Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to Get a Gig at The Galaxy

Wanna Play Here?
A point was brought up yesterday on our Facebook page, asking what the criteria is to play a show at the Galaxy, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss just what we are looking for.  If you read our story yesterday, you know that we're working hard to support the local and regional music scene. Part of that is putting area bands on our bills with national touring bands that are coming through the area. But as you can imagine, there are some tricks to pulling this off right.

Our primary criteria is quite simple.  You have to be good.  Jared Bowers and I have been involved in the music scene and business at one level or another most of our lives.  In his case that's a reasonable number of years, in mine it's way more years than I care to count. We have a very well tuned sense of what 'good' is.  And the feedback we've gotten both from fans and from bands tells us that with a very few exceptions, we've nailed it.  Good is certainly a subjective term, but our focus is to say, "We're bringing in Band X from Atlanta, who is signed to a label.  Is this area band going to be able to hold their own on stage?"  Unfortunately not every band in the area is going to pass that test.

We do this for a couple of reasons.  First, we want all the bands to have a good experience.  If your band isn't up to the level of the others on the show, you may feel undue pressure, or feel bad if your performance isn't as well received.  We don't want to do that to a developing artist.  Second, we want all the fans to have a great show.  We want them to go out into the wild and tell their friends, "Holy shit! I spent 5 bucks for a show at the Galaxy and saw some amazing bands!"  We've all had the experience of going to a local band show, paying 10 bucks, and leaving underwhelmed with what we'd heard.  We don't want to do that.

That said, we are more than willing to work with developing bands to put on a show that makes sense.  We're currently working with some younger bands, to put on a showcase for local artists that are in their early stages, or are otherwise just not quite tight enough to play a 'big' show.  Part of our mission is to give those bands an opportunity to play in front of a crowd, to work on their craft.  But that piece of what we are doing is different than our main shows.

Another factor that goes into our selection process is deciding if the band that is asking to play is a good fit on a show we are currently booking. While we have done some multi-genre shows, we're typically trying to theme our events.  It's post-rock night, or pop-punk night.  This night may be indie singer songwriters, and the next may be a hardcore show. It doesn't make sense for you, for us, or for the fans, to put a metal band on after a guy with an acoustic guitar.  We're going to wait until we find some other metal bands that work and do that show.

We love Kate Haralson & The Martins.  We aren't booking her
on the same night as the post-hardore rock of Sinatra
We are getting band offers from all over the country.  If you're an area band, and want to be considered, you'll need to go through the same process we apply to them.  Send us an inquiry, either to Ryan or Jared.  Tell us a little bit about yourselves.  Give us links to your facebook, bandcamp, website etc, where we can go and listen to your music, and maybe watch a video if you have one. Let us take a look at where you've played, and what your fans are saying about you.  Make sure whatever you do it's professional.  From the spelling and grammar in your email to the quality of your playing and songwriting. There is a business side to being an artist, and you should give it the same level of attention you do your playing and writing.   

We absolutely promise, we listen to EVERY submission.  I have lost track of how many bands I've listened to in the last six months.  It would probably be in the hundreds, and the same for Jared. When I hear something I think works, I send it on to him, and he does likewise.  If we agree, we get to work, and if we don't, we simply don't do the show.  Through our screening process we have declined to put together shows for over half of the artists that have contacted us, national or otherwise. And of the ones we would want to do a show with, we sometimes have simply been unable to get the right lineup on the right day to make it happen.  We want to try to bring you the absolute best experience you can have, both as a fan, and as a performer, and we simply cannot do that if we don't do our job in making sure that when we put together a show it's going to blow you away.  

Will we miss on a few?  Of course.  Some bands sound better on their demo than they do live, and other bands may be terrific live but have a lousy demo and get passed over. It is never going to be a perfect process.  But based on what we've seen and heard, and the feedback we've received, we're on the right track.  We are always open to your suggestions and comments about how we're doing, and what we should be doing.  If you're in a band, or know a band, that you think we should be considering, let us know.  We can't promise you that every band submitted will get a show.  But we do promise that we'll take a look, and a listen, and give every band a fair chance to impress us.

I hope this helps bands and fans have a better understanding of our process.  If you have anything you'd like to add there's a handy little comment box below, tell us what's on your mind.  

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