Voices Of The Underground is a series that seeks to explore one question from many different angles. Every week, we will ask one question of many of your favorite music artists. We will post their responses below, and what you will find is that there is never truly one answer to every question, but instead a whole world of ideas that come from simple matters of taste, to deep held beliefs. Our hope is that through this series you are able to see past the promo pictures and the stage persona, and get to know the hearts of believers who are creating music every day.
Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1-What do you love about music?
Read Pt.2- What was your first musical experience?
Read Pt.3-What is your favorite/ultimate song?
Read Pt.4-What is the best live show you have ever seen?
Read Pt.5-If you hadn’t gotten into music, what would see yourself doing as a job?
Read Pt.6-Who is Jesus Christ to you?
Read Pt.7-What is Christian music?
Read Pt.8- The facets of the Christian music?
Read Pt.9-Can art/music not have a message behind it?
Read Pt.10-How do you keep yourself accountable in your out on the road?
Read Pt.11-What are your opinions on the modern music industry?
Read Pt.12-Is it easier or harder to be a musician today in contrast to maybe 10 years ago?
Read Pt.13-What is the one thing that people don’t understand about YOUR music?
Read Pt.14-What responsibility (if any) does an artist/performer have to it’s listener?
For the fan reading this right now or listening to your music and wanting to start a band/career of their own, what is some advice you could give them that you didn’t know starting out?
I’m going to address the girls: (Keep in mind that these are lessons I’ve learned the hard way….I wish I could have been wiser when I was young!)
Discipline yourself to write songs and learn your instruments and train your voice. I’ll gently suggest that you try to include your family as much as possible. You need accountability. Be modest in your heart and in your dress. Give your music to God now, before pride becomes an issue. (That was one of my big ones- I thought I was so awesome. Man, I was dumb.) Pray for open doors, but don’t just sit and wait for something good to fall in your lap. Again, discipline yourself in your art so you’ll be ready if you get the chance to share your music with the world!
I would say for starters that there is more to life than being in a band. Not to be a downer, because I love doing this so, so much, but I think a lot of young bands have the tendency to elevate the idea of being in a band, an how “cool” that is, above a lot of things like friendships and relationships and maybe the other things God has called us to do. I’m not discouraging anyone from starting a band, but if you’re starting a band and your bass player really wants to go to college or get married or whatever, he’s not a jerk and you should still talk to him and be his friend. I’ve seen a lot of friends in bands, as well as myself, thinking being in a band is then end-all-be-all to my entire life, but there is so much more to God’s creation and kingdom than playing rock and roll.
My advice is to not read reviews. Whether they are good or bad, finding out what a stranger thinks of what you’re making is always a negative experience. Even if it is on a sub-conscious level, you end up seeking approval instead of being open.
Focus on God and build relationships with others. The great commandment. Be honest, transparent and wear your heart on your sleeve. Through this, you can be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t worry about “industry, business, units, friends or Myspace plays.” Just do what God is calling you to do and focus on him.
Don’t start your band and start touring right away. Take your time building your local fan base, then gradually tour out regionally, then eventually and slowly work your way out to different areas of the country. Don’t expect to make money right away, unless your a cover band for some strange reason. And be smart with your money you do have, as much as it sucks, money can really make or break your band. Try to save on whatever you can, recording costs, duplication, merch, etc. I don’t know. This is all business stuff. But that’s what I wish we knew when we started.
Be humble, don’t have expectations other than to be a vessel of the Lord. Work to perfect your art. If you aren’t completely happy with a song don’t make us listen to it. Throw it away and write a new one. God demands our best and He deserves it. Be willing to play to a room of 2 people. You are not above it. And most of all, SMILE IN YOUR BAND PHOTOS!
Follow the path that God is opening up for you. Be FAITHFUL in the opportunities you are given… Make sure you are following God’s path, not someone else’s path that you are trying to emulate. You don’t wanna become an imitator of some other band. Just be in prayer, seek after God – and walk through the doors that he opens for you. And continue to be faithful once he gives you the opportunity.
The best advice is to not get ahead of yourself. A lot of musicians want to start a band, and hit the road the next day. I think it is important to build up a local fan base, to spend time writing quality music, and make sure you are going to do decent on the road. I know we hit the road for a brief summer tour 2 years ago, and we were not ready for the road at all. We had no idea what we were doing yet, and our music was not up to par for a touring band at the time. We also ended up getting $6,000 worth of gear stolen out of our trailer.
If any of you desire to make it as a musician, I must stress to you, that you must know your instrument. Practice your instrument and get good at it, a band only makes it if they’re good. Be a good person with a good personality, it’s hard to be in a band with someone they can’t get along with.
Be patient, everything in this industry takes time. What makes you/your band stand out from the rest(musical identity)? Find that, and embrace it. If you’re in it for the money, stop now. God will bless you if you’re faithful, and you work hard, but you need to be ready to eat at gas stations and sleep on van floors for a while….sometimes a long while. It’s all about awareness, get your band/music in front of people. God will do the impossible if you do the possible.
*NOTE: this is the last of our Voices Of The Underground series. Thanks to all of the artists that participated, its been really great getting to know you guys better. Thanks to everybody who has been reading VOTU since we started it almost 8 months ago! For now, this is going to be the end of the series, we feel it is time to move on and do some some new stuff. Thanks again….