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Many extreme music bands are just mindless copies of what's been done in the past. It doesn't matter how big or small, the majority of them will fall apart after a short period or burn out like an old oil lamp.
1Decide your objective and final result! Here it's time to think what you want to achieve with your extreme metal band. It helps to be as specific as possible, like: "In 2 years' time I want to play X shows outside my own country and I want to release 2 full albums." Remember that the most mistake that people make is to listen other people who try to bring you down and tell you it can't be done! Screw them all. Just focus on your final outcome that you want to achieve with your band and don't listen to negative remarks from people. Focus on this only one day and write it all down.
2Think about the philosophy of your band. Create something special that hasn't been done before. Being “most extreme” or “loudest/hardest” just doesn't do it anymore! Fans want something new and fresh. You are the one who has to fill this need by showing what your band can do. For example, instead of creating another heavy metal guitar shredder band, create a theme with original statement. A good example of this is the band Burning Fallus (who invented a new genre of music called: the working class rock). Remember this: you're not the only one who wants to climb on top of the mountain of fame. There are thousands of hungry ambitious rockers breathing down your neck trying to beat you to the punch. An original concept of your band creates an instant distinction that will immediately attract attention! Spend one week observing and learning what has been done and what has not been created. Remember don't listen to negative remarks from your parents, friends and people who think that your idea is stupid! It's not!
3The name of your band should meet the following criteria to succeed:
- It has to be short and simple to remember. No fancy historic names and superhero bull. Just a good concept to describe your band.
- It has to be between 1 and 2 words long. This improves the memorability (think: W.A.S.P, Manowar, Nargaroth, Death, Macabre etc.). Long name is a no go! Scrap it, no matter how cool it sounds! Remember that short is sweet and people's attention span is littered by advertising, daily obligations, kids, wives etc. No one needs another “Blasphemous Night Slashin' Cunt Rider” to have to remember after a night of heavy drinking. Once again be original and always have a great story about the name of your band (you will need this for interviews later!).
4Keep the music simple. Complicated music sucks! Simple music always prevails! Watch the reactions of the crowds during a gig! The most amount of hard head banging occurs during simple rhythmic stages of any song. That means that no matter how good you play the guitar, bass, drums, keys or throat, your fans will remember how your music MAKES THEM FEEL! That's the whole secret. Keep your music simple, but variable. By now you probably know what genre you want to play. You have a good name and philosophy. Now couple it with original music that will support what you have to say! Remember this: always listen to your fans about the potential improvements in your music. Your fans will buy your CDs, shirts and other merch. Show them respect and they will answer you in 1000 fold. Take 3 weeks to experiment with the music and don't be afraid to scrap the riffs that you think are rubbish.
5Improve your sound. The human brain reacts to sounds very differently indeed. What's important in a heavy genre of music is the amount of “balls”. You can create “balls” by using:
- All tube guitar amps with decent speakers.
- Natural sounding drums. Avoid digital square sound as much as you can!
- If you have keyboards, keep the keyboard player on a tight leash and don't let him play any serenades!
- Put some effects on the vocals and use decent mics (like Sennheiser, Shure, Oktava or Röde).
- Natural pumping bass tones. Your bass player has to lift up your sound and blow the fans away with the sheer amount of feel, not volume. Best sound is the one that can send shivers down your spine.
6Gather your troops! Creating a band means putting in some effort. Next to playing skills, your band members have to have the following abilities:
- Languages (at least 3)
- Communication skills (for promotional purposes)
- Programming and internet skills (for indie promotion and gigs booking)
- Lack of addictions. No hard core junks or alcoholics. They will ruin your band in a snap. Occasional drinking and cigarettes/joints are no problem as long as it does not cause harm to the band.
- Organizational talent, for fast and easy transportation, setup and recording
- Sound and Graphic skills (for your artwork and finishing touches on your album).
- The more diverse your band member's skills, the better you will be at creating a true unique band. In time you will have external help for small things like selling merch or setting up your equipment before the show, but for now assemble your team wisely! Hold auditions and ask for dedication before you accept any new members to your band. Your skills in psychology will be very valuable.
7Book gigs. This task should be delegated to only one person. Use Google calendar to make sure that everyone updates the dates that someone cannot play a show. This way you avoid any nasty surprises and cancellations. Remember, no matter where you live, always try to book shows outside your own country. Metal is about connections! Use them and don't sit on your ass hoping for fain of fame.
8Rehearse at least once a week! This is probably the most crucial ritual that will keep your band thriving and that will keep your band members motivated! It's important to play new stuff and write new lyrics at any attempt you have the time. Set a fixed day in the week for rehearsals. This way everyone is obligated to come. If you don't rehearse, you don't succeed!
9Visual symbolism. Create a spectacle for the fans to admire. Flags, logo's lights, uniforms, strippers, etc. Whatever it takes, DO IT! The fans want to know that you have a “brand” of your band that they can wear with pride and defend in a fierce argument with a fellow metal head! Visual symbols keep your image fresh and alive.
10Form alliances with bands, labels, magazines and promoters. Metal is about the people who keep it alive! The more support you show to the fellow metal heads and fans, the more respect you will get. You must communicate and tell everyone about your band. This is the only way to become successful. Forget the “DIY” mentality and start forming alliances as soon as you can. Always have promo CDs and materials like stickers or other stuff you can hand out as advertisement. In the beginning this will be hard, however after you pass the first threshold, you will be more famous and respected in the metal community. Good luck and don't give up! HELL YEAH!Advertisement
QuestionHow do I start a one-man heavy metal band?Community AnswerIf you know how to play all the instruments, just write, practice and record. If you intend to play live, you will need to hire fill-ins.
QuestionHow do I start a band without anyone who plays instruments?Community AnswerLearn instruments. There's really no way to play music without them, especially not metal music. If you have some friends that want to start a band with you, you can all learn to play together.
QuestionYou said that complicated music sucks, what do you think of Dream Theater? They are a progressive metal band with complex music, yet their songs still resonate with people.Community AnswerI am a huge Dream Theater fan myself, but honestly if you want a metal band that will stick, which is what this article is about, you are going to need loads of fans, and stuff like Dream Theater is just not for everyone.
QuestionHow can I make sure my music is actually metal and not something like rock or hard rock?Community AnswerIf you actually listen to metal, you would know how to answer your own question. So I suggest actually listening to some extreme metal so that you can get an idea of what metal is- because you clearly have no idea. Here are some of my favorite albums, listen to a few and you'll know what metal is like. I tried to include some albums from multiple subgenres. "Deathcrush"- Mayhem; "The Heretics"- Rotting Christ; "Lawless Darkness"- Watain; "Monolith of Inhumanity"- Cattle Decapitation; "Molesting the Decapitated"- Devourment"; "In the Constellation of the Black Widow"- Anaal Nathrakh; "Fallen Angel of Doom"- Blasphemy.