We get asked a lot at NHC MUSIC, seriously, all the frickin' time, what YOU can do to help out the local scene as a punter. So we thought we would write this wee list down for you. A wee warning though, like most of my writing it does contain some colourful language, so if you have an allergy to swearing, much like some folk have to nuts and such, well, then fuck, you probably should go no further than that one horrid utterance of the dreaded F word....
For the record this list doesn't just apply to the common gig goer, and local music scene lover, it applies to all of the bands and solo artists who sail her waters too. So no matter where you are in the scene, read it, then pass it on, as I think it's really quite an important list. So important in fact, that I may etch it on stone tablets and stand screaming on a cliff top somewhere, holding them aloft like some sort of half drunk / half stoned, filthy looking messiah, until folk take notice. That shit works, right? RIGHT??
Anyway, on with the list...
1. Get out more.
Seriously, number one here is probably the most important. Get out more and help the local music scene. It doesn't have to be all the time, we are not saying you should go full fucking gig crazy here. You don't have to quit the full time job and spend your time drinking like it's the end of days, greeting bar tenders across the city warmly, and by name, like old friends. (You may even hug them, we think that's too far though. Bar people are not to be touched in such a way). All we mean is that you should at least try to get out to one or two more gigs a month. That's it.
It doesn't have to be a bank breaker, just a couple of beers, couple of £5 door tickets, and If you are really skint, then there are free entry events across the city most nights too. Just seeing you in the crowd will cheer a band up, they don't care if you are drunk or sober, rich or poor, they just want you to listen to them. At the end of the day it is all just about listening to some great new music, hanging out with likeminded people, and enjoying your night. Now, some of that 'great new music' may actually be shit too, we're not gonna lie to you, but you just have to keep at it. Believe me, you WILL find something new to love in a short time, and there is no better feeling than that... well, no better feeling with your clothes on anyway. So get out more, meet new people, listen to new music, chat to bands. Get Involved.
Also, personal hate of mine, don't be one of those fucking bands who moans that nobody comes out to see them, when you yourself never bother to go out and see other bands yourselves. Support is a two way street, so start acting like it.
2. Get the Song, Buy the T-Shirt
There is a commonly held belief that local bands and musicians don't need to actually eat food to survive, instead the survive on just warm beers provided for their services to venues, and they also all live in rent free caves dotted across the city's outskirts. This is incorrect. Well, the eating part is anyway, I haven't really looked into the cave bit, so I'm just making assumptions there to be honest.
The truth is though that bands mostly subsidise what they do these days by selling their music and merchandise, they live on the generosity of their fans more often than not, and the more the fans buy, the more the artist gets to live his life knowing that he will probably eat that week... probably. You don't have to break the bank to support them either, it could be as little as 79p for a download, and if loads of folks do downloads at 79p, then all those 79p's add up. When you are at your lowest ebb, sometimes it's music that soothes your soul and helps you make it through a tough day. Just remember that loads of wee 79p deposits could have helped that artist make that piece of music that helps your day along, so you should be helping them make more of it, because shitty days aren't going anywhere, but without the support, great bands might.
3. Support Those Who Support The Scene, Not Those Who Milk It Dry.
This one is a no brainer too, and I promise to try reeaalllyyy fucking hard not to go off on a huge rant about unfair promoters, bookers, and venues that we know operate in cities across the country, (I'll get to them in another article soon, the bastards). Basically though this step is about not supporting those who you KNOW are scammers.
If you play gigs for some con artist because he is 'good with you' (if he is, it's because you make him cash...), yet you know he essentially forces far too many ticket sales, or outright Pay To Play on kids just out of college to fund his bloody coke lifestyle, under the guise of 'that's just the way things are in the music business' (news flash, it isn't.) then YOU are part of the problem. The only reason paper gangster promoters exist in the music scene is because people enable them to do so. If we all turned our backs on them, or at least a damn good portion of us, then they will be forced to change their ways. That's the harsh truth of it. If you are not against them, you are with them, and you enable these guys to continue the cycle of naive youngsters getting their cash swiped off them in a variety of ingenious new ways.
Find the good guys. Support the good guys. There are a lot of them out there if you look for them.
This will make more good guys, and less bad guys, and eventually the tide will turn and we will have a better music industry... for everyone. It's not rocket science.
4. Stop Being A Clique, Try Something New
Are you in a band who constantly, and only, play with the same small group of bands? Then stop it. Seriously, just fucking stop it. It's good to team up, and it's good to make friends to gig with every now and then, but never exclude others from your group. Spread the love, and the fans, with as many different bands as you can. That's how a 'scene' works folks, you need to make it bigger, you need to expand it among other like-minded folk, and include as many others in the journey with you, because that's how any great city scene is made, not with the few, but with the many. There are far too many individual wee cliques in the Scottish music scene just now. Bands who sit together in hushed corners of venues pre-gig, and don't try to chat to any other acts, or bands who only come out of hiding when they are getting to play with other bands who they play with...all...the...fucking...time. Stop. You are not in school anymore, or prison. Get out there and network, make friends, talk to others who may look a bit weird to you at first (they usually aren't!). The local music scene is a massive beast, so if your scene feels tiny, then it's probably because you need to change the thing that you are doing that keeps it so small.
The same can be said for gigs too. I used to be someone who wouldn't be found fucking dead at a heavy metal gig, but now, after many heavy metal gigs under my belt, I'm a believer. It just took that one cracker of a gig for me to see the error of my ways. So try something new, visit a venue you've never been to before, for a genre you've never tried, or just never really been into. It's like the scene in general, you might need to sit through a few ho-hum acts, but then, fucking hell THEN you will find something that blows the teeth right out of the back of your skull. You can thank me for that later.
Also, as I stated above in Number 2. If you are in a band, get out and support other bands too, as they will reciprocate the support, and one day we will ALL be attending each others gigs, and dragging others along for the ride when we can, and cheering each other on, because that's how a fucking great music scene works!
I threw in an extra one, as it really is the most important one of all...
6. GET OUT TO MORE FUCKING GIGS!
NHC MUSIC has a load on ourselves, just check out our event page on Facebook for them. If you really want to come out, but are just to skint to go to a gig, PM us and we will get you into one for free, because having no money, should never mean having no music. That ain't the NHC way.