by Bethany Stobbe
Well, we finally reached the end of this series. Phew! 😅 I hope to share some parting thoughts, some inspiration, and, of course, a few more things we’ve learned along the way. Let’s go!
To be an Indie Musician you have to be…
A Photographer & Videography
In a day and age when social media and online life reigns king, you’ve gotta have something to post. Que: photos and videos. What we SEE conveys wayyy more than just what it is. Some of the best engagement and reactions we’ve gotten are on photos of us just being ourselves, laughing or goofing off. Maybe the photo was good, maybe it wasn’t. But it was honest and authentically us. It’s worth way more to be honest and yourself than it is to have a perfectly polished, probably unbelievable, feed of glamorized images.
We’ve done all our photoshoots ourselves or with the help of our friend, Matt, who we’ve talked about before. Our first 2 photoshoots we brought a tripod and a mini remote and we’d set up the camera somewhere and I would quickly run into place, hit the remote and then move my hand so you couldn’t see the remote in the shot ???? No one took the photos for us, we did it on our own, for free.
Sharing these images with the world on social media can give people an insight into who you are as a band and as people. So to be an indie, you also have to be a photographer and share who you are visually with your fans ????
A Content Creator
Behind every song is a story. A reason WHY the song was written, and WHAT it was written about. And we all love stories, right? Stories help us get a better understanding of people. They give us an insight into the process and mind of the creator. Stories help us connect on an emotional level with people. The same goes for music. Simply saying “well here it is” without sharing the WHY is only half of the pie.
What that means for an artist is that they have to set aside time and energy to document the story, the WHY. That can be anything from social media posts, to blogs, to YouTube videos. No matter the medium, content creation is, in our experience, a non-negotiable. The best advice we ever received in regards to this was: document, don’t create. I know I just said content creation is non-negotiable, but when I say “creation” I simply mean the means in which the DOCUMENTING is presented.
We’ve had to push ourselves into a new way of thinking to always be documenting. Everything. Restringing a guitar, practicing vocals, setting up for a photoshoot. If it has to do with creating our music, it should be documented and shared. Unfortunately for us, this didn’t come that natural. All three of us are much more of “do-ers” than “sharers”. But we quickly realized that sharing is so important for connecting with our fans and followers. So to be an Indie, we’ve had to learn to be content “creators” and document the WHY and HOW of making our music.
I know you’re probably saying “well, DUH” but I want to end on a high note. None of the stuff I talked about before matters if you’re not on-fire passionate and IN LOVE with your art. It’s so easy to get wrapped up and distracted with all the things we think we need to do to “make it” as an Indie. None of those things will make the most important thing happen: the music. Good music moves people. Good music sets the tone for everything else. Can you imagine a world without music? A movie with no backing track? I don’t know about you, but I think that world would suck.
Being in love with music and especially YOUR music, shows IN your music. You can FEEL the emotion in a song played from the heart. Some of the best music ever isn’t fancy, isn’t perfectly polished, it’s raw, it’s real, it’s emotional. You can forget about the fancy album covers, the sassy photoshoots, the home studio and everything else if your music isn’t from the heart. If it isn’t YOUR art and 100% authentic to you.
So if you’re an indie, you put your heart and soul into it and most importantly you don’t give up. It’s hard. There are bad days. There are good days. There are highs, there are lows. But the difference between those that “make it” and those that don’t is that the ones that made it never gave up.
“Difficult and meaningful will always bring more satisfaction than easy and meaningless”Maxime Lagacé
I know there is much more that I haven’t touched on, and every Artist will have a different journey. What was hard for us may come easy to other artists, and the opposite could be true. Regardless of the roadblocks, bumps, victory, and losses, we wouldn’t change anything so far. This journey from playing for fun, alone in our gym, to creating a full album in a year’s time has been a mind-bending, mind-melting, mind-blowing, crazy, fun, life-changing one. And we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and see a glimpse into our world of making music. I’ve also included below some of the resources we’ve used to help us get to where we are now. If you’re an indie musician too, I HIGHLY recommend you check them out (and no, we’re no sponsored or paid by anyone to share these with you. They just really worked for us and made a huge difference).
- Indepreneur – Everything you need to know to market yourself as a musician from finding new fans to building a successful album launch
- Recording Revolution – The very first mixing course we took that got us up and running, perfect for beginners
- Slate Digital Academy – mixing walkthroughs, tips, and tricks from industry leaders, good for people who already know some mixing basics
- GetGood Drums on YouTube – amazing mixing and drum walkthroughs from Adam “Nolly” Getgood of Periphery
- Steve Vai’s “Under it all” Series – seriously, this guy has such a good perspective on how to deal with some of the harder things about being a musician and human being.