RCCCC stands for Rose City Comic Con Coverage, and the first panel that we are covering here will be the Saturday 2:30PM panel entitled: Set List to Stage - Realize Your Nerdrock Dream. The panel covered a large range of information but the main focus was on creating the band, writing songs, and the progression of the music business. Before I share any of my thoughts or information garnered from the panel, I want to go ahead and plug all the artists and panelists:
Kyle Stevens of Kirby Krackle, Irene Rea of 2Rivers, DJ Jeff "Switch" Sorenson, Christine Mooney, & Chris Waffle of Going Viral
I will note that the titles that are italicized were not from the panel, they are just steps that I think are important to know/do when starting a band.
- Write What You Love
If you want to start a nerd rock band, chances are, you are a nerd. There is also a chance that you love doing awesome things like playing magic the gathering, or playing zelda, or going to comic conventions.
What is important to take note of here is that your audience, or potential audience, can sniff out bullshit. If they think that you are writing a song about something because it's popular (and not because you love it) best case scenario, they will call you on your shit, worst case scenario, they will bail on you because they think you're a fraud. Basically what I am saying is just write about what you love if it's video games, or comics, or cos playing. Do it and have fun with it.
- Find Your Instrument
This one is pretty self explanatory, and it wasn't in the Panel, I just wanted to make this a 5-step process to starting your nerd rock band. So pick your instrument. This has become a lot easier recently. You can get a guitar for $80, or you can just use free software on your computer to make electronic music and sing over that...or if you don't have a good voice (like me), you can just make electronic music like Anamanaguchi.
Find your musical strengths and play off of those. Are you really good with computers? Maybe get a midi keyboard and learn to play it so you can screw around with a Soft Synth and create all those crazy noises that you hear in electronic songs! The options are limitless because everything is so easy to get now.
- Find Your Band
This is another self explanatory step that wasn't in the panel. If you want to start a full rock band, there are so many options on how to find people. You can do it the old school way, and find some fellow band nerds that can put up with you long enough to write songs and tour with. You can hang fliers at guitar center or a local comic shop. You can find them online through facebook, or any site that you frequent. With the internet, you can even create music with people in completely different countries. You can record an idea, send the stems via drop box or e-mail and then get something back from them the next day. It's AMAZING!
Maybe you want to go solo on this endeavor! That is perfectly fine as well. You can make everything in a program like GarageBand that is free. They have free drum loops (that I believe are royalty free), they have free software synths, and you can get a microphone for $30 that sounds pretty dang good if it's your first demo! Technology has pushed us to the point where you legitimately can be a one (wo)man band!
- Don't Be A Dick
This is probably the most pertinent piece of information offered during the panel. Be nice to everyone you run into, whether it be the neighbor who asks you to shut up and stop practicing before 8pm, or the band that opened for you, or the promoter who couldn't people you on a show. There is absolutely no reason to be a dick to anyone. You don't know what their day has been like, and there's no reason to take your bad day out on them. It will only burn bridges and make succeeding in an already difficult industry that much more difficult. Also, we all know that adage "You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Follow this one like it is in your bible.
- Learn to Take Criticism/Compromise
This is a mix of some tips from the panel as well as personal advice. Just do it. Learn to take criticism and learn how to compromise. When you are in a band, you are not the only member. There are X amount of other people in the band who care about the band as much as you. You will all have to compromise at certain points in the band and you will need to learn when to go along with another persons Idea.
Learning to take Criticism is even more important, and there are two aspects to this. First you need to learn to decipher the constructive criticism from the people online who are being dick trolls. Once you have mastered that, and developed thick skin that repels all the internet's trollage, you can find the group of people you trust to be honest, and ask them for their honest opinions about the bands music, how to improve, etc. etc. There is no doubt that at some point, someone will say "What you're doing is wrong because of this." or "Have you tried it out like this?" ... don't take offense to them making suggestions or recommendations. Give their ideas a try (unless it's crack. Don't try it if it's crack) and move on. The ideas may work, or they may not, but trying out a different lyric, chord, key, tempo, melody, screen printer, etc never killed anyone.
The most important thing to do when starting your Nerd Rock Band is to have as much fun as you can because that's what it's all about. It's about writing songs about stuff that you love because you want to hear a song about it! Chances are, someone else wants to hear it to.
Coverage of: rosecitycomiccon.com