Words of wisdom from established bands

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Music Training & Careers

When you’re in an unsigned band it can be difficult to know whose advice to take. Some people will say to never take anyone’s advice. Others could write you a book on the advice they have to offer. It makes sense though to hear hints and tips from people that are doing well for themselves and making a living from music. Over the past couple of months I have been talking to musicians that have been playing in Leeds and asking them for a few words of wisdom that they can give to bands that are trying to carve out a career for themselves in the music industry. Here’s what they had to say…

‘I haven’t really thought too much about where I have got but more about what took me there. I just wanted to be in control of what I did and to take my time over what I did and not be hurried, stay true to my own musical upbringing and what I liked musically. That’s got me where I am but for someone else it might be different.’
Jamie Woon

My only advice I can really give to other bands, and it’s different for everyone, there’s not really a formula for having a successful band apart from writing successful songs. I would say that it’s very important for a new band that you take your time with it, there is no shame at all in locking yourself away for a few months and really working on your songs until you really know what you like and what you want. When you start making music and you start in a band you kind of like everything and you want to make as much music as possible, as quickly as possible, but it’s important to know what you don’t like as well and it takes a few months to know that.’
White Lies

‘Just find your direction I suppose. Its great borrowing things from all your favourite bands but I wouldn’t aim for what you see on the TV or anything like that because essentially its pretty useless. Always follow your own path, I would say.’
Jim Noir

‘If I had to give a piece of advice I would say just get really good at playing, get good at presenting what you do. If any opportunity comes your way you can take it and you aren’t saying no to something because you are unprepared. That really helped me out, the fact that I had played a lot and had got good at what I did so that if someone said ‘come on Jools Holland’ or ‘come on the Today show in America’ it wasn’t daunting. It was like’ yeah come on you f**kers, give me a second to grab my coat and I’m there!’ There wasn’t any self-doubt about doing something like that because you had just been yearning for it. Get good at getting people into what you do.’
KT Tunstall

‘I have no idea. If you enjoy it then that's a perfect start.’

‘Stick with the music, love the music and it will stick by you, that’s what I always think. I wouldn’t want to preach to anyone. I think if you are good and you believe it and you want it, you will get it.’
The Coral

‘I don’t know, probably tell them to stop trying to make it. When bands intentions are clear, I mean sincerity is contagious and I think people can read it. When your band is just trying to make it as a band I don’t think it’s ever going happen…well it has, bands have made it from ulterior motives other than music, but I would just say if you want to have your music heard, care about your music. Care more about your music than you do NME or whoever.’
The Drums

Image credit:


Leeds bands, unsigned bands, unsigned artists, music career, The Drums, The Coral, KT Tunstall, Athlete, White Lies, Jim Noir, Jamie Woon


Your Comments

Ditto announce the return of Ditto X: Meet The Music Industry with early bird half price tickets
Calling all Greater Manchester musicians & bands! Your chance to play the WOMEX 24 opening concert
AIM announce the return of Future Independents, the free music business conference aimed at emerging musicians, labels & entrepreneurs
Help Musicians & DJ Mag launch Electronic Music Award offering £3,000 grant
Youth Music's NextGen Fund returns with grants of up to £2,500
Closing soon! Apply to play Kendal Calling