As a band who is either just starting out, or trying to expand the areas they play in, it can be difficult to find shows in new cities.
Obviously the more you build up your network and establish your name, the easier it gets…
But what if you have virtually zero presence in a city?
Listen now to out how you can harness a few techniques to get shows in cities you’ve never been to, and how you can make sure people will come to the show as well.
What you’ll learn:
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Getting Started With Marketing for Your Band
Stream “Headstrong” on Apple Music
Listen to Alien Ant Farm’s version of “Smooth Criminal” on Apple Music
Listen to “These Days” on Apple Music
Welcome to Episode five of the Bandhive Podcast.
All right. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm James here. Well, your co host, Suburban samurai drummer and manager Aaron Gingras. Hello. How's it going today, man? It's going good. Nice, nice.
It's, uh, getting colder and colder in Vermont. So bring it on. Yeah, we talked two weeks ago about winter touring. Now we're going to talk about something also related to touring, but not just for winter. What are we gonna talk about today, Erin? I think we're gonna do a little bit of talking on the's topic of while it's cold and you're sitting in your living room drinking hot chocolate roasting marshmallows by your fire. Um and, uh, hopefully at the same time, you're thinking ahead towards alright. Touring season's coming up on What can I do to kind of get on top of, uh, promoting shows outside of my hometown.
Very nice. Yeah, that is actually a great point during the winter. People aren't touring as much, and you're probably not doing as much outdoor activity unless you're a skier or a snowboarder or cross country er, which is part of skiing, I guess, but different from downhill. For those of you Southern folks who don't know what people do in winter, I guess you could be a snowplow driver to like. That would be something you do in winter. But we're going to talk about how you confined and successfully execute Show is outside of your hometown.
Which Aaron, that's something that you've done quite a bit with. Suburban samurai. Do you want to give us a little bit of a back story on that? Yeah. So we're going to start with the prequel movie here. Um, I've done quite a bit of work, um, in and around touring with music outside of my band, Um, for another artist on their production team and sort of backing up to that place on understanding that I've sort of been able to and have been lucky enough to, uh, put in a bunch of hard work on Dr. Kind of come at this whole touring monster from a couple of different angles.
I haven't found myself so much cashing in on different contacts or, you know, I haven't really. I've made the conscious decision not to leverage a lot of that one. I don't think that it would particularly make sense, but to even if it did, uh, ethically, I'm just That's sort of where I draw my line in the sand. I'd like for what suburban samurai to accomplish to have been a two point where they accomplish it because we accomplished it. Not because we know a guy, but so with that, there's a lot of knowledge that kind of spills over.
And eyes has been very useful for kind of, ah, number of different reasons, including, but not limited to how I think about tackling the topic we're talking about today. It sounds like essentially, you're trying to make sure that your growth is organic not in the way of, like, paid ads versus organic ads, but that you built it up yourself and you didn't ask for favors from people, you know? Yeah. And again, I you know, I think with everything you know, case by case basis, but yeah, to kind of put it probably That's sort of where I not saying if somebody else you know who's listening to this, who you know, if they've made a different decision, that that's, you know, not right all right for them.
But this, you know, me drawing that line in that sand where I did that's what was right for me. And, yes, it was important to sort of what I did and what I do with my band. That's something that I do, because it's sort of weird articulating it. Yeah, but I mean, to put it in simplest terms, I don't want the answer to any question I'd ever be asked to be because I knew a guy on. But it's it's been important to me to say, you know, hey, I built something up from the ground.
Um, I've used knowledge that I've been very fortunate enough. You know, I've been very fortunate to you either have received or sort of, you know, built up based on other experiences on I've certainly applied that to the situation to the spanned, but I'm not borrowing. Ah, you know, a bunch of gear or I'm not borrowing a phone number or, you know, anything like that. So, um and that sort of, as you said before we started taping, um, kind of spills into sort of one of the whole ideas behind.
I think doing this podcast is you know, anything that we talk about on here, it's not out of reach or shouldn't be out of reach. Uh, you know, anybody who's listening can, you know, theoretically kind of jump in, Um, do some thinking about what they heard and do it themselves. We're not talking about some, you know, cosmic, you know, crazy, like hard to achieve thing here. Yeah, we want to show D I Y artists that they can run their band as a professional business without having massive budgets or massive teams like you can run a band as a business.
And in fact, if you do take your band seriously, you're probably gonna have a better chance of success because you won't waste time. And resource is on things that you think you need when you really don't. One of those things is probably paid advertising, which we'll discuss later because a lot of bands tend to shy away from that and spend money on other things where a few dollars of paid advertising could potentially give them a much larger return. But we'll get back to that because that's something for later in this episode you have here on the outline that there should be a balance, which is something I fully agree with.
Why don't you go ahead and tell us about it? Sure. One of the thoughts that I had, um, was I think there needs to be a balance between you and again. This is sort of catered more towards somebody who's just beginning to become interested in, uh, taking their manned out outside of their hometown. I think there should be a balance between understanding that it doesn't make sense for your first tour to be, ah, West Coast. If you're from Boston or, you know, East Coast. If you're from L. A. Um, which saying that out loud seems like that should be very clear.
But sometimes it's not as easy to get excited and to sort of focus on the big picture. And I think we're a lot of the work comes in a sort of getting excited and and understanding what you'd like the big picture to look like. But understanding that you need to, you know, before creating that piece of art, you got to drive to the store, figure out what color paint you want, get all the materials you know you need. You need to sort of understand all of the steps that will take to get there.
And that sort of brings me to point number two, which is three end of the day. You do have to start somewhere. So not saying that somebody else can't do this differently. And I'm definitely not saying that somebody else hasn't already figured out a way Better way to do it. So this is Onley. How I've come at it on git seemed to It seems to be working so far. And so it's kind of one of those, you know. Oh, my God, this is working. Don't question it.
You know, we'll do more of it. When we started touring, um, I started arranging shows, uh, in markets that we can, with a little bit of work, return to quite easily. So we're from Burlington, Vermont, in the Northeast. And so for us that means, um all things main. All things New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Eastern New York. Uh, really? It's just geography. Um, I think our first status state shows Portland, Maine. Um, I think our first tour, it was something along the lines of, you know, Austin, Greater Boston area.
Um, I think we played in a spot in Connecticut. You know, we knocked out a gig in Rhode Island. We probably through Albany in there and kind of circle back. So, uh, it's stuff where over the course of the next few years, um, you know, we made a point. I made a point of having us go out on the road for about a week, a week and a half, you know, anywhere between five and 10 shows about every other toe every third months. Eso that's, you know, January no gigging in February, Another one in march.
Uh, maybe we take April. May off. We do one closer to a week and a half in June and so on. Um and sort of how I've arranged these so far is, um, we try not to. If we're putting in all the work to arrange a show, that's, you know already a little bit harder to do than you know, hometown gay, because it's outside of our hometown. Um, and so it just, you know, by the very nature of what that is, you know, it takes a little bit of extra elbow grease.
We try not to overplay those places. Um, but at the same time, we don't wanna let them get too cold either. And, you know, have all of the good work that we've already put in tow trying to sort of get ourselves out there in Portland, Maine, or Boston or Albany. Or, you know, Providence, Rhode Island. We don't want the work that has been put into those things, uh, to kind of go away, and we don't want those to reset. So in short, figure out where you live, where it might make sense, you know?
Where can you get to in a week on then? Right, Those places down and then say OK, depending on you know what our priorities are and how often we wanna kind of take this show on the road. Can we get back to this place is relatively easily, um and, you know, kinda take it from there. So your point is kind of to keep the momentum going. Once you've played somewhere, Stay top of mind. Don't let people in that area forget you. Whether it's the promoters, the venues, the fans, any of that stuff. Totally.
And it's I mean, sure, we've played places where we, you know, I realized after the fact, who we need to do that again really soon Because that went really well to the point where, you know, it would make sense to go back, you know, very soon after. But then we've also played places where, you know, uh, there are a few cities, and, you know, I'm not gonna mention them by name, but there are a few spots where on I'm sure there will be for everybody where it's like, damn, like I know there's a niche there, you know, we just haven't found it yet.
You know, maybe we put that one, you know, don't ever put anything on the back burner. But maybe we put that in the middle burner and, you know, kind of do some thinking and try to, you know, when we kind of stumble upon the right opportunity, Um, we totally jump on it. And you know eso. It's just whatever is practical, and it's different for everybody. So on that note, when you're talking about going back to places, obviously you never want to oversaturated market. And that's why some venues will have what's called a radius clause, which means you can't play anywhere within X number of miles like 50 miles 100 miles within a certain amount of days, for example, 60 days.
But even if the venue doesn't have something like that in place, it's always fairly good toe have just kind of a guideline for that. So for suburban samurai, do you have anything like that where you know, if you play Boston, you won't play Austin for another month or two or any kind of just like, even if it's not something official, just like a rule of thumb that you follow when you're booking shows? I would say, uh, not something as faras, you know, I haven't crafted a you know s O. P around it.
I haven't written a protocol down. It's sort of always been, uh, you know, unspoken rule of thumb, um, you know, kind of back of the envelope, figuring you know sort of a thing, but yeah, to your point of, you know, there are a lot of events spaces for venues that have thought of that. And, um, you know, there's probably a reason why they have thought of that. And so it za good thing to consider, I think just again different for everybody. But for us specifically, uh, there are a few spots where, you know, we're not gonna overplay somewhere.
You know, we couldn't if we tried. Um, you know, for us, you know, Boston is 3, 3. 5 hours away. So chances are we're not going to be down there four nights a week anyways, so we're just not going to approach that level of, you know, like over playing something that much. Um, I think just to use Boston as an example with the kind of music that we play, There's so many other really awesome acts, you know, play a similar style down there. We've, you know, made a lot of great friends.
Um, but, you know, we haven't become the same type of fish there as we have. Maybe, you know, in Portland, where there are little clique that we've developed there or Rhode Island or Albany or, uh, you know, there's, ah, bunch of spots on 90 all across New York that we've just found, uh, you know, kind of really cool. Uh, you know, cool little clubs that were kind of now part of on dso Boston's. That's actually a, um I'll just if you allow me keep living on that one we found, you know, and we've We've developed relationships with so many people down there.
Um, but I think that one specifically, um I think I'm going to say, I think, uh, I think we could do better there. And that's that's on the part of the band. Uh, sort of. You know, I'm always one to want to put on. Ah, better show play a little better, find that I don't know, special sauce. I guess I'll call it that special formula somewhere. Um, and I think on the part of my band, I don't think that we have brought that special thing or the best version of that special thing down there.
Uh, yeah. And so I'm I'm at the point where I think for for Boston, Um, I would almost be okay playing that a little more. Um, whereas, you know, if if we're, you know, totally rocking the socks off, we have a really good thing going. Um, you know, dialed totally dialed somewhere else. You know, that's the thing that you don't wanna overdo. But I think we're still kind of experimenting in a couple of spots, um, to find out what works. And so, you know, it's kind of I think that's an important part to sort of sum that up.
That's an important part in one of the steps that I I take after tours over is sort of analyzing everything that happened on DSO, sort of identifying those places you do want to visit more regularly or which, you know, you want to kind of put on that middle burner and figure out a new angle for, um and you know, either one of those things could be for positive or negative or totally neutral reasons. It's, you know, kind of case by case basis. Yeah, I think that's a great way to look at it rather than having a blanket policy saying, Well, in some markets, we don't want to overplay it because you have your core fan base there, but another markets.
You don't really see that. So you're just kind of trying to find your community. And then once you find that, yeah, then it's time to take a step back and make sure you don't over saturate that community. And again just because I specifically outed you know, my thoughts in Boston that that thought is solely rooted in my firm belief that, um, you know, I I'll if we ever start to do really well down there, I'm going to consider that to be a great privilege because I think the bar is a lot higher down there.
Then maybe then another spaces. Just because there's so much you like to be said for, you know, the awesome groups that have come out of that area. Yeah, and it's also there's a lot more going on on any particular night. You have a lot more competition as well with other artists who may or may not be in the same genre because people aren't robots, they listen to more than one genre, just yeah, so you might run into things that, like, even if somebody really likes pop punker, easy core, something like that they're not going to go see Sub Sam and the show you're playing because their favorite band is like an Andy Band playing house to Blues that night, which at smaller places like Portland, Maine, Burlington, Vermont You know, upstate New York, you're not gonna have as much competition like higher ground does.
Chose 34 nights a week. Maybe that's totally a decent amount, but they're pretty varied as well. So it's like, OK, you'll have kind of a rock band one night you'll have an indie band. One night you'll have a stoner band another night, like it's all different. And of course, they don't just do bands. I'm just picking on bands now, but they'll have like E d. M. Or a rap or whatever, and that means that you're not really competing with his many different people now. Obviously, the fewer people here in Burlington or in Portland or upstate New York, but because there are fewer options people aren't going to be is picky, either, because if somebody wants to go see live music, they're going to say, Well, this is a genre I like and like, you know what?
It's not my favorite band, But I'm going to go see it because it's the Onley show in like two weeks for my genre. A place like Boston, It's like, Oh, I can see a pop punk show tonight or the night after that, or three nights later or five nights later. It's like every other night. There's a pop punk show of some kind not necessarily a major one. But, like local regional National, there's something going on almost every night of the week. So that being said, how can you start booking and promoting your own shows outside of your home town?
So I think the first thing that comes to mind and in kind of the most broad thing is again. And I hope it would go without saying what kind of building your network, Um, and again, same disclaimer in terms off. Uh, this is not how everybody should do it. That's just how I found, uh, to have sort of worked, um, so far for me. And that's also not to say that I'm not still trying to. I'm still very much trying to improve upon this, but so far where I've left it is building my network to me means Ah, bunch of research, which is sort of really kind of heavy on the front end in terms of just kind of manual labor.
Just there's no other way to do it. Then you just have to sit and do it. Yeah, just busy work. And it's, you know, that's Google Facebook Social Media Band camp to get specific, you know, find a show flyer. And, um, you know, if you're stoked on a band from City A that you know, that's gonna be on, like all right, I want that to be on this next tour. You know, City A on I found a band. You know, band a, uh, you know, I know.
I'm gonna ask TOC. Hey, what are you doing? You know we're gonna be coming to town. You wanna play with us? Um, you know, I've got so far is to check out that bands, you know, where they've played in the past, who they've played with in the past. And then I've checked out those bands and where they've played, I've paid attention to what nights of the week are, you know, like the dates displayed on the flyers and, you know, what the admission deal is. Um, you know, I get really excited.
Whatever I notice whenever I discovered, like, a new venue in a city outside of Vermont that we're trying to go to, you know, new to me that I just hadn't discovered yet exists yet. And I am looking through the show flyers and, like, they're all ages, you know, that gets me stoked. Um, so it's just, you know, and then I once I find a venue I'm digging through. Well, how often do they put on shows? Is that like, you know, the back room of, you know, like, a butcher shop or is you know, is that the basement or is it like a You know?
Okay, this is like second floor in downtown Pittsburgh, and it's ah, you know, like, this is a club, you know, that regularly hosts, you know, events in music or eso total like matrix style rabbit hole. But I think the most important thing to recognize about that, um, the two most important things that recognize about a uh, it will be a lot of work. Um, but I think you will truly get out of it. What? You put into it. Um, that's not to say there aren't. Uh there are different piles, you know, of information that, you know, I'm sure people who listen to this, we'll know what I'm talking about.
When I say do d I y or um Oh, God, What's in India On the move or the face? You know, D I y touring Facebook group. There are a lot of people who have built, you know, excel, spreadsheets, a lot of information. Andi, I think that's, uh, when you find one of those, like that's awesome. Um, but you still kind of got to do your homework. And, you know, chances are that person hasn't, uh, curated their list and crossed off the ones that have gone out of business or they're not a band anymore or eso for everything that you could do.
The more you put into it, the more you're going to get out of it because you own that information. Um, and then you get to choose whether you want to curated or not or offered to other people, or if you feel some sort of sense of ownership over it because you put a lot of work into it. That's fine, too. But that's that's the whole point, is you. It is your information you've collected, and you can do whatever you want with it. On DSO it becomes easier the more you do it and the other advantages.
You know, you're saying if people haven't updated anything like that, but you also know it's accurate because it's possible that something hasn't necessarily changed. But whoever put that information in the database originally just didn't do it properly, or I know that, you know, and I'll do them the courtesy of not mentioning them by name. But I can think of a band right now. I'm never gonna ask to. You know, I'm never gonna have an interest in playing with again because, you know, they didn't even text me.
They you know, like D M. And on instagram Me on told me that they broke up when we were like, 20 minutes away from finding a parking space at the gig, you know, like about to pull off of the exit on DSO you know those little things or, you know, if there's ah band or a venue that sort of aligns themselves with maybe a Siris of beliefs or activities that you, you know, um, kind of don't want to become involved in, You know, somebody is doing something sketchy.
You're not cool. You're able to more, you know, easily, kind of stay on top of that stuff and not saying that matters everybody. But, you know, I found a few spots where, you know, I've heard somebody has done something not cool and, you know, don't make a big fuss about it, but just, you know, kind of highlight their name and red, and that's all you got to do. And, you know, And on that note, I don't know if you saw what trapped posted the other day. You know that band that hasn't been relevant since, like 2002.
Let's say they really are very headstrong and not very, uh, willing to accept others opinions or not very willing to just be show with people. So trapped is ah, trying to be relevant and making a fuss about things that personally I think don't have a place on the band's page. That's a bummer. I call, you know, call me out for being a weirdo, but I, you know, treat people like people and, uh, respect Don't treat them differently than one another. Unless they're a jerk, then just treat him like a jerk And don't deal with them if you don't need to.
But on the bright side, I mean, their career was pretty much already over e like this song? Headstrong. I mean, it's the same for, like, alien ant farm. I look that bad, like the headstrong Yeah, e. I mean, I'm showing I'm totally adding myself. You know, if trapped is listening like I guess I don't know. Sorry. Not sorry that I didn't know that was you, but yeah, but so alien Ant Farm's similar situation Think I don't think they've done anything bad or wrong like that. But they were huge 20 years ago, and when I lived in San Diego, they were playing a free show at a bar that holds, like, 150 people on it.
Just shows like bands can fall off the radar very quickly because I'm sure you've played shows to more than 150 people and probably charged admission for it. Maybe you weren't necessarily like the headlining act, but I'm sure you've played shows where there were at least 100 50 people. They're paid. Yeah, something that's. And for those of you who are maybe too young to remember alien at farm or trapped, Trapped. Had that song headstrong that we're talking about an alien at farm. Was it? Did that cover? Yes. Michael Jackson. Sorry.
Smooth criminal. No, we're in like a like a boxing ring or something. Was that the music video? I'm so awful of Music video. I know they did do a song. A music video called These Days were they crash the B E T awards and like, had a stage up on a rooftop next to the awards and like, filmed people's reactions And they got shut down, of course, but the people going to the awards actually seem to enjoy it. So I mean, that's a plus. Yeah, it just shows that if you're not careful about keeping your momentum up and staying top of mind, that's very, very dangerous for a band, because you have to stay top of mind.
And if you don't, you're gonna drop off the radar. And that's why I hate it. When I see bands who released something every three or four years and don't do anything at all in between, which is actually on your outline. Here you have this for building your network. Iraq gathering Moss. It gets easier the more you do it. But it's the same for keeping your momentum going. Like if you stop that momentum or if you stop doing something and take a year or two off from the band, you don't put out any new music you don't do touring.
All your work is undone. For the most part, I think so, like, they're certainly exceptions, but I don't know those exceptions would apply to certainly myself or, you know, I'll be so rashes to say, you know, maybe some of the people who are joining us and kind of listening. It seems like we're not talking to Beyonce here. You know, she could take a year to off if she wants, and, you know, she's, you know, she and her team of foot in the work. You know, Beyonce, if you're listening, I'm sorry, but I don't know that you are, so I think we're good.
I don't think she's our target audience, but if she does happen to be listening, Hey, I'll take it for music. So moving on, assuming that after you've done all this networking, you've booked a show by talking to your network and not just, you know, saying, Hey, I need a show. But actually, like nurturing those connections, that's my favorite. But we'll get to that later. Yes, but if you've nurtured those connections and you've done well and you've made friends, chances are they might even offer you a show where they might approach you and say, Hey, can you get us a show in your hometown?
And we'll swap shows something like that. He say, Sure, So now you've booked a show and you're gonna be playing in another city and you have to promote the show, which there's a block post on the site, about different ways to promote your band. It'll be linked in the show notes, so you can go check that out. But one of the things you can do, which is really important for shows outside your hometown, is chasing media opportunities, and I know that seems daunting, but it's very, very doable for a D. I y band.
You just have to pursue the right channels. The right outlets and the right places. You have to know your demographic. So, Erin, how would you get started with media opportunities for a D i Y band? The first thing to Dio is to not truck up the term media opportunity to mean getting on Kimmel or, you know, whoever the Kimmel is of, wherever you're going, um, that could mean anything from hanging out at the mall, passing out flight, you know, really hitting the ground sort of a thing.
Um, create your own media, create your own kind of buzz grassroots. You know, black punk rock. You know that That totally counts on bond. Probably goes further. And you think it does all the way to, you know, the few notes that I've got here, local colleges. Um, I've found both failure and success in trying to contact, you know, local schools. Um, you know, a lot of schools have, uh, media departments of some, you know, foreign. Whether it's television journalism, music obviously would be the good one if you're if that's what you're doing.
But, you know, I've you know, we we played college shows where I mean jokes on us got paid pretty alright. For what that Waas. We've also played college shows where, um you know, it's total. You know, I hate to say this, but in the dorm, and, you know, maybe shouldn't have been happening. You know, it's my older bands, but but still, But what's up, Sam? You know, we've reached out to colleges, and, you know, I've kind of done, uh, that college radio thing just kind of hanging out. What?
I mean, it's the end of the day. I would break just whole idea up into What? What can I do from my my my office, my computer, A t home, Um, you know, ideally anywhere between 30 and 90 days out. I know a lot of the I d. I wires, um, either don't or just cannot, um, you know, sort of think that far out for, you know, totally legitimate reason. But you know how I try to do things with Sub Sam. I do try to think of things and sort of arrange.
Um, you know this, that and the other thing assed faras, we can, uh, to try toe, grab these opportunities and, you know, anywhere from you know what you think of, you know, social Media colleges blog's interviews. You know, photographers on that note, you're saying what you could do from home as far as promotion for college, radio or newspapers, things like that. What a recommendation I have is, if you do find something, works for you. If your band is getting a lot of coverage on college radio specifically to make sure that if you're doing phone interviews because I used to do college radio, there's always a pet peeve of mine.
When I did a phone interview and someone like just on their cell phone and you hear stuff in the background like it's a great car, you don't have tohave amazing audio gear, which, if you're in a band, maybe you do have an audio interface that you can hook up to your computer. But if not, get like a 50 to $100 a USB microphone and then set up a free Google Voice account and do your interviews through that because then you'll have at least decent quality audio going through a Google voice, which is gonna be better than a cell phone connection.
And ideally, the radio station has a landline, so they have a good connection. And that way you'll have better audio than the guy just talking on his cell phone with a dog barking in the background. Which that was actually a very well known band that I was interviewing. And it was a great interview. But it's like, Come on, dude, like it's the little things that count and add up. Yeah, it's like, This is for radio, I don't know. It's a college radio station and you're in a big time band and thanks for taking the time.
But, you know, you could sit down with, like, an SM 57 or 58 a $80 interface or a USB microphone like made for podcasting. You know, there's tons of options out there. Used gear on Craigslist or a music store or looking at us be Mike's on Amazon, or even like a gaming headset would probably do it if you play video games like with a USB headset, something like that. And to be honest, half the musicians I know I'm sure have a gaming heck set. Oh yeah, I would not be surprised at all nerds half myself water.
We'll talk about video games at some point I don't game much anymore, but I used to play quite a bit. So that being said, that takes the local colleges section. You've got a few more on this list. Yeah. So it kind of was saying, um I try to think I try to have everything set in stone in the perfect world, which absolutely does not exist. Um, I would have such a great time if I had everything set in stone 60 days out, you know, booked, you know, flatters air. Done.
Uh, social media events are up on Ben rolling. And it's a this point that I'm talking about or that I'm starting to think about. Um, Okay, like, I've you know, I've got all the ingredients and, like, now it's time to put the pie in the oven like, let's see what we can dio on. So, yeah, you know, there I sort of separated between what I could do in advance on dso. That's sort of, you know, the contacting local colleges. Um, and that was sort of bridges or our local colleges.
You know, blog's, You know, uh, interviews, live music reviews. You know, we've all seen, you know, our buddies band like, put like, Hey, check out what? So and so said It's just that stuff and it, you know, it adds up. I think you're gonna be ableto best gauge. What makes sense for you to do for your band and, you know, find the balance between just what makes you feel good and what's fun. And then what's effective? And hopefully there's some overlap without three of those things. Um, you know, Yeah, music interviews, um, photographers.
That's one thing that I've done a few times, which has kind of been super cool, Um, finding people who are super into photography. Um, you know, all of the photos. You know, once you've, um, spend some time inside the rabbit hole looking at bands and venues. Um, chances are you've seen pictures of those bands and venues or pictures of those bands in those venues who took the pictures like contact those people and sort of like, Hey, you want to come out because on top of, you know, grabbing some cool, you know, content you can throw up on your you know, this isn't that Now you have somebody who is, you know, probably gonna live a lot closer to the venue and to those other bands you played within you dio actively invested in, You know, like a project that you are very much a part of, um, chances.
I was just going to be a delay. They're not gonna, like, dump up 150 photos they took of your show that night on the Facebook page and call it even. They're going to spend a couple of days thinking about it. And so, you know, even if all the bands think you suck and then you kicked you out and you're totally done for, like, the photographer is going to spend some time thinking about you whether they want to or not. But they're going to spend some time thinking about you, And so, you know, that's worst case scenario.
So chances are like, you're gonna have a great time, you know, you've done the homework. The band's love you that, you know, you've been, uh, you know, cool group to the venue. So everybody's had a great time. Eso I mean, but that's just my way of saying like, you can't really go wrong with that. I've you know, And again, I've only done that a few times. Um, you kind of have toe find that person on. Do you know, see that? They're, you know, know that they contact them, and you know, they have to be willing to do it.
Um, you know, you have to be okay with, uh, you know, if they're cold doing it for free or for, you know, a drink at the bar. Or, you know, I'm trying to find some way toe sort of be sarcastic about this, but like, you know Oh, what a surprise. Like maybe they want to get paid for the work they put into something like, you gotta be okay with that, too. So, um, you know, I haven't done it all the time, but that's that's been a really cool to me.
That seems like outside of the box, even though it might not be eso. I've had fun with that, um, and, you know, band interviews, and that's all stuff that you should be, or I have been, um, you know, historically thinking about, uh, you know, a few months out, um, and I have been Then, you know, all of those things. Um, you can prepare in advance and then you obviously execute most of them. You execute on sight. Um and so that's sort of how to separate that in my mind.
Like, what can I prepare for in advance? And then what are those? Cool. At the end of the day, I don't know. Unless you found like, a cool I don't know, bowling alley like, What do you do on to, like, go get your hair cut like chance that you're probably not doing something onto or other than being on tour? So make use of that time and maybe meet up with all these people before the show or go to the mall on hand out flyers like, you know, I know a lot of people are socially awkward myself included, and probably wouldn't want to do it.
But like that grabs three more people like you know, that's three more people, and you've done something with your time other than sitting Walmart parking on your van. And let's say, you know, it's a $10 ticket. If you hand out flyers for half an hour and yet three more people to show up, that's $60 an hour. You just turned essentially, you don't get to see that whole $60 that gets split with the venue and other bands. But that's still $60 an hour of value that you have added at that point.
You know, maybe the venue and the other bands don't know that. But it helps everyone in the long run. So having that kind of attitude, I think, is really essential to success, and obviously at a certain point you're gonna be too busy to do those things. But if you're just starting out, there's absolutely no reason not to go to that city an hour early and spent half an hour at the mall before you get dinner or whatever, or at a music store or something like that. Just talking to people and getting them to the show and handing out flyers like it could be tough to approach people.
But it's super easy to just keep it simple. Be like, Hey, come check out our show. Thanks. Have a good day like you don't have to actually engage in a conversation if you're not comfortable doing that, You know, obviously can still be difficult to approach people like that, but it's easier when you're thinking like, Okay, I'm going to say this, and they're going to keep walking, like having that mindset of, like, Okay, I don't have toe start a conversation. It's totally whatever you make it. Exactly. Now, you had also mentioned fliers, which is our next bullet point, because you have a good way to stand out with your flyers. Yeah.
So again, reiterating. Not everybody needs to do this, but for some time I found that this, um and not in all areas, but in enough areas to count and for it to have stuck out to me, I've noticed that for some reason this is help to stick out, which I think is like, super rudimentary and like, we shouldn't be getting points for this, but I'm not gonna, like, stop somebody, you know, if they want to give me Ah, kudos for it. Um, make flyers. Um, you specifically what we dio I wear the promoter hat.
Um, for most you know, we have, of course, been invited to play shows, and and and that's but that's at this point, um, and kind of a cool way has sort of been the exception, not the rule not to say that we're all losers and we don't have friends, because I e think we do. I hope we dio um but, you know, by the time that this episode airs, I think we probably would have just played ah, week or two. Prior. Oh, no, I'm sorry. Probably a little over a month prior to when this might come out.
Uh, sub stamp show number 141. And I'd say probably somewhere between 85 90% of those. Um, you know, I've found a venue on and, of course, you know, some of those air our local, so it's been easier Not, but most of those have been outside of the state of, you know, Vermont where we live. Um, and you know, so I've probably Yeah, I'd say probably between 85 90%. I've warned that promoter hat on guy found a way to make that work. And, uh, that means sourcing cold sourcing the venue through, uh, you know, a couple of the different ways we talked about earlier, with the kind of the building and the network on.
Then the same thing for the band's um and then you know I assemble, you know, sort of what I would call her the deal Deal, memo, advance, You know, whatever you wanna call it. And I delivered that to my guitar player, and he's much more of a visual person than I am. I really wish I was. But he's just he's gifted in that way where I'm not. And so he does really rad job at creating all of our flyers. So I kind of feed him the raw data.
Um, every time that I, you know, confirm and sort of lock in a show and he knocks out the Flyers on, creates those and kind of gives them back to me. Um and so at that point, I create, you know, social media stuff. You know, that all happens before the show's announced. So we kind of go from 0 to 100 eso You see the Facebook posts and and events, but also every time I get one back and you know, I check it out, you know, make sure that, like I'm not spelling a band's name wrong, that's a big thing that happens a lot, especially with our name, which again, like, kind of confuses me, but that's beside the point.
You know, once it's all good to go. Um, I send an email to my local staples, and I get them to print out we format hours for the most part, 11 by 17. So they're kind of like, you know, uh, you know, just a little bit bigger than a printer paper size. So it's kind of the posters you're going to see, like, that cool venue at home, like have on their entryway as you walk into the ballroom. Or like whatever it iss. Um, and, you know, depending on what I've talked about with the venue, um, usually I print out a couple of kind of nicer, you know, card stock.
And then I pronounce, you know, a bunch of kind of, you know, I think I even used the word cheapo paper in my email that staples. But it's, hey, you know, pronouncing pliers. But that is part of the conversation I have in advance with the venue is like, Hey, like, you know, would can't and read the room. But I've had conversations that usually fall between, um can I print some flyers and mail them to you? If So where can I mail them? And should I or, you know, again, read the room and the situation?
I definitely don't do that for all gigs, but I try to, um, definitely include that as an important part of a t least the set of steps that we take that I take n touring and setting up our own shows that I think, um, for whatever reason, ah, lot of the band's, um that are around and kind of, you know, at our level, um, I don't want to say overlook, but I don't think that they're doing that for one reason or another. One reason could be we do bear that expense.
We don't pass that along. Um, so depending on what we're talking about and when that could add up, but I found again just for us, um, that to have been worth it. So, in short, um, when we have flyers, we print them out. Um, you know, at a store. So they're nice, and I go to the post office, which for I don't know the younger listeners. It's kind of like FedEx, uh, you know, and I mailed them eso that way. Uh, you know, worst case scenario, people who couldn't give less of ah crap about us and totally get that package in the mail, laugh and throw it in the garbage on.
Don't do anything with it. Um, you know, we're worst case in the world if that happens, um, you know, maybe like, that's probably indicative of how that show is just going to go overall. And if it was a bad show or we it's bad experience. Maybe we don't go back there. But at least we know that. You know, we're putting forth all of the effort that we can, um or, you know, best case in the world and usually fall somewhere in between, hopefully closer to this one.
But best case, um, somebody goes wow, like I haven't been asked that from, You know, I run a venue that's not 800 cap, because Sub Sam Shocker does not play to 800 people every night. Um, and so the spaces that we do typically play, you know, there are Ah, a basement here. There. Um, usually, uh, the room has a bar in it. I'm gonna be honest. Um, you know, I'm which is part of the reason why I get so excited when we have the opportunity to play all edges spaces.
That's really important to me. Um, but, you know, we play and, you know, spaces that are between 50 and maybe 200. Cap. Um, and I'm not gonna lie. We do not sell out a 200 cap room. A. To this point, that's something we're working towards. Um, but it's it's not a secret to say we're not there. And so I think that when we most what I'm trying to get out of this is, um when we do play the 200 cap room and you know, we're somewhere in the middle of lineup, that kind of thing.
Oh, are, you know, opening. Or if it's, you know, a bunch of local bands, Whatever. I've done this with local spaces, too. That question sticks out, probably because the person who's running the 200 cap room thinks about that and has the capacity and sort of like the, you know, space in their brain. to, you know, just kind of have that sort of thing hit them like Oh wow, like I know that this man knows they're not going to sell out this room. They're part of a larger event.
Um, I feel like they are. And as invested in the shows, I am being the promoter of the venue person. Whatever. Um, that's important. You know, Look at them go. You know, trying like that, just that's a part. Just put in the effort. And I found that to be one thing that is maybe stupid and silly and simple, but for us, it's carried a lot of weight, and, you know, plus, it's kind of fun to, like, have something in your hand to hold. Um, And you know, part of the best case scenario is you show up at that spot that you've never been to in the middle of nowhere.
Iowa and your flyers air up because and, like, you know, you're gonna have a good show because, like somebody that has been thinking about you and they wanna have a good show, too. And it's always the best one. You kind of get that feeling like everybody's working together. We all wanna have a good time. Let's do it. That's a great way to look at it. And I think that's probably something that's really effective for Sub Sam's marketing. So on that note with your marketing and you're mentioning how some venues in the worst case scenario would just open the package and throw it in the trash when they see what it is, which hopefully they don't dio there are ways to avoid that.
And I think part of it is probably looking for red flags with the people you're reaching out to, to see how interested they are and just, uh, looking at people who are putting in an effort. So do you. Maybe you want to start with some of the red flags that you see in potential people you're working with and then move on to what you do. Look for people that you wanna work with the appealing qualities that you can see from their online presence or discussions with them.
I think that's kind of ah, quick one. Just because it's kind of like to sides of the same coin. Um, I mean, there's so much more than this, but to kind of quickly your fun? A You know, the salty part of my brain just wants to be like I was just wasn't a part of it, but it totally is online presence. Um, you know, I think everybody's working on that, you know, And the people who are killing it? No, they're killing it, but, you know, online presence.
I don't think it would e do think it would her Actually, I start with that If, um, you are when you're kind of back to that rabbit hole when you're in that rabbit hole and you're trying to source bands and venues or even if you have them and you're going back to a spot that maybe you haven't been to for a few months, Uh, it's obviously worth checking out all their socials and, you know, touching base, making sure they're still around or, you know, haven't gone out murdered.
Somebody like, you know, you never know, uh, making sure, you know, they're at the point where you think that they are. And I've kind of gotten to a point with substance when I book shows where you know, if I'm really pressed and having a hard time book in the market, but I really I just like I want to force it. I just wanted to see what happens. Um, you know, maybe I'll reach out to the band who hasn't posted anything in four months. Um, but chances are if I'm in a good spot, like I'm not even going to consider it.
Um, just because, you know, I'm really not a fan of, um, you know, waiting for two weeks for a reply, and I think I'm totally guilty of, You know, I've totally been anti Punisher and, you know, have, uh, ghost is not the right word because that means you exit a conversation prematurely, which obviously, that would that would be a red flag if you're asking for them. But, um, you know, everybody's guilty of it. Everybody has stuff going on. But you could tell when it's something is going on, vs somebody just doesn't check through email.
Um, so I think social media presence I think what that social media presence says about them if they do have it, that's an important maybe second part B to that, um, you know everything that you're doing. Yeah. Coming back to trapped. Uh, you know, I had for talking about trapped. When's the last time trap played a show? You know, if they didn't do that, forget already. what that sketchy thing was. But I remember the joke was it was sketchy. Uh, I do remember what it waas. Yeah, I wouldn't play with trapped, but whatever.
You know, local van, you're you're trying to kind of suss out and, uh, you know, you kind of do a site survey of ahead of time. You know what? Their messages? Um, if they're super on top of social media, that's great. But, you know, not if they're a bunch of dyngus is like doing something that's not cool. You know, a bunch of jerks. Um, you know, and then you get into, like, how heavily they push. I mean, obviously, if they have a bunch of photos with, you know, a bunch of people who see them, um, you know, kind of compare them to yourselves is really what I'm saying in every every, you know, every way that you can from online to.
I mean, if you're just working on your computer, you can only, you know if you don't have their phone number. And if you're not buds with them and you can't call them like it, you can only do so much ahead of time. Online outside of trying to understand what their online presence is. But just do that. Make sure they're safe to be around, that they're hard working on bond. That's why it's kind of two sides of the same coin, because I would say the other part of that would be Make sure you wanna be around them, you know, make sure it's gonna be worth your time and also their time.
Make sure that you're honest with them about, you know, sort of what you're bringing into town. Um, you know, as you should be honest with everybody, Uh, just make sure it's a good fit. You know, it's kind of like doing your due diligence to make sure that you understand what you're getting yourself into just going in blind and and then sort of, you know, showing the respect to the other people and making sure that I don't think that anybody would ever lie to anybody about what they're getting themselves into.
But the other side of that is just reinforcing that, like with being clear. You know, sometimes, um, you know, there are just honest misunderstandings. Eso just, you know, as on top of that stuff, is you could be to make sure everybody's on the same page and then, you know that will allow everybody to be that much more excited when you know, you know, they're excited about the same thing you're excited about. That's a great point. And I think kind of continuing on that with excitement is what would you actually do when you get to the show and you're playing the show and you're meeting everybody for probably the first time, even though you've been emailing them for 23 months?
They're probably some things that you've worked out that you know, work well to build and maintain those relationships with those people. I think, uh, and definitely no particular order other than maybe what I've found to be effective. ATT's some of our more recent shows. Um, do not ever forget merch. You might feel like you're sticking out like a sore thumb, or like you're the outlier or you don't belong there. If you're the only band with merch or if you're playing uh, in a lot of the same spots that I am, which most are, you know, like a club or a bar or, you know, proper venue of some sort of ah, lot are 40% of where we play are still, um, very unique spaces.
And I think in those breweries, isn't that And there are a lot of opportunities in those spots to sort of feel like you don't wanna be a bother or that you don't wanna stick out like you're about to be super freaking loud in that space and you're about to, like, show them something that I'm going to just go ahead and assume it's super personal and something you've worked very hard on. So, you know, throw your T shirts up on the table, for God's sake. After making sure that it's okay to do that.
Yeah, but you know, it's never, never forget merch. I've I've made an extra 100 bucks of the show on merch because I was like, No, I'm going to do this, you know, I talked about it beforehand. They said, like, you know? Yep, merch goes over there totally fine, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, I've seen the other bands merch box out back behind the stage Bond. I totally get it. They probably felt like it's a small spot, you know, let's just It's a hassle.
Let's not do it. But I walked away with an extra 100 bucks like it's it's an easy thing to Dio. I think that that sort of ties into talking with everybody once you're there. Um, it sort of ties into what communication you wanna take place or implement, like beforehand. What conversation? You wanna introduce onda topics. You wanna talk about beforehand? Like I like to get myself to a point where I'm you know, I walked through the door, to Ah, gig that I played a month ago about now and had never been there before, but had talked to everybody at a time.
Eso at that point, Even though we're shaking our hands like, you know, I'm shaking their hand for the first time. It's, you know, we already have things. Uh, we've already had things in common for a few weeks, if not a few months at that point, eso there, You know, we already have the built in. Um, you know, we can sort of, you know, joke about that thing. We can kind of be just a little more Buddy, buddy, rather than, like, awkward. We're just meeting. You know, we can feel that much more comfortable.
And I think that also goes a long way towards having a good show making, you know, making yourself comfortable somewhere without making other people uncomfortable. Eso introducing yourself to everybody. Um, making sure part of that introduction always includes, you know? Hey, is there anything I could do to make your night run a little smoother? I think I'm good. Of course. The part of that is, you know, make sure you're good. Take care of yourself. Yeah, just, you know, kind of all the basic human stuff. Just, you know, it still applies it to show yeah, being a person and being personable.
So people have a good memory of you because you can play a great set and they might remember your great set, or you can play in Okay, set. And they won't remember your set. But if you talk to them and make them feel appreciated and like you recognize them as another human being, they'll remember you. Even if you're set. Wasn't stellar that night. They'll remember you. And obviously you should do your best to have a great set. But nobody has a great set every single night of their lives.
That just doesn't happen. That's not realistic expectation. People are people. Exactly. I think a big like to kind of riff off what you were saying. I've definitely enjoyed making a point, to if I'm you know, I played Erie, Pennsylvania, for the first time last summer, and there was a bunch of people there. It was awesome. Um, I did everything that I could, uh, knowing that I had never been e I don't think I'd never been teary passing through or, you know, working somebody else's gig like Total first time.
But the show looked like, uh, you know, for for what it was that was like a total the smaller back room of the larger theater kind of a thing. Eso for what? It waas, uh, did really well, Everybody left with a smile on their face and sort of I I sort of pride myself on recognizing Wow, Like, I bet we could fit 100 people in here, and this is the first time we've ever been here. 50 people were there, and that's excluding like the band members. Like the other band members, let's see if you can sort of get salty about that.
But it was really awesome. Everybody was nice. Enjoy themselves. The promoter went as far is to go, you know? Hey, like, here's what we discussed, like, you know, given me my envelope for the night. Um, I had noticed, you know, we're all kind of, uh we're all sort of in the same room, so I was kind of able to see what the other bands weren't getting. And eso in those situations. I always like to make the conscious decision to, um, make sure that they're taking care of a swell, um, and and to make sure that, you know, the sound person and promoter.
But I don't think that I would ever feel comfortable walking out of a room with a huge lodge of cash. Um, knowing that nobody else walked away was with something that they felt was fair for what they had contributed to it. Um, you know, I don't feel like there's a place in the world for somebody to, uh, play the sorts of shows that I play on Feel like a rock star. Um, I feel like it's important to, uh, make sure everybody's hard work is rewarded for sometimes you know that can't happen if a show does really bad.
But if my whole thing is if it showed as well, I want everybody to do well, everybody had a hand in it. Everybody has a stake in it. Um, you know, why not? Why not share and kind of, you know, an extra 17 bucks or 20 bucks or whatever. You know, whatever it is, 40 bucks. 50 bucks. Um, if I could give that to the local band to, you know, clearly was mawr responsible than I was for bringing 50 people to a spot that I had never, ever been to and honestly, didn't you know, have a lot of success in, you know, finding that local college station or promotional opportunity beforehand.
That was just a space where that just didn't come together. But we still had a good show. I recognized, and I knew that I was not responsible for how well that went. Or at least I wasn't the only one on DSO throwing somebody a 20. You know there are, you know, it's there's a difference between, you know, throwing an animal some scraps from the table. Uh, I think you know, your kind of person I wouldn't wanna work with if you thought of it that way. But it's more of showing an appreciation for the hard work that other people dio.
Um, and making sure that, you know, I mean, I've I've had people give it right back because they go touring band, you know? But I don't know if that's like the right rule of thumb to sort of kind of live by, at least for me. And you might totally be digging the mix of the sound guy gave you owe our notice that the other drummers, like, hung out on the side of the stage and, like, watched your whole set. But until you go up to them and say, like, I saw that you were really into the entire show or like, I saw that you were promoting the shit out of this on Facebook or, you know, you printed out other flyers and you hung them up around town.
Um, you could be thinking that all day long, but until you say it like, they'll never know exactly. And I think as far as paying people out, that's totally the right move with people handing it back to you. That might just be their way of saying like, No, no, like, you need gas to get to the next city. But then they're expecting that when they play your city, you do the same for them, which I think is fair, too. And so it's, you know, it may be just is a different mindset from what you have, but one, it lets you keep that money right.
Then when you need it, free gas, and then when they do come back through I know you're the kind of guy who would totally do that because that's just who you are. Who sub Sam is is you say, hey, like, you need this more than we dio I wouldn't consider this show to have gone well if everybody didn't do well. Do you have any last closing words? Aaron. Any tips? Ideas? Any, uh, anything that you think people should know when they're booking their shows or just getting started with us?
I think the best thing that you could do is taken a bunch of advice. Once you do that, just figure out what works best for you. Um, somebody else's formula is not going to touch on all of your points. Um, and all of your points will never touch on all of the needs that somebody else has. So I think the best and most important thing you can do is take inasmuch information information as you can. And then, um, I think the key is figuring out what out of that applies to you.
What doesn't And then how and when the stuff that does apply to you applies to you, that's a great way to put it. And I think you're absolutely right. There's no cookie cutter formula for your band. You should take this advice, try it, see what works for you, adapt it to your band. And I think that's the word of the day. Yeah. Adapt, improve. Overcome. Is that like the Marines or the Navy or something? Uh, it's now, but yeah, If you're a band, adapt, improve, overcome. So that's our episode on booking and promoting your shows outside of your home town.
And I really think that Aaron touched on a lot of key things on how to do your due diligence and finding people that you want to work with and should be working with, rather than people who you would not want to work with and should not work with. And how you can stand out amongst the crowd in ways like sending flyers or just being a human being, being personable and treating other people with respect and making a lasting impression, both on the people you're working with, the other bands who are playing And, of course, most importantly, the fans who came out to the show because even if they were not your fan going in, you better hope that there your fan after that show and obviously no band will appeal to everyone.
But you should absolutely try your hardest to make as many people as possible. Remember your band so that the next time you play their city, they show up and they bring a friend. Thank you so much for listening and supporting. These first five episodes have been really exciting for us to dio, and there is more coming next week. Tuesday at 6 a.m. As always, the next episode will be out. That one is all about building a team for your D I y band So if you want to check that out, make sure you have subscribed to the podcast on whatever platform you're listening to.
Or if you are on Apple podcasts and you've already subscribed, we would really appreciate a review or rating that helps out fledgling podcasts so much. It's really something that is a huge game changer for those of us who are just starting out. So thank you again for listening for subscribing or for leaving a rating or review. This is all awesome, and we really appreciate it. So thank you so so much from the bottom of our hearts. You will hear from us next Tuesday at 6 a.m. And as always, keep rocking.
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