Playing in a band can be one of the most rewarding experiences for any musician. As part of a band, you finally get to apply your skills to a group setting. Playing alongside friends is a very special feeling – especially when you share the same artistic vision, and drive to make it big. Unfortunately though, actually starting a band is an extremely daunting task. In this article, we’re going to break down how to form and start a band in eight digestible steps.
There’s a whole lot to think about when forming a band – more than most people realise! It can easily get stressful when things start to get serious. For the purposes of helping you make a plan, here are our eight steps on how to form a band.
Be sure to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key detail.
Without further ado, let’s get right into how to get a band started!
If you’re lucky, you’re reading this article having already found a few bandmates naturally. We run into fellow musicians throughout all walks of life – whether in school, university, work, or purely by chance in an elevator.
If you haven’t yet found any bandmates, don’t be afraid to ask around with fellow friends, students, colleagues, whoever. Some of the strongest band relationships are formed prior to the band even being formed!
If you’ve had no such luck forming a band though, the first step is to ask yourself: would you rather form a band from scratch, or join an existing one? Whatever the case, it’s a great idea to get involved with your local music scene.
Attend small gigs, get to know local bands and artists, and conversate with people in the audiences.
Chances are you’ll either come across a band looking to recruit a new member, or you’ll meet a fellow searcher and start your own band together.
Alternatively, there are a great many websites dedicated to connecting bands with potential new members. Joinmyband.co.uk is probably the UK’s most famous one, alongside band-mate.co.uk.
We here at Music Gateway run our own platform dedicated to fostering collaboration between musicians and industry professionals – so there’s another great option for you!
Once you’ve found some band members, you’ll want to have your first band meeting. This is a crucial step in making a band – you’ll need to finalise what kind of genre you’ll be playing, and what other bands/artists influence your work.
Find some common ground between these influences, and you’ll be off to a flying start with your band.
A key stage in finding your sound is to simply jam. Set yourselves up in a rehearsal space, and just play what comes to mind. Improvise! Get the drummer to start playing a beat she likes, or the guitarist to repeat a riff he wrote, and just start playing; see where the music takes you, as cheesy as it is to say.
Wherever you naturally end up will be the kind of music your band – as a collective – has the most fun playing.
That will be your sound!
Without a regular rehearsal space, you can’t have regular rehearsals. And without regular rehearsals, you can’t have a band.
Typically speaking, most new band’s rehearsal spaces are in one of two places: 1) a paid-for rehearsal room, or 2) wherever the drummer keeps their drum kit. The drummer is by far the least mobile member of the band, so the onus of hosting band practice usually lands on them.
Plus, if the drummer owns an acoustic kit, chances are their rehearsal space is somewhere soundproofed – or at least far away from the neighbours!
If that option isn’t viable, then it’s best to pay for a local rehearsal room. In fact, it’s probably best to use professional rehearsal rooms anyway; they should come equipped with drum kits, amps, cabs, a PA system and mixing desk, which is far more than your average drummer’s studio.
Booking rehearsal rooms also means you’re guaranteed against any noise complaints or – god forbid – fines. Have a look in your local area, there should be a fair selection to choose from in any town or city.
It’s as simple as that! Once you’ve found your bandmates, sound and rehearsal space, just keep jamming. It might seem boring to some, but make sure to learn a few covers too.
Like jamming, this will help to keep your playing tight and tidy – as well as being a great warm-up for every songwriting session.
Once you and your bandmates feel comfortable, the next stage in how to start a new band is to write new songs. That’s right, originals!
This is an inherently creative process, and an enjoyable one too – so we can’t tell you how exactly to do this. Songwriting is all about your vision, along with your bandmates’. That being said, there are a few tips to get started.
The first is to utilise the great ideas that you’ve stumbled across while jamming. No doubt there’s been some banging riffs that have suddenly appeared in your jams, so why not use them as the basis for a new song?
If you’re having trouble remembering the great ideas that come up in jam sessions, have someone just prop their phone up and record. That way, you’ll have all your ideas on record for future use.
Once you have at least 6 original songs you’re really proud of, that’s a setlist! You’re ready to start gigging and recording your material. But first, you should be doing the next two steps amid songwriting, and it’s important not to skip them…
This is a real ‘you love it or you hate it’ stage of making a band – but rest assured, it’s vital! Put frankly, no-one will take you seriously if your band’s image doesn’t make sense. Moreover, first impressions are everything in the music industry.
You don’t want to come across as aesthetically sloppy and mismatched, otherwise people will assume your music follows suit.
Study the image of other bands in your genre, and your band’s influences. You don’t want to be wearing a uniform, and it doesn’t have to be high-effort at all – you just want the vibe of all the band’s members to match.
For example, take a look at The Magic Gang; they look cohesive in their pastel/muted colour vintage shirts and t-shirts, without all being dressed in the same outfit. Even King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard more or less wear whatever they like, but it still gives off a collective vibe.
As long as one person isn’t dressed in 1940s business attire while the rest are in t-shirts, then you’re good to go (even then, Black Midi made that work somehow).
Take it from us, considering we look at press kits every day – you need a good press kit!
Once you’ve found your image and got a few good professionally shot press photos (everyone knows a photographer!), start building your electronic press kit (EPK). This is a file you’ll send to every opportunity your band gets – whether it’s press coverage, gigs, labels, etc.
Write a paragraph or two that acts as your band’s bio, and then a paragraph or two about your latest major release; whether it’s a single track, or a whole album.
The same content can be used to start filling out your social media pages. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok – get your presence on all of them! Nevertheless, it’s important to identify which platform you want to focus the most on.
If your target audience is younger people, primarily use Instagram, or even TikTok. If your audience is a little older, you might want to post more on Facebook.
There’s only one step left now that you’ve got a strong setlist and online presence. Send your stuff out to the world!
Here at Music Gateway, we offer free music distribution to all major digital music services, and you keep 100% of your royalties. We’ll also help you with Spotify playlist submission, and give you the ability to build your own artist profile – equipped with EPK info, photos, recordings, music videos, and more – all in one place with our new Showcase feature.
At this stage, the sky’s the limit!
Whether your band is already on step six or seven, or if you’re yet to begin step one, we hope our eight-step guide on how to start a band has helped you out! The perpetual thought of ‘how can I start a band?’ can be pretty daunting – but follow this guide, and you’ll certainly be on the right track.
Make sure to look around in your local scene for new bandmates; simply getting involved in nearby gigs will naturally cultivate these relationships. Jam to find your sound, and don’t be afraid to jam for a long time – at the end of the day, the primary goal here is to have fun!
But once you feel ready, take some ideas you came up with while jamming, and form them into original material. This is such a rewarding experience, and we recommend it to every musician.
While you’re songwriting and practicing, make sure to hone your image and social media presence. Send out a few EPKs to curators, radio hosts, and venue organisers.
Once you’ve done all that, you can confidently say you’ve successfully started a new band – and we wish you good luck on your journey!
How did you make your band? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this article why not share on social media. Tag us @musicgateway!
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out another on our blog? To get you started, we recommend How To Have A Successful Band Rehearsal, How To Take Good Band Photos, and How To Promote Your Music On Reddit.
Showcase yourself and get discovered by fans and music reps through your very own artist site. Collaborate globally with other musicians, songwriters, producers, and more. Finally, amplify your music to those that need to hear it with music promotion and professional sharing tools. Try all of this out for yourself by joining Music Gateway. Get your 14-day free trial, no strings attached.