Wednesday, February 14, 2007
What do we look for when signng a band?
Question: In signing a new band, if the task were ever to strike you, what typically would you look for?Recording skill? Musicianship? An active band who tours regularily? Please respond and feel free to add any other qualities or guidelines that you would wish for. Thank you.
Answer: Man, we get asked this question maybe 5 times per day, its all you guys think about!!..if I wrote a book called "How to get your band signed to a Record label" it would be a bestseller, I think.Having signed maybe 100+ bands in the extreme metal genre its hard to analyse what factors got them signed, to pass on the info to you, but i'll try...y'know, In this era of myspace and social networking sites and mp3 downloads its kinda arguable that bands dont actually need to be signed to a label anymore.The ultimate aim is to gain fans- which if you do it well enough, will make the labels come running to you.
Its a given that your band must be tight, proficient musicians, team players, hard working-and you must tour- bedroom bands are destined for obscurity. What bands often dont realise is what the standard of the competition is like- its a high level out there, the competition to be signed is intense..Earache is literally bombarded with hopeful up n coming bands myspace links, demos, cds every day of the week- we worked out we maybe get 4000 approaches a year (10 a day)- and sign approx 2-3-4 bands from that, so we ae saying "no" most all the time.Most hopefuls are decent bands, but a lot are making the mistake of sending us the first recordings they've done.No band is killer within 3 months of picking up instruments..
Many labels of some long standing are very picky indeed- Earache amongst them- this is a fact many bands dont appreciate-the A&R people at labels are paid to have their fingers on the pulse of whats new and happening in the rock/metal scene, but they are incredibly sheep like, at the same time- so it helps a lot if your band is part of a current trend, or more likely the next upcoming trend.Do your homework about the labels too...if you read that a label is signing bands which are in your particular style, then approach them, rather than labels who are working other stuff.
Finally- even when you do get signed..labels still need you to work even harder than before..as the expectation level ' bar' is raised for 'signed acts'.
last bit of advice i can give is- send a 6-pack of beers in the package with your demo- i'm not kidding! it will guarantee your band a comprehensive listen at the label,plus it will show your impeccable skill in marketing/promotion of your band, which is highly prized.
So I wish you the best of luck with your band.
We drink Stella Artois.