For musicians who want to join or form a band, perusing the listings is simple enough. You want a situation that works, though – a project that you really feel a part of, one you can be proud of. It's totally possible – and even more likely if you prep yourself with these three steps first.
1. Refine your search
Narrow your results according to your location and your skill (vocals, instrument, MC, DJ, or producer). That part's easy – but what about the option to refine by openings versus new projects? Whether you want to join an established band or be part of one from the ground up is something you should carefully consider. Are you the kind of person who's able to come into a set group dynamic and still thrive? Or will you always feel left out, no matter hard the members strive for inclusivity?
There's a difference between a backing or session player and a member – find out which they're looking for, and think about how you might fit in. On the other hand, starting a band from scratch can be difficult. Are you willing to put in the work required to shape a sound? To cultivate a group dynamic? Or does building and creating something brand new sound like an exciting challenge?
2. Evaluate the matches
You're not going to mesh with every group – and vice-versa. (And that's okay.) It's something you may not realize until you're sitting in a room with the musicians you've found through Sonicbids, so why not do your best to aim for a situation that's more likely to work out? If you analyze the listings against what you've got to offer well enough, you'll increase your chances of something actually materializing.
The descriptions in the listings you'll see are varied. Some are super detailed: a specific sound, a set of influences, a series of goals for the project. In others, there's room for interpretation, or the person who's listing is open to ideas. Thoroughness of the listing aside, you should really consider first what you are looking for. Having what you'll bring to the project in mind will help you better evaluate whether or not you should apply.
This sounds like a guide for finding a match on a dating app, but really, these are serious points to think about:
- What styles are you into? Are you willing to try out new ones?
- How much time can you commit?
- Are you looking for something fun or serious? (In terms of a musical project, you guys.)
3. Nail your application message
What should you say in your application message? Introduce yourself and express interest, of course, but first and foremost: be yourself. This isn't a press release or a booking inquiry; the level of professionalism you opt for is subjective. Injecting some personality into what serves as their first impression of you can help your chances of a successful pairing. (And hey, if you end up getting turned down, it probably wouldn't have been a good match anyway.)
After making sure you're both on the same page about the project, schedule a meet-up. Talk, jam, whatever – trust your instincts about where to go from there.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.