Re: My friends and I want to become a band. It may be slightly unrealistic without a label, but how possible is it and where should we start?
A band and it's music is a product. So, if you are looking to play gigs in the area where you live, you'll have to get your product to be as good as it possibly can.
Your band is going to have to practice, practice, and then practice some more.
Nirvana rehearsed 7 days a week for six months straight before recording "Nevermind". Lynard Skynard practiced six days a week for 12 hours a day before they started doing their first gigs.
And, even though each individual musician may know the material, the band has to know the material as a group.
However, I wouldn't wait too long before playing a few gigs, as playing in front of complete strangers is the fastest way to narrow down what you need to work on. Here are some tips;
1. Your band is not a billion dollar recording studio, so thinking that you'll need to make your band into a cookie cutter machine that sounds just like the recording, that is a complete waste of time. Put your own spin on the songs, and choose songs that don't need very much backing instrumentation and production to sound good. The best thing you can do is do the best with the band that you have. See # 2.
2. Bars and music venue owners don't like long, dead silences or excessive talking between songs. If the band seems confused or disorganized while one stage, then the audience will lose interested, stop buying drinks, and maybe even leave. Don't be that band that doesn't get asked back to the bar because you drove away customers!
3. Think about your band from the point of view of the audience. When you and your friends to go see a live band, what do you expect? Do you expect the band-members to be uninterested, bored, unhappy, distracted, or just going thru the motions? No! So, when you are on stage, if you are any of these things I mentioned, then fake it anyway. Audiences are there to be entertained and to drink. If you can "fake it till you make it" and give off the illusion that you are having fun, and not incredibly nervous, then your audience will have fun, buy more drinks, have fun and maybe dance around and get wild. This is the goal of any bar/music venue, is to have the audience jump around/dance get thirsty, buy round after round and have enough fun to tell all their friends about their experience. Your band MUST accomplish this, and if you can't then the bar/music venue will find someone who CAN accomplish this.
4. Take videos of your gigs, edit the video AND the audio and then (AND ONLY THEN) upload them to Youtube. I can't tell you how many poor quality video and audio gig videos I've seen that hurt the band more than they help the band. If a fan, or a bar manager watches your video, and the performance is rotten, and the audio is distorted and you can't really hear the music well (or maybe all you hear is mid-range frequencies) and the video is dark, you can't make out what is going on......they will pass on your band and find a band with better videos. So, what I'm saying is, regarding online multimedia, quality is better than quantity. It is better to have one GOOD youtube video than 5 bad youtube videos.
5. In regards to getting signed with a label, your band is able to do that now, without outside influence. If you write original material, get a blanket copyright. It's very inexpensive. Booking shows, setting up tours, handling the financial end, it's all able to be done by you. The only thing major record labels do now anyway is distribute artists who already have a good product. That's IT! Get your stuff up on iTunes, or Spotify and if it's good enough, people will want to download it.