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I am at a crossroads of sorts with my music. Advice?


BATCAT

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The Background

 

I front a band that has been playing regionally since 2007. This summer we finished our third album. Recently my bassist and drummer let me know that after our upcoming CD release show, they're going to be moving on. It's a setback, but I'm a firm believe that things that seem to be setbacks often also present new opportunity for sucess and new experiences.

 

And to tell the truth, I'm a little burnt out and need a break. Not from writing or performing my own stuff, but on booking, promoting, Twitter-ing, Facebook-ing, etc. So I'm not even going to bother getting a lineup back together and booking any more shows for the reat of the year, maybe 'till spring. I'm just going to enjoy taking a break to rest, write, and record, then come back on the scene next year full force with another album, a fresh new lineup, and hopefully renewed ambition.

 

My Question

 

So, I have a rough idea of what I want to do... here's the thing: I don't know if I want to consider this a new project under a new name, or the fourth album from my current band.

 

My band has had some positive press and some airplay locally, and generally made something of an impact, even if we're just another band on the scene. Plus I have Myspace, Facebook, iTunes, etc, etc, etc all set up. So common sense would maybe say to keep on with the same name.

 

But there's something to be said for a fresh start. There seems to be more potential for "buzz" and general excitement about a band when it first hits the scene and truth is that after three years, although we've done better than "just another band", we haven't exactly cracked the scene wide open. And I'm really excited about brand new stuff I'm working on, I feel its my strongest yet.

 

What do you think? Any other thoughts from those who've been in a similar place ?

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Start fresh. A new name means you have no obligation to have the music, the instrumentation, the image, or anything relate at all to the old band. Gives you a completely fresh start. And still leaves the door open to do the old stuff under the old name, even with new sidemen. Now you have two bands-one that is new, one that is established. The only bummer is that you are just coming out with the new cd, but as I said, you could put together two bands, leaving the one with the older stuff on the back burner. do something new with the new one. That's my two cents.

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Start fresh. A new name means you have no obligation to have the music, the instrumentation, the image, or anything relate at all to the old band. Gives you a completely fresh start. And still leaves the door open to do the old stuff under the old name, even with new sidemen. Now you have two bands-one that is new, one that is established. The only bummer is that you are just coming out with the new cd, but as I said, you could put together two bands, leaving the one with the older stuff on the back burner. do something new with the new one. That's my two cents.

 

 

Agreed.

 

You don't yet know who your new band mates will be. I answered a CL ad the other day and found out that they wanted me to learn music off their CD note for note. Now this is from the perspective of a keyboard player, and if you'll be looking for bass and drums only, then maybe that's a different scenario. I guess I'm really asking if you'll be looking for sidemen or collaborators.

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Yeah, that's a tough one. I'm inclined to agree with Martin, but there are pros and cons no matter which way you go. If you do have fans in the area who know the old name, they might not realize it's you if you have a new name, even though they might still want to see you. So I guess if you do start fresh you should really make a point of spamming everybody and putting a notice on your "old" websites etc. that this is your new band.

 

I've had similar thoughts at times, because I have a feeling our next record is going to be pretty different than anything we've done to this point, and even though it's the same lineup, we might just want to do it as a "project" under a different name. I guess we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. :lol:

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My Question


So, I have a rough idea of what I want to do... here's the thing: I don't know if I want to consider this a new project under a new name, or the fourth album from my current band.

Use all opportunities to redirect fans from your old band to the new project. Don't throw that away.

 

But in terms of "brand identity", you'll probably be better off to start with a clean sheet of paper. This will give you more latitude in terms of direction. Instead of running the risk of disappointment because of not living up to the direction you were going in the previous band, you can assemble the people and ideas into whatever they were meant to be.

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It seems that you're already leaning towards starting with a new name. I'd be more inclined to carry on with the existing name, since you've already "built the brand," so to speak.

 

However, there's something to be said for starting with a new name. When you're handling promo, you can always say, "From the former singer of ____," which does look kinda cool.

 

So, there seems to be positives and negatives both ways, and they likely balance out. I think it's best to go with what will make YOU happiest, what will give you the best energy to fuel your new project.

 

Regardless, best of luck! I always enjoyed your work, and I do remember watching you guys play in Seattle :thu:

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Hmmm...I think that you should let your feelings about the new project that they soon to be gone players worked on, guide your decision. I mean, you just finished production! And you want to let it just sit there? Hmmm....not saying that is a bad decision, but what about the music?

 

Questions: how big is the role of the other players? Are you the band owner? Primary writer? Is the public perception that it is the project is YOUR band? Is it a project worthy to give it your all?

 

If you are seen as the leader, band owner etc., then get this project out. Hire some new players, and promote it until you have given it it's due. Then move on.

 

But then again, if you feel that the completed project ain't no big thing and ain't worthy of a big push....do a few cd release promotions and move on.

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback! :wave:

 

It seems that you're already leaning towards starting with a new name. I'd be more inclined to carry on with the existing name, since you've already "built the brand," so to speak.


Regardless, best of luck! I always enjoyed your work, and I do remember watching you guys play in Seattle
:thu:

 

Thanks, and yes, one thing I might do is see how well this album about to drop is received (I really don't want to do shows right now but I will put it out there)... if it gets airplay and attention, that'll of course influence my direction.

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The Background


I front a band that has been playing regionally since 2007. This summer we finished our third album. Recently my bassist and drummer let me know that after our upcoming CD release show, they're going to be moving on. It's a setback, but I'm a firm believe that things that seem to be setbacks often also present new opportunity for sucess and new experiences.


And to tell the truth, I'm a little burnt out and need a break. Not from writing or performing my own stuff, but on booking, promoting, Twitter-ing, Facebook-ing, etc. So I'm not even going to bother getting a lineup back together and booking any more shows for the reat of the year, maybe 'till spring. I'm just going to enjoy taking a break to rest, write, and record, then come back on the scene next year full force with another album, a fresh new lineup, and hopefully renewed ambition.


My Question


So, I have a rough idea of what I want to do... here's the thing: I don't know if I want to consider this a new project under a new name, or the fourth album from my current band.


My band has had some positive press and some airplay locally, and generally made something of an impact, even if we're just another band on the scene. Plus I have Myspace, Facebook, iTunes, etc, etc, etc all set up. So common sense would maybe say to keep on with the same name.


But there's something to be said for a fresh start. There seems to be more potential for "buzz" and general excitement about a band when it first hits the scene and truth is that after three years, although we've done better than "just another band", we haven't exactly cracked the scene wide open. And I'm really excited about brand new stuff I'm working on, I feel its my strongest yet.


What do you think? Any other thoughts from those who've been in a similar place ?

 

Come out solo!! F The band :)

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I
don't
know who my band will be (except I'll likely have the same other guitar player), but I'm going to record a fourth album (I'm just feeling really inspired with writing) and record all the instruments myself, then form a band. This new album (and the previous ones, if I keep working under the same name) will be the foundation, but if I find people who want to be collaborators, and I like their ideas, then I'm totally open to working on a fifth as more of a band.


I guess that all sounds kinda weird, but the main thing is that I'm really enjoying writing and arranging by myself right now, and the songs are coming to me. I kind of want to just go into a writing frenzy and figure out the band stuff next year.


The thing is, this brand new stuff isn't that different from the more recent stuff from my band. I just like it even better.


So it's kind of a question of how much "being established" weighs against the idea of a new start.

:idk:

 

I'm going to go the opposite direction from most of the posts so far and say: Keep the name! :thu:

 

Dave Grohl kept going with the Foo Fighters moniker despite having three different guitarists and two drummers over the past 15 years. Same situation with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth in the past 25 years. If you feel strongly about your material, and it's consistently similar to the previous albums, why not just continue the name that has been built up?

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Hey Action, it sounds to me like everyone in your bands instincts are correct. The time frame you describe is about accurate for an original band in a big market like yours. If something significant hasn't fallen into your lap after 3 years it's about time to take a look at things. Just to stay fresh if for nothing else.

 

I would start a new band, and to be perfectly honest I would try to fill out the roster with other well respected locals. From a musician's perspective it seems really silly but people eat that {censored} up for some reason?? I've seen bands come out brand new but also very careful to seed the press with a little "local supergroup" mumbo jumbo prior to the first show. For some reason those clowns go bonkers over it. I don't know. I think it fits the "give them a story to write about" thing.

 

You can make up for a lot of lost ground VERY quickly with that kind of wind at your back.

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Will your 'new' band be playing songs your 'old' band recorded? Did you write the songs the old band recorded? I guess what I'm asking is will your new project BE a new project or will it be a continuation (with changes) of the old project? If totally new, then a new name, if a continuation, then use the old name IMO, assuming the old name has a good reputation.

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Here's where I sit on the fence. I say, take your break, write, etc. etc. Then in the spring put the new group together. Play together for a while, and then revisit this questions. If the band has a very similar vibe as the current one and you're going to be doing a bunch of the older tunes, then I'd keep the name. Conversely, if it's a different feel and vibe, change names.

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From your initial post, I gather you are the primary creative force in the band? In that case, keep the name. You say, "My band has had some positive press and some airplay locally, and generally made something of an impact[.]" Under your current name, the press and radio know who you are! I can't think of any plus to going with a new name that would outweigh the value of that. Look around: it's not easy to achieve! Meanwhile, if it's your music, the new band, under whatever name, is still going to sound like you---you might as well package it in the familiar box.

 

Now, if one of the departing members was a major creative force, then I could see starting something new. Or, if you do the "local supergroup" thing that Dancebass talked about, maybe you'd want a different name. But if all you're doing is changing a couple of the backing musicians, it's really the same project. Take advantage of the familiarity of your name and the notoriety you've managed to develop.

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Here's where I sit on the fence. I say, take your break, write, etc. etc. Then in the spring put the new group together. Play together for a while, and then revisit this questions. If the band has a very similar vibe as the current one and you're going to be doing a bunch of the older tunes, then I'd keep the name. Conversely, if it's a different feel and vibe, change names.

 

 

Of what I have read I would agree with this... You don't really know the dynamics of the next group of musicians you will be playing with. Why worry about it until then? If you feel the next group is a continuation of your current group then you could keep the name. If it is something completely fresh then why not create a new name. Who knows... maybe you find some people who will contribute equally.

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Over the course of the past three years you would have had to run across some folks from other bands that REALLY grabbed your attention. Someone that made you think "man, if I had that guy/girl it would be a perfect match".

 

There's nothing you can do about it at the time so you just respect them and move on. I would start thinking that through a little. Even if they're still in a band it doesn't mean they wouldn't be open to a new project.

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The thing is, this brand new stuff isn't that different from the more recent stuff from my band. I just like it even better.


So it's kind of a question of how much "being established" weighs against the idea of a new start.

:idk:

I dunno. I suppose in that case it makes more sense to continue with the brand identity you have now until a time when you choose to explore new territory.

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Saw it happen locally with a band who ruled the scene for a decade. Over a period of three years three of the original members were replaced. When the last one retired they changed the name. They kept the old following and now seem to be bigger than ever. The only guy left from the original lineup is the drummer. Fresh starts can be done right and breathe new life into a project.

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