Tips for making it in the biz with Sal Costa of My Darkest Days (Part 1 of 2)
MB: What is something you wished that you knew 5 years ago, that you have learned from the past couple years of success? Anything that you could pass on to up and coming artists?
SAL: Woah… Where do I start… So many things… Ok let’s start with finding the right band members. Starting a band is exactly like starting a business. You need people. The right people. Whether it’s a law firm, accounting firm, furniture store, etc., you need to find the right people for the job or you won’t stand a chance. The competition in any field of work is high. Those who succeed aren’t lucky, they are resourceful, and they are intuitive. It starts off with your drive and passion, and then you need to seek out other people with the same drive and passion for the exact same thing you have drive and passion for. In a band, every single person holds an integral role, so they need to be working at their highest potential. Your band/business as an entire entity needs to be working at a 100%. If someone in your band is working at 75%, then you will never reach your endeavor’s full potential. It’s as simple as that.
Secondly, early on in your career, you will begin to realize the importance and dedication of fans. If you are a musician, you are also a fan. This is why you are musician. You are not that much different than the people who come to your shows, and who spend money on buying your t-shirts. You are exactly the same. The respect between both the fan and the band need to be reciprocated. Your aren’t any more special than they are. Without fans, YOU don’t exist. Treat your fans with the utmost respect and they will do the same. You will start to notice that you work in parallel with your fans. You grow with them – and so does their love and devotion for you. You grow away from them – and so does their love and devotion for you. Don’t be too cool. Be cool. Treat your fans with nothing but respect and love.
Last but not least – surround yourself by positive energy, positive people, and positive circumstances. The long journey on the road can be a scary place at times. It’s like being part of a circus. Don’t leave anyone who is special to you behind as you move ahead. Stay true to yourself, and to the people who matter to you. These are the people who catch you when you fall, and who propel you into the sky. They are your friends, your family, and your loved ones. Behind every great musician, there are the people who created the circumstance to allow YOU to make your dreams come true. Don’t forget those people. Take them for the ride. Oh… And read the book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. Trust me. It might just change your life.
MB: How important do you find online marketing? and connecting to your fans daily? What is your favorite social media site?
SAL: It is probably single handedly the most important marketing tool for an artist. I HATE technology. Truly I do. However, the reality is that it’s become such an important role in the success of a musician’s career.
Typically, if you look back at the history of rock n’ roll – it was all about mystery. It was all about fans trying to desperately find information about the artists they worshiped. However, there were VERY few ways to do this. At most, you could go to a concert, read the news paper or a magazine, and IF you were lucky enough to own a television or radio, you might be lucky enough to see or hear an interview. The resources to information were limited…
Then a group of people developed this little thing called the internet. Life changed forever. You can get what you want, when you want, how you want it. The internet killed the mystical being known as the musician. Like I said before – YOU are a fan, so you should be able to relate with what I’m about to say. Fans just want to know everything they can about the artist they love. I loved Slash, Randy Rhoads, John Frusciante, David Gilmour, and the list goes on. As a fan I wanted to know everything about them. With the internet being so readily available with information, you are now in direct competition with all the other artists who are willing to give it away. Take the following as somewhat of a Case Study: If as a kid I was a fan of Slash and Randy Rhoads, and as a fan I loved them both equally (which I did), BUT Slash would respond to my Facebook posts, and update me daily with recent pictures on Twitter, I would be ecstatic. If on the other hand, Randy Rhoads didn’t have a Facebook page or a Twitter page, and as a fan it was hard to obtain information on him, my interest for him would slowly start to dwindle. It’s just the truth. If I love them the same, but one gives me the personal touch that the other doesn’t, it’s just human nature to gravitate towards the other.
I hate technology, truly I do, but this is just the reality we live in as a musician. Fans have the ability to ‘know’ readily available at their fingertips (pun intended). Artists who share their readily-easy ability to interact with their fans to the best of their capacity will just be giving back to their fans who put so much of their time reading Wikipedia to find out everything they can about them. The artists who don’t will have let the creation of the internet dwindle their fans interest in them. It’s truly as simple as that. You can’t fight the creation of technology. You have to embrace it.
My personal favorite social media site would be Facebook because of it’s versatility. It gives the artist many different options for fan interaction.
MB: With your experience from working with Bonnie in the past, would you recommend her consulting services/Music Box Artist Consulting to aspiring bands, musicians and industry professionals?
SAL: Absolutely. No ifs, ands or buts. When you are a new band, there is SO many things that need to be done. Things you know about, and things you have no clue about. You need a ‘Bonnie’ to shine the light in the right direction, but also to assist you with all the crazy stuff around you that is going on. Bonnie – you have worked at a high level with high level artists for a long time. You can’t buy the type of knowledge you have gained from the hours of work you have put in, which makes you exactly the type of person an artist needs to surround themselves by if they want to achieve success. Hard work, intuition, being proactive and being driven is what makes up the struggling artist steering towards success. So my question to the artist is… Don’t you want someone who shares the same properties as you do to walk you down the right path they have already been walking forever? I’ve experienced this first hand from Bonnie. There is no endorsement deal here – just the truth.
Check back next week to hear Sal talk about Touring! A big thanks to Sal for helping pass on his knowledge to any Music Box readers. Much love bud! : ) – Bonnie