Posted in Music Stuff

How to get through an audition you know you’re going to bomb

As anyone who’s ever been in a band will tell you, if you try to make it, you WILL take your fair share of knockbacks. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that out of every 10 things we go for, 9 of them we don’t get and the 1 we do get often has some unexpected set back that we never saw coming.

But hey, it comes with the territory. “WE’RE LIVING THE DREAM,” no band has ever said.”THE DREAM WHERE WE’RE CONSTANTLY BROKE AND UNEMPLOYED!!”

Because we’re nice people (sometimes, anyway), we’re going to give you our top five tips for how to get through an audition that you know you’re going to bomb.

1) Assess the situation.

First of all, you need to figure out if it’s just nerves talking or it’s a genuine “oh shit, this isn’t going to work.” Take a look at who else is there – have you become a Sesame Street episode of non-conformity? “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is in their early 20’s with a synth and dressed up in glitter and neon-punk in a sea of hipster teenagers with acoustic guitars.”

(Yes, that’s actually happened to us. I’m not saying I’m old but let’s just say that there have been times where I’ve realised that I’m up against bands who members hadn’t even been born until after I’d learnt to read, write and sit through entire days of school.)

Sometimes, being different is a good thing. It makes you stand out. Buuuuuut sometimes it’s the last thing the judges are looking for – if they’re after a certain criteria and you’re not adhering to it, then no amount of “BUT I’M SUPER SPESHUL AND AWESSSOOOME!!11” is going to save it.

So ignore your nerves. Look critically and clinically at everyone around you, then look at yourself and finally look at the thing you’re auditioning for. Are you really in the right place?

No?

Congratulations! You’ve realised you’re fucked!! Now what?

2)  Don’t panic. 

No, really. At this state, your inner dialogue is probably something along the lines of  “oh fuck fuck fuck how do I save this?!? Shit, I knew I should have practised that cover of Lourde’s Royals maybe I can wing it I think I can remember the chords…”

That’s a terrible idea (and a terrible song. Don’t do it. EVER. Not even in a ‘ironic’ way.) If you can accept that it’s not going to work then you’ll immediately take some of your own mental stress off. If you know you’re not going to get through, you can relax a bit.

3) … But don’t not bother at all!!

Well done! You’re relaxed and chilled about this. You’re so chilled, you’re cooler than an Eskimo’s freezer that’s been smoking weed solidly for the past two weeks. (Can freezer’s smoke? How would that even work?? Hmm… that metaphor didn’t quite work.) You’re not getting through so this is more like a rehearsal. Hey, you don’t even need to sing that well or bother getting all the chords right, right?

Well no. Because then you’re just wasting everyone’s time – and not just yours but also the judges. That “can’t be fucked” attitude will come across if you’re not trying, and if they pick up on that (and trust me, they WILL) then it will only reflect badly on YOU. At this point, it’s still entirely possibly you’ve misread the situation. Maybe what you’re doing might actually be what they want and you’re about to blow their minds with your RAW AWESOMENESS.

So even if you’re 99% sure it’s a no-go, you’re going to still have to focus on that 1% and give it all you’ve got.

4) Be prepared – everything that can go wrong WILL go wrong.

I don’t know why this happens at this kind of audition but when you know it’s not going to go well, it doesn’t.

Case in point – we had an audition recently where, due to timing constraints, we didn’t get to properly sort the volume of our drum track against the preset levels for the guitar, vocal and synth. All the other bands auditioning had live drummers, so could just get up and play and everything was vaguely at a good level but because our drums were coming out a laptop through the PA, they got turned down to save the audience being deafened by our glorious bass frequencies.

This meant that while we could certainly hear everything nicely, due to the general quietness, it meant that the audience watching the audition could also hear everything.

And I mean everything.

Spike (who was getting over the flu that week so struggling to sing as it was) decided to jump up and down a bit, as he is prone to when we play live. Every time he landed, there was this massive BOOM from the impact that echoed out around. My boots squeaked on the floor. Wotsit coughed.

ALL OF THIS WAS HEARD ABOVE OUR BACKING TRACK.

So while we’re getting more and more painfully self conscious of how our set is starting to sound like it’s being played over a high-school gym wrestling match, I then suffered a critical failure where my guitar strap slipped off my shoulder. Unable to hold the guitar up and keep playing, I dropped to my knees and ended up playing the rest of the song in a way that would have even the most experimental Jazz musicians weeping and with my skirt rucked up to give the entire front row a nice view of my spanky pants. (YES, I wear spanky pants on stage. Google it if you haven’t seen Bring It On, it’s definitely NOT what you’re thinking.)

5) Say “fuck it,” have fun and keep trying

Unsurprisingly, we didn’t get that one.

However, we came off knowing that we’d given it our best shot and despite it all, we actually had a lot of positive feedback on our performance. Sure, it didn’t go well, but we kept playing and got through it, and we also learnt a bit about what worked, what didn’t and all that kind of stuff that’s really helpful to perfect in the future to actually get through.

So, in conclusion:

The judges may be all “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” but you can be all “LOL TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY!! 😀 ”

(Little known fact: that’s the actual line from the original script, ‘lol’ and emoticons included.)

– XOXO MISSCHERRYBOMB

By the way, we’ve released our album, Kill It With Fire, which you can listen to HERE and we’re also headling a gig on the 18th March at the Prince Albert in Brighton which you should totally come down to.

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Author:

Cosplaying, bass playing, coffee addict with an over-active imagination and a penchant for autumn and red lipstick.

2 thoughts on “How to get through an audition you know you’re going to bomb

  1. “That’s a terrible idea (and a terrible song. Don’t do it. EVER. Not even in a ‘ironic’ way.)” oh my god I was laughing so hard. I love your take on this, I may even have to re blog it 🙂

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