Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

When I announced that I’m now managing a band in NYC on Sunday, some people (okay one person, I’m not exactly big time here) were curious about the events that led to that decision. Here I’ll tell the tale of how I came to manage them, from first meeting to now, with a sprinkle of advice thrown in (you know how I do).

NMS and Determined Networking

A few weeks ago, I attended the New Music Seminar at Webster Hall and posted about it here. What I didn’t mention was the band from Mexico that I met on the first night, the opening concert.

Before the show, there was a “red carpet” of sorts for all the media to take pictures and do quick interviews. I only had my iPhone so I was mostly there to see who was at the concert and hopefully learn a little more about the seminar. There were a couple bands that walked through that had the potential to play my preferred genre of music, one of which was The Oats.

I am not the most social person. Every outing takes a good deal of energy from me and I have to force myself to walk up to new people and start a conversation. But that’s exactly what I did. The first band did NOT seem interested in what I had to say…they replied with obligation and gave me their card, but they clearly had better people to talk to. Refusing to be deterred, I walked up to the next band in the hopes of, at the very least, getting their information and finding some new music. I didn’t realize I was starting a friendship and a partnership.

The Oats were very enthusiastic about meeting new people (my friend was with me) and we talked for a bit about their sound (The Pixies, The Strokes, The Libertines), their story, and my aspirations in the music business. We exchanged information and went our separate ways.

Networking Tips (Trust me, I know this shit. Thanks Google!):

  • Be Confident – If you don’t believe you’re an interesting person to talk to, no one else will either, and they’ll quickly run the other way
  • Have A Conversation Starter – With those bands, I opened by confirming their band name and inquiring about the genre of music they play. It can be anything from complimenting an article of clothing to asking about their position in the music industry.
  • Focus On Them – People love talking about themselves
  • Get Their Contact Info – Ask for a card, a number, or an email, and make sure not to lose it!
  • Follow Up – Send a quick email saying how great it was to meet them and include an open-ended suggestion to meet or work together

Follow-Up and A Show At Public Assembly

After the New Music Seminar ended, and I actually had some free time again, I sent out a follow-up email saying I liked their music and asking for a list of show dates. Of course, they added me to their mailing list (good move guys) and sent me a free download (and again!) along with their calendar. Naturally, I went to their next show, which was at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. At 8pm on a Sunday. What I’m saying is there weren’t many people there.

Despite the small crowd, The Oats rocked it and made the perfect self-deprecating joke, without making it awkward. They also enlisted the help of a rubber chicken to ask for emails from the audience. I was really starting to like this band.

After the show, my friends and I invited them to hang out back at our place, have a beer, and play some music (as we’re wont to do..). Even with their Mexican accents (meaning language barrier), they fit in with us Berklee kids. Musicians gotta stick together, you know?

The Rest Is History

But I’ll tell you about it anyway. We started hanging out more regularly, talking about their time in Toronto and how the radio stations in Mexico don’t like bands that sing in English, and I just became determined to help them build a fan base here in NYC. I checked out their online presence, gave them a few tips, and promoted shows through my social media profiles. Then, I got them a gig in Boston (THIS FRIDAY AT MACHINE). Occasionally, they’d mention they were looking for a manager, but, seeing as I don’t have any experience, I was resistant to offering my services (I was scared shitless that I’d mess it up).

But, after talking about my experiences with my internships and previous concert planning and promotion, along with all the help I’d offered them and my enthusiasm for their music, they asked me to be their manager. And, as you know, I said yes.

Sign Your First Band (Advice For Aspiring Managers)

  • Go to ALL THE SHOWS
  • Find a small band or two that you really believe in, based on their music and their dedication
  • Introduce yourself as a person interested in music business – and their band (don’t mention management yet!)
  • Prove Yourself – Because you lack the experience, you have to help them before bringing up management…give advice, help with promotion, book them a gig, whatever is in your capabilities to do
  • Mention that you’re interested in managing bands, if they seem interested, talk about how you would help them and let them know that if they need a manager, you would be glad to help
  • Wait – there isn’t much you can do after this without the risk of seeming desperate, so let them think it over and if they bring it up again, you’re golden

So now we’re in the development stages of this collaboration. We made a contract (always do this – ALWAYS), set some goals and guidelines, and are working non-stop to make it all happen.

Sometimes it all feels like a dream. Two years ago, I never would have believed I would be where I am now, or would have gained so much knowledge and so many connections. It’s a surreal feeling living your dream (forgive the expression). I wish everyone had the chance to be in my position, and that’s why I write this blog. I want to share my experiences from my pursuit of success in the music business, and I want those experiences to help as many people as possible, although even just one would make me happy.

If you want to see The Oats play live today at 4pm, check them out via uStream on Rew & Who!

Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone!

I know pretty much everyone says this, but good lord this summer is going by too quickly. I’m almost halfway through and I feel like there’s still way too much I want to do. Looks like I’ll have to cut back to NO sleep. That’s feasible right?

Here are some snapshots of my 4th week:

Went to see a band who are here all the way from Mexico called The Oats in Williamsburg and noticed this brilliant number marking system. Dominoes. Who would have thought?

Saw my boy Evan play at Googie’s Lounge! 4 weeks in NYC and he’s already had two gigs. This kid’s going places.

Saw this and got very confused…Kind of dark for subway art, don’t you think??

Found a FREE SHOW (two best words ever) for White Rabbits (<3) in Williamsburg with openers We Barbarians. It was awesome to go to a bigger show like that, I’ve been going to too many open mics.

But the best part of my week had to be enjoying the sweet chewiness of a Now and Later. Like a cool kid from the 90s.

Does anyone remember these things?? I used to eat them by the handful.


I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT

So pay attention (please).

The band I mentioned at the beginning of the post (The Oats) will now be managed by yours truly! Get ready to hear a lot more about them, because it’s about to take over my life and I really believe in them as a band. I promise they won’t be the band of the week ALL the time (I guess). If you like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, or The Pixies, you should probably check them out and come to a show or two. If you like them, email spreadtheoats@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list!


I’m also adding a new feature to my Sunday updates. I’ve been going to so many shows every week, I decided to start keeping track. So here’s to introducing the show counter! (try to contain your excitement)

SHOW COUNT: 7

 

So, in conclusion, stay away from alligators and please, feed a Mexican.

Three weeks in and I’m pretty confident about what to expect from day to day at my internships. Time for a sneak peek into the lowest level in the music industry:

Internship #1

The best part about this industry? Waking up early is avoided at all costs. My first internship doesn’t start until 2, so I can either catch up on the sleep I didn’t get over the weekend or wake up and get some shit done before the chaos of the world takes up all my time.

Because it’s a venue, there’s a lot of manual work that has to be done. Here’s my morning checklist:

  • Check messages
  • Rotate posters (get rid of old ones, put up new ones, etc)
  • Write the lineup for the night on the chalkboards (I have horrible handwriting so this rarely goes well)
  • Water and hang the plants

Pretty basic stuff that would be a bit of a hassle for the higher ups. After the checklist is finished, I go to my supervisor for tasks. A lot of the time it’s administrative work, like updating the website, writing tweets, or making new sheets for the sound guys.

The best times are when they ask me to look for musicians that could possibly play a show. That involves looking at a list of blogs that feature local or small bands and listening to the top 10 musicians on each blog. Great for discovery, and I’m ALWAYS down to listen to some music.

Skills Acquired

I’d like to think my handwriting has improved from doing the listings, but sadly that’s not true…I have been learning a lot about what works for bands and what doesn’t though.

  • Bright, professional posters are a must. Make sure to have the date ON the poster. Also it’s better if you don’t send the posters folded, who wants to read a wrinkled poster?
  • For the love of God, PLEASE have more than a MySpace. Put down the whip, that horse is dead. Perfect combination? Website, Facebook, Twitter. And of course you can throw in a sprinkling of other websites if it tickles your fancy.
  • The name of your band can make you impossible to find, or it can make you stick out. Choose wisely.
  • Venues want you to bring a certain amount of people, but most bands don’t live up to their promises. You can use that knowledge to get yourself some more gigs, or pleasantly surprise the venue management.

Internship #2

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably figured out that I intern at Ariel Publicity. I don’t think I’ll have any issues putting that up here because, well, they’re awesome.

Ariel Publicity is a digital PR company that works with artists to increase their online presence and guide them in the world of social media. We work exclusively online, so I spend a lot of time on my laptop.

There is a lot less every day work to do, so I spend my time on various ongoing projects like

  • Pitching bands to various websites
  • Researching ways to increase the reach of Facebook pages (since they decided to make it extremely difficult recently)
  • Database cleaning (tedious, but seriously necessary)
  • Planning the 2012 Digital Press Conference

If you couldn’t tell, there’s a lot more responsibility working for Ariel. I really feel like I’m personally helping each band I work with (we get to choose) and I’m getting invaluable experience that I can apply to any future endeavor. This is the kind of internship that can lead to a job; not only does it look good on a resume, but it helps add skills and experience that students otherwise don’t get.

Skills Acquired

Too many to list, but here are the main ones.

  • Professional writing skills. I’ve always thought of myself as a decent writer, but the level of thought required to write a compelling pitch has made me up my game like nothing else.
  • New marketing techniques and ways to transfer those skills from one platform to another. The internet is always changing, which means a site that’s popular today could change or disappear at any time. Learning the basics and how to adapt to these changes quickly is what keeps Ariel from becoming obsolete.
  • Website design and HTML. I’ve learned basic HTML before, but having to create and edit pages of the Ariel Publicity website has cemented what I learned and forced me to teach myself skills I didn’t have before.
  • Networking. A lot of social media involves being able to communicate clearly and connect with people online and in person (yes, we do still meet in person on occasion). Personally, this is a difficult area for me, so it’s great to be pushed and surrounded by people who are literally social for a living.

By far the best part of being an intern is the fact that I am constantly surrounded by music. I’ve found some phenomenal music in the past few weeks and the best part is that I can actually have a significant impact on their success.

The insanity of this week was just beyond…everything. I had the New Music Seminar (and work), more open mic nights, and a couple shows. The only way I could be more surrounded by music is if I had a mariachi band as my posse.

I’m okay with that.

Sunday, the New Music Seminar opening party started off with the “Fiery Sensations.” I was not prepared for this:

There were some…interesting people at NMS (press pass ftw)

Monday and Tuesday consisted of a gaggle of music industry people discussing why we’re in such a shithole and how we should dig our way out. The head honchos of Pitchfork, Hypemachine, Fluxblog, and Okayplayer hashed out the role of music discovery blogs in the world on Pandora and Spotify Radio.

My favorite panel was the Social Media Movement, by far. I tweeted a quote from the CEO of ReverbNation and they TOTALLY RETWEETED ME. I was feeling pretty famous for about 5 seconds there.

Social Media powerhouse right here. Representatives for Facebook, Spotify, Reverbnation, Bandpage and more discussed social media tactics and changes. I’ll be posting an article about this panel soon.

My friend scored a gig from an open mic night last week, so our little group headed out to Caffe Vivaldi in the blazing heat to hear his beautiful voice (he totally played The Beer Pong Song)

Back to The Bitter End! I’m starting to really dig that place. My friends Cosmodrome rocked the house (funked the house? idk…) and we met some awesome musicians.

Not Captured in Pictures:

Met a lot of new people this week, which always makes me happy. At NMS, I made friends with a band from Mexico City called The Oats. You should probably check them out if you like The Strokes or The Pixies.

After meeting a musician at an open mic a couple weeks ago, I discovered he actually graduated from Berklee 2 years ago. The vast Berklee network continues to amaze me…

I started contributing to Berklee’s internship blog! Check out my first article and, if you like it, check in every week for another!

Look for my first album review on Thursday!

Is there anything you want to know more about (social media, interning, etc)? Let me know either in the comments or by email to Musikleigh@gmail.com.

 

Second week down! I can’t believe I’ve even been here that long. This week was fairly insane; I didn’t have two seconds to myself, and I loved it (for the most part). Here are some pictures to recap:

Went to about 4 open mic nights this week. I never thought I’d have friends so talented.

Walked nearly four miles in the rain…for no reason. The life of an intern.

Berklee was here…

Got to see Lara Marling for free in Prospect Park! She’s pretty badass, and she has an English accent.

Met a goat on the street. NBD.

Couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time than playing some music next to that skyline

Tip for making friends: Play music in the hallways for about an hour. Some people may quietly hate you, but the music lovers will come out in droves.

Tuesday I’ll give you guys a peak at the daily life of an intern in the music business, so if you’re thinking about interning at some point, you might want to check it out!

I’ll leave you with this:

First week down! Fuck, I love this city. Every day has been better than the last and I barely have time to think. So here are some things I did this week:

Snakes on a sidewalk. Because New York, that’s why.

Found a sweet panini place, Funini

Walked for two hours Friday night, passed by NYU

Partied at Cafe Wha?

listened to their pretty damn good house band until 2am, met the guitarist for K’naan (kinda blew my mind)

Saw the sunrise due to inability to sleep at all in this city. I’m not complaining:

On top of exploring New York and being sexually harassed more times in one week than I have in my entire life, I started my internships! I work 5 days a week, two days one place, three at the other, and I seriously love it. The venue I work for has a few interns and we get a lot of bitch work…I kind of prepared myself for it though and it’s good to know all the little things that have to be done just to keep a venue going. I really want to prove myself though and get some responsibilities so that’s not ALL I do this summer. I might go mad if I have to redo chalkboard menus every week (I mean really, I have horrible handwriting, they don’t want that anyway). The other place I’m interning does social media marketing and it’s a phenomenal place to work. There are more interns than there are employees, but we all get so many responsibilities and they really cater to what we are interested in. I’m more excited to go back there than is cool to admit.

On top of getting experience working for those companies, I also get some pretty badass perks: free shows, lots of networking events, free food (sometimes), and making some solid friends in the industry.

I don’t want to sugarcoat anything that happens during my internships this summer, but there are some things I will omit and have to be tactful about. Anything that I feel is important will be on here though. I made this blog for the purpose of sharing my experience and advice and I’m going to stick to that.

Got some suggestions for things to do in New York? I’m such a newbie, I’ve mostly just been walking around finding random places to check out.

My weekend, in a nutshell (with pictures):

Found an AWESOME little cafe on my first day in the city, Berkli Parc Cafe. I highly recommend the Chipotle sandwich. Delicious.

After my first day as an intern, I got a great reminder why I do the work that I do. Bear Language at The Bitter End. If you like Radiohead or Muse, please check them out, and then go see them live.

Wished I could be half as cool as this man. Just playing the saw. nbd.

Had the realization that, no, I’m not in Boston anymore. And I’m OK with that.

Why? This view:

And this one.

Goodnight New York