How To Grow Your Band On CO Local
May, 2017 by Ely Pierce
Oddly enough it has very little to do with your own band…
And a whole lot to do with everyone else’s.
CO Local is a phrase we use in reference to the local music scene in Colorado Springs. Its sometimes pronounced in full, “Colorado local” More often tho its read as its abbreviated (as in the letters “C-O” Local). On our website we host a podcast by the same name, write blogs posts, and admin for an fb group all under the banner of “CO Local”. All with the intention of facilitating communication between individuals in the scene and cross promotion of events and goings-on within our local community.
So how do you use our outlets to grow your band on the local circuit?
Well… you don’t. Not really anyway.
You can announce your bands upcoming shows or events on the FB group or put out the word on your new release, but that doesn’t guarantee anyone will listen or show up to your show. You can listen to our podcast and learn about other artists in the scene and some of the challenges they face. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll actually know them personally or be able to bond over your mutual experiences.
Still, even after social media and tech has taken over as the predominate medium for how we communicate with each other. Community still gets built in the trenches. you have to show up and try. Because even for as useful as the internet is it cannot solve all of your problems.
There are two super simple steps to growing your band on the local circuit:
Go to other bands shows.
Make friends and connections.
… Seriously that’s all. That’s literally all it takes.
Stop asking for handouts. Stop begging for your band to get booked at shows. If no one knows you, chances are more likely that no one will book you (duh?). But if you make the effort to reach out and make an impression when you personally don’t stand to benefit from it? You’ll be surprised how quickly that will change. This is why “pay-to-play” is even a fixture in the music industry at all. People (and mostly young kids) don’t understand that If you treat the music scene like a product, you’ll get treated like a consumer in return. If you treat it like a community of individuals then you’ll get treated as a member of that community. And that community will support you if you support it. When shit gets rough the “fans” wont be there, your friends will be tho!
More than likely you’ll never make a living playing music. You will never quit your day job. you will never be the goddamn Foo Fighters. Hell, I’m pretty sure even Dave Grohl gets sick of being Dave Grohl. But no matter what it’ll always be something that you love doing. So you might as well have some fun, build connections with some new friends, work hard and take risks with your art. That’s what you’ll look back on and be proud of someday.
Don’t call it a career
Living life intentionally is all about making positive transactions. You have to give something up in order to receive anything in return.
But an expectation of return can very quickly become an entitlement and when you’re entitled, you reek of it. You will naturally repel people (Unless they’re also entitled -which is ok i guess but also super boring and lame). The same goes for when you give without thought of getting back, that kind of transaction attracts people to what your doing. I’m a big believer that people by and large are not basically “Good” nor are they basically “Bad”. I think more often people are just basically selfish. I think if there were any criteria to base on what makes us “Good” it would be that we struggle with our selfish nature. At times we embrace it or even exalt it, at other times we try to move past or deny it outright. Just like anything else its not about succeeding in any one direction or the other, the real fulfillment is in the struggle to achieve. If you can genuinely appeal to someone else’s basic self interest, even when it doesn’t suit your own, then you’ll have a much better chance of building something with that person.
Meet with other people in the scene. Build connections with the established players, bands, and organizers. Talk to the kids, joke around, buy them a drink. Find new people and invite them out, or seek out other new-comers and make them feel welcome. Or better yet BUY SOME MERCH, Support someones band you dig, or maybe you don’t dig them! who gives a shit! Shake their hand and talk about some records that you both may like. Stop criticizing, Start contributing. Stop whining, start building. Get your hands dirty. Trust me, It’s fun. Way more fun than standing around complaining about how things should be. All the drama and pissing contests will eventually fade away. All the people who are here for the wrong reasons will eventually fade away. And there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done; flyers, promotion, booking. There’s no gatekeepers and there certainly no surplus in volunteers.
So get off the fucking internet and go make yourself useful!