Creating a Killer Live Show
I want to get to the part that jason mentioned earlier how do you get people coming back to your shows and bringing their friends? This is it the heart of it? If you don't have the show, you don't have anything and, you know you can play and you could maybe bring some people there, but your draw will only grow by a little bit and kind of stay stable. You want to blow something up, you really need to create a killer show, right? So it's worth it to work hard on this, and as jason was talking about, you might spend six months, maybe even a year working on an album, you make a little three minute song, and then you spend a weekend or to working on a show and you expect that that's going to cover it it's not going to happen. The show is a separate thing than the studio work it's totally different, and in fact, you need to build your show from the ground up as a live event rather than just performing your exact album on stage, right? So we're going to give you five techniques to do this, an...
d then we're going to go beyond it. These techniques come from tom jackson, tom jackson productions, dot com this is one of our giveaways for this thing it's it's, a green room I think where you can actually watch him work and get ideas when he's working with other bands is they he restructures the song that's like a three minute song into a true event, but I want I want to give you just a taste of the kinds of things that he does. I think that all of you with live shows will start thinking very differently about how you do things let's just start by doing this and we'll talk about a whole bunch of different opportunities. First of all, is what's good for the recording is not necessarily good for the state when I say arrange the song in this case, we're talking about the song arrangement were saying that that really cool little bridge, which was just a minute long, goes by way too fast for somebody who's in an audience and has never heard you before to catch what happened. We're saying that that little cool little extra thing at the end of the chorus is it goes from place to place could be worth stretching out and putting together so that you can actually people can hear it it's about creating moments these moments of connection between you in your audience and this is the type of thing that it's not canned it's, something that can be created organically and made possible by making a change to your show. So what? Like what tom jackson does? He's a live show producer he'll listen thank you. What he does is he listens to a band songs or artist song and he okays three minutes it's great for the radio and I like I said within one of his key points is this one that you have to, um, that three minute thing is meant for the radio or meant for online downloads or something that it's not necessarily meant for the medium of a live show and that there's certain elements and pieces of it. And this is what you're just saying that should be explored in death so you actually he takes songs and we've seen this on stage and this is why you should take a look out if you get the back. My mind was utterly alone when I say it's one of those things you have to see to understand what he can do he takes those three minutes songs and extends them actually to maybe like, six minutes seven minutes now that sounds like, I know our songs are songs are very short and, uh teo, take it to that length is like, well, how is that even possible that he extends intros and extends the riff and he makes brakes and creates moments within the song that actually that he know that actually works with the audience are really pulls the audience into the music so this great because when you listen to recorded music you can always rewind that I want to hear that again all that was great then you start that really explore the songs you multiple place you can't do that in a live event, so what he does is he actually finds those golden moments and rearranges for the stage and that's what point one is actually talking about he's very good at that and then the next point is something that I just did now actually in order to try and show it a little bit, the performance should visually match the song, so what people forget in what he brings up constantly is he thinks the music is about fifteen percent of the performance where it's about one hundred percent of what most musicians focus on fifty five percent of it. Actually, he says about thirty percent of it is the emotion emotional content fifty five percent of it is the visual and we tend to do the exact opposite or maybe even ignore the other two altogether. So what is visually matched the song mean, it means that if somebody is taking front stage I went behind him so that he could be in front and then I wasn't standing in front of him as I wass when he started what this means is that if jason has a guitar solo I shouldn't be here in front of my microphone is the lead singer doing this? How often have we seen that aa lot right? And not only that, but the stage itself, which is the thing the first thing I did when I got here just a za musician I was thinking about it we were talking about how to put together this presentation is to figure out where I could walk to find out how many different places I could be because different places have different visual interest right? The middle of the stage a little more boring but I'm right here in front I want a little more emotional content if I really want to get your attention and say this part is really important, I'm in the corner now and I'm actually staring directly into your eyes because I'm trying to make an impact well, what if we combine that with an emotional moment with the music? I mean if your guitarist you can certainly do this kind of thing and do some walking and then you have a really big moment could be doing this kind of thing and then if you break off and okay and then mine's done and now jason's maybe going to do some lead singing I'm back in the background and jason could take center stage, you see and we don't even do this is tom jackson says there's actually at least four ways to move on stage. So what do I mean by that? Certainly even walk right? And another one, of course, is you can run right? That's another way to do it? Ah, he has another one called walk with authority. This is my stage, right? And now you're paying attention to me and you should I'm not just walking and then there's skipping now skipping is funny until you remember a cdc and you're like, yeah, we're doing this big moment, big moment, big moment, right? Right, it's, like, really active and you'll notice, like right now I'm staying on the car because I know this is safe for the cameras and everything, but if this weren't, if this were a big stage, I'd be using every corner of it, and then when I'm done, I get the heck out of the way and I'm back to doing what I normally d'oh. And the thing is, if the guitar solo going back to number one is just a minute long, you'd be like, yeah, okay, having it back, there's not enough time, not enough time, doesn't work less, is more that's the people can only pay attention, is so much at once plan and rehearse the show that's what this is about this is on ly a taste of what tom jackson does. He puts in the visual elements the movement elements, everything else and puts it together. And this is why we're very big fans of this stuff. If you see him work just once in person, if he comes through your city, we highly recommend it's incredible to watch him do it. Yes, a lot of what you guys are talking about is what you can do from on stage. Yes, but, uh especially my own personal experience. I think a lot of what makes the show good from a fan is the experience of the bar wherever you're playing. Um, is there any tips that you have that you can control toe? Create that environment for the fan tips will get you better service. Yes, we've not much. You can control how? I don't know if you can control. You have to. You have to control what you can. Yeah, and that that is your life show. I mean, how often do you care about you? Probably never thought. Now, if you really care that much, then you start to worry about the venue. Maybe you can get a venue that you can control, and by the way, you can rent out theaters to put on life shows. If you care that much about the show, wow, you're making a theatrical production to my thinking, you're starting to get beyond blue man group and into like force of brutal if you've ever heard of that show, which actually has you standing amongst the theater, people that air doing the thing you're on the stage and they have this huge thing where they're like in this huge, bull like thing, then you're actually able toe touch it and do all this kind of stuff that be great and there's a music involved with that that's a little wow, if you can do that, then please mail us so I wouldn't worry so much about the venues experience on that, and I would just worry about putting on a good show and getting back to what randi is trying to illustrate with the what tom jackson actually does to make a good show. Our band has not really done this really well, wait not about him and then like a live show like you, well, you went to ireland on then I went lived in ireland, so I've been meeting that puts another show using all of these two techniques, but this is something that if you're going to take it seriously, you're going to spend a long time making one good life show, but then people will come back it's like wow, there was moments where you connect is what I don't know about you, but that's, what I crave as an artist is a musician I make my point with is, and he says this so this could wrap is part of, but, um, while all your songs might sound differently when you're playing live, especially the way that we've did, they all look the same, okay? And too and since, from an audience perspective, at least fifty five percent is what he says is all visual on emotional stuff is the next thirty it's the music is only fifteen percent now to our thinking as musicians, it's one hundred percent like let's, just listen to everything that we're doing. I'm playing this party is putting that, but but they all look the same and it after a while it gets boring and and it saturates the the audience, and then they go to the back of the of the venue, and then they buy more beer or something like that. Then they said, talking, uh, his methods and methodology that we're talking about actually helps you make a show that is visually different. All the songs will be visually different as well, to create these moments and go to tom jackson productions pickup, is it za free? Newsletter they'll send you a little tips and things along the way you get a feel for what he's about before you decide to do whatever you're gonna dio great videos, things like that a few more things number one thing you could do to improve your life show besides, putting it together like this is game tapes have a recording of it so that you can see how you look and then fix it. It's very hard to watch yourself. We know we're afraid to look at this when this whole creative lives thing is done, all you could do is put yourself out there and hope that it actually looks any good, you know? I mean there's like that this is me and, you know, with my voice that I hate to hear and all that kind of stuff, but you need to do it because you that's the best way to improve your show. And are there any other ways to make money live? Well, quite a few quite a few festivals, fly parties, charity events, corporate events, weddings, permits was house concerts. The list is long, we have lots of stuff in the indie van survival guide about gigs, but we focus this one on making money and making a live show that's worth paying for, right that's our key, so learning more we talk about how to manage the street team in the book we talk about how to set up and run a mailing list, how to keep the big machine running. So just because you've got the one gig doesn't mean you're going to get the second gig because it's george, I think that was george, rob said, is like the secret isn't just to get the first gig it's to get the next one, and we talked about tom jackson's music it's as much time as we have for questions, we'll see what we can do here. Weii do have one here in the chat room from megan detail and you mentioned selling your merchandise and she she wants to know what about bundling your merchandise at his show? What's the best way to come up with a price point. For instance, if you're selling a t shirt with a cd or something like that, are there any tips for bundling your merchandise to try to get more sales? Oh, aye, yeah, you can bundle and that's a very creative way. You should vary your pricing and do all that kind of stuff. Thie the answer to that question is math, because you want tio, you will know your margins on your t shirts, right? Is it an on demand t shirt or is it a one of these ones that you've done with the local stores so you know your margins there you know what your margin is on the on the album and so you know what is it is what is it that you're seeking? You know what you're seeking on the t shirt you know what you're seeking on the on the album and then a bundling usually you're tryingto you're cutting into your margin a bit um unless you can bundle in charge for more but so it does come down to mathematics actually and just like is it worth it to do that type of thing? Um you might have extra t shirts that you're trying to unload, which is usually what I think you do with bundling well, you have an album that you're that you're back catalogue album that you would like look, we're very proud of it people like the t shirt let's pack those two together so but thinking creatively how you I sell stuff at your shows on even online is definitely something you should be thinking about maybe some sort of special packaging or limited edition thing they can only get it a show absolutely absolutely great more limited things you can make, the better they they just work right and that's like we talked about in the last lesson how to do that it's very effective and we did mention that howto build a straight team is in the book so that's something that we're not going to be able to get to this time that's ok but way had a couple questions come in and just in terms of if you're starting out and you might not necessarily be able to pay your straight team how do you think of even yesterday we had questions coming in about collaboration and how do you think of ways teo solve other people's problems so they help you solve yours? Let me take that I'm gonna let randy take so first of all anything that you have this additional asset is very easy to give away give them albums you could give them anything that you have this digital, those air fantastic things and they have value I mean it's your album that you're giving them so first of all that should be on the table something that normally they'd spend ten dollars getting now they may have that already we actually because we make a lot of music we've done this a lot with demo tracks and extra tracks and all kinds of extra versions of things that you wouldn't get otherwise because those are great music is our favorite thing to give away because it's easy for us to do that you start going beyond that and it could be giving merch although that cost you actual money to do and things like that it certainly can be buying them pizza yeah, I was going to say that our beer something like that there's a lot of options you khun dio and of course there's paying him back by helping them out there doing something right so the street team does not necessarily have to be paid no, they're like super fans who actually are they usually have their passionate about it they're excited about it and when I think it back our street team of the people that will help us like draw people into the shows and everything you would just they just helped us yeah we would celebrate and ask sometimes really cow we're just gonna go on the street, get people around him bring him in right? Ok? And then there was like all these people like while that work that was as part of ah street team is something they will just go out and go do stuff so one of things we talk about in the book is that the importance of leading them because they all do their own little thing thinking is out for something you have tio would you want to do is coordinate them if you coordinate them you know, three people for people or five people whatever the team sizes than the kids it could be even more effective it's like, you know let's target this area for posters don't just target everyone you know every place around your house you know that type of thing so that's actually how way? Talk about like how do you make a use a street team much more effectively great another question about billion fan base when you're starting out, you're just trying to get like the first ten fifteen people that you think you're gonna show up, tell your shows locally what you think the best way to do that whether it's planes continue the real short version of the events survival guide method, which is that it's very simple you you have a party afterwards you pay for the cag or the pizza if you're not, you know and yet and you say hey, come on out for my first show and we'll have a party after you make it an event okay, way heard about one venue in chicago which leave the name out, which they said they had one person who just had a ton of family and everything else and friends and everything they had a huge party, they we had a massive drawn in a lot of the venue was certainly interested in booking him again. Of course you can't draw the same thing after that, but that's how you kick started very simply the other thing is you can do I don't know why we didn't mention that the rug noggin bards had brilliant method of starting the first show they would play and lunchtime in the park near where they worked and they just were trying to get better and playing, and they did it for a year, and people just would start coming in from all over the place just to hear him play well, by the time they played their first show, it was packed. It was a packed show, and they played for ten years off of that initial kick. Plus they were extremely good. Yeah, they they played every day at the park and just kept figured out what worked and what didn't work and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, they live show is very good, very entertaining request. Yeah, I have a question here and this baby touchdown and some of the stuff that tom jackson talks about. Hannah wants to know where some ways to get the audience to participate in the show, and she mentions the drumstick idea, you know, throwing the drumsticks in the audience at the end or guitar picks that kind of feel make the crowd feel like they're part of it. I know I remember being at a show one time it was an intimate show, and they asked everyone to take out their phone and start like playing their ring tones tests, and they just like use that all right? I mean, I don't know if you guys have any other specific examples of ways to make the crowd feel like they're part of the show in the chart room actually brought up a good sample of that and said teoh to go to the show and make the audience part of your backup singers just harmonies or teach them that horse and get the missing with you. Yeah, obviously that's not possible in huge venues, but I think in some way some case when bands are getting started in a smaller venue, I've heard it happen in huge venues. Yeah, I've seen it absolutely that's a great enough teaching in harmony yeah, yeah that's my field, you're off you in the back room to start again. It's not gonna work column response is the easiest way to do it one of our favorite fans to see live is the saw doctors, and even if you've never heard them before, if you go to their show, they repeat all of their choruses twice it's got like a dead it and then it's the same thing again and before you will be singing along with everybody, and once you're singing along with everybody, you feel like the sense of camaraderie and warmth that you never feel normally and it's just amazing experience. And it's going to guide where I'm going to do some song writing the future at least I hope to do is to try and do some of that that's a few music is conducive that's so the other thing is like this percussion clapping and getting them to build a rhythm and all that kind of stuff eyes is very additional and away you really should think of it if you could include that that's that's what keeps getting people and this is this would be a theme, but the fact is musicians are very creative and now that you start chewing on this idea and you know yeah, ok, wait, this is something that maybe I should incorporate in my life show he just start brainstorming on this and he started bounced enough idea and then tested especially if you're you know you play often enough just give it just trying out one night and see if it works question you briefly mentioned a crowd sourcing and asking for donations and stuff. Yeah, I've seen it a couple times where bands law for their album will say they need like ten dollars to make it profitable, but they'll say they'll take it for whatever they get for twenty dollars to get you free t shirt or something with it sure how much have you seen that in industry now and is it a successful model crowd funding? Yeah we're going to have an entire thing and it tomorrow mom like I mean top to bottom they spent all the research we've done to find out which ones they're successful, which ones weren't why and what to dio got just buy stuff we've done some and then you'll take it from there and even do more than we could even think of we will give you everything we've got and they wanted it may be one of the things where the province there's so much zero help we have enough time to answer push okay cool tacoma musician said him and I know we talked about couch surfing and house concerts and ideas for going on tour with low fund but tacoma musician said was saying that she knows you can you have to think lean when you're on tour but what are the essentials regarding staff in your opinion? Oh well, doesn't it depend on your what you I mean if you're just hauling your guitar around on your back and it's just you and your traveling singer songwriter guitarist you don't need even hardly any kind of crew right? So it would be nice to have somebody you sell music think it depends well, you always want a roadie yeah should always have a rest assure you should have a road and a groupie one way tio two staff members are essential, right? I think it depends but if you go yeah like we do know a lot of artists who were just solo artists do it lean they're very they could be very lean and they could be very flexible yeah, it also depends I guess on where you're touring you know some of these foreign tours could be a lot more expensive if you're going around your own area sure absolutely great. One more question here. Yeah as a freelance musician, how important do you think it is, tio trade like a brand in the same context of it as a band for yourself trying to market yourself toe other bands to get opportunities to play. So you're talking about branding yourself as a freelance musician for other bands a little it's a different context absolutely important that is exactly right to think the same steps you think involved in well, you can use a lot of the techniques that we talk about we'll talk about our tickets well yeah, yeah, yeah it's it's a relationship business if you think about it, you have to you have to get out there and know all the musicians there in the area all the ones who actually are doing things. Yeah, the ones that actually are maybe have a following and our motive being a motivated and well keep digging and all that kind of stuff um I don't know if you do studio work as well yeah, ok. So then studio work he would probably want to get to get in with studios. Are you connected to some of the studio in your you go? Do you know the people who run the studios? Yeah, a little bit locally now do yeah, because like something when you want to do there is actually get in with studio. Yeah, so that when they need a what do you play? Bass guitar, bass, bass guitar. Okay, like that they go, we got the guy for that, you know, you need somebody I gotta let me just call that kind of thing and there's usually a board that you believe there's a board and the more you get to know the people who are the studios, they asked the people the studios to help solve their music problem. Yet you need to be the guy solving that music problem and it's a cycle. So with you it's people like to do business with whom they like know and trust yes, so you have to be reliable. You have to show up when you you say you're going to show up, you got you can't, uh we gotta not chauffeur gig or a rehearsal or any of that kind of stuff, and that will build your reputation as well, and it takes time to build you can screw it up in an instant you don't want to screw it up, you want to always be on time and all that kind of stuff yeah um but yeah, you can use a lot of these techniques to actually now you could just think of your customer is the musician right in the band that's the main thing is the customer changes the branding angle changes in the marketing angle changes will talk about marketing later even the pr angle changes yeah, there's a lot you can do say, I'm excited for, you know yeah, so great in terms of that street team, jessica on twitter asked you suggest that the street team where's your gear that like a must have for that? I don't think it's I mean, you need to get your posters out there to the extent that a walking billboard for your stuff kind of clever, I don't think it doesn't hurt that doesn't mean they could be also one of the ways that you're motivating your street tio what can is give them a one off t shirt, your staff on the back there's something like that street team or something like that that that is actually some of things we talk about in the book and it's how to motivate them a cz well, is it necessary to know that, um could you healthier