5 Tips For Indie Bands
- Artist Development
- 27th July 2018
There are more indie bands around today than we know what to do with, so it's important to stand out from the rest. Today we're going to tell you how!
Why are there so many indie bands around today? In the UK music scene, indie bands populate the vast majority of modern festival line ups, and appear more often than any other genre on mainstream radio. This is because indie is THE most accessible form of music to young adults. It has the catchiness and commercialism of pop, while still having guitars, and therefore have the ability to put on a traditional ‘rock’ show. Here are 5 tips to help you be the best indie band that you can be!
1) Know your influences, but try to be different.
“They just sound like the Arctic Monkeys!” How many times have you heard this said about a band? You do NOT want to be one of those bands that is described as a ‘poor man’s Courteeners’ or a ‘Joy Division rip off’. You can avoid this by taking influences from the indie bands you want to be like, and then finding things about each one that you can do differently. For example, if you take influence from the Stone Roses’ guitar sound, the drums from Arctic Monkeys and use a similar vocal style to The Vaccines, do something crazy with your bass. Make one element of your sound or songwriting or structures remarkably different to anything else in Indie music.
2) Know which kind of indie you want to be.
Indie is such a vague word. It used to mean independent, but that has gone out the window. There are bands that disort their guitars and sing like punk rockers (see here), that still could be classed as indie, and then there’s your baggy jumper wearing shoegazers (see here) who put reverb on their sandwiches instead of butter and sing about lighthouses. To call yourselves ‘Indie’, is about as useful as calling yourselves ‘Rock’. How many bands do you know that could only be described as ‘Rock’? The style of indie that you are will determine everything, from your wardrobe and branding to the type of venues you play, and how your marketing will work. So choose wisely. With a little bit of luck, you’ll find your own sound based on tip #1!
3) Balance catchiness with sincerity.
It is very common in Indie to come across either as too annoying and playful, or to be seen as pretentious and arrogant. The trick is to blend these two. Where you appear on this spectrum will likely depend on the style you come up with, but trust me, there is enough happy-go-lucky festival indie and uppity leather jacket wearing indie to go around. Don’t be so fun you’re annoying, and don’t be so serious you come across as conceited.
4) Brand! Brand! Brand!
5) Don't be a cliche.
Because Indie is probably the most saturated genre active today, avoiding cliches is a big bonus. When you have bands all over the place singing about ‘last night I met a girl’ or ‘my good mates and drinking and going out and bars’, when you start tackling different subjects, that when we start to get ahead of the pack. You also need to be different musically too. Try and avoid the generic chord patterns (like I – V – VI – IV or I – VI – V). Come up with a different sound by using guitars and amps that are not usually used for indie, or throw in a beat style from another genre. Check out a good example of this here!
Check out 5 Tips for New Songwriters here!
So that’s 5 tips that I hope will help you become a better indie band and stand above the rest. As an indie band, it can be really easy to succeed, or really hard. Either you’ll be accessible enough to do really well, or you’ll be just like all the others and flop. Or maybe you’ll just be good enough to quench the thirsts of fickle punters, and have two weeks of glory before being forgotten. It’s all up to how well you follow this advice! Good luck!