Finding other musicians in London - is it really such a desert?

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If you compare listings on public sites like Craigslist on smaller american cities  to the equivalents in London such as GumTree or StarNow - it would appear that London is completely bereft of musicians looking to connect to make music. 

I can't imagine this is the case, and there is some other method that people are using - but for someone who didn't go to a music college, works full time and hasn't got much interest in acoustic-guitar-roundtable it seems almost impossible.

I would really appreciate any advice on the matter, even if it's "post here!"

Thanks,
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 544
    hate the acoustic merry-go-round too, and I don't do jam nights...

    You have to persist by getting out there to see music in odd places and talking to people. Down here, there can be scenes all around which are weirdly invisible. About 10 years ago I lucked into meeting a pool of local South London players via a bass dep I took on for just six months and today I'm still playing in several different bands that spun off from that. 
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3336
    Go to gigs and network, abandon the internet.
    Captain Horizon (my band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • hugbothugbot Frets: 1526
    Joinmyband is fairly active.

    the problem with the London music scene though is its full of nobbers who think just being in London(INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS) is a shortcut to a fictitious record deal.
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1244
    Network by going to shows!... and jam nights if they suit your style.
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  • I have some friends who were very keen players in local bands, moved to London with work, tried to get things going there and ended up giving up because they weren't enjoying it.  The main problem they complained about was transportation.  With band members living in different parts of the city, gigs spread around  a large area and big city traffic they ended up spending so much time getting to and from rehearsals and gigs that it wasn't fun anymore.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1709

    I've no idea what you're complaining about, OP.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsesngmWAAAohgh.jpg

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  • Thanks for the advice chaps, I guess I need to do more face-to-face, and maybe joinmyband :) 
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  • Facebook groups can be good too! However I agree entirely about the 'nobbers' comment above.
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  • KKJale said:
    I hate the acoustic merry-go-round too, and I don't do jam nights...

    You have to persist by getting out there to see music in odd places and talking to people. Down here, there can be scenes all around which are weirdly invisible. About 10 years ago I lucked into meeting a pool of local South London players via a bass dep I took on for just six months and today I'm still playing in several different bands that spun off from that. 
    I don't live in London but the invisible scene thing rings true, there are lots of styles which barely register on the public perception yet give bands steady work. Start digging into a particular scene ( maan...)even jut via facebook and find people interested in doing that or they'll advertise for someone. Just as a for example I'm on Mod groups on Facebook and if I was putting together a Mod tribute band I'd probably start there rather than musician's sites.

    I think the other thing is that musicians invariably want to avoid doing stuff so if you become the person who does the stuff they don't like - book rehearsal rooms, gigs, ads, PA,etc - then you can suddenly be in demand. 


    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • DLM said:

    I've no idea what you're complaining about, OP.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsesngmWAAAohgh.jpg


    This is the best thing I have found on FB.
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  • bbill335bbill335 Frets: 591
    I'm amazed any musicians can afford to live in London. How do you pay for gear after rent and transport?!  ;)
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1244
    bbill335 said:
    I'm amazed any musicians can afford to live in London. How do you pay for gear after rent and transport?!  ;)
    Musician =/= living exclusively off music
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17226
    bbill335 said:
    I'm amazed any musicians can afford to live in London. How do you pay for gear after rent and transport?!  ;)
    People generally have a source of income outside music, are teaching music or previously worked on albums that generate royalties.
    Sometimes all 3.

    For most people though music has become an expensive hobby, rather than a job.
    Once marriage/kids/mortgage happens the activity tends to tail off.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2205
    If you compare listings on public sites like Craigslist on smaller american cities  to the equivalents in London such as GumTree or StarNow - it would appear that London is completely bereft of musicians looking to connect to make music. 

    I can't imagine this is the case, and there is some other method that people are using - but for someone who didn't go to a music college, works full time and hasn't got much interest in acoustic-guitar-roundtable it seems almost impossible.

    I would really appreciate any advice on the matter, even if it's "post here!"

    Thanks,
    I suspect a lot of the 'forward' american people seem better than they are, whereas English people seem a little more reserved in terms of adverts. In a city of millions you've got to be looking in the wrong places. Out in the sticks here the oportunities to gig are fractional by comparison.
    Network and the network some more, it all comes around in time.

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  • AvalonAndyAvalonAndy Frets: 250
    edited November 2016
    As above, Joinmyband is very good.  Also, there must be several thousand music/music tech students in London.  Check out colleges and universities forums or message boards, if that age group would suit.  When I was studying Music Tech, we had several recording projects and I needed to find musicians to record, so you may even get a free recording session or two out of it.
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  • jam nights, open mics, shows, you dont necessarily have to get up and play (but it helps) 80% of bands I gig with I've met through getting up at a jam, or general networking at gigs, not specifically london, but I think the same applies :)
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1244
    bbill335 said:
    I'm amazed any musicians can afford to live in London. How do you pay for gear after rent and transport?!  ;)
    The 9-5 pays for the 24/7
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  • Thanks for the advice chaps, I guess I need to do more face-to-face, and maybe joinmyband :) 
    What kinda thing are you looking to do? ;-)
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  • riscadoriscado Frets: 179
    edited December 2016
    I've played around with people in london, you can find some bands or people willing to jam if you look a bit in forums, gumtree, joinmyband, etc. Or if you actually start interacting with people at gigs.

    However in my case I found I can no longer support bands that operate in a regime of dictatorship, over ambitious aspirations, people with completely different taste that just don't combine and yet persist on playing together, egos, lack of dedication (my own, or from the other people), the ridiculous prices charged for shitty rehearsal rooms, carrying guitars in the tube, etc etc

    The list goes on... it's no one's fault, I'm just too old for that shit. I love playing with people, when it sounds right it's an amazing feeling, never had it click over here in London though.
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  • Thanks for the advice chaps, I guess I need to do more face-to-face, and maybe joinmyband :) 
    What kinda thing are you looking to do? ;-)
    Experimental -> Hard Rock -> Jazz standards -> Just having a beer over an hour or two of jamming
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  • AjotenAjoten Frets: 7
    I keep checking non-guitar-instrument-specific fora like basschat and cafesaxophone. Not that I've ever found suitable folks. In fact - as a bass player predominantly - that's why I'm here today :)

    Worth a look on Gumtree although it might be much the same as joinmyband or bandmix sites.

    But if you can't find what you want in London you're kippered. The moment you go outside the M25 you have to play Sweet Home Mustang for Nothing, and even then only if you miraculously find people who play anything other than guitar.

    Where in London are you?
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  • I'm in the South-East, I've heard that Starnow is a good shot, I guess I really need to get off my ass and stop being so passive about it.
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 1946
    Sadly, North London is certainly pretty bereft of opportunities  :'(
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4012
    Can 5 of you find a night where you're all free for 4 hours?

    If you can, I'm going to be running Jam Session workshops from April, both online and in person in studios.
    It's all in the planning stages until the end of April but it's an easy model to take with me just about anywhere. It uses BT's on a laptop through the PA and a completely fresh approach to the guitar, the fretboard and how to (TRY TO) make the fucking thing do what you think you want it to, or at least feel more confident making it do the things it can do already.

    North London isn't bereft of opportunities, it's bereft of people making opportunities happen.
    It's way easier than people think.

    5 of you find a common night you're all free, I'll find us a studio, split the cost 6 ways and lets get together and play.

    It's THAT easy!
    "Though much is taken, much abides; And though we are not now that strength which once moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield." - Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17226
    I've found many more bands when we moved out of London.
    Fewer ego issues too.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1298
    edited March 7
    Talking to other non-musician mates, I still think playing in a band is probably cheaper than being a football season ticket holder or having golf club membership.

    At least with our choice of hobby or profession, we have a chance of earning some income from it.

    As to finding musicians to play with in London, you can find them but are they the right band mates?
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2288
    I know it sounds the wrong way round, but getting to know people outside a band context first can be more fruitful.

    if you already get on, the doing a bit of music together for fun let’s things develop - or not - naturally, without pressure or egos.

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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 747
    Born and lived in London for my first 55 years. In my own experience of being an active musician at an amateur/semi-pro level... (This won't apply to professional musicians, which is work, and has infrastructure behind it). 

    Auditions generally don't work. London, in particular, has many people (often moving to London just for college, work or "to make it") with fixed ideas and low thresholds of compromise. 

    Starting your own band is very difficult, because you're doing all the work and the people you meet are looking for the best situation they can find. 

    My most successful (as in they made me happy and I was proud of them) bands went as follows...

    My wife had a colleague who she invited around to dinner. I showed him my guitars and we chatted a bit about music. He then invited me to come along to his office on a Monday evening after work where they had an informal band using the TV room to play in. That turned into an 8-piece covers band playing pubs and clubs on a fairly casual "just for fun" basis. After a while, we all worked out the band was running at two different speeds. Three of us started a trio, changed the repertoire more to our taste and found a singer. We played pubs and clubs - still on a "just for fun" basis. Then the bass player moved away and the drummer & I decided to start a '70s prog rock covers band - a genre we both loved to listen to. The singer wasn't interested. So we went ahead, found like-minded souls, learned hard stuff well above our abilities (at first) and played pubs "just for fun". It was never a job and we weren't playing 2 nights a week, every week. 

    Why am I telling people this? Just to reinforce the idea that others have already shared. The most successful situations come about as a result of networking, relationships and just being known. And it's not just a London thing. It's the same down here on the South Coast.

    People are connecting in London, but they may have given up on the Internet as a way of getting connected. 
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 245
    edited April 10
    As a 43 year old who has no contacts in music and no pretensions of this ever being his career and who just wants to be a weekend Marc Ford-like figure widdling with fuzz and wah over some blues and southern rock, I've not the foggiest idea where to begin to make it happen. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 96
    I pretty much gave up on playing with people in London.

    Experiences ranged from dealing with big egos where you joined a band but were told what to play note by note.
    Playing with people with no sense of rhythm, dynamics, or when they should just stop.
    Playing with people who actually had good ideas, but I was just too drained out to make anything good of it or commit to it.
    People who think they've made it big, before they've actually made it anything.
    To some truly other worldly experiences that were awkward as fuck.

    I don't know what's up with London, but it is a very difficult place to find people to play with. And as much as I hate the word "networking", the best way to get something going is to really be out and about and meet people and keep practising your craft and hopefully you can find some people to play with, with whom you just bond.
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