Being on the road puts you in a kind of state of limbo. All of a sudden your life becomes about the ‘here and now’ and there is loads of stuff going on around you all of the time.
Press, promo, sound checks, merchandising, after show guests, and of course the show itself, become all-consuming…
Photo header credit: Ferdy Van Reyton
Once you’ve been out for a few weeks and you get into the groove of the lifestyle you can then become more focused with the space and time that you get when travelling.
Travelling around at our level and having the space to think can make you more reflective about the progress of your musical career and the balance with your life in general. It also gives you the time to re-evaluate and think about your next steps when you get back home and in some ways back to reality!
To be honest after five weeks travelling to a different town every day and living on a bus I’ll be really glad to have my feet in the homeland. But in this last week of the tour, now we are planning what we are going to do over the next year. We are also looking at what worked on this tour and what we could have done better. This comes into different categories, for example:
- Which songs went down the best generally and why was this?
- Did the audience like the old stuff because it’s more relevant now or because they are nostalgic, or is it now that the songs are now classic? Maybe it’s just because we didn’t play them for a while? Should we look into recording some new tracks in that kind of vein?
- How was the merchandise? What items sold the quickest and why? Was it because the design was good? Was it because there was no other choice? Were the good sales because the shows were sold out well in advance and people wanted a souvenir with money in their pocket as they bought the ticket a while back? Should we have taken out more stock at the beginning instead of re-ordering on the road?
We can also evaluate the general climate for musicians out there on the live circuit? Where are the shows selling out the most and where do we need to put more work in to build the numbers and fanbase? What are the benefits of playing smaller sold out shows in advance compared to taking a chance with a larger venue and not filling it?
The obvious next steps usually when ending a tour are thinking about songwriting and recording. Our album campaign now has been going for about 18 months which is usually about the lifespan cycle of a release these days. A British tour, two European tours, a summer festival circuit and a year and a half of sales usually means that it’s time to pull back out of the public eye and start to create new music for the next album and the next logical cycle with it.
Photo credit: MissMoreMusic
This 18 month release schedule is quite a common strategy among larger bands and helps to finance the next wave of preparations and recordings and releases of the next LP and singles.
We also have to look at staffing what we need to grow and how we need to adapt to the next wave of the music industry ups and downs. We will discuss with our manager the needs of digital marketing, social media presence and online merchandising amongst other things.
Seeing as the band has been going for 23 years now, all members have other pursuits in between the usual running’s of the general Skunk machine. These include acting, DJ’ing, TV shows, record production, video production, teaching, and running small sideline ventures. Of course mine is ACM! This is another tricky task for our manager to juggle our busy schedules for all four of us to still be productive as a band as well as personal ventures in between releases and tours.
We’ve just finished the home run for us and the tour has been a sell-out success. We’ll discuss all these factors, put some dates in the diary and get ready to have a creative year underground and make new music and new plans. It’s been an amazing journey these past five weeks and even after all this time and all these shows I still appreciate every time I set foot on the stage.
Photo credit: MissMoreMusic
A guitar pedal manufacturer once said to me “You have the greatest job in the world. You are a rock star”. I stopped and paused for a minute and thought about it. And then I answered “Yes, I think you’re right” and we both laughed and drank a toast to it…
If you go for it, it happens. I’m living proof…
See you all soon!
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