By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Guam with a pop rock band from Boston called Clarias. In my past music industry life I was the Director of both the Boston Music Awards and NEMO Music Festival, and as such I would run into the band from time to time. The band fell off my radar for a spell but they got my attention when they ranked number one in the “MTV Best Breakout Artist–Boston” music channel on OurStage (although Gentlemen Hall ultimately took home the MTV win).
The track that they entered into the contest—”Wonder/Wander”—is hooky as hell with the polish of seasoned talent. Some of the track’s secret ingredients come courtesy of the experienced production skills of Matthew Ellard, who produced and engineered Clarias’ third studio release, The Days Of The Getaway. Matthew and I have been friends ever since he produced recordings for a couple of bands I managed several years ago. I got in touch with Matthew to compliment him on the track and share the news of the band’s success on OurStage. It was at this time that he asked—well maybe pleaded—that I meet up with the band and give them some advice on what to do with their new recording, a project that he was very proud of. I immediately agreed to do it.
When I met with the band, it didn’t take long to realized that Clarias—like many others in their position—needed direction. Years of hard work resulted in nothing more than spinning wheels and career plateaus following spikes of success. During our conversation I couldn’t help think about how many times I’ve had this same conversation with an emerging artist, and how I wish I could sit down every new band and spell a few things out for them.
A lot of artists seem to get overwhelmed with the business side of their art even though some things are common sense. I think many bands would greatly benefit from some frank industry discussions, tough love as well as encouragement. As I left my initial meeting with Clarias I said to myself, “I’m going to offer to mentor this band and I’m going to film all our meetings so I can share the insights with other bands in their position.” So that’s exactly what I am doing. Don’t know when or in what format the footage will air but the cameras are rolling.
Clarias and I have been getting together on a weekly basis for the past six weeks or so. As time went on, I was able to pinpoint a few reasons why the band had yet to reach the next level. While we are on tour, we are going to work on some of their “weaknesses” such as the live SHOW (they are great performers but that is not enough—people want to see showmanship) and the ability to make fans. These are key components in any artist’s success but many musicians take these two aspects of their artistry for granted. So while Clairas is on tour they will be in rock ‘n’ roll boot camp, and I will be the drill sergeant (minus the motivational screaming).
It’s getting late and I have an early morning flight. If you want to read a little more on the behind-the-scenes antics, go HERE. Otherwise I hope to blog post performance at Anderson Air Base.
And remember, the ultimate goal is that by mentoring one band I can virtually mentor others. Will share the things I’ve learned along the way.