Starting a band is incredibly rewarding, but before you can even make a sound, you need to find your bandmates. Maybe you already have some people in mind? Or maybe you’ll get lucky and meet a stranger at a gig who shares your passion. But if this doesn’t apply, keep reading to find out how to find the missing members of your band. It’s certainly not a decision to take lightly.
If you are serious about starting a band, then you need to choose your bandmates carefully. Things might start out well only to dissolve into chaos down the line!
Everyone’s requirements for finding band members will be different. Now, of course, some musical talent will be needed, but you’ll also need to ensure you can work together as well. We’ve seen plenty of examples of bands whose members might be musically gifted, but they outright hated each other. You don’t need to be best friends or even have a lot in common (although that would be a great bonus) but you will need to develop some musical chemistry. Check out our master post of how music works as a team building activity to help develop that chemistry. Another obvious constraint is proximity. It definitely helps if you all live close enough to regularly meet for rehearsals.
So, with basic considerations out of the way, let’s get down to the search. There are plenty of options when it comes to finding your band members, but finding the most suitable bandmates is an art rather than a science.
A lot depends on your personal circumstances, how serious you are about being in a band, and like everything a little luck. But before you think about auditioning strangers, you should always consider looking at your existing personal network. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each of your options for finding your next band members.
WE ARE FAMILY
Starting the search at home might seem a little strange, but there are plenty of famous examples. They do say musical talent runs in the family after all. The Beach Boys, Migos, The Osmonds, Jackson 5, and The Pointer Sisters are just some names of family bands you might be familiar with. It’s likely you already know what your closest relatives are capable of, but what about that second cousin you only see once a year?
Now, working with family does have some notable benefits – for one, you’re more likely to get along with them and will know each other well. That should hopefully mean if you do have a disagreement of some form, it shouldn’t be a huge issue to solve it.
You’ll also be able to communicate with each other more easily as well. The Bee Gees for example was made up of three brothers who while having some turmoil during their long career still maintained a relatively positive relationship with each other.
Barry Gibb, the only surviving member still performs in honour of his brothers and sometimes performs alongside his son now as well. However, working alongside your family in a band does come with some risks as well.
If there is one family bust-up everyone in the UK scene knows it’s Oasis. Liam and Noel Gallagher had huge success and impact, but their ongoing feud is likely what many people know them for these days.
Their falling-out is far too long and complex to go into, but things like drugs, alcohol, ego, and fighting all played a part. So, it serves as a reminder that family isn’t always the best option when it comes to forming a band. The good news however is you do have other options.
Next to family, forming a band with friends is another popular option, and there have been some successful bands that have met this way. The Strokes for example were friends in high school, and the same story holds true for Radiohead.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples is U2, who met when Larry Mullen Jr posted a note on his school’s noticeboard asking for musicians because he wanted to start a band. Remarkably, they still get on and are going strong today. In fact, it’s been reported that they have only ever had one fight. Plenty more examples of successful bands that were formed by friends exist, but just like family bands, there are always risks.
Friends are just as likely to feud. Guns N’ Roses is probably one of the most famous examples because their fallout with members started relatively early on. Many members of the band still refuse to talk with each other today.
So whilst friends can make for good bandmates, be wary that the stress of touring can put a strain on any relationship. For casual music making however, it’s a pretty good option.
WORK IT OUT
Well, this is a slightly more unusual option, but there’s no reason it can’t work. Setting up a band with your co-workers might seem strange, but it has been done, and some more creative organizations actively promote it.
Think of it as an alternative to office football. While we haven’t been able to find many bands that formed this way that have made it big, it is likely only a matter of time. Be careful however – many people follow the “don’t mix work and pleasure” mantra, which could make forming a band with co-workers an unattractive option.
It could also potentially harm your relationship with your co-workers as well, and you don’t want a band feud to spill over into your professional life. So, this one really needs to be approached with caution. Just make sure you know how to effectively keep band and work relationships separate. If nothing else, you could be the office legend once a year at the Christmas party?
From ads in music magazines to flyers on studio noticeboards, maybe the old school analogue approach could still work? Although everyone these days is online, this could still be a great solution – especially if you’re seeking local musicians.
A number of famous bands did actually meet this way, or at least found a member or two. Suede recruited guitarist Bernard Butler by placing an ad in Melody Maker magazine in 1989. Duran Duran also found their original guitarist Andy Taylor using the same publication.
While this method may yield fewer responses than it would have done thirty years ago, it gives you a great story to tell the grandkids – or even the journalists if you make it big. Although there are fewer magazines in print these days, why not leave a few flyers round your local rehearsal rooms?
WEBSITES AND SOCIAL MEDIA
When you want something these days, most people will head online, and that rule applies when it comes to finding bandmates as well! Specialist websites such as https://www.joinmyband.co.uk/ and social media groups on sites like Facebook and Twitter can also be a great way to find a bandmate.
These methods even allow you to upload videos of yourself performing to give others an idea about your skill set, experience, and stage presence. There are some noticeable benefits to using social media to find a bandmate as well. For one thing, you can actually see their skills before talking with them.
However, the internet isn’t without its issues. You need to be careful about what you trust on social media, and finding someone who is a good fit will still mean meeting in person and talking with each other. Still, we think stories of famous bands who originally met through social media will likely be much more common in the years to come.
So, that’s a brief overview of where to find your next band member. As you can see, there are actually quite a few different approaches you could take. If your brother, sister, cousin, or other close relatives can play the guitar or has some solid vocal ability then they might be a great bandmate.
But so too could friends, co-workers and even total strangers. What is important is that you don’t rush into a decision. People are passionate about music, and as we’ve seen, passion can lead to arguments! If you want to have fun with your band and maybe even pursue some form of music career, then you must choose carefully.
Don’t opt for a friend or family member if you don’t think you’ll be able to work together well. And if you don’t mesh with someone you’ve met online despite their talent, then you shouldn’t form a band.
Once you’ve identified your perfect band line-up, you’ll no doubt want to get into the studio for your first jam. There are plenty of rehearsal rooms to choose from, but why not also consider booking a session with WeJam? For beginners especially, it’s a great way to start out in a band, especially if you haven’t been playing that long. Powered by our clever technology, you’re guaranteed to sound great, meaning you can focus on the socializing.
Booking a jam session in one of our studios is the perfect way to get to know each other and see how you gel. Starting a band will require a lot of work and effort, but it’s also sure to be hugely rewarding when you take your time and do things properly. So, before anyone commits to anything or things get too serious, why not try a WeJam session together? It’s a great way to ensure your band doesn’t fall victim to any future turmoil. This article is part of a longer feature titled Be a Real-Life Guitar Hero. How and Why to Start a Band! Which you can check out here.