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04.26.2023 Advanced Acrobatics
Helllloooooo (shouts into a canyon). How are you doing out there? What are you up to? Is it sunny where you are? I have been doing 101 things. My days feel a bit like a circus right now; song and dance, acrobatics, sticking the landing, and then plunging my head into the tiger’s mouth with a big smile on my face. Ta-da!
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Being in a band is the best, but it’s also hard work. Winging it isn’t really an option if you want to play music in any professional capacity, a band must be organized like a business, and have a plan. Musicians often assume that getting a record deal will make your wildest dreams come true and put you on easy street, allowing you to—only focus on your music—but this is simply not the case. Getting a record deal is great, and can be a helpful ingredient for a career in music, but it will definitely increase the to-do list in service of your art, not minimize it. In most circumstances, record labels focus their efforts on distribution, digital and physical album sales, and digital marketing/advertising. That’s it. They will not book you a tour, they will not make your videos or design your merchandise, they will not get your songs placed in movies or TV, they will not manage your day to day, they won’t even ensure you’re in the studio making music. You must be a self-starter, and be willing to dive into whatever is required. A Swiss Army knife in human form. Our bands are self-managed which means we still do almost everything ourselves. This is good in that we have a lot of control over our day-to-day, and we don’t have to give out a percentage of our band earnings for these tasks, but it means we are often swamped with the minutiae of being in a working band and making it sustainable in the long term. We used to book our own tours too, but we now have a booking agent to help us with all of that, thank heavens. I act as tour manager for both bands, so I’ve been busy ironing out all the details for ACTORS’ Europe dates coming up in May/June/July. This is a role I naturally fell into after managing a design studio for many years. I guess I am well suited to the type-a, control freak nature of these tasks. Here’s a snapshot of the tasks I’ve been up to this week. I am:
Finalizing our travel itinerary and drive times between dates
Booking flights and accommodations for everyone in our travelling party
Booking our van rentals and transportation
Ensuring all the venue contacts have our tech specs and riders so there are no surprises when we arrive to play (even so, there are always surprises)
Ensuring we have merchandise designed, ordered, and shipped in time for our arrival
Designing social media visuals for tour announcements and a show poster template for all venues to use as promotion
Fulfilling any merch orders before we travel
This past week I also put together a music travel grant application with tour itineraries, show contracts, a marketing plan, a band press kit, and budget projections for tour support consideration. Submitting the application does not guarantee funding, so please keep your fingers crossed for us!
Once we arrive at our destination, I’m in charge of keeping all the details straight during the tour: literal navigation as we drive, knowing how long it takes from point a to b, what time we have to be there, who our contact person is, the show line up and set time, and finally, booking a hotel in a logical spot so it’s in the right direction for our next show.
Outside of that, this week:
I painted a new Warhol x Depeche Mode Campbell Soup can piece called “Walking In My Soup” (if you know, you know 😄)
I tattooed a few clients, including some lettering on Jay’s hand
I’m singing, always singing. Today I worked with my vocal coach on a new song before we record the vocals this weekend
I’m writing lyrics for three new Leathers songs
I watched BEEF on Netflix, which was excellent, well-written and shot, despite all the controversy surrounding cast members since its release
I picked up Bret Easton Ellis’ new book The Shards, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in that, hopefully I’ll find some time tonight for reading
And… I’m trying to eat well, sleep well, exercise, drink water, so I’m in good shape for all the touring ahead
Whew. No big deal right?! That’s all for now, I’m going to go for a walk and get some sunlight on my face. Until next time.