Recording Artist Advocate: 4 kinds of people

I can’t take credit for this. I heard it at a writer’s conference.

You will meet 4 kinds of people in your life. Drifters, Surfers, Drowners, and Navigators.

Drifters just go along with whatever everyone else does. They don’t tend to be very loyal, but if they think you are popular they will follow you. Watch them at your merch table. They buy the shirts they see others buying.

Surfers are always looking for the next big wave. They are really just glorified drifters. They will still buy merch and come to your shows. But don’t be surprised when they jump to the next up and coming band.

Drowners always need rescuing. Help them once and they will expect you to bail them out forever. They live for drama and will try to wrap you up in theirs. They are great for song material, but observe them from a distance. If you’ve lived long you know several.

Navigators are the ones you want to work with. They know where they are going and will keep working to get there. They lock onto their “star” or guiding principal and steer towards it. For them setbacks are temporary. They are relentless. Look for a manager or booking agent who is a navigator.

One warning : Be sure you want to go to the same place. I hear lots of stories from bands who struggled with a producer or engineer because they didn’t have the same vision. You need a navigator willing to follow your star. (...or one very close to yours.)

If they don't, get out of there quick and come see me. 



Recording Artist Advocate: Inspiration and how to find it…

An artist I work with is in the control room editing vocals while I write this. He just finished his latest CD and songs are still pouring out as fast as he can write them down. Has that ever happened to you?

I was at a writing class in Austin last week and the presenter was very insistent that you write… even when you don’t feel inspired.

Write, “I can’t think of anything to write.”

The act of writing and accessing that part of your brain will eventually pay off. After that it’s editing and re-writing. He even said that he doesn’t believe in “writer’s block”. If you have something to say, start writing and it will come together.

Your writing feeds on itself, and if you do it enough you will get inspired. That part of your brain will click on and you may find yourself more productive than ever.

When you get in that mode, good stuff keeps coming out. So write, and keep doing it.

I also read that poetry and music bypass the analytical part of your brain. You can excite your creativity by reading poetry exactly like working out exercises your muscles.

So, write, and write some more.    

Sorry for such a short post. 

The best part of what we do here at Rough Wood Recording Studio is when we catch lightning in a bottle. That has been happening tonight and I can't wait to get back in the studio.

Recording Artist Advocate: Help them help you.

EPK, Electronic Press Kits, are great for bands. No longer do you have to stuff all that info in a manila folder and send it off hoping someone will actually take the time to go through it. But now that every band sends out an EPK, how do you make yours stand apart?

Put yourself in the mindset of the person you’re talking to. If it’s a bar manager, they want to fill their venue with customers. A booker wants to find bands that make the venue folks happy. And music directors at radio stations want listeners. They also want to be able to say, “I discovered that band. We were playing their music before anyone else.”

For the bar manager tell them about the venues (not in their area) that consistently have you back. It speaks to the value you bring that they want you there again and again.

For bookers, highlight the events you’ve been booked into and how well they went. I’ve seen a booker sweat bullets because he needed to please his client and the band was late to set up.

And for radio, you should send high quality .mp3 files of your front man (or woman) doing intros they can use over the bed of your songs. This requires some detective work to make certain you get their slogan right. The radio station’s website will usually have everything you’ll need.

A little studio time is worth it if it gives you an edge and gets you radio play. This works for internet radio stations and anyone with an interview show. Think about what they need and see if you can make it easier for them to promote you. Those relationships will make all the difference in your success in this business.

Recording Artist Advocate: Don't hold back.

So, Paula Deen is losing her job and lots of sponsors for using racial slurs sometime in the past. I don’t watch her show and won’t notice, but I have to say if your glad about that – Don’t cheer too hard. Anything you’ve ever said may get you fired someday.

What does this mean for the rest of us?

The owner of a bakery didn’t want to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, and got in all kinds of legal trouble.  Another bakery called the cops when a family wanted a birthday cake for their  little boy named Adolf Hitler. Some land mines are obvious and some are not. 

I’ll record anything I can feel OK about. If an all gay band wanted to record at Rough Wood Studio, I’d probably record them, if they’re music is any good.

If a racist band wanted to record with me. Would I have to record them too? Or risk getting sued.

I’ve had to draw a line with a few artists. But so far I’ve been able to show them how what they were trying to do would harm them or turn off their audience. Maybe I need sensitivity training.  

Things are cyclical. We’re moving into a cycle where you’ll see a lot more witch hunts. This is a time when walls are going up, metaphorically, and people are getting kicked out of the group. We’re in the part of the cycle where we divide ourselves into smaller and more exclusive groups. It’s not good. Watch out for it.  

It might not be the most popular time to reach across those, barriers? Do you reach across a barrier, or reach around - a barrier? But, I say, “Don’t give in.” And don’t be afraid to talk or sing or write about - anything. The best music seems to happen when artist point out a wrong that needs to be addressed.

You may upset some people. Talk to other folks you respect. You might find a more subtle way to say the same things.

Music slips in past our normal defenses. It reaches us in a very deep way. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not recognize their families, but they remember songs.  Music is - amazing. 

When you are ready to record something amazing, call me. Robert Snyder at Rough Wood Recording Studio in the Great state of Texas.

Recording Artist Advocate: Food and Rent 2

Last week I said you’re not selling your soul doing cover gigs. They may just be a good way to put food on the table till you build a big enough fan base to make some real money.  There are well-established artist who make their living doing other people’s music. Lots of places actually prefer cover music because they know the audience likes those songs. The bars and clubs are already getting lots of calls from bands looking for work but where else can you look for good paying gigs? Think about it this way, who else needs to entertain a big crowd? Every big organization has events and they usually book well in advance. Contact HR directors, wedding and event planners, and every college has fraternities and sororities competing to have the best events. Build a good relationship with those people. They tend to keep booking bands even when they move on to other organizations. Let them know when you get a big win like radio play or a really good booking. When your band hits they’ll be the first folks calling to get you at their events.