The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday August 18th

Milo Lead Vocalist: Shows That Don't Pay Now Will Pay Off Later

For more than three years and almost 40 shows, we've been trying to figure out how to make a name for ourselves with limited time and resources, and the only pieces of advice I can offer to other young bands are things that have worked for us so far, all of which are probably obvious.

Call clubs and establish a connection with owners or employees, send them a demo, and make sure you call the venues back after you've sent your CD because 75 percent of the time, they won't call you.

Try to meet and make friends with other bands in the area because you'll definitely find it easier to set up shows with outside help.

Put time into making and posting band fliers -- if a club makes money off you, it won't take much persuading for them to book you in the future.

Basically, be shameless in promoting yourself to anyone who will listen (come see Milo with Revelation Darling at 9 p.m. tonight at the Great Hall) and work as hard as you can at all these things -- though they might have little to do with your music, they have a lot to do with establishing even the smallest success.

And remember it's not glamorous. Andrew Kinghorn, Milo's guitarist, said something the other day that made sense in a bizarre way: "Most people probably don't want to be in a rock band, they just don't realize it."

Milo is the most time-consuming thing in our lives, and we still have light years to go before we'll be where we want. There is constant pressure to not only create new music but also to avoid the frustration of no one hearing it.

Of course, to us and to every other band that takes its music seriously, it's undoubtedly worth the trouble.

For instance, we drove to Atlanta last Friday to play a 1 a.m. slot at the Somber Reptile, a club we found on http://www.indie-music.com. It was essentially a high school metal band showcase. There were five people left in the club by the time we got on stage. Three of them were working.

We spent about $80 on gas and weren't paid -- but -- we seemed to make an impression on the production coordinator, who thought she might want to have us back to play a private party where we would be paid. So it seems that we made a little progress.

The very next night we saw Deathcab for Cutie at the Cat's Cradle. After the show, Andrew met a couple guys in the band and told them what had happened to us in Atlanta.

One of them replied with a story about the first time they played at Go! Rehearsal Studios two years ago, ironically, to an audience of five.

I happen to know that when they played Go! this past spring, the show sold out, and the Cradle show's attendance was probably close to 300.

And the progress they've made in Chapel Hill -- a few thousand miles from their hometown and without the help of a record label -- is something that gives me, and should give all of us young bands, a lot of hope.

Senior political science major Russ Baggett is Milo's lead singer.

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