Abraham Montalvo of SevenStones gives advice for those wanting to create music in Chattanooga.
30-year-old Abraham Montalvo has been making music since he got his first guitar at 12 years old. The Chattanooga native started his first band when he was just 14, and by 17, he was the lead singer of a grindcore band called Highways 69 Skream St. The band was short-lived, but it introduced him to many of his musical influences. At 26, he co-founded SevenStones and has been one of the loudest voices in Chattanooga for supporting local rock music.
With so many years of experience, Abraham stands out in the Chattanooga music community as someone with immense knowledge on how to start and maintain a small band. Here are five tips he gives for local bands starting out:
Get a Manager
Abraham recommends that any band that is taking itself seriously have a manager. The manager serves as a connection between the band and the venues that they play at. They can handle any issues that occur in the booking process and ensure that the band establishes good relationships with local venues.
Image is everything for a band just starting out, and a good image goes far beyond performance quality. Courtesy and respect to other performers is essential and will improve your band’s public reception. Abraham cautions against allowing your band to get dragged into feuds and recommends focusing on building up your band and those you perform with.
Learn about Local Venues
Researching local venues will set you up to actually find stages where you can perform. Following venues on social media, keeping up with local music events, and paying attention to when and where other bands are performing can help you know where your band will have the best potential to have successful shows. Connecting with any local booking agencies can also help set up your band for success.
Don’t Compete; Collaborate
Helping out other bands by sharing their music and upcoming events on social media, collaborating with them at shows, and sharing music with each other’s fanbases is a great way to build long-standing friendships. Only by working together can the local scene can truly grow. Abraham believes that Chattanooga has a major issue with venues picking favorites and not being more open to new artists; creating positive change will have to start with bands being more collaborative and less competitive.
Never Settle for Mediocre
Whether you are a guitarist or a songwriter, you should be constantly honing your craft. Discovering new music, taking constructive criticism, and practicing consistently will ensure that your band will really stand out. Abraham says that no band should ever settle for mediocrity; they should always be looking into new ideas and ways to improve.