Archive for March, 2013


Band Advice – Playing a Gig

Biffy Clyro at the SECC, 2009Here’s the next installment of the Band Advice section; playing a gig. On the day of the gig it’s best to arrive early – the organiser will probably ask you to do this anyway. This is to load-in, which means to bring in all your gear and set up the backline. If you arrive at the time asked, it’s more likely that you will get a chance to soundcheck too.

Before you head to the venue, make sure you have all the equipment you need. For example, if you’re a guitarist, you’ll need a lead, a spare lead if that one breaks, a tuner, plectrums, and ofcourse, your guitar. It’s a good idea to bring spare strings as well – be prepared for any eventuality!

Most venues will have enough backline, but if you’re a drummer, bring your cymbals, snare, and a bass pedal if needed. These are the breakables; other drummers playing wouldn’t be too happy about you using their cymbals or snare because, as you’ve probably guessed, they’re easily damaged.

Be nice to the sound engineer. If you’re acting like an idiot, or are under the impression that you’re an awesome rockstar who can shout orders at them and everyone else, be warned. The sound guy is completely in charge of the levels and how you sound on stage, so if you give them rubbish, they can make you sound rubbish.

A good thing about playing live is the contacts your able to make, whether it be with other bands, or with the promoters. For example, at one of the gig’s my band played, we made friends with a fantastic guy from a band called The Puzzlers, and he is now mixing some of our songs.

Before you go on stage, tune your guitar, and then tune it again. During one of the gigs I’ve played, I didn’t tune up correctly, and it sounded pretty bad. If you have to tune whilst on stage, try to use a plug-in tuner, and whatever you do, don’t tune with your amp on. It’s really unprofessional if the audience can hear you trying to tune up to a high E.

So, next is the actual performance. If you make a mistake, just carry on. Chances are no one has noticed, and mistakes happen. You will have a few bad gigs, it’s inevitable, but the majority of the gigs you play will go well, and the best thing is that you learn from the mistakes you do make. Personally, I’ve made a countless amount of mistakes, but I kept going. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself on stage, and have a great time!

Sonic ReducersEarlier on this week I interviewed Daniel Cairney and Chris Roarty from awesome local punk band Sonic Reducers, talking about the future of anarchy, words like “hypersonic”, and the promise of a new EP.

How long have you guys been together?
Daniel:
This current line-up has been together since June 2011, but the band started as Delgado in September 2010.

Your first album’s out, N.F.I.A. (No Future In Anarchy) why did you decide on this as your album’s title?
Daniel: The album was originally going to be titled Punkeye (an in joke between the band and some friends) but it was later realized that the title was a bit too silly and would probably lose it’s humour the more people asked about it! So, the song No Future In Anarchy existed already, and I always just liked the title because it expresses discontent with a lot of the people who think it’s still 1977 and don’t really translate their punk spirit into the modern world, as the Sex Pistols’ idea of Anarchy was cool at the time, but it’s not really done anything since then, and we’re all about moving forward!

If you could describe your band in 3 words, what would they be?
Daniel: Loud, Fast, Fun.
Chris: Maniacal, Hypersonic and Humorous.

You have a song called Punk Rock Band – what would be your advice to any people wanting to start their own punk rock band?
Daniel: My main piece of advice in starting a punk rock band is just to be yourself. When you think about it, all the punk bands, whose music has stood the test of time, have done so because they all had unique sounding music, which has been imitated a lot, but never really matched.
Chris: Personally, I think musicianship is the most important. Whenever Daniel comes in with a song, say Young Blood, it’s usually just a basic structure that could still pass off as a song, though just before we recorded the album we added more parts like a reggae section and a breakdown. We did the same with Going Back. One of our newer songs, Unscathed, which can be heard on our Soundcloud, has been greatly sharpened recently with a few changes. I’m excited for releasing that song particularly. Things like that wouldn’t happen if we didn’t get a say. I also think that being musically versatile can help, for instance, fusing styles together. It also makes things sound cooler!

What are your plans for this year?
Daniel: This year, we plan to do a lot of new stuff! With a new EP and hopefully a concept album, so it should be interesting! Most of the songs for the EP are ready, but the concept album is still early doors, so we can’t really guarantee it will be done this year but here’s hoping!
Chris: Basically what Daniel said, but I’m probably going to work on getting my drums sounding tighter for the remainder of the year, and throw some things I’ve not really done in there too for a challenge.

Check out Sonic Reducers’ current EP, N.F.I.A, right here on Bandcamp! http://www.sonicreducersuk.bandcamp.com

Band Advice – Booking A Gig

End Transmission playing at the O2 ABC; despite only selling ten tickets, it was a good night!

End Transmission playing at the O2 ABC; despite only selling ten tickets, it was a good night!

Some (possibly useful) advice if you’re thinking about booking a gig in Glasgow. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I do have some tips I’ve picked up in my time playing gigs in and around Glasgow, so if you’re looking for words of wisdom, hopefully this will help!

1. As a general rule of thumb, most musicians will recommend that you never, I repeat never, do a pay to play gig. This is, as the title suggests, a gig where you would have to pay in order to perform, which is completely unfair on you as a musician. So definitely say no to pay to play.

2. From my own experience, the best way to get a gig is to ask around. Personally, I emailed promoters, and found out about places where regular gigs were happening. Here’s a few promoters I would recommend:

  • YRock – Good for young under 18 bands, and usually have gigs happening in the Classic Grand. They also have a fair ticket deal which means that the artist still makes a bit of money from the gig.
  • Toxic Rock Promotions – Caters more for over 18 bands. Usually hold gigs at Pivo Pivo, which is a great venue to play.
  • PM Music – I’d recommend this for more experienced/established bands, as they hold some gigs at the O2 ABC, and the bands usually need to sell a good amount of tickets to gain any money from the gig.

3. Two Week Rule: again, a general recommendation. Don’t play gigs in Glasgow that have less than two weeks worth of space between them. Promoters aren’t entirely fond of this; if you’re playing, for example, two gigs in Glasgow within two weeks, the chances of your band selling a good amount of tickets and bringing lots of people to both gigs is very slim. To back this up with some of my own experience, my band played at the Classic  Grand, and sold 20-odd tickets. Two weeks later, we played the O2 ABC and sold ten.