A few years ago I wanted to book an overseas tour. My band Vanity Riots already had the connections to tour the Philippines but we thought, “Hey, let’s do Indonesia as well. We know heavy music is big there (our old guitarist was from Jakarta) and it can be this kind of mini tour of Asia.”
Being the queen of research, I spent hours and hours trawling back through old flyers of bands I knew that had done the same thing (mind you, there were very few) to find the name of a promoter or touring company that could help. I went down rabbit hole after rabbit hole to see if these people were still around and if I could find contact details.
I’d discovered that one or two local bands had done a leg in Indonesia and had worked with one particular guy. But despite knowing the company name, his contact details aside from Facebook, (which I’d heard no response from), were nowhere to be found. Not getting any other leads I decided to hit up a band here in Australia I knew he’d worked with previously. I sent a lovely message complimenting them on a recent release (that I genuinely liked) and asked if they knew how I could get in touch with this Indonesia promoter.
The band were doing ok locally but weren’t untouchable. The promoter wasn’t massive either so it was unlikely he would have been annoyed by his details being shared. Facebook had recently introduced the ‘read’ notice on Messenger so I could see the band had read my Facebook message, yet I got no reply.
Look, whether someone from the band saw it and just forgot to reply, I don’t know and never will. However, this situation has stuck with me over the years despite the fact this behaviour was and is definitely not uncommon. In fact it something I experienced many times as a young musician starting to make my way in the local scene.
The thing is, many people believe that if they help somebody else out, it will somehow detract from their own success.
This ‘Scarcity mindset’ is common. It’s essentially a belief that there is not enough of something (success, opportunities, money, love, etc.) to go around. Comparing ourselves on social media is definitely one way to cultivate these negative emotions because we feel like we are missing out if another person or band is doing something you want to do. Ultimately, this is a mindset that keeps us small and afraid. I call bullshit.
What would that band (as merely one example) have to gain by not replying to my message, except possibly ruining a job opportunity for the Indonesian promoter? Would it have stopped them touring again in future? No. Would it have taken away fans they made over there if they liked my band? Nope.
The thing is, just because someone likes your album, doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to like an album by any other band in the same genre. I mean come on, that’s just not how it works! Yes, I’m a fan of Bring Me The Horizon, but it doesn’t mean I can’t like Architects as well. You telling another band how you achieved tens of thousands of Spotify streams will not suddenly make your stats start rolling in reverse.
Are we really that insecure when it comes to the quality of our music or the work we put out into the world?
Look, I’m not condoning laziness or asking for favours from people you don’t even know (and believe me there are plenty of people that will ask things from you without so much of a please and thank you). We’ve all worked hard to know what we know and how you approach someone for information should be with respect and gratitude. (Bonus tip about this at the end).*
But at the end of the day, the more you are willing to support the scene, the more the scene is willing to support you. I’ve seen it time and time again in both my bands and my business.
We have to stop viewing other bands as ‘competition.’
As my amazing HEAVY Mag boss, Carl, always said regarding his magazine, “I don’t see anyone else as competition because there is enough room for everyone.” At the end of the day, no one can do what you do exactly how you do it. If we all just stay in our damn lane and concentrate on lifting each other up, THERE IS NO COMPETITION.
By the way, my band of course did end up playing shows in Indonesia anyway, and it fucking ruled. So punk, so rad. Watch the tour diary from Indo below (circa 2015) – so many memories!!!!
*BONUS – How to approach people in the industry from my Facebook Group members, Cam Bird:
“If you’re asking for advice, find a way to add value to that person and GIVE BACK. Offer to take them out for lunch, get em a set of strings or a small gift, mail them a personalised signed CD or Tee, buy them a beer, get them a book, a voucher, anything…don’t just be one of these people that expect stuff for free and stay stuck in scarcity mindset by not giving back to that person,. Sharing goes both ways.”Cam Bird
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