Singer-Songwriter Joe Hatton is a well known face across the town and with brand new band The Bid, is set to tour the country in 2019.
So what tips does he have to success having done it all?
Find a solid line up
I’m lucky to have my wife Lindsay in The Bid, but it is really important to have members that you can click with, and are committed to the band. With Matt (Bass) Ciarán (guitarist) and Ad (Drums) I know I can rely on these guys. They’re in the band because it’s what they want to do, not because they have nothing better going on. Together we work to make the band better as a collective and can help each other out. It’s taken a long time to get to this point and we’ve gone through more members than The Fall and learned some people you just can’t rely on and others you simply can’t trust. It’s so important that you have that trust and reliability, this is your (and their) career after all.
Make the most of studio time
Booking studio time is expensive, so make sure the tracks are well rehearsed and make sure you record your best material. Don’t let your ego get in the way and be open to any advice or suggestions from the producers/ engineer. BUT if there is anything you don’t like, stick to your guns, it’s going down on record and once it’s done it cannot be changed.
When recording ‘Don’t Wait’ with The Bid I did a fair amount of research before we picked Sugar House listening to what producers had worked on what and tried to match the sounds they where creating to what sound I had in my head. Once you’ve picked your producer it’s a good idea to send them a few demos to see what song(s) they think would work best.
Make positive connections
Doesn’t matter if you’re playing to 10 people or 200, those people may really dig what you do and buy a shirt or pass your name on. It’s all about the kind of person you want to be. Get used to talking to people, so when you get out of town and start talking to people in bigger cities, you’ll be more confident in what you can do. We’ve got options open in the future for where to record with some big names, all from sticking around after shows. Never know who you’ll bump into. Oh, and try and have something to give away to hand at all times, I carry bunch of download cards in my wallet that I give to anyone and everyone who is interested!
Doesn’t just mean wear the right clothes, but it’s about making sure your social pages are up to date, with a good quality logo, good photos and live video if possible. These can be used on your website. Ours is powered by Bandzoogle and they also provide templates for your Electronic Press Kit (EPK) which is really important to have. Put out a bio but anything you would normally list, try to put into a sentence, don’t just use bullet points.
Book your own shows
It’s harder to get venues to want your own original material than covers. The Unsigned guide was a massive thing for me, saving so much time scouting through venue websites/ promoters/ blogs/ radio. It helped us book our tour in 2019 much quicker. Make sure it’s not a generic email, as this will be noticed (especially if you CC everybody in!) Make sure you use the right name if possible, means they’re more likely to come back to you if you’ve made an effort. I will also send over a link to our EPK as PDF files and MP3 downloads clog up mailboxes and hard drive space.
Treat it like a real job
Instead of getting a promotion you may be able to charge more for performing or play to bigger audiences. Important to find the right price for yourself too as it’s a expensive career/hobby to pursue. Don’t expect walk into any old and get a gig paying £150 for 2 hours of covers on a Monday night, do the £80 gigs and charge a bit more for weekends until your confident your filling up bars because your names on the bill.
Performing covers is my bread and butter but every days a school day when it comes to original stuff. I ask friends all the time, I ask other bands at shows how they do things and I read a lot of blogs and listen to podcasts, Cd Baby’s DIY podcast is great. Using the unsigned guide, a good EPK and reading a lot of blogs, I managed to organise our 8 date tour in just a week. So it is possible to do this stuff on your own and the more you do it the better you get.
Get your music online
We use CDBaby as it’s a one off payment to get music online, and they look after everything. Nowadays you can submit your tracks directly to playlist curators through Spotify artists but you have to have a track up first . You can find groups on Facebook who are actively are looking for bands to add to their playlists. End of day, if you have no music people can listen to, they’ll never be able to hear you.