Monday, July 31, 2017

It’s never perfect, so don’t say no.

It’s when an artist says no to opportunities you start to wonder as an A&R. I just spoke to my friend who books a showcase festival in the UK. He had a band that he wanted to give more gigs during the festival but said they didn’t want to perform more than one time a night. After that, he tried to give that empty premium slot to another band but they didn't want to get to the festival one day earlier to take the extra show.

When you see that as an A&R you know this band will not go anywhere. You never know who would be on that show they just said no to. It could be an investor, a festival booker, a super fan or some completely another offering.

When you start to say no just because of comfort, in reality, says no to an audience. And in the end, you will say no to so much audience that it will be no audience left for you.

One of the worst shows I ever had was with You Say France & I Whistle in NYC. It was an extra show in an evening in a kind of unknown place, not really in the center of the festival either. Later the same evening we had a rooftop gig with one of our sponsors. A really cool gig with a lot of good people. The group HAIM was actually opening up for You Say France & I Whistle, still they were unknown back then, actually their first NYC gig.

Still, they were professional and did this first gig. They had a TV team following them doing a program about their experience in NYC. We had some discussion to just say no to it and just bring the team to the rooftop party which will be so much cooler. Still, you take your chances.

The gig was the worst. The sound at that place sucked bad time, and the sound engineer was not the best and over feeding the sound. The guitarist broke a string, and worst it was only six people showing up. Not that good to be filmed. But the band did the show.

Then they did the rooftop and it was marvelous. The TV team got their picture there.

In the end though. The rooftop actually never gave anything more. Sure it was a great gig. The people that were there were already fans of the band, that gig didn’t make it any more than we already got.
The disaster gig then? Well, all these six people were very important and gave back very much. If we have canceled that gig almost 50% of our chances that was brought to us would have been wiped out.

That is that you know if you start to say no to things because of your comfort or disbelief or not perfect then you know that artist will never make it. And yes we actually test that with new bands that we sign. And yes it happens that they fail and get kicked since we know they will not make it.

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