When bands have momentum there is a buzz and an intangible, yet significant, energy around them. It can be seen when they play, it can be felt from their recordings and it is usually the factor that sets them apart from the pack.
I think there are 2 kinds of momentum(s) for bands: Outer and Inner
Outer momentum is what people can see:
- New shows to play
- New music to release
- New merch to sell
- New tangible “real” things
Inner momentum is a different beast.
Inner momentum is essentially a battle for your mind and your heart…. that makes it more difficult to understand and quantify. Even the attempt to define inner momentum on a broader scale is quite ludicrous, because everyone will define inner momentum on there own terms.
Suffice it to say that when you have inner momentum you know it. You feel your band is going places and growing as a musical entity.
When you don’t have that momentum you know that things are slowing down. Arguably the best definition of inner momentum is the lack of it. Things are not moving for you. The music, or the band, or the live show, or whatever, is stagnant and will not get better unless you take back your heart and your mind first.
So here are some of my personal tips for keeping and sustaining your bands inner momentum:
Appreciate what you already have. Bands are typically egotistical. They love their own music and are often puzzled why the Killers are bigger then them. But instead of looking at the glass half empty, flip that script. Look at all that you already have.
- Do you have fans? Awesome!
- Do you have good gear? Great.
- Do you have a solid lineup? Mint!
- Are you alive and breathing?! Fuckin eh!
Get inspired. Listen to new music, read a new book, create music that is completely out of your norm, check out new visual art, watch a great film, jam with new musicians. Do all that you can to stay inspired.
Take care of yourself. Although our culture continues to glorify the strung out rock star cliche. The reality is, that if you consistently feel like 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag, you’re probably not firing on all musical cylinders .
Yes i hear you argue that the Velvet Underground were probably taking heroin when they wrote Heroin, Cobain was probably on drugs when he wrote some of his songs and Hendrix put acid tabs in his bandanna during concerts so he could get progressively more stoned as he played.
My counter point is that those artists respected those chemicals for how they added to their songs. Once they started abusing them shit happened and the music stopped. If you are abusing chemicals to the point where they are hampering your musical growth, then that is not helping your inner momentum.
Keep working, keep playing, keep hustling, and most importantly keep your inner momentum going because if you have that there is no one in the world can stop you.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIicqULYhGw]