How to start a band in Leicester in three easy steps, or here’s a guitar, here’s a delay pedal, now start a band.
Starting a band can be a very frustrating, painful experience. You need to find people who can play. You need to get along. You need to all like the same bands. You need to agree on what kind of music to play. You need to find a name. Once that’s all sorted, you’ll have to start practicing together and actually write some songs. This means spending weeks together in a poorly heated, windowless room on some industrial estate, a room which stinks of BO and weed thanks to the sweaty metal band that used it before hand, where you can hear the faint strains of ‘Atomic’ being massacred by the Blondie covers band that practices next door. After a couple of week you think you’ve finally got something special going on, only to find out that your drummer has disappeared off the face of the earth, along with your over-priced boutique guitar pedals. So you have to start the whole process again. It’s a daunting process, so we here at This Is Leicester, Not L.A. have decided to throw together a helpful, easy to follow guide to starting a band. These three steps are all you need to become Leicester’s brightest new hope.
Step 1: Pick a style
There’s tons of genre out there to play, ranging from the ridiculous (lounge-crust), to the meaningless (indie-rock), to the unnecessary (ska). So how do you know which one to play? That’s easy. Within Leicester there are two types of bands, the mod-revivalists and the post-hardcore meets post-rock acolytes. Don’t think that you need to find your own niche or that your band needs to do something unique or special to stand out. Just pick one of these two styles and you’re on your way to starting a successfully band.
Step 2: Name your influences
Now that you’ve decided what your band is going to sound like, you need to find some influences to get those creative juices flowing. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Anything that you encounter in your day-to-day life, anything that you’ve experienced or read about, heard about, seen or felt, can influence your music. At least this what band people tell themselves. The real trick is to pick a couple of bands and rip them off completely. Since you’ve already picked your style this is surprisingly easy. If you decided to go with a mod-revival band simply pick a couple of bands that your dad likes and go with them. Show that you really care about classic song writing (The Kinks, The Beatles) but that you’re also into modern bands (The Jam). If you went for the post-hardcore meets post-rock thing, your influences should show the range and depth of your musical taste. You don’t need to limit yourself to one genre, you can cherry pick all the stupidest named genres you want; you don’t even have to limit yourself to guitar bands. Anything goes with you – you’re creative! Of course, we’re kidding. Your influences should read Biffy Clyro, Minus The Bear, and American Football. This covers you for ham fisted guitar tapping (Minus The Bear), jerky stops and starts (Biffy Clyro), twinkly bits (American Football), and big choruses (Biffy Clyro again).
Step 3: Get a Myspace page
Now that you’ve got your influences, you need to start you band’s Myspace. Now you’re probably thinking “no-one uses Myspace anymore” and you’re probably right. But you’re a Leicester band, and every Leicester band needs a Myspace. Not only do they need a Myspace page, they need to make it as needlessly flashy as possible. Banners, fonts, embedded videos, flashing lights. The more shit you can put on there the better. Convince your friend with a digital camera to take some poorly put together press shots of you, then get your other friend with the illegal copy of Photoshop to run the photos through a couple of filters so that they look dead arty. Now post those photos all over your Myspace page. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have any songs, gigs or even fans. As long as your Myspace page has some nice photos of you, you’re good to go.
Congratulations – you’re now a member of Leicester’s best new band. Within weeks you’ll be opening for some shitty band on BSM Records or trying to convince your friends to buy a ticket to come see you play last on a six band bill at The Shed. Sure you’re on at midnight on a Monday night, but there’s five other great bands playing that sound nothing like you, and the promoter said you’d get a pound back per ticket, as long as you sell fifty of them. Rock and roll!
(This was originally written for a zine I was going to make entitled This Is Leicester, Not L.A. The zine never got finished. This is funny though. Right?)