Banners - TOUR TIPS

Join us as Banners recommends his advice for being on tour.

Banners - TOUR TIPS

In this Tour Tips segment, the singer-songwriter, Banners, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:

Making music as a job has a crazy steep learning curve and touring is a big part of that. There is really no preparation for it and it's generally pretty badly represented culturally. I think people broadly think it's one big party and (sorry if I'm killing the fantasy here) it's really not. I think if you want to party, maybe, the best thing to do is just have a party. I wouldn't ever want to give anyone tips because you figure it out by doing it, don't you? But here's a few things that I've learned.

1. Do it with people you really really like.

If you're putting a band together to tour, pick people you really like and then find out if they're any good at playing instruments later. The only break you're going to get from them is when you go to the bathroom and even then it's not a given. You're in a van, then you're loading into the venue, you're soundchecking, you're eating some food, then you're doing a gig, you're loading all the stuff back into the van, then you're in a hotel room and then you're back in the van to the next load in. All of that together, when you're all really tired. If you don't like each other, even a tiny bit, you're going to kill each other. If you really like each other, then it's the greatest thing, especially when you're on-stage. I love looking to my left or right and seeing people I love. Sharing that experience with them is, honestly, one of the best things in the whole world. On tour, I generally share a room with my friend Ed. I like to wake him up each morning by singing a little song I've made up, it doesn't matter what it's about. The stranger the better really. I just mainly want to be responsible for ruining his lovely sleep with something weird (I think), it sets him up for the day beautifully.

2. It's hard work

Musical equipment is generally really heavy and there are almost always stairs. I cannot emphasize enough how unglamorous touring is. You're generally a mover of equipment from one stage in one city to a different stage in a different city. Generally, these stages are hundreds and hundreds of miles apart. Just moving stuff all day, mainly in a van or a trailer, and then with your own powerful muscles. And then there's a little bit, probably about 1/24th of the day, where you sing your little songs and then it's back to moving your gear and traveling to the next venue. Basically, if you're in it for the glamour, don't bother. Maybe just turn up at film premieres, take some photos that look like you were invited before security arrives, and pop the best picture on instagram or something. It should be hard, shouldn't it? It's an amazing thing that we're getting to do and the fact that it's hard somehow makes it much more special. Like you've really earned the amazing moments. And you have enough amazing moments on one tour that could last you a lifetime. My friend Dan developed a system for carrying equipment he called "The Megapede". Basically it involves a big line of you all carrying a big snake of equipment into a venue and it's amazing. If you want to see it in action feel free to turn up to the stage door of a BANNERS gig 5 hours before we're on stage and have your mind blown. "The Megapede" has been trademarked so anyone wishing to use the concept, please contact my management.

3. You are going to get ill (get on with it)

You're going to be really tired and you're going to spend lots of time in not particularly well ventilated spaces with (hopefully) loads of people in them and you are going to get sick. It always happens. Someone will get Ill and then you all will. If you're the singer your voice is going to suddenly sound rubbish and you'll want to tell the audience that you're Ill because you'll want them to know that normally you're great but right now you're sick. Here's the thing, don't under any circumstances make excuses like that. You're here and they're here and they might have come a really long way to be here. They don't want excuses, they want to feel like the show they're at is the special one. They don't want to be at the show where you weren't really feeling up to it, thinking that last night was better. If you feel that your voice is struggling, it probably is, but get out there and give them everything anyway. Throat Coat tea tastes horrible but it's good. Warm-ups are really important too.

4. This isn’t for you, it’s for them

Touring is one of the great experiences in life and you are going to create memories that will last you forever, but that's not the point of touring. This isn't for you to have a great time, it's for them, your fans. The people that came a really long way to see you, who spent their money to see you when there's a million other things to do and when money might be tight these days. So, you have a duty to do absolutely everything you can to make this amazing for them, because without them there is nothing. So once you've played the gig take every single selfie that anyone wants and sign however many things there are to sign. You'll want to finish the gig and go for a big night out because you're in a cool city with your best friends and you've just played your best ever gig, but don't do it. Do the most disappointingly un-rock and roll thing and go to bed. That gives your voice the chance to recover, especially if you've got a show tomorrow. It's the last thing you'll want to do, but this whole thing is not for you, it's for them. And anyway, playing an amazing gig for people is the greatest thing in the world.

5. Don't let anyone tell you what to do or how to do it.

Don't pay attention to any of this. No-one knows how to make your thing happen better than you. You'll figure it out and it'll be 100% authentically yours because it was you that figured it out. There'll be loads of mistakes but absolutely nothing is terminal and making mistakes is the only way to learn and to make your thing stronger and better. Some gigs go badly but they happen to everyone so don't let that rock your confidence. It's hard to do but do your best to experience it in the moment whilst it's happening. Stand on stage and take a big breath. You're here and you're doing it. So go for it. Because who knows if you'll get to do it again.

Oh and buy a hard case for absolutely EVERY piece of equipment. If it can break it will. And it will break at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME. I had a guitar amp set on fire once. Was pretty cool.

Keep up with Banners on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.