How to be a successful band
To be a successful band is perhaps one of the hardest questions and nobody knows just exactly how. The number of bands that go unheard and their effort waste is a common story that we have been listening to for too many times. Bands have also invested heavily in financing their dream only to see little results. It does not have to be that way. It can be easier and it can be possible for a band without a rich investor or strong management to succeed. In this post, I will be sharing the experience I had with my fellow band members about our journey chasing the dream and what you can learn from it.
Music moves people
I’m sure you have heard of this phrase many times. Music is a powerful tool that can change a person emotionally. If you are feeling unhappy, the right music can make you feel better again. Feeling tired and needed something to help you pull through, music can boost your energy level. Want to tell someone a message but don’t want to be too blunt, music can help you do so subtlety. Music is also there for all occasions. Weddings, funerals, parties, graduations and so on. Music is simply essential in our daily life.
However, pretentious music often or not won’t work. People can smell a lie from miles away. Nobody likes a song that pretends to have a deep meaning, only to be written for the sake of going with a “formula”. There are simply way too many bands that write songs based on formula after attending music programs from schools that promise stardom. Lyrics must be real and relatable and there are no 2 ways to that.
In 讨闹排Razzleplay’s album, we wrote exactly what we were going through at that period of our life. There are songs about our energy in pursuing our dream. Some songs about our daily life. There is also a song that portrayed a BGR (Boy-Girl-Relationship) of one of our members. Every song is written about us and tells our story. If you want people to hear you, be honest about yourself.
Never show anything lesser than who you are
I remember how we will spend hours and hours in the rehearsal studio together. Our typical schedule is from post-work hour till about 3-4 am. A single song can be practiced over and over countless times. A perfect take in the rehearsal studio is simply not good enough for us, we want to be able to do it perfectly every single take. Our body will often be sore and aching after practice. We will usually be sweaty despite coming out of an air-conditioned room. Everyone’s ears suffer from the perpetual ringing sound.
We do this because we know how it works. When you are out there to showcase, you only have one chance to get it right. You have to get it right comfortably. It shouldn’t be a game of chance and luck. Coming off the stage telling people how lucky you are on stage is irresponsible to everyone who loves your band.
One of the reasons 讨闹排Razzleplay was forging ahead from other bands at that point was simply because of how they were found. We had no social media to rely on and youtube was mostly unheard. People prefer traditional mediums then. So we prepared and mailed our album along with photos and write-ups, all in a beautiful and customized plastic-file. To promote our album, we also contacted every single shopping malls to ask for a performing space. Our plan was to get heard by as many as we can and we are not cutting any corners. If you are hosting a small event and needed a band, we will be there. Perhaps you are hosting an open mic, we will be there. How about if you are not going to pay bands for their work on stage, we will be there.
The primary mistake for many bands today is valuing monetary gain over anything. Indeed, money is important to fuel the band for the long haul. But asking for money too early can easily backfire on your desired journey. Musicians often ask about how much they will be paid before agreeing on a gig. Now don’t get me wrong that I support the idea of paying musicians with exposure. To me, that can only be applied to musicians who have reached a certain level of recognition and fandom. The primary goal of the young band is to get heard. Putting a dollar sign in your conversation with the next gig manager is like putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel room door.
Use Social Media
This couldn’t be easier enough today but it hasn’t been the case when 讨闹排Razzleplay was active. Some would often complain that social media platforms restrict their audiences and they cannot beat the algorithm. While that is true, it is surely better than trying to succeed with absolutely no social media to help. Social media is complicated. It is not just about how the platform’s algorithm restricts your audience but also how you use it.
Imagine chancing upon a musicians‘ Facebook post. This is the first time you heard of this person and you know nothing about him/her. However, in the short Facebook post, the musician is asking you to subscribe and share their content. Why will you be doing that for someone you know absolutely nothing about? Imagine you are walking down a shopping street and someone hands out a flyer to you. What are the chances that you will be taking the content in the flyer seriously? I believe you got my point. Social media is powerful, way more powerful than when Razzleplay tried giving out flyers. Also, don’t restrict to a just few favorite social media platforms. Your audience could be found in every of the available platform.
The story of 讨闹排Razzleplay on becoming a successful band
You may argue that our band is no way near your definition of success. Or may say this is a typical story of an indie band. But you might just be right. However looking back, 讨闹排Razzleplay was one of the best things that happened to my life. The whole rollercoaster ride experience cannot be found with many others going through that phase of their life. The lessons and experience we got from it made us much better in what we do today. Because of that, I can tell you that we have succeed.
I’ll try to be concise with the story. Simin and I wanted something more than working in a music store so we decide to try forming a band like many others. I roped my brother Victor in on the drum and Simin called her friend Siling in to sing. We posted on a forum to audition for a bassist, Sean was the first to reply to us. Then came many hours of jamming sessions and we realized we can be quite a topic. Then many hours of brainstorming, discussion, practices, and we became one solid unit. We wrote our first song and recorded our first singles. We got good responses from friends and supporters. Motivated, we worked on a full album. It brought us to big gigs we could never have imagined. One of our songs also hit the 9th position on the radio chart. Probably one of our proudest moments because our song was rank amongst the big labels and international artists!
“让我会到一切美好的回忆，停留一秒也足够”, translates as “allow me to reminisce the wonderful memories, even if it’s just for a second”.
Our lives come in phases. There will be no signals to prompt you that you are moving into the next phase. If you missed your window of opportunity, there is no going back. If you desire to achieve something but procrastinate on it, you will lose it. My message to all the aspiring musicians out there, do it. You have no time to waste.
I shall end this blogpost by sharing our full album for free for the first time since we released it in 2009. In the video, you will get to enjoy our photos and go through the journey with us. If you want to be able to view these photos, they are still on our inactive Facebook page.
讨闹排Razzleplay is Vinnie Simin Siling Victor Sean.