Having an objective and effective band biography can be a challenge for many bands. Often, the bands write these bio themselves (they are usually better at their instruments than at basic grammar) and are full of overly flowery explanations of the origin and mission of their sound and myriad influences. Sometimes, these monoliths are multiple pages long, including detailed biographical information about each band member.
Your bio doesn’t need to be so detailed. Save that for books about your legacy and magazine feature articles. Keep your bio short and punchy. Like a brand statement or company overview. While I’m not claiming to have the answer to the perfect and entrancing band bio formula, I can however impart some tid bits of advice that will make your bio much more powerful and relevant.
Why do you need a bio?
Well, these are good to have if you are trying to get the press to talk about your band or if you are sending out EPKs/press kits to book gigs. A well-written, complete and short bio will get you some attention.
In my opinion, a good band bio must contain the following elements:
- A strong, yet succinct statement about the band’s sound
- Some mention or similarity to other popular bands in your genre or bands that your fans like in addition to you (recommended if you like…, for fans of…)
- A quick introduction of the band members and what they contribute to the band.
- 2-3 mention of significant events that will give your band more credibility in the industry. Have you won any awards? Have you been part of a festival/event for a charity? Have you been featured in a indie film or a TV commercial?
- References: Mentions of verifiable touring history, sales figures or sales volume are a plus if you are trying to get gigs. Quotes from previous press reviews or fan reviews will help with press.
6 Writing Tips
1) Don’t over hype your band. They know its from you, so don’t pretend like someone else wrote it. Stick to the facts and let them form their own opinion based on your music.
2) Don’t seek to over describe your sound or each of the players. Be impartial and write for quick impact.
3) Stick to details about this band. Unless your member’s old band is Metallica, The White Stripes or Rage Against the Machine, no one gives a crap.
4) Spell check and read out loud. You don’t have to be a literary genius or a ad whiz. It just has to sound coherent. *I neglect this one myself often.
5) Keep it fresh and update the bio every few months to include your new accomplishments or any changes in sound/members.
6) Keep it brief, 400-500 words max.
Now, get to work. It may take you 2-3 revisions to get it right. If you feel like you are stuck, walk away from it and come back later. Always re-read the morning after before making the final decisions.
Web 2.0 Band Bio: Rockumentaries and Video Blogs
Many bands are savvy enough and create mini-Rockumentaries or video blogs that cover the band’s sound and personality. Bands can center these around special events, rehearsals or everyday life. A mini reality TV shows about your band. I recommend doing this. You can say more in a 5 minute video that in any bio. Spend the time and learn how to record and edit videos, sync up audio and use social media to promote it. Here’s a sample of one I did for Soulfound.
Hope this helps someone out there.
Ivan Pena writes “Bombardier Manifesto” for Creative Loafing — blog posts about the music industry, being in a band and marketing. Ivan also runs Mohawk Bomb Records. He is also the bass player for Rise of Saturn and former frontman/bassist for Soulfound.