Six local bands including Hometown Losers, Top Tier, Happy Hour, Stay for Tonight, and Harvey, came together to perform on Oct.13 at The Fish House where they shared their stories behind Miami’s local music scene.
Stay for Tonight, a five-piece band with two vocalists, are in the final stages of releasing their debut single and describe themselves as a “mixed bag when it comes to genre” according to drummer David Alfaro.
In order to book their shows and gain exposure, these bands use individual promoters and promotion companies to expand their audience.
“It all depends on who’s promoting the show and how the promoter wants to disperse the payout,” said Alfaro. “Typically, every band gets a cut of the door sales and that’s after you also pay out the venue owner. If it’s presale based, then the bands sell a certain amount of tickets, pay the promoters and basically guarantee that [they’ll] be bringing an audience with [them].”
At The Fish House, tickets were sold at the door for $10 where bands made a cut from the sales at the end of the night.
Alex Alvarez, guitar player for Harvey, shared that their band also owns their own promotions company, Miami Talent Wave, which they use to reach out to local artists and promote them through local community oriented events.
“Recently, we picked up a contract with the county,” said Alvarez. “We are pretty lucky that we can connect with local artists organically, but we also have a submission form on our website which local artists use to be featured on our page.”
Some of the other popular venues where these local bands play include Churchill’s in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, American Rock Bar in Deerfield Beach, Traveler’s Lounge in Miami Springs and Mystic Joint in Cutler Bay.
When it comes to their audience, Hometown Loser’s bass player, Alejandro Abad said, “We started off with mostly our friends coming out to see us but as we grew, we started forming a real fan base. It’s crazy to think about it but some people actually like what we do.”
Yet, balancing school and work with their music has not been an easy task.
For Top Tier, a heavy pop/punk band based out of Kendall, Fla., they accommodate their schedules so that they have enough time to practice once a week and try to play two shows a month.
“All of us juggle school, work, the band and personal life. Honestly, we’ve found that if you love it enough, it’s not hard to make time for it,” Felix Maldonado, guitar and singer for Top Tier, said. “Sometimes we do homework while recording, sometimes we have to give up the gym to go write.”
When looking towards the future of their specific groups, the lines were blurred between hobby or career move. Happy Hour, a metal band with over 1,000 followers on Instagram, shared that despite their full time jobs, this is their top priority.
“For us, the band is a serious entity,” Eric Hidalgo, guitarist for Happy Hour, said. “We plan on doing full U.S. touring by this time next year.”
The same goes for the other five bands, which despite the hardships that come with building a brand, hold on to the dream of making it beyond Miami’s walls.