RT @sophie__ablett: wrote a thing! here is my article in @Run_Riot on Are There Female Gorillas? Our shows are NEXT WEEK!! would love for y…
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10 ways to achieve longevity as a moderately successful band according to Mr Bruce

The hi-octane multi-genre dance music duo The Correspondents are going to be 10 years old in December. The band are producing a Limited Edition Vinyl of their top tunes through Kickstarter and the lead singer Mr Bruce has been reflecting on how they’ve managed to sustain a career for almost a decade.

Hope for the best. Expect the worst
When performing consistently your ego can inadvertently take a pummelling on a regular basis. This can be highly demoralising. We practice the art of keeping the energy and enthusiasm levels high but the expectation bar low. A main stage show may look amazing on paper, but in reality be an unravelling nightmare of technical issues where you find yourself in front of thousands drowning in an audio soup unable to find the right key. And too many times have we had our presumptions quashed by a random pub gig in the nether regions of the arse end of nowhere that ends up being incredulously fun.

And if you make an effort to expect the worst you won’t be disappointed if your changing room is a disabled toilet with puke in the sink.

Be nice (especially to Sound Engineers)
With our very light dusting of success you can’t rely on prestige and fame to carry you through life on a golden chariot being cheered on by yes people. Every now again you see a cocky little upstart of a newly signed band thinking just this and being dismissive to a Sound Engineer. This is about as clever as biting the hand that feeds you. Sound Engineers may not be the most affable members of the human race but they are omniscient and have the ability to make you sound like you are farting through a baked bean tin if they so wish.

And I think an understanding and respect for your audience is important. It’s easy to think of people as numbers of tickets sold rather than Sarah and Dannielle who’ve made extensive plans to get a babysitter so they can come and see you perform. They are the reason you still have a job!

Avoid easy categorisation
This may not sound like the best piece of business advice but in our case if you’re going to survive the ebb and flow of music scenes and genres it’s best to mix it up to avoid being pigeon holed. If you are too tightly linked to a genre and that genre begins to sink you don’t want to be dragged down with it. We spent a good three years trying to persuade people that we weren’t electro swing anymore, not that we had anything against the genre we just found it a little frustrating that whatever we made it was still described as electro swing.

Be a duo
Ok, I’m being a little facetious. But I’m pretty sure that a decade in we wouldn’t still be doing what we are doing full time if we were a four piece band. When there’s two of you the money goes two ways, the arguments go two ways and you can buy a Two Together Railcard.

Listen to plenty of podcasts
Being in a two man band for 10 years is the equivalent of being married for 30 years. You share a bank account, you eat meals in silence (and can mostly predict what they’ll choose on any given menu) and you spend an inordinate amount of time in a car together. Podcasts not only help those 7-hour car journeys seem bearable but build up an armoury of conversation topics that can be utilised in any restaurant scenario.

Find yourself a nice manager who’ll listen to you moan
A good manager is somewhere between your pimp, your therapist and your nanny. Looking through my phone bill I found I spent more time calling our manager than anyone else. I don’t dare tot up the hours but I’d like to look back at my career and know I spent that time speaking to a decent human being. And as a music industry acquaintance once said when finding out who our manager was, “Oh, he’s resolutely not a c*nt. Rare for a manager. Good one”.

Don’t bother with PR
I could reframe this as ‘don’t bother having an expectation that you are PR-able’. Unless you have already risen through the lower echelons of fame, signed to a major record label or have the weight of the industry behind you then, in our experience, PR agencies can do little more than put your money in a blender along with all the glossy magazines whose double page spreads they promised your image would grace.

The cream will rise to the top somehow
A phrase my bandmate, Chucks, has used since our inception. I like it because it implies a belief in the capabilities of the music to promote itself. If it’s good enough it will proliferate. So let’s keep making music until we produce that pint of Gold Top.

Collaborate, break your process, change your scene
You got to keep it fresh, you can stagnate if the same people are locked into the same process of making music and content. Habits can form into rules if you aren’t careful, it’s important to challenge the creative process. For years I thought I could only write the lyrics and melody of a song if Chucks had already made an initial beat, it was a self imposed rule that formed from an insecurity in my own ability. Flipping the rule suddenly unleashed a range of possibilities previously untapped.

A small change to your environment can make a huge difference too. The move to being able to produce in Logic on a laptop while touring was a big pro for Chucks. It meant he wasn’t restricted to a studio and could use a ten minute window in a departure lounge to add a new synth to a track.

And collaborate wherever possible. I’ve learnt an inordinate amount about film making through working closely with the some seriously talented directors. From Naren Wilks’ pioneering composite camera techniques in Fear and Delight to the surrealist Busby Berkeley-esque wizardry of Christina Hardinge in Inexplicable.

Enjoy it and recognise your privilege
It’s all too easy to complain about a plethora of petty concerns from depleting likes on your facebook page to not getting a repeat booking for your favourite festival show. But at the end of the day I earn a living showing off in front of an audience of mostly enthusiastic people. I can’t imagine a more privileged position to be in.  

10 Years of The Correspondents: The Vinyl
Mr Bruce and Chucks would like to celebrate a decade of the bands existence with a Limited Edition Vinyl LP and they need your help!


The Correspondents
+ DJ Yoda + Krafty Kuts + The Nextmen
+ Chris Tofu
+ very special Guest Rob Da Bank
at the Electric Brixton
22:00, Friday 8 December 2017
Tickets and info