- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
Before anything, take time to deeply connect to the foundational reasons as to why you do what you do as a DIY band. Determine what it is about your music that’s most important to you. That understanding will help you sustain focus on meaningful goals and remain motivated while enduring the likely challenges that will arise when attempting to make music on your own terms.
In the case of my band, Martyrs, one of our driving forces is to participate in a music culture that has held great meaning for us, all for the better portion of our lives. Ideally, our efforts will result in a positive contribution to the underground DIY subculture and provide meaning to as many of its participants that connect to what we do. When it comes specifically to the music we make, it’s a matter of creating songs that celebrate the roots of musical genres that heavily resonate with us (often in the realm of Hardcore Punk) while pulling on that sonic foundation in ways that will help reinvigorate and offer refreshing ideas to those genres.
Record with someone you believe has a strong personal connection with the types of music that influence your sound, since it will more likely lead to a recording that adequately captures the essence of what creatively differentiates your music from the rest.
That is debatably more important than simply having a “professional sounding” record. Pick someone who has already proven to produce a recording that sounds the way you hope yours will sound. Make sure to trust in your producer’s creative suggestions and technical feedback, since they’re likely to understand what’s necessary to produce a better overall product. On a more technical front, make sure to set aside considerable time prior to the recording sessions to ensure that every band member is on top of their parts. If possible, practice to a click.
In our experience, building genuine real world relationships is the best way to sustainably have access to show opportunities. Get personally involved in the DIY community in your area and if one doesn’t exist, start it yourself. Come to learn who’s putting on the shows that you enjoy attending and make them aware of your band’s existence and interest in playing shows. Find and support bands that you respect, introduce them to your music and offer to swap shows. If venue availability and budget allows, book your own shows and support bands that are likely to return the favor. If you live in an area with a high saturation of bands, it may take time and persistence to gain the attention of the regulars in your local DIY community. Just keep showing up, be genuine and most importantly, keep working on creating music that has integrity.
Before seeking the masses, make sure you have something of value to offer to begin with. Is your live set strong? Are you confident that the songs you have written will resonate with the people you care to reach? If not, aggressive promotion of unrefined creative content runs the risk of doing more harm than good.
Although a lot of bands put a heavy emphasis on online marketing and social media, regularly playing live is a more effective and impactful way to share your music and gain recognition. You’re more likely to produce unique and memorable experiences on the stage as opposed to from behind your keyboard. Figure out where the most passionate crowds exist and fight to get in front of them. Once you discover people who genuinely care about what your band’s doing, show them gratitude since they are the ones who are most likely effectively spread the word about your band.
Martyrs is a band from Boston, MA. Although Martyrs’ music is heavily rooted in Hardcore Punk subculture, the members’ influences are quite diverse and the band puts a serious effort into incorporating a variety of appropriate and relevant styles into their writing. Martyrs create music that both triggers a sense of excitement in listeners and inspires them to explore musical styles that they formerly would have shied away from.
Martyrs recorded their first, self-titled record in 2014 at God City with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Russian Circles). After going through a series of lineup changes the band recorded The Great Disturbance in August of 2016 with Jay Maas (Defeater) at Getaway Recording.
Dave hopes that those that listen to The Great Disturbance come away from the record with a sense of excitement, a desire to join them in live settings in support of what they do, and beyond that a desire to explore their local DIY art and music scene in person, away from their devices.