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First audition for an originals project

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    So, tomorrow night, I have my first audition ever for an originals band. What should I expect? All my previous auditions have been for covers bands where they would say "here's the set list" or "learn these four songs." These guys haven't written anything yet for me to learn, it's very much starting up, all they've said is "if you have any riffs you want to try out, bring them along." Just curious how other originals projects usually work because it's terra incognita for me.
  2. professionals usually always have something to start with. i would not expect much from such an original project except a lot of wasted time and energy.

    most probably (ime) you will end up jamming with mediocre musician until something is made out of nothing (improbable). but then again, this is the main principle of funk music according to bootsy, so ymmv
  3. ACalbass


    Dec 16, 2011
    Is a little different regarding original bands,everything depend on some ability to listen what's being proposed to play and contribute using your own interpretation and creativity.
    Also,a way to understand what is required to play in the session.
    I mean,no overplay,find your lock with the drummer (should be your first friend in any band you play with : if he loves you,more chances you stay),try to understand what the song is about ,how the harmony and melody goes (within the scope of your knowledge,of course)

    Also,depends on what genre of music we are talking about,is not the same to play for an original classic rock band than to play in a jazz fusion original band.
    All within its limits : you should audition for bands you feel capable of playing for,or for bands you know are at higher level to challenge you to be better.

    Feel confident,after all,drummers and guitar players are beings almost like us. (pun intended)
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My exact thoughts.

    At the very least a band would decide on a few covers and then go from there. As you describe the situation not much you can really prepare for, and no telling what to expect. Best you can really do is bring the person you are and not try to be anything more, or less. If there's chemistry you'll know. If not, you'll move on. Enjoy it for what it is and don't sweat it.
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    My thoughts also. Any original band I have been in or tryed out with had written songs, even recorded songs like a cover band does to go off of and played them well. Just to show up and show some them some of your riffs and jam is..well a jam. Not a good use of time IMO.
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Id go into this expecting a jam. Hopefully the guys you'll be playing with can improvise well.
    Bring a few original bass lines and let them know the roots of the progression, they'll have to go from there.
    Likely they'll also have a few riffs in which they'll want to jam on. If so, Id expect them to let me knof of the chord changes and come up with something on the spot.

    Ive auditioned for originals bands without having heard any of their material beforehand. Left the audition having written my own basslines for 5 of their songs.

    Ive also auditioned members for my old Improv Rock band in the exact manner I laid out above, and it went very well.
  7. I don't necessarily agree with the above. And definitely not agree regarding the covers, altho this is the path some bands take. But I always found, bands that also played covers took way longer to get originals finished as they spent a lot of time trying to get the covers right as opposed to wrtting & polishing the originals.
    Just because they don't have any completed songs does not mean they are going to be bad musicians or not be able to write good songs.

    I've been in many covers & originals bands with some really talented musicians and they all have a different approach to writting, there is no exact formula to follow or rules.

    Some HAVE had full songs written, some have just had riffs that get pulled together into a song. I mean in Primus, Iron Maiden etc all the songs are pretty much written by the bass players, so at the first jam they had, the guitarist COULD have said, hey Les, bring any riffs you have. Didn't mean they were going to be a **** band or the guitarist was a bad muso etc.

    It's more about how you all interact with each other, are you on the same page, can you communicate musically. Just go there with an open mind and open EARS, try to follow what is being played, and if you play some of your riffs, do you like what the other muso's play to them? If not, if you make suggestions are they happy to try them out?

    At the end of the jam, you'll know if they are right for you
  8. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Try to relax and have fun.
  9. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    They just want to know that you have a handle on the style and you are a cool person the hang with.

    If they show you a riff just try to learn it. No need to impress with pyrotechnics. I am not a super skilled player but I can learn anything at a jam/audition. Well...I can learn enough to play along.

    If they've been playing together then they'll have some ideas they want to jam on.
  10. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey

    If they already had songs they would likely have given you a few to learn. Sounds like a startup looking for good chemistry, personally and musically.

    Good luck. Have fun.
  11. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification and and Martin Keith Guitars
    Putting some technically capable musicians together will in all likelihood produce a decent cover band. But one can still end up a terrible originals project.

    They are just different beasts, with different requirements. Jamming is not a sign of musical weakness.

    I currently happen to do only original projects here in NY, which exactly has the attraction for me that I get my ass kicked by some amazing talent with musical capabilities way beyond what is required for the bread-and-butter cover band gigs that I used to do.

    If there is pre-developed music in such a project, it is presented as a score to read, and musically FAR more complicated than anything a cover band would typically do. (think 2 bass guitars playing slightly different, intricately notated parts simultaneously, without any perceivable pulse). - the way I see it, I get a Juillard-level music education for free!

    Auditioning goes by sessions, or jamming if you will. It is exactly in the quality of on-the-spot spontaneous playing (not reproducing someone else's recorded parts) that shows off someone's creative capabilities, and whether there is any chemistry, all of which a original project needs first and foremost in order to succeed. In an originals project you can have great musicians and it just doesn't work sometimes-no problem, and nobody's fault. You can also have less developed musicians and the required vibe is just "there".
  12. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    I wouldn't join an originals band unless there was some idea as to what kind of style the music is modeled after and there should be some musical ideas ready to go from the BL. Otherwise you will spend a lot of time noodling around trying to find something out of thin air.

    Good luck with it anyways.
  13. Sounds like fun. This is what I'm more used to. Showing up for an audition with little more than an idea of what these guys are influenced by and what they're trying to create. I like bands in this stage... you can exert a lot more creative influence than you can by joining a cover band or an originals band that is already up and gigging. Most of these end up being projects and never work out, but the few that get beyond that make the wasted time worth it.

    I'm used to these being a little more structured than a jam, and people are probably going to be paying pretty close attention to what you're adding to their already-existing sound. They probably have some songs; they're just not finished and you're gonna be creating the bass line. There are bands that have been around for awhile that still don't have their stuff together and that's always a nightmare, but a genuine startup can be a ton of fun.

    I rip off a lot of old material when doing these. You're playing a song and remember some really cool bass line you did in high school that would work on this band's song with a little modification? That's the sort of thing that will get you in.
  14. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey

    Even an original band should have SOMETHING to start with. Generally speaking, whoever is your bandleader is also going to be the chief songwriter. If they don't have anything for you to listen to, even a DEMO? I don't know if I'd even go to that audition unless I already knew some of the people involved. It is SO EASY to make a demo at home these days. I've even heard demos that were recorded on someone's iPhone just for the purposes of sketching out a song. Not having something even that basic would make me steer clear, simply because it seems that it's going to be a very long process to get anything together.

    And if they're asking you if you've got riffs you want to try? I'd be even more leery.
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Agree^ I feel this is a time waster and wanna bee type of band.
  16. I think there are two likely scenarios to the situation:

    1. They are a few people just starting up an original project (and by just starting I mean a week or two) and are looking for the right player chemistry so when the songs are written the personnel are already in place.

    2. They are a band that wants to do original music and has been trying for a while but has figured out that none of them can write. They're looking to bring in someone who can write the music for them.

    Neither is necessarily bad as long as you are aware of the situation and are cool with it.
  17. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    They didn't give you much, so, I would say, don't expect much.

    Sounds like you've been around the block a few times. I'm sure you know that most start ups are questionable and never get off the ground.


    I am so picky about auditions:

    • I require a telephone conference with the BL to discuss details prior to the audition.

    • Must have files of the songs I will audition.

    • Will only use my rig.

    • I will only audition 3 songs, 4 songs max and no jamming. ( I can jam and love jamming, just don't see the point)

    • Must be a certified working band with 6 months of bookings

    • Minimum take home is $100.00 per gig

    • One rehearsal per week max.

    Last but not least, ask if they are auditioning friends or relatives of any band members, if yes I don't audition.

    Keep in mind, I'm 60 and don't have time for nonsense.

    I know, who the heck would want me in a band, lol.:p

  18. ACalbass


    Dec 16, 2011
    Sounds reasonable,problem is how many bands would comply with all requirements,probably none.
    Specially when you CANNOT impose all those requirements to an original band ( they MIGHT have some recordings of some musical ideas,jamming in an original band is generally the way songs originate,original bands are not generally booked or "working" but could be)
    I mean,you might have confused the thread title?
    It clearly states is a start up band.

    Plus,I've been in sessions with guys that never met each other,and can just throw 8 or 16 bars chords progressions,write some breaks on the spot,and improvise the hell out of it for 5-7 minutes.
    Those are the challenge you have to take and that are never a waste of time or money to do.
  19. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    It's a difference of perspectives. I am probably closer to bluewine's age than the OP's age, and I am picky about the situations I involve myself with. Two main reasons -- I already have a lot of experience doing audition jams with potential startup bands, and I simply don't have the same energy I had three decades ago.

    At 15-25, those experiences are valuable, even if the vast majority of them never turn into anything. At 50-60, time is more valuable, and you just don't want to waste it doing something when you already know what the outcome is going to be. (Yes, it's possible to be wrong, and that original startup band jam audition we pass on could be the exception to everything. But the odds are in our favor.)
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Your right, and it was out of context, my bad.

    My requirements and process and those questions would not fit any start up project.


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