This is part 1 of a Q&A we had with a band called The Los Dos Bros. Very cool guys who play very cool music. They’ve been around the block quite a few times and have paved a unique path to their current musical careers. Check it out and check them out (links at bottom of the post):
GD: Whats the best way to secure a gig with venues that don’t know your band?
LDB: If you are chasing the bigger venues in town the best way to get them to notice you is by being proactive on a smaller scale and building a buzz. Find the local brewery or off-the-beaten-path-venue that has a built in crowd. These types of venues will usually pay a modest performance fee and allow you to play 2-3 hours instead of a 45 minutes slot with 4-5 other bands! Pick 5-6 markets that are within 8 hours of your hometown and research the venues that not every band on the circuit is playing. Again, breweries, restaurants, cafe’s, smaller venues, etc. Hit these markets every 5-6 weeks consistently for 1-2 years. These types of venues typically have a built-in crowd that yes, don’t know who you are, but are easily won over if you are good (and play a few covers). You can sell Cds and merch, make a couple hundred in guarantee, and usually get food and even possible lodging
GD: What’s the best way to find bands to share the gig with?
LDB: Well again I suggest following above advice when building in a new market. Who wants to try to develop new markets when you are playing with 3-4 other acts that are not in the same genre. The above scenario will allow you to meet local musicians (because they hang out in these types of places when they are not playing out themselves), build relationships, and better meet folks that know folks that book the bigger venues in town. It is all about building a relationship through the back door in… if you are good you will be invited back again and again and soon will find yourself playing with the best local bands in the best local venues (because you cut your teeth the real way… learn about how Willie Nelson built his career).
GD: Gig swapping and sharing gigs is common practice to open up your ‘zone of influence’ when you want to access a new town and new fans. You don’t go down that route?
LDB: I have to agree with your “zone of influence”… this has worked for a lot of friends of ours… joining together to bring fan bases and promotion efforts spread amongst a few bands. I think this works for bands that have a more established genre… we just felt that we were too “out of the box” and really wanted to develop on our own, we just had to figure out exactly what it is that we were doing… thus playing 3-4 hours a night for 2 years helped figure it out! We tried it a couple of times with mixed results… end of the day we just didn’t like playing clubs with that “local band night” feel… we have violin and tuba in the band and most sound guys just don’t know how to mix it right, and with the limited amount of time (cause more than one band playing) you have to sound-check it would usually sound like garbage… obviously now that we have a lot more experience with how our sound works we can do these types of gigs opening for nationals on bigger stages and know how to work with sound guy to get it right.
They are The Los Dos Bros: