Getting You Name Out There : Tips for Up-and-Coming Bassists with Carl Dawkins
So I hope you all enjoyed the last article, I had a lot of positive feedback from it, and seeing as we have now covered some of the more depressing aspects about the career, we can focus on the more uplifting side of getting ahead in the music industry.
I am currently writing this article from a tour bus in Germany next to my good friend/guitarist Steve Collinson, who I met six months ago when working for his now defunct metal band ‘Breedapart’. Now, the interesting thing is that we are both out here in Germany, playing rock/pop music. (The Chilli Fighters). I got this gig because of the work that we had done previously, which, although it was of a totally different genre (metal), they felt as though I would be right to work with him on this venture. A lot of the work most bass players get will be through recommendation.
Now I know a lot of you will be sitting there reading this saying ‘but how do I get people to mention my name’ – There is no definitive answer, but there are some helpful tips I can give to make sure you start getting your name out there.
The first and most important, is that when you’re starting up, let every person you come into contact with know that you’re a bass player and your looking to work with different bands/are available (even if you’re not currently available). I guarantee you will feel silly the first few times, and your mates may even ask you to shut up if you’re on a night out and mentioning to people about your playing, but it’s imperative you let every person you come into contact know what you do, because you never know who someone might know, or who might over hear a conversation and need a bassist.
To aid this, I advise getting a load of business cards printed up, I have put a photo of mine at the bottom, always take a few with you and hand them out everywhere. This does mean that you should keep your phone number/website the same for a few years, as a couple of years down the line you might get a phone call/email from someone who had your details from a year ago. My number is available all over the internet and in magazines, the local directories ect – this does mean you might get the occasional prank call, but I’ve only had three in the last 2 years, and they have all been rather amusing!
Let your parents, your teachers, your friends parents and even your pets know that you’re looking for work, mention it more than once, be persistent, because then people won’t forget and if it ever gets brought up in conversation you will be remembered.
A very important note to remember, is you never know what may come out of a job, for example I never knew working for a metal band would score me some really good gigs in Germany and across the UK! With every job, you should always give it your all, no matter what level it is. Because impressions are everlasting and if you leave a good mark and do your job properly, then it it’ll rub off and could lead you onto more work. If you put no effort in, and do a bad job, you will just remembered as being an unprofessional player and a bad choice. You have then just lost your chance of them ever forwarding your details on and probably ever being called back to work for them. This term is called ‘burning bridges’ and it does happen, but the idea is to keep these to a minimum – we will cover more on this in the next issue.
Now the above points do take a while to sink in, and for the first 3-8 months, it may feel like it’s all been for nothing, but occasionally you will get a phone call/email with someone saying ‘I got your details from…’ and when that comes, you know all the promotion and constant talking to people has paid off, and believe me, if you keep at it, it will eventually!
In the next article we are going to focus on internet promotion and the different sites you should be signed up to, to maximize visibility in the music industry. We will also cover a bit more on minimizing losing contacts.