Prelude To Madness: From Basement To Hitting The Road

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Mega Club. Katowice, Poland

Hello everyone! My name is Adam. I currently study English Philology at Opolski University in my hometown Opole in Poland. Despite that I’m also a musician aspiring to turn my passion into a full-time job.
So now, you’re probably going to ask yourself “Travelbewise is about traveling, what the hell is this guy doing here?”.

Well, there is a very simple answer to that question – being a musician (amateur or professional) requires a LOT of traveling. Yes, even your favorite artists has to travel quite a bit, not only during the tours but also for other different purposes so that the certain obligations tied to their job can be fulfilled.

People who make music aside of other things will probably know what I’m talking about. But for anybody who wonders how does it really work and who doesn’t really know what it looks like behind the scenes – I’m here to show you all that stuff!

Hopefully you’re going to enjoy my rambling.

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I’ve been a touring and recording musician for around 6 years now and I’ve been doing music since I was 13 years old kid. I taught myself how to play not only the guitar but also the drums and so far I drum in 3 bands (yeah, not enough luck for me to play some guitar maybe because there is an extreme shortage of drummers all over the world). That may sound not like the longest tenure in the field of music but still, I believe that all those experiences collected in the last nine years taught me a lot.

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I’ve had various different experiences with all of those three bands (for anyone curious, I’ll drop the names somewhere, along the way, in my future posts!). Undoubtedly these experiences gave me with basically three different perspectives as every band moves around different groups of fans/people, environments, has different work ethic, music is composed differently so as recordings as well as different tours and gigs.

All that stuff requires some sort of traveling. Even going to the practice space is a trip from one side of the city to another (at least for me) and it often forces me to move my gears around as all these bands I play with have different places for their rehearsals. Usually recording that takes place in the studio is a bit of a trip itself because so far any of my music hasn’t been recorded in my hometown. Also, trip to the studio takes some planning and orchestrating on how you are going to cope with and exist throughout the recording process. There’s loads of questions coming to the mind such as “What clothes should I take?”, “How much food do we need?”, “What’s gonna happen? Maybe this or maybe that or maybe even something else?” You really have to plan everything beforehand. Trust me, going for a 4 to 6-hour drive to the studio and staying there for at least 3 days without having your sh*t together can only lead to the disaster same as in the case of regular travel.

What about leaving for a tour?

Hell, this is even more tricky. On an amateur level everything is more DIY (do it yourself!) and like wandering in the darkness because very often you have no idea how does the club look like, how is it designed and if it allows you to actually play your music on a decent level. You will also find yourself wondering on how the does the stage look like and how much space is in there. What about backstage? Usually there is no backstage! (of course there are always some exceptions to the rule). What comes next is how to talk with the other bands, how to solve the bill about sharing the gear or how you all are going to manage moving around and how much will it take to save not only some space but also time spend on the stage. Trust me – you have to be pretty quick with moving around between the gigs. I learned that the hard way and after that I always try to move myself around with the speed of light, while shooting for the same speed while playing my music. You see, it’s not that easy as you thought it is.

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Lots of things to worry about, right? For me there is also a thing with taking proper amount of clothes, water, food and any other essential that will be needed on the road. Beer is NOT essential per se but it’s always a nice addition, right? Usually I have my backpack packed with some food, bottle of water, towel, extra set of clothes and some other gears that I will need on the stage (like a drum key or something to adjust my drum set-up). As a traveling musician you need a looot of stuff because:

  1. Being a drummer is sweaty and it’s kind of a marathon

  2. You’re in a completely new city, you have no idea where are some shops, restaurants or where to go, you have to check the time every once in a while and you have to be close to the club in case it’s your turn to go on the stage. So all that traveling and gigging is strongly time-bound which adds another dimension to this type of travel.

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As you can see, it’s PLENTY of traveling with PLENTY of principles and obstacles. That’s what makes it interesting, challenging and what certainly teaches you many great life lessons. Every travel and every place does that to us – you’re going to explore the other part of your home (and not only) country, generally some of the world you live in and it makes you redrawing the conclusions on how the world does actually look like. Once you’re back home, things are never the same as they used to be before you left.

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Is our world that diverse? Is it true what other people are saying about traveling from place to place? Does it really change us that much? Hey, you never know what will you experience while going for the all day trip to fairly unknown city. What will you take out of it?

Yes, moving around and traveling for the events make our days quite long. It’s not only about waking up earlier than usual but also about packing your stuff that very morning, practicing in the afternoon, driving to the club, loading the gear in, planning everything with not only your but also other bands. You also have to staff at the venue and instruct the sound guy so that he doesn’t screw up your performance so that at least the whole event will be less stressful for you but of course it doesn’t mean problem free as the latter happens way too rarely.

When it comes to working on the road and being a musician that goes for the tours with his band -t here is certainly a lot to talk about. Therefore in my future articles I will dig deeper into each aspect of the musician travels.

For now, treat it as an insight into the world of music. What I wanted to give you my honest perspective from the first-hand experience and show you how does it all really look like in a nutshell. I hope you will get something out of it but okay, that’s it as I start to provide you with another introduction.

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See you next time. CHEERS!

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Adam Niekrasz

Drummer of three metal bands

Sekator, Paint My Horror and Obora!

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