We tour smaller independent bands
1 / Please introduce yourself and your current project.
My name is Adam Wendler, I do indie-folk-pop and I was born and raised in Canada. I started my musical career with a band in my hometown and have been a solo artist for some time. I've released one EP and album so far and I'm in the process of recording a second one.
2 / When did you go on tour for the first time and how was that for you? What has changed on your current tour compared to back then?
When I graduated from high school, a friend and I took a tour of Europe and played street music. We made music on the street wherever we wanted and took part in spontaneous gigs when something happened. That was basically my first tour experience, even if it was completely unplanned.
After that I traveled a lot and took small gigs with me, and I did a few smaller tours in Ontario with my band.
I then did my first real solo tour in Germany in the summer of 2017, and there was everything from small cafés and living room concerts to festivals.
Now that I have some touring experience and a bigger fan base I've got a lot of shows in places I've been before and we can also see more and more people coming to the gigs.
3 / What are the best and worst moments when you're out and about as a musician?
The best moments on tour are those when everything runs smoothly: little traffic, arriving on time, no breakdowns or other obstacles and a secure place to sleep. And of course I'm always especially happy when I play somewhere for the first time and notice that the audience likes my music and people are singing or dancing along. Such moments are worth all the effort.
In return, there are also those where everything just seems to go wrong. When the car goes on strike, when you unexpectedly get caught in a traffic jam, or when there are technical problems at the club. I've also had to spend a few nights in a cold car when there was no place for me to stay. But even such days are memorable in their own way.
4 / Are you inspired by your travels when writing songs? Do you collect ideas and write and record them when you have your peace of mind at home or are you creative on the go?
In general, I always try to write when I have free time, at home and on the go.
However, I have found that I write the best pieces when I have plenty of time and peace of mind. I am definitely convinced that traveling gives me a lot of inspiration, and a lifestyle where there are no fixed daily routines seems to be conducive to the creative process. Sometimes I think of something when I'm driving to the next town, then I write it down and work on it as soon as I find a suitable quiet place to do it.
I do most of my recordings near my Canadian hometown, so I write pieces wherever I can and then I take some time at home to record them.
5 / How much do you plan in advance and how much do you leave to improvisation when touring?
My manager starts booking a few months in advance, generally speaking: the earlier, the better. However, we have noticed that clubs in Canada only schedule their shows a month or two in advance, whereas in Germany they plan much further into the future. Either way, it is advisable to take care of yourself as early as possible.
We're trying to get as many shows as we can logistically manage. However, we are always open to spontaneous gigs, interviews and recording sessions when no other dates have been booked.
6 / What are the challenges and rewards as a traveling artist?
There are always a few challenges, financial, logistical and promo-related.
It is important to have at least a rough idea of how much you will earn with the tour to ensure that you can cover your costs or, in the best case, make a small profit that you can invest in your next projects.
It can be difficult to perfectly plan a tour that we can get from city to city well without having to go back. Sometimes there are also transport difficulties that need to be solved.
The other thing is to make sure that each gig is attended to reasonably decent. Generally speaking, the more I'm on the road, the better it gets.
To be on tour as a musician is definitely very rewarding. It's just great fun and you meet great people wherever you go. I love to travel in and of itself, so there is no better way for me to get to know new places. However, the best part about playing in new places is when I notice that people are having fun and enjoying my music.
7 / You left your previous band to go solo. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the respective constellations when you are on tour?
One of the biggest advantages is that it's a lot easier to plan for one person than it is for a whole band, and if I tell my manager that I want to do as many shows as possible over a period of time, she'll book everything she can can and does not have to ask every time whether the appointment goes with me or not. Plus, with just me in mind, there are fewer room and board difficulties.
The biggest downside to playing solo is not having a band on stage to jam with. When musicians play together who have a good chemistry with each other, it creates a great dynamic. I can usually do this by myself, but sometimes it takes longer to warm up properly. It's also great fun to drive from place to place as a gang of buddies.
8 / What can you recommend to musicians who, like you, are aiming for an intense touring life?
I think it's smarter to start with shows in the local area. First, try to keep the distances short to reduce travel costs and familiarize yourself with the stage situation. It also makes sense to first use the smaller locations that you can fill. It is always better to play in a small club that is well filled than in a large one where a few people get lost. As you gain experience, you can venture into more distant places and larger locations. The more shows you play, the better you get.
Overall, I think it's better not to set expectations too high and enjoy the experience. Not every concert will be full of cheering fans, but stay tuned and have as much fun as possible, whatever happens.
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