
4 _ CRE ATE A SOLID W EB PRE SENCE: t h i s h a s m u lt i p l e m e a n i n g s . f i r s t , b e s e a r c h a b l e o n
v i s u a l ly . t h i s w i l l l e t p e o p l e r e c o g n i z e y o u w i t h o u t s e e i n g y o u r n a m e .
t he w eb, peopl e need to be a bl e to find you. second, t ie a l l of your w eb concep t s toge t her
078 PERSONA - STEP 5
BUY YOUR DOMAIN NAME
079 BUZZ by SF Intercom
5 _ CRE ATE A PRE S S K IT: w h at y o u p u t i n y o u r p r e s s k i t c h a n g e s d a i ly . h o w e v e r , s i m p ly
h a v i n g o n e i s e x t r e m e ly i m p o r ta n t . i r e c o m m e n d k e e p i n g i t s i m p l e , i n c l u d e a b a n d b i o , m u s ta c h e s o n t h e m .
s t i c k e r s a n d a c d . s o m e p e o p l e m ay w a n t a b a n d p h o t o , o t h e r s m ay j u s t l a u g h a n d d r a w
on your /their hand is not going to
n e v e r k n o w w h e n yo u’r e g o i n g t o r u n i n t o a a n i n d u s t r y
6 _ A LWAYS CA RRY CONTACT INFO: S i m i l a r t o t h e b o y s c o u t s m o t t o , b e p r e p a r e d , c a r r y
p r o f e s s i o n a l t h at w a n t s t o w o r k w i t h y o u .
c o n ta c t i n f o i m p l i e s j u s t t h at .
c u t i t p r o f e s s i o n a l ly .
080 PERSONA - STEP 5
081 BUZZ by SF Intercom
8 _ M A K E MERCH A NDISE: m o s t b a n d s d o n ’ t m a k e a l o t o f m o n e y o n c d s a l e s . t h e y d o
h o w e v e r m a k e m o n e y s e l l i n g t- s h i r t s , s t i c k e r s a n d o t h e r b a n d m e r c h . m a k e s o m e
7 _ PU T CONTACT INFO ON E V ERY THING: p u t y o u r c o n ta c t i n f o o n y o u r c d , o n y o u r c d c a s e ,
p u t y o u r c o n ta c t i n f o o n i t .
on your photos, on your shirts, e very where. fans, bands and industry professionals will
g e t i n c o n ta c t w i t h y o u i f y o u m a k e i t e a s y .
082 PERSONA - STEP 5
083 BUZZ by SF Intercom
9 _ GE T SP ONSORED: at h l e t e s g e t s p o n s o r e d s o w h y c a n ’ t y o u ? f i n d s p o n s o r s h i p f r o m c o m p a n y ’ s y o u l i k e . s e t h i s a s a w ay t o h a v e f o o d w h e n y o u ’ r e o n t o u r , c u s t o m g e a r w h e n
y o u ’ r e o n s ta g e a n d c l o t h e s t o l o o k s t e e z y a l w ay s . t h e n h o o k m e u p !
s t o p w a s t i n g m o n e y o n a d v e r t i s i n g t h at i s n ’ t h e l p i n g y o u .
10 _ CONSIDER A LTERN ATIV E A DV ERTISING: w h e r e a r e y o u r f a n s ? a r e y o u a d v e r t i s i n g
a d v e r t i s e i n w ay s t h at w o r k
t h e r e ? a r e t h e y r e a d i n g i t ? ta l k t o y o u r f a n s , f i n d o u t w h at t h e y r e s p o n d w e l l t o ,
084 PERSONA - STEP 5
085 BUZZ by SF Intercom
I get a kick out of this guy! I see him ever ywhere. That is not an exaggeration! He is ever ywhere! I saw him at the treasure island music festival 2008 and 2009, the green Festival 2008 and 2009, the bay bridged makers fair, the ferr y building farmers market and numerous other places. His tactic is brilliant: a type writer a bench and a cup for donations.
086 PERSONA - STEP 5
You can find this typewriter poet at: www.zachhouston.com
087 BUZZ by SF Intercom
nceal a As the
claim a , “Come
THE SCENE & BE SEEN WHO DO YOU KNOW? STEFAN ARONSEN: SF INTERCOM
you are only as successful as the people you know. so who do you know? get off your butt and meet SOME people in your industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the scene of you’ve been
There are fans, bands and industr y professionals that want
playing for 50 years, you need to know who is currently sup-
to help connect you to your fans, help you become more suc-
porting the scene you play in. In most situations your suc-
cessful. I suggest starting with bloggers. Generally speaking
s a wise
cess relies on your ability to reach out and connect with fans.
they already have fans and many fans find blogs to be a good
Some bands may attempt to find their audience independent-
filter for the music they should be listening to. Here are some
ly. However, if you’re smart, you’re recognizing the need for a
blogs you should be reading.
community and reach out to the people working in your field.
088 PERSONA - STEP 5
089 BUZZ by SF Intercom
THE SCENE & BE SEEN PETER ARKO
EARSOFTHEBEHOLDER BY: STEFAN ARONSEN
HAS BEEN INTRODUCING YOU TO THE BEST NEW LOCAL BANDS THEY find. I constantly type this address wrong! I have started reminding myself, we have two ears for listening, not just one. Thus when you visit his site type www.earSofthebeholder.com, without the S you end up on a site that in no way relates to music. I met peter at Benders during a Sugar & Gold show. He was introduced to me as “my friend with the blog.” Eventually the friend with a blog got a chance to tell me his name and his site. After the show I went to my studio to do my research. What I found was pleasantly exciting. Similarly to ipickmynose.com, Peter writes a blog about the indie scene as it unfolds. If you want to know who’s big in SF, who you should be listening to, whom you should book your next show with … read peters blog. Eventually you’ll get to know his writing style, at that point you should send him your music. Make sure you follow his guidelines. Bloggers are a great way to get your music out to a larger audience and get a feel for how you’re doing.
090 PERSONA - STEP 5
Visit earsofthebeholder at: www.earsofthebeholder.com
IPICKMYNOSE BY: STEFAN ARONSEN
educating the public about the San Francisco Bay Area independent music and we all poop. so are the days of our lives. but seriously ipickmynose.com, the blog not the habit, has made it his habit to review and be in the know about all major music happenings in the bay. You may be too busy picking your nose to notice some majorly cool band playing in your hood. Never fear Anthony is busy picking bands to profile so you can keep picking your nose. ipickmynose.com is living testimony that not all movements need web hosting, some big projects find all they need on a blog platform. (This does not mean you donâ€™t need to buy your web address.) Check out ipickmynose.com, read his blogs, write your comments, and when youâ€™re ready send him your material. However, make sure you read his guidelines. Yup! He has guidelines. (One being that you actually know his writing and have been to his site more than once.)
Visit ipickmynose at: www.ipickmynose.com
091 BUZZ by SF Intercom
094 PERSONA - STEP 5
095 BUZZ by SF Intercom
096 PERSONA - STEP 5
097 BUZZ by SF Intercom
098 PERSONA - STEP 5
099 BUZZ by SF Intercom
The old record industry model has collapsed. CD sales are down, print magazines are dwindling, and information is spread via the web in a completely chaotic and unrefined mess. Out of this disorder, Buzz codifies a solid set of rules, imposes a new order, and assigns practices and habits that will lead emerging musicians towards success.
BUZZ is produced by SF Intercom
Buzz provides unique guidance and best practices across every style of music, based on years of research. The backbone of Buzz’s message of...
Published on Aug 24, 2012
Buzz provides unique guidance and best practices across every style of music, based on years of research. The backbone of Buzz’s message of...