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Whole band thinking about moving to the U.K

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ka_Ve_86, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. So in the past couple of months my drummer has mentioned
    that we should move to the U.K in the week that has just
    passed its now turned into a serious discussion

    We are currently in Australia and the thing about the Australian industry is that it does not support artists as that of places like the U.S and the U.K my drummers wife is from the U.K and here dad is a professional drummer with a whole load of contacts and connections that he can help us out with so we would even have a head start

    My question is if 5 mates have a band and believe in it so much is the next step to move to a country that can give them possibilties that Australia cant

    I personally have busted my arse of playing in bands for the past 8 years and havent caught a break my thoughts are that even though this is a big step the pay off seems all worth it

    Thoughts anyone?
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Support for artists? Here? LMAO!!

    Sorry to burst the bubble, but the situation here in the UK won't be the slightest bit different, I'm afraid. Most musicans spend years "busting their arses off without catching a break" and that applies here every bit as much as it does there in Sydney, I'm sure. So, no, moving to the UK will certainly NOT give you any possibilities that don't exist in Australia. To think otherwise is pure fantasy.

    I'm not a pro, but most of the guys I play with are, in as far as they earn their living through music. Nearly all of them make most of their income from teaching and a much smaller proportion from gigging. The amount of money you can earn by playing out is nowhere remotely close to what you'd need for a living wage. As far as well paid, regular gigs go - well, all the contacts in the world can't get you work that just doesn't exist.

    There are a few exceptions, like theatre work in London and the big orchestras, but even there money isn't fantastic and work can dry up all too easily. You don't say what sort of band you're in, but I'm guessing it's rock or pop oriented, right? You could probably play out quite a lot over here, but the money you'd make would be a pittance and you'd definitely need another job to supplement your income to get a living wage. By the way, I'd be really interested if you could let me know what sort of work your drummer's wife's dad is getting, and where. If he's one of the handful of top session players here, he might be just about doing okay. But gigging? Well, some of the holiday camps pay decent money to show bands and the like if you travel all round the coast to play them. But that's really only for about three months of the year.

    As far as "making it big", that's pretty much like winning the lottery. There's just so many bands and so few that ever hit the big time, the odds are massively against it and changes in the music industry aren't improving them. The few that do very well out of music do so mainly by pure luck - hence the lottery analogy, which is a good one. This country is FULL of bands of five mates who "really believe" and almost all of them get precisely nowhere. I know, I spent years playing in bands like that myself.

    So, if you want to somehow come over here for an extended break, live a bit rough, work day jobs to keep fed and dry and have fun playing a few gigs as part of the process, fine. But if you think you're going to come over and build a successful and sustainable career in music because you'll be better placed to do so here than you are in Oz, you're just dreaming, honestly. If you're feeling that lucky, go and get a lottery ticket.

    You should print this post out and take it to the next discussion you have with your band. I know it's not really what you all want to hear, but I'm just trying to save you a whole load of hassle and upheaval - especially if, like your drummer, you have wives/families - hassle and upheaval that has pretty much zero chance of getting you anything like what you're imagining it will.
  3. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    This is also how it is here in the good old US of A.

    I have very talented friends (and now friends of my kids) who have spent years in LA, NYC, SF, working hard to catch a break... probably the only contemporary Bay Area band to really break into the bigs is Green Day.

    Edit: Well, I guess I'd have to add Metallica to that list.
  4. I was in the UK in 2006. It was more a "holiday with some gigs" than a tour, but it certainly was educational.

    From my observation, generally bands in the UK are working for a pittance. A hack bar band in Australia (in my area, anyway) will get paid far more, in relative terms, than an equivalent band in the UK. For every band/musician people like to point to and say "they're making a lot", thousands and thousands aren't.

    OTOH, if you go over and get "normal" jobs and gig after hours, it will be the experience of a lifetime. Unlike here in Australia, in London you'll have a choice of top line international acts to go and see appearing every night of the week.

    But at the bottom end of the food chain, your opportunities are at least as bad as in Australia unless you're outstanding. You MUST take a brutally honest look at your band. It's not enough to just not suck, you've got to be REALLY special.
  5. Thankyou for all your feedback
    Im not going over there with the intention of making it big i know that is a far shot no matter where you are we all understand that we will have to get day jobs and the band will not be our main source of income.

    I guess the appeal is just the the shows we will be playing im not expecting anything massive of course but all of us have played in bands for 8 - 12 years or so, the sydney music scene to us anyway is really getting boring playing the same venues with the same bands every month is becoming annoying the other issue is when touring in australia logistically to play one city to the next will normally take a 2hr drive atleast and then past that its more like 8 - 12hrs of driving just to play maybe a fri/sat night

    I think it will be a great life experience going to the U.K with my five best friends to play music i know that in terms of the amount of gigs and touring needs we are much better off in the U.K then what we are in australia

    Once again thankyou for your feedback its always good to hear other opinions on this kind of stuff
  6. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    As I understand it, you can't just move to the U.K. They have strict immigration laws, and enforce them. And it's an island, so it's hard to sneak in.
  7. We have put plenty of research into this its not like we thought we would just pack
    out things and get the next plane over there.
    We have looked at rental properties cost of shipping containers to get out gear over there i think my drummer has been planning this a while because he seemed to have spent a lot of time on google ha ha
  8. For Aussie citizens, it a lot easier to get work visa's.
  9. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Why not just tour through there...

    If you're good... continue through Japan..

  10. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    I can understand the desire to move. An old band of mine moved from NY to LA. We met more people in 6 months in LA by accident than a year in NY by trying. Manager met at Target in line, producer came to watch another band at the Whiskey but liked us and our lawyer we met in a vintage clothing store. We got lucky and it lead to bigger things at the time. Sending out tapes (it was the early 90's) and cd's didn't do all that much, but friends of friends made it happen. We had our chance and ego screwed the pooch on that one.

    Life has a way of changing lanes and all the moves I've made have brought me here, a place that makes me smile with my wife asleep on the couch to my left, and my 2 month old daughter asleep on my right. Had I never moved to LA many years ago, I wouldn't be here nor would I have had a night out with Iggy Pop.
  11. taphappy

    taphappy doot de doo

    Sep 28, 2007
    Tempe, Arizona

    It's not a matter of artist support. It's a matter of being where there's the most potential for things to happen if you put the work in. If you're splashing around in a puddle in your own back yard, you can't expect to make waves.

    I've got plenty of friends who are sitting around complaining about not being able to make it. But, then I've got friends touring with Kesha, 30STM, etc. If they had not moved to LA, they never would have had that opportunity. Mind you, these guys worked their tails off, slept on their fair share of couches, starved, used their brains, networked like crazy - they're great guys, great players, and wholly deserve it. Everyone I know that is doing it professionally did not catch breaks, they made them, and had a major impact on the smaller scenes they were in before moving.

    No idea what the Australian scene is like, nor the UK scene...but if you have put the work in, and I mean WORK - then hell yeah! But, landing in the UK and using those contacts without being seriously polished will have a negative effect, and simply serve to blow out those contacts. Get all your ducks in a row now, while it's easy, rather than adding the stress of a move, and learning how to get your feet under you in a new country, and a new music scene.

    Better scene means stiffer competition. If you take an average bar band from here in Phoenix, they won't be able to get a gig in LA. I grew up in the Manhattan scene - and 95% of the bands I see around here wouldn't be allowed anywhere near a crappy venue in Manhattan.

    I haven't heard your band, so I have on idea what it's like. But, you don't start a new business with five employees by renting an entire office complex. You start small, bust your hump, see what it can do. You guys have that opportunity, and while I know all of you have played that scene extensively, have you done it together? I think it would benefit you, as a band, to focus on the band before making the jump. If you can't make ripples in the small pond...

    Or jump :) It's life experience, if nothing else. Hard to go wrong with that.
  12. In that case, you'll have a hell great time.

    Except you can't get decent chocolate or iced coffee flavoured milk in the UK. But UK beer really puts our aussie stuff to shame, IMO.
  13. Thanks for all the comments guys

    Me and the other 4 guys in the band are totally commited to this we have never felt more comfortable in band and the material we are writing is the best we have ever wrote

    We plan on going at the end of next year so it gives us a year to get tight start some buzz start making connections over there we plan on doing a lot of preperation next year before we go

    I have moved to different cities twice now to be able to be apart of a bigger music scene and i am still not satisfied i know this is a big desicion but i think the pay off could be all worth if and if we go over there and is doesnt work out then i still got to live in the uk for a year with my best mates
  14. Obviously, your drummer's sorted if he's married to a Brit in terms of immigration, but what basis will the rest of you use to get visas? If you're 25 and under, you may qualify for BUNAC, which means you can go and live and work in the UK for a year, but otherwise, you'll need secured work and quite a bit of money behind you to be granted a residency visa.

    Britain recently made their immigration laws significantly stricter (a lot more like Australia's, actually) due to public concern about high immigration levels, and they seem to be tightening things up even more. Even your drummer might have issues, despite being married to a Brit - my wife's American and is looking at jumping through many, many hoops (possibly including community service and limited access to the NHS) to retain her UK permanent resident status, despite being married to a British citizen.

    Also, if you're looking to "make it", you'll probably want to be close to London, which, if you're not used to it, is a seriously expensive place to live. London's awesome, the music scene is good, there's loads of venues to play, lots of music biz people, etc, but to echo Bassybill's comments, there's also thousands of bands jockeying for attention, and there's a lot of "pay to play" going on, especially in many of the central London venues. It can be quite cut-throat.

    The whole notion of "making it" in the traditional sense (ie, record deal, etc) is a bit outdated now, and being in London will only modestly increase your chances. Personally, I'd say exhaust the possibilities in Australia first. Get as big as you can in the NSW scene, then maybe move to Melbourne or something (you'll know better than me, but apparently that's where you have to be to get noticed over there). Either that, or get a 6-month tourist visa for the UK (not hard as long as you don't have a criminal record and can prove you can pay your way without resorting to working), save up some cash and go over there on an extended "musicians' holiday" and see what interest you can drum up.

    However, if you can make it work, the best of luck to you. :)
  15. This man is not to be believed!! ;)
  16. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Kurtis my man! I just stumbled across this thread. Is it disturbing that I knew it was you just by your gear list? Hehe.

    I just thought I'd share my 2 bits as someone who can relate. I came to Beijing from Canberra, Australia two years ago to play music, just jumped over with a couple of contacts and no Chinese language skills. It's been a big fat mix of ups and downs but there's not much that I'd trade these last two years for!

    As far as music goes, I think it's great to get yourself into a place where you can play a lot. As you've said, if you want to tour in Australia it's not a lot of fun due to the massive distances between any two cities that you're likely to play in. I don't know much about touring in the UK, but I do know that the driving distance from Sydney to Melbourne (between which there's exactly ONE city that most bands would ever stop off at, and they sometimes miss that one too - you know what I mean!) is literally the same as the distance from the Northern tip of Scotland to the far South of England, and I'm sure you can find a few places to play somewhere in there!

    I think that there's significant value in being somewhere where you can engage with a greater depth and diversity of music. I think that you can learn a lot from being involved with a more challenging, active, and diverse music scene. I know that I have.

    Personally, living in a different country has been an amazing experience for me, just for the different perspective it offers. I'm really grateful for all of my friends from many different cultures, and the things that we learn from each other. I know that no matter where I go from here, I'll never be same as I was before, and I'm incredibly happy about it.

    It's late and I'm going to bed, but feel free to hit me up if you want to talk about this stuff at all, I'd be happy to share my experiences on taking the plunge (albeit not quite the same one). It'd be cool to catch up in any case bro.


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