When you think of what a musician is, a few things probably spring to mind. Someone who creates loud but wonderful noises, a person who spends their time split between a studio and a stage, a person who somehow makes the idea of a chamber of close packed sweaty bodies seem like it will be a blast. It’s true in fact, all of it. I definitely create loud noise, and yeah it’s subjective as to whether or not it’s wonderful, but you #WonderFans certainly make me feel like it is. I do definitely spend a lot of time on stage and a ton of time in the studio! And no matter how hot it gets on stage or off - It’s definitely a blast for everyone involved. None of us know why but somehow a collection of non-descript vibrations can connect a room full of people in ways we as the human race can’t quite make sense of. But one thing I can be certain of - we all have a seriously good time. So that’s the obvious side of what I think it is to be a musician. For these reasons, I (along with so many other people), would love to ‘make it’ in the music industry. I want to make it so I can do that part of the job every day... But there’s another part to the job of being a musician. A part nobody told you about when you thought your ‘big break’ was going to be when you were picked up by an awesome record label. We are lucky enough to be that fortunate band that got signed to our incredible (and most certainly awesome) label - The Animal Farm. But that was not where the buck stopped. I finished university a few weeks ago, which coincided perfectly with front-man Chris’ hernia operation, putting us in the perfect position to discover this ‘other side’ together. We spent the last month (#HerniaMonth) as ‘full-time, 9-5, shirt and tie (well, maybe not the shirt or tie...), musicians’ (#FullTimeWonders), learning exactly what it all involves:
60 Student Unions emailed, 52 reviewers contacted, 40 endorsements applied for, 2 grant applications completed, 140 phone calls made, 16 radio stations approached, 12 festival submissions, 27 venues reached out to, 54 hours of market research, 4 social media strategies re-built, 1 press pack created, 3 (now 4) blogs written, 10 episodes of Rick and Morty Watched, 4 Episodes of Ray Donovan watched, 3 pages of code written, 19 pictures taken, 28 sandwiches made, 59 tweets composed, 8 Facebook status written, 7 clothing orders shipped, 20 hard copies of our EP ONE sold, 152 digital copies of our EP sold and 11 promoters rallied to our cause.
This sounds like a lot of time behind a laptop, not an image the word ‘musician’ tends to evoke. But in the digital age where every man and his dog is in a band, it’s as important (sometimes even more important) to do all of this, or else your music will simply not get heard! Yes it did make our eyes sore some days, but armed with a few cans of coke, a handful of TV breaks and often being sat in nothing but our pants (#NoShirtOrTie), we ploughed on, gradually getting replies and eventually results. Even though the victories were small, they were still extremely satisfying when they came. One example is the fact that a small New York based radio station called @RelaxFreeRadio now has our 3 track EP in their rotation EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It might seem insignificant (no pun intended), but thinking that someone in New York might hear one of our songs today fills me with immense excitement.
We’ve made some errors of judgement, sealed some really great deals, and corrected mistakes we’ve been making for years, but have been too busy to see. We’ve moved forward and had fun doing it. It might not be rock and roll to sit behind a desk, but that kind of work is just as important. A lot of bands are still living under the illusion that this is the 90’s and think their big break lies in getting signed; and doing no extra work while waiting ‘for the call’ and if they do get to that stage, thinking they’ve done enough. We’ve decided we aren’t going to wait for someone to open the door for us, we’re going to get through on our own - and if knocking doesn’t work, well then we’ll just have to kick the door down. So rarely do artists get plucked out of obscurity and turned into an overnight success (#FuckXFactor). If you are a musician that’s new to this game, don’t get disheartened when you come to this conclusion (and you will), because that’s where the first 90% of your competition are killed off. Stay true to your goals, believe in your music and above all work. Work and work and work. If you are willing to work a 9 to 5 for someone else, you sure as hell better be willing to work one for yourself. Don’t look for thank you's or praise, look for gigs. Don’t look for fame and glory, look for air time. Don’t look for approval or encouragement, look for a review. All of those good things will come. To start with in small doses, and as you progress - in slightly larger ones. But if you are serious about this you have to play the long game, so you better be ready for the times when you will have nothing but your own self-motivation to push you forward. You might think, who am I to say I’m the authority on this? Yes you are right we aren’t famous, but yes we are still here. We have been here for 5 years and are showing no signs of letting up. We’re working harder than ever before and are starting to get there. We may not be touring the world yet, but one thing is for certain we are getting very close to making a good living doing what we love, playing our own music. What I’m trying to say is never quit on what you dream of being #WonderFans, as soon as you quit on the dream, the dream quits on you! But most importantly do what makes you happy, and say a big fuck you to anything else.
If any of you are an up and coming musician or are simply a person chasing a dream that you’ve been told isn’t ‘realistic’, drop us a tweet or get us on Facebook to share your experiences with us - we get it! Keep dreaming, keep working, keep believing!