A Grassroots Career In Music w/ Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival Indie Ambassador TrueDIYThe Band: Elephant Revival

The People: Bonnie Paine, Sage T. Cook, Daniel Rodriguez, Dango Rose, Bridget Law

The Projects: Summer tour, Break In The Clouds LP

Hometown: Nederland, CO

Transcendental Folk quintet (yes, that is a great example of a catchy, memorable genre label) Elephant Revival has been gradually growing and touring the country for nearly five years now. Through a series of smart promotional decisions, great music and a dose of good fortune, the band has been signed to Chad StokesRuff Shod record label and recently opened for one of the Dispatch reunion shows at Boston’s TD Garden.

We caught up with Bonnie, Dan, and their manager John at Berklee’s Cafe 939 to talk veggie transportation, organizational tools, treating your career as an investment, the importance of taking a tech on the road, and what it’s like to be signed to a label owned by a musician. Watch the video below, and be sure to check back soon for our follow up with the whole band backstage at the Garden after they opened for Dispatch!

Elephant Revival Quick Tips

  • If you’re having difficulty getting airplay on commercial radio stations, give some thought to the public stations. Rotation on these stations is less competitive, and if your music suits the channel’s listener demographic, it can be great exposure and bridge the release to additional music stations. Elephant Revival became the number 1 played local artist on Colorado public radio stations, and airplay on bigger stations soon followed!
  • Keeping track of everything (schedule, gear, tour stops, etc.) can be difficult in any band, especially while out on the road. Google Docs, a free online tool that allows users to connect and contribute to documents and spreadsheets from anywhere with an internet connection, can really aid in your organization! Our team uses it every day!
  • If you travel with a wide assortment of instruments and gear, make sure you bring a competent tech on the road with you. Elephant Revival has 16 channels to work with on any given night, so the addition of a tech is essential. If you’re just starting out and a paid tech isn’t in the budget, you could ask a friend to come along on tour for the “experience”. With a little training on each instrument they can be a huge asset each night. A tech that doubles as a sound guy or girl is also a plus!
  • You have to look at certain aspects of your career as investments. Even though your band might not profit directly from a tour, it ill be worth it in the long run as you will most likely gain exposure and performing experience while on the road. Similarly, you might not see an immediate profit by re-issuing a past release in an alternative format like vinyl, but it will add to your merchandise assortment for fans and can create additional credibility and buzz for the release.
  • Don’t let the road interrupt your natural writing process. Everyone has their own writing method, and if you can find a way to maintain that process on the road you can keep the creative process rolling!
  • If you’re opening for a large act, like Elephant Revival’s recent show with Dispatch, be sure to have download cards or other promo materials on hand. The band stocked up on free download cards and organized a local street team to hit up Dispatch fans before and after the show.