Response from Brian Arthur (Flakey)

Member of Organ Failure

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Founder and owner of Super Happy Fun Land

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1) In dealing with venues, what have you found the most important thing to remember? If you do get a booking, make sure it is confirmed. I've seen lots of cases where acts get double booked, not billed properly ect. And as a venue owner, despite my best efforts, I have occasionally been guilty of this as well. Venue owners deal with lots of people and constantly have add-ons and cancellations, so it can be hard for even the most organized people to keep everything straight, and most venue owners are slackers. I am not big on contracts, but I do recommend working out all the details (show times, play order, load in, sound check, payment plan, ect.) before you get to the venue.



2) What have you found is the best way to book shows in other cities ( you haven't been in before)? Online communities for the genre of music you play can be helpful in this area (Jambase for jam bands, Noise Board 433 for noise bands, etc.). The best way though is to network with other bands. Talk to other bands who play to your audience type and find out where they are playing. Many bands are happy to exchange gigs if you can set them up a show in your city. There is kind of a countrywide DIY network of alternative venues, warehouse spaces, and people's houses that host underground shows if your music isn't mainstream enough to get into commercial clubs. You won't make a lot of money this way, but you will get to play. Again, network with underground bands to find out how to tap into these venues.



3) Making your first demo tape - how did you do it? What did you learn from the experience? This really depends on how much money you have to spare. If you only have a couple of hundred bucks, get a cheap analog 4 track and a couple of mics (for a good non-electronic drum sound you really need at least 4 mics, $100 bucks a pop for Shure 58 mics or comparable, which is industry standard). For around $500 you can get a nice digital 8 track. A CD burner costs $100-$200 or just burn them on your computer (um forget about cassette tapes, they really are obsolete these days, might as well put your stuff out on 8track). If you want to master on your computer, add $100 bucks for software. If you've never used any stuff like this before, you probably will need a few weeks to catch up on the learning curve. Hopefully you (or a band mate) has at least a little technical aptitude, and a good ear.



4) First air play - what sort of process did you have to go through? Public and college radio is pretty easy to get on. Just send your CDs out to DJs that play your stlye of music. Online radio stations are great too.



5) Best or strangest promotional idea you ever did or seen done? A fully Godzilla costumed girl passing out flyers to passersby on the street for her show.



6) When booking a venue - what do you look for?  I'm not too picky at this point. I do want someplace that appreciates what I am doing, If you are at the point that you are picky, then you might think about getting an agent (just make sure they know what they are doing).



7) What have you found as the best way to approach record labels? Don't. In my opinion independant is the way to go. Maybe if they approach you with a good deal, that might be a different story.



8) What advice would you give to new bands? Practice. Play live as much as you can. Pay attention to your audience. Try not to worry about money. It is nice to get paid, but remeber that money destroys art.



9) What would you tell them to look out for? Take care of your equipment. Every piece of equipment, every amp, speaker, and cord, I own is spray painted in a unique and easily identifiable pattern. Don't forget your stuff, I couldn't begin to list all the equipment bands have left at my venue.



10) Top motivation for making music? Artistic expression. A desire to entertain is a close second.



11) What do you think makes your group differ from other bands? We have real live crazy people in our band. I mean state certified. Seriously, no joke.



12) Where do you get inspiration from? Drugs, alcohol, and other chemical imbalances. Oh, and Hanson. I love the Hanson brothers.



13) Best help you have gotten in the strangest place? The govenor of the state of Texas has a comprehensive list of Texas Venues, record labels, recording studios, ect. Who would have thunk?