Okay, I’ve been meaning to write this since we got back to Calgary, but I’ll be honest, it intimidated me. The truth is, there is a lot to say and a lot of people to thank, and I’ll forget people and fail at properly expressing this wonderful opportunity we were lucky enough to experience. So, let’s all consider that my official pre-post apology and move on with it.
Indie Week. This was a brand new experience for us, and it is one that we will keep with us for a long time. I don’t know if I can even express how much we learned on this trip. Tour aside (which was amazing), here is a basic breakdown of each day: Wake up early to catch breakfast in our hotel, get ready and get out to a seminar, or one-on-one roundtable, or meeting, with industry professionals. From there we would rush out to get to venues in time to either play or catch some other acts, most often both. We normally stuck around checking out shows until about 3-4 am. Rinse and repeat.
That’s the basic overview, the real thing is a lot more complicated to explain. As mentioned, every day we met with incredible industry professionals and experts, and we would get to chat, however briefly (it was never long enough, as we are men who enjoy having conversations and connecting with people rather than just trading information). If we could have, I would have spent an entire day with each person we met, maybe more. But alas, we only got a few brief minutes. They were all extremely friendly, and quick to help with whatever they could, give information, answer questions, you name it. The thing I really appreciated was everything they said was directed at our band and our unique place in the music industry. What the hell does that mean? Well, it means that it was very apparent to me that they did not have some sort of script or sales pitch for you to follow. They weren’t trying to sell themselves on you, they weren’t trying to just buy you (that may disappoint some of you, but you have to take this as it is, a chance for these people to help you help yourself). Instead, they’d listen to where you’re at on your journey, see what your goals are, and then they’d give their insight on how to proceed, what avenues might help you that you might not have thought of, what to really push, some things to avoid. It definitely helped with personal connections, which I’m a fan of, and it made the whole thing a lot more real to me.
Side note: it also made me wonder at all the other wonderful conversations these professionals were having with every other artist, as they were all sure to be unique and extremely interesting. It’s a little sad you couldn’t sit in on other peoples’ conversations haha.
The main lesson I learned was this: no one will every hand you an end goal on a silver plate (not that I ever thought this). Even if someone were to give you a record contract and 1 million dollars, you’re no where near making it, you still have to find ways to PROMOTE your music, grow your fan base, make clear connections with your fans on a personal level, figure out how to book tours, pitch yourself to radio stations. The list is endless, and even if someone hands you one piece (and it is much more likely they won’t, they’ll tell you how to obtain that piece on your own), there are still endless amounts of other pieces that you have to find and fit together. Are you depressed? You shouldn’t be, it allows you to truly take control of this demon and do with it what you want. Congratulations, you’re now a business man or woman.
Okay, onward to what most of you are probably interested it: the shows! Contrary to everything I just said, the shows made us feel like we had already “made it” (whatever that means - high five if you caught that Arctic Monkeys reference). The shows were completely packed, and were comprised mostly of complete strangers, who were shouting and rocking out as if they had always been fans. The energy was damn near dangerous, and all performers and audience fed off each other. Magic. Even with our 15 minute sets, I’d get off the stage dripping sweat worse than triathlon competitors. And as you get to enjoy all the other amazing acts, random strangers are congratulating you and excited to meet you. It was all very surreal.
Most every night of Indie Week we were fortunate enough to play alongside our Calgarian brethren, and it was amazing. Somehow, all of us (mostly good friends already) became even closer and connected even more. And you know what? I think Calgary killed it. I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass, either. Matt Blais, Bloom, the Implicate Order, Frankie McQueen, they all did amazing. I honestly got the feeling that these Calgary bands brought something to Indie Week that no one expected. There was a professionalism, excitement, and energy to these bands that took Toronto by storm. We saw Calgary bands at every seminar and meeting, and we saw them all blowing away the crowds at night. It was like we were all underdogs in a big new city, and we came out with everyone knowing our names. Now, I wasn’t born in Calgary, but I’ve never been prouder of the city. We definitely left our mark.
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you have too much time on your hands. Sadly, there is much more to say, this has only scratched the surface. Maybe I’ll write an article for some e-Mag or blog, if anyone cares to hear what this musician has to say.
All I can say for now is, thank you to everyone we met and to everyone who came out, supported us, anything. We love you all and appreciate the experience more than we can ever express.