Trying to start an indie rock band.

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Trying to start an indie rock band.

Post by Patr!ck »

I said it, I'm trying to start an indie rock band. It seemed like it would be something easy to do, but I've simply hit roadblock after roadblock. The first thing I had to overcome was a lack of any guitar skill. About a year later of playing for 1-4 hours a day, I can comfortably say that I'm an average guitar player. Next I needed good equipment, because playing on my first guitar would not get me very far. I went to the local guitar seller (not shop, just a guy who sells guitars among many, many other things) and picked up a Johnson Solara for under $200. It sounds alright, but I had to open it up and fiddle with some of the wiring and the jack. About this time I also picked up Peavey Express 112 amp, which sounds like beautifulness.

My good friend and I started jamming together, he played drums and I originally played bass, but I moved to guitar and then to a better guitar. We recruited two friends, one to play bass (after I switched) and one for keys and vox. These two friends were mediocre and when time came for college they were out. So my drummer friend, Ryan and I, had this band called The Martyr Complex. I came up with a couple of neat guitar parts and he had the beats to compliment them, but lyrically were were challenged, as well as finishing songs we started.

The short version, I had about 30% of a record made up by myself and Ryan was going off to state. I recruited my best friend (almost brother) Kyle to play bass for me. I had originally wanted to keep him out of the band because I didn't want work coming in between our friendship. However, he continued to get better and I need a bassist. As for drums another friend, Kacey, came into the picture. Kacey has been playing drums since 6th grade band (we're 18 now, about 7 years) so he's got skill. We start getting together randomly and trying to write songs. I had something written from the first version of TMC (Ryan and I unofficially decided that I could keep the band name) called Broken Up. Kyle and Kacey quickly came up with bass and drum parts and we had a full fledged song, minus lyrics.

Kyle told me about an old neighbor of his, Adam (Kyle had moved into a way bigger house that belongs to his mothers boyfriend, and we got the equivalent of a small garage to practice in). I had heard Adam play before, but wasn't confidant in his ability to write music. Adam came to jam with the band for a session and we voted to keep him in. He could write music fairly well, but damn could he shred! That brings us to the current lineup of The Martyr Complex:

Pat Becerra: Guitar/Keys
Adam Bognar: Guitar
Kyle Ratliff: Bass
Kacey Keel: Drums/Keys

So now I've got a very capable band, a guitarist that can play anything I tell him to as fast as I want it, a rhythm guitarist who knows tons and tons of chords and music theory, a bassist that can mirror anything and has a knack for picking up on other basslines quickly, and a drummer who puts a fresh beat to every song.

The problem we're having is writing music. Everyone has a different style of music they want to emulate. Adam and Kacey really like speed metal and hard rock, I want something acoustical, but also like Placebo, We Are Scientists and Spinto Band. Kyle loves funk music, but also has heavy influences in alternative, metal and electronica. Everyone in the band likes most all the music out there, but we can't really decide on a set style to stick to. We have a few different songs, but each sounds way too different, like totally different bands played them.

Oh yeah, and I got an Epiphone SG Standard for christmas, so I have a great guitar to play on. Plus a few pedals to spice it up.

Great, we can write music. Nobody in the band can write words. This is a huge problem. Oh, and no one can really sing good enough to be labeled "Lead Vocalist". Everyone can sing harmonically together and it's decent, so right now we're trying to pursue something like that. But back to the words. I try and try, but I can't seem to write a lot of stuff that impresses me, or things that I feel comfortable singing to other people. I came up with a song that a metaphor for new things starting during change "Spring Is When the Songs Melt" and a song about how unpleasant drinking and drugs become "Bad Trip".

The bottom line is this, I've got the ability to create great music, record said music and people who can play that music live. I'm only missing someone to write words and sing them. Does anyone have any ideas, tips, suggestions or comments in general?

P.S. We can be found at
(The old band has a myspace which took /themartyrcomplex and nobody remembers the password to delete it)

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Post by Liesbeth »

wow, the hardships of starting a band.

selected items from your long post:
- styles: I'd say go with the flow, if you all feel comfortable doing different styles, that's great. Keep at it and you might find a style of your own out of it if you give it some time.
- lyrics: it's really hard to tell someone else how to do it, because for me it starts with a few lines that just come up. But hey, that title Spring is when the songs melt sounds great (a bit more so that A C*nt Issue perhaps...).
What you could do when you have a line or two, is start associating wildly, write it all down and then look what you like from that and if it tells a story. See if there are some opposites in it, or a build-up perhaps. Also, perhaps what you don't feel comfortable with playing for others is the most interesting stuff (this is coming from someone who rarely plays anything to anyone else, so you can take it or leave it, as you wish).

have fun!
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Post by kyle_s9 »

hey cool story.
i can see how it'd be hard if everyone kinda wants there own sound...
try to compliment each other, and do your best to find a medium everyone is happy with i guess.
but glad to read a story like this, as i'm 19 and i'm starting a band in a year or so with a friend or 2 too.
best of luck to you
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Post by Patr!ck »

Thanks for the replies! It helps to know someone read my stuff!
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Post by GMM »

Also trying to start an indie rock band: Me. For the past 3 god damn years.

I can do the lyrics thing and uh, nothing else. Still. Starting guitar lessons. ¬_¬
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