Forget that it’s all about the music for one second. Sometimes there are moments where we as humans make snap decisions before giving something a fair try. We all judge things as soon as we see them – its impossible not to. Some people like me act quite religiously on their gut instinct, others are much more prepared to let things win them over. So for your band who may make the best music ever, leaving out details on your social media, not making certain content available on key sites, or having a poor writing style, may mean influential, judgemental people miss out on the best thing they’ll have ever heard because you haven’t put the finishing touches to a few elements of your online presence.
It really only takes a few minutes to sort these things out, so why do so many bands fail on the first, easy hurdle!? Here are a few things that I look out for when scouting a new band:
1. The logo
Does your band have an interesting and recognisable logo? Is there a way for your fans to recognise your content, and is it something that took more than a second to make? I dont like seeing band logos using a font I recognise. Even if it’s just mirroring a letter so its back to front, or using a different font for the very first letter – make your logo eye catching and stop pretending that it doesnt matter. For the amateur designer like me, there are very useful sites like fontspace.com that offer free, interesting fonts for all of your designs. Do yourself a favour: spend 10 minutes going through what the site has to offer, and then go back to your logo or your latest poster, and see what sort of effect it has when your text is just as impactful as the images and the music itself. Your logo should be a fair representation of your music and/or your band
2.The band photo
Your band photo communicates an impossible amount of what you, and your music is like. THERE ARE TOO MANY, I repeat, TOO MANY moody shots of men leaning against a brick wall. By doing this, you are in no way differentiating yourself from any band there has ever been. Black and white, wearing leather jackets with a moody face? You could be ABSOLUTELY anybody.
On the other hand, even if you’re the ugliest bunch of human beings alive, if you have a great concept for a band photo, I will keep researching and I will take something away about what you’re like as people. A band photo is not something to be skipped over. In a world where its nigh on impossible to become a mega rockstar, why reduce your chances by using a dull, uninspiring photo?
The best way to come around this is to think about what is the main thing you want to convey, or what is your greatest strength? Have an attractive lead singer? Go for the moody shot, but put him/her in an interesting environment. Not a band of a lookers? Go for a look that says something about your music. Are you a bunch of silly, fun guys, but feel like you ought to do a moody photo? DONT! Embrace your personalities and do something you feel comfortable doing.
Overall, give your ‘look’ as much thought as the music itself. The two should be complimentary, as well as differentiating you in some way.
NOTE: This too should carry on into your live performances, your interviews, and your live videos.
3. The biography
This is perhaps one of the most subjective elements of your appearance. Just like your band photo, how you choose to talk about yourself says masses about your music and you as a professional.
One of the most common mistakes is to take your band too seriously. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you aren’t mega famous, so why try to make all of your achievements to date sound like they’re monumentally impressive? Bands are notoriously prone to inserting their own opinions and making them out to be fact – just don’t. My most hated phrases in all of the internet, that I sadly see quite frequently, are:
“The Blah Blahs are one of the hottest acts of 2014” or “The Blah Blahs are a band to watch in 2014” or possibly “The highly anticipated 1st album”
Who says so? If NME or Kerrang says so, then sure, I’ll believe them, but who are you to say you’re amazing or how in demand your music is? No, you are there to put out the facts, and then its up to people like the writers for Kerrang, Pitchfork, Billboard to decide on how they rate you. Sure, if you’ve got an impressive quote, use it, but don’t kid yourselves at what level you’re really at. In all likelihood, you’re just setting yourselves up to be a disappointment.
The next most annoying thing about most band’s biographies is their absolutely, monstrously, over-the-top, incredible, unheard of use of adjectives (see what I did there?). Oh, so you play “Revolutionary acid blues that is a joyous mix of death, electrifying nu-rock and folk-step? WITH a hint of underground, electro mood jazz??”
I have absolutely no idea what you mean.
Yes, try to explain how your sound differs from other bands, but PLEASE don’t go over the top and use the most obscure synonyms you could find online. If it wasn’t easy to word in the first place, people just won’t get it. Bands have the annoying tendency to speak like regular humans for 98% of their existence, but then go Shakespearean or VOICE OVER EPIC for their biographies. It’s just ridiculous, so bands: please stop.
This is just a start, but you’d be surprised what kind of an impact elements like these have.
And just to prove to you that i’m not all talk, here’s the imagery that my old band went for. Ridiculous, but impactful, yes?