Canadian Musician - May/June 2023 | Page 11

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Play More Gig houses and mortgages , but we ’ re all dedicated to the cause . I think that ’ s one thing you have to be and it ’ s really hard to find . And I don ’ t take it for granted with the other guys I work with because I see exactly situations like we ’ re talking about , where somebody in the band doesn ’ t want to do this , or doesn ’ t want to do that , or has a job and it ’ s really hard to find the right combination . When you find it , if you ’ ve got those guys in the band or if you ’ re solo , you ’ ve got to have that dedication to your work . That ’ s what it takes . Otherwise , maybe you shoot for something on a simpler level of playing locally , but still enjoying and loving what you do , which is music . That ’ s why we ’ re all here .

I always say to young bands now , because I mentor a lot of bands , I always say , ‘ If you can ’ t make it in your hometown , you ’ re not going to go to the big city or the next country .’ You have to prove yourself ; if you can ’ t gain a following with your friends and your family , in your hometown , if they don ’ t want to come and see you , then it ’ s going to be really difficult to build something somewhere else . Basically , by the time we got to Europe , or by time we got to China , we were a well-seasoned machine that just knew how to win , absolutely win every night . And even if on the first tours , in Europe , we might have driven eight hours for 12 people to show up , the next time we came back the next year ,
BRENDAN MCCARNEY there were 120 people . And then the next time there were 500 . So , this kind of thing , where you work , you work your situation locally . And then when you arrive on a world stage or big city stage , you ’ re kicking the doors . That ’ s what it takes .
BRENDAN MCCARNEY On supply and demand … When there ’ s a requisite demand for an act or an artist , then booking agents are going to want to create the supply for it . It ’ s really simple . And sometimes , an act , it might take them 10 years to get signed , and sometimes they might get signed off their first show — both happen . Same with signing to a label or a management company ; there ’ s really no difference . If the agent involved has a gut feeling about something , it doesn ’ t necessarily have to be making money the first day or first year , sometimes not even the first few years . It can be a long-term play , but there has to be that gut feeling . Otherwise , it really just does come down to basic economics , just supply and demand .
On what agencies are looking for … All the usual suspects , so to speak , are accurate ; you ’ re going to look at their socials to see how present they are , how they utilize them , what the following looks like , and you ’ re definitely going to want to see them live . That ’ s obviously a big part of it , because you can have an amazing album and everything , but if the drummer can ’ t play drums , well , you ’ re not going to get booked too often , or you ’ re not getting booked a second time at most places , that ’ s for sure . Beyond that , personally , I also want to make sure that I really like the person involved ; you spend a lot of time with them , or if the act has a manager , making sure you really get along with the manager as well , because you do spend a lot of time with them . Sometimes more than your partner at home , depending on the situation . For me , that ’ s also a big thing . Some agents don ’ t give a shit about that ,
pardon my French ; they don ’ t care . But for me , getting along with the people on the team is a very important thing .
JUSTIN KWAN On playing showcases … I think it ’ s a mixed bag . I don ’ t believe that that should be your only game plan in terms of how you want to value your art and how you want to get your foot in the door ; I think you have to do your research , you have to be able to go in and make the right connections and still network . I would say sometimes yes , sometimes no . CMW has always been such a fixture when it comes to discovery in the Canadian music industry , whether you ’ re domestic or an international artist . I got my first taste in terms of Asian artists and bringing them to North America doing CMW and now , one of the things that we do , as part of our businesses , we work with some of the larger k-pop companies overseas , and we tour them across North America . So , something like that , it ’ s not the same scenario , but it is a good place for a lot of industry folks to discover new things .
Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Canadian Musician . He can be reached at mhopkins @ nwcworld . com .