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Nobody knows what exactly Frank does for a living, but he has a spare cable in his van just in case you find out that your guitar is making some weird noise just before a gig. | Photo: Adi Goldstein (Unsplash)
Nobody knows what exactly Frank does for a living, but he has a spare cable in his van just in case you find out that your guitar is making some weird noise just before a gig. | Photo: Adi Goldstein (Unsplash)
Tereza Karásková -

TOP 5 Friends You Will Need as a Band

Anyone who started a band soon discovered that it doesn't consist only of its members. A band is surrounded by a fairly wide circle of people who never thought they would want to be part of any musical ensemble. And suddenly they're driving a van full of instruments to who knows where, putting up concert posters around town and, after hours, they are programming websites or wrapping merch. They sell tickets, make phone calls to festivals, write press releases, etc. Yeah, we're talking about the mates that no band can do without.

Having people around you that you can rely on is absolutely essential. And the list of things a band needs to function well grows in direct proportion to how "serious" you are about music. Let's take a look at the most common questions and favours that musicians ask their friends and relatives when trying to tick off at least some items on their list while saving money for more important things like the studio or new equipment and instruments.

1. Listen, my uncle's garage is free

The first absolutely crucial issue that every band has to deal with is the rehearsal room. And the rehearsal room is more than just a place to rehearse. It's a place where your identity and your music are created.

In big cities, there is a shortcut in the form of equipped rehearsal rooms rented by the hour, which is definitely worthwhile at least at the beginning, if you don't have anything better and don't even have your own sound system or equipment. In recent years, buildings with many rehearsal rooms of different sizes have been built in places where there is no risk of neighbours' hostility.

If you have the opportunity to rent one, don't hesitate. In addition to the comfort in the form of security or a bar, you will be "among your own" and can experience an impromptu jam session by candlelight when the power goes out in the middle of the evening. But many bands don't have that option, so someone who can offer you a suitable space to rehearse is still your number one friend.

2. Sounds good, looks good too

Sooner or later every band needs to present itself visually – invitations to gigs, a logo, photos, videos, merch. There is a huge amount of work behind all this, which is usually impossible to do on your own. You will have to figure out what you need and how much you are willing to invest, what's most important and what can wait. And also ask yourselves – do I know anyone who can... do graphics? Make videos? Take good photos? Design a logo?

The good news is that there are quite a lot of people who are good at photography or art, and if you are lucky you will find someone like that among your friends. The even better news is that while professionally designed visual identity for your band (logos, fonts, web graphics, merch and more) is likely to exceed your budget many times over, paying for a professional photo shoot or a skilled cameraman is not nearly as unaffordable. This is where it pays to research, ask around, look for references and not be afraid to try multiple people before you come across someone who fits the bill.

3. Looking for an IT expert

Many of us would like to avoid social networks, but we can't. It's not just that even die-hard Facebook haters force themselves to add at least a few friends so they have someone to share a concert invitation with. And even those who hate taking pictures will eventually start an Instagram profile. Gone are the days of writing long emails to the organizers. You can get to festivals, better clubs and many other places via online forms that demand a link to all social profiles and alas, if it seems that your band doesn't have enough reach – enough likes, shares, comments.

So you need friends who have lots of friends who they share your content with – and those friends will give you the thumbs up. Those friends should be at least a few hundred, ideally a few thousand. Cool. But be aware, that you also need a classic website, because a lot of music publicists and promoters are quite old-school and want to have everything about the band neatly in one place. So... do you know any IT guys?

The most sought-after "friend" is someone who would upload the content on the networks for you, write about what's new with the band every other day or so and throw in a few photos or a short video. As far as I know, this type of friend doesn't exist, but maybe I'm wrong. If you've discovered someone like that, let us know in the comments, you can be assured everyone will be jealous.

4. Frank will take care of that

Frank has a van. He has no problem driving it anywhere, whether it's a weekday morning or Sunday around lunchtime. Frank is also quite fit and doesn't mind carrying a bass amp from the second floor or from the basement without a lift. He is a skilled driver, so he easily pulls up in the middle of a hill and backs into the miniature parking space in front of the club. Or he parks straight on the sidewalk and somehow deals with the cops patrolling the city, because Frank is cool, no one can be angry with him.

Nobody knows what exactly Frank does for a living, but he has a spare cable in his van just in case you find out that your guitar is making some weird noise just before a gig. He also has a portable coffee maker in case you're recording a scene in a video clip for the tenth time and you feel like you can't take it anymore, spare batteries for the guitar effects, a spare part for the cymbal stand and maybe even a spare T-shirt. Frank's just cool. If you have someone like him in your band "crew", you will surely confirm that they make everything much easier.

5. Do you know anyone who knows...?

In your local musical scene, everybody knows everybody. But somehow you don't know anyone who knows "everybody". It's probably not that simple, but it's true that besides a lot of hard work, a lot of successful bands also have a lot of luck. They've managed to be in the right place at the right time and meet the right person.

But if you look closer, you'll see that they often actively pursued their "luck". Most of us are naturally shy and embarrassed to push ourselves out there. But there's a big difference between telling everyone you've got a really cool band and keeping your eyes open, spotting opportunities to move on and not being afraid to take them. Even if it sometimes means taking a bit of a risk and stepping outside your comfort zone. And of course, it's also about not being lazy to put some effort into it.

Invite a former classmate who happens to work in radio for a coffee and offer him your music. Call a bandmate from your first band, who's supposedly co-organising an interesting festival. Reach out to a band you liked after the show to see if you could support them. These are all legitimate ways to get your music out into the world.

To conclude: friends are worth their weight in gold

As a band, you need a lot of skills that you simply don't have the time or the ability to learn on your own. And hiring professionals for everything is beyond the budget of most bands. Of course, the ideal option is friends who make a living in the field in question, but for the "love of music", they will help for free in their spare time. If you are lucky enough to come across similarly enthusiastic people, appreciate them and let them know. Because even free work is still work.

My experience is that people are very happy to help and give their time if they see that it makes sense. Conversely, the enthusiasm quickly wanes when they get the impression that nobody appreciates their work. So, for example, if you get a friend to arrange a cool venue for a concert and then forget about the PR and few people show up, they probably won't bother next time. And if you get a colleague to design a cool poster but somehow forget to print it or share it on the internet, she'll probably prefer to do something else next time.

The friends you somehow "involve" in your band project are the foundation of a mini-community that will support you when things go wrong and a gang that will celebrate every success with you. Cherish them, because they are precious!

Tagy TOP 5 friends promo tips and tricks

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Tereza Karásková
The singer of the band Taste The Lemon, solo guitarist, songwriter and architect. For me, music is a space of absolute freedom and joy that I don't like leaving. It started with peaceful piano lessons a…