The Front Row Report is proud to premiere The New Schematics\’ official tour video for \”Sunday Morning\” off their newest release, the Your Year EP. The video was created by Kelly Fox on the Spring leg of the Your Year tour. Tour dates for their Summer leg can be found here.
Nashville’s The New Schematics chose a New Year’s Eve aesthetic for their Your Year Tour: balloons tied to champagne bottles border the stage, all four members wear tuxedos, and black, white and gold color pallets make up their merchandise designs.
The gold and glitter, however, begins and ends on stage as the band embarks on a completely do-it-yourself operation for the other 22 hours of a day on their international tour.
While more-established artists have specialized staff to organize a tour, smaller bands like The New Schematics have to personally step up to become their own managers in every sense of the word. Michael Bare singlehandedly books shows, organizing dates, bills and schedules despite his best resource being Google—and he also plays bass in the band.
The process of booking shows begins months in advance. According to Bare, all four guys sit down and come up with an ideal schedule of what cities they want to play, and when they want to play them. Bare then looks up venues that seem as though they would appropriately accommodate The New Schematics, and sends out a form letter which details the band’s information and their proposed show.
“Some of them will get back to you, most of them probably won’t,” said Bare. It is then almost always up to the band to find acts to play with them, so they usually look for local bands that have a good social media presence and a style that fits with their own. Once a lineup and shedule is confirmed, the venue will ideally begin promoting the show.
Whitney Caroline, a musician from Richmond, opened for The New Schematics at their show in Ashland, Virginia. She is close friends with Bare’s current roommate and was excited to receive an invitation to play with the band.
“Michael actually sent me a Facebook message … He had done all of the grunt work already,” said Caroline. “I’m used to doing the shows and setting up the shows, so with them, they just kind of came to us and it was very turn-key. All we had to do was say ‘yes.’”
The process is very rarely that straightforward, however. Bare usually has to connect with about seven or eight bands before he can find an opener, and usually talks to three to four venues before he finds a good place and date. During this process, he’s also booking in this case, 10 other shows, and he sometimes does it while he’s out on other tours.
“You never stop booking. Even while you’re confirming and firming up bands, dates and bills for the next month or two, you’re still reaching out to new venues for three or four months from now,” said Bare.
Front man of the band Cory Bishop inherited the role of tour manager somewhere along the way, and stays organized by creating daily itineraries that include when the band is to arrive at each stop, budgeting for food, expected gas and toll costs and even sightseeing. According to Bishop, the massive itinerary took 10-20 hours of preparation.
Rather than staying in hotels, The New Schematics usually try to crash on couches of friends, family or other musicians. Whitney Caroline also hosted the band in her house after playing with them in Richmond.
Caroline commented on this phenomenon, saying “it makes a ton of sense for bands to conserve money whenever they can. I think a lot of bands do it, but they just don’t talk about it.”
Even after hard days of travel that can include problems like straying from the budget, car troubles, illness and even robbery, the band still has to play. The process can be exhausting, and even after three to six hours of driving a day, they have to hit the stage and perform as artists.
“You have to gather energy from places that aren’t yourself: your bandmates, the crowd, the vibe of the room,” said guitarist Shanan Lau.
Bringing along a tour manager, some extra “roadies” or other staff would certainly lighten the load, but the band has come to the collective conclusion that for right now, they actually prefer to do it all themselves.
“The planning process is a joy for me. What’s exciting to me is when [shows] happen, to say ‘that idea was in my head and no one else’s, and now it’s a reality that we’re living in and can see and touch.’ The same feeling applies to the planning process,” said Bishop.
The band also considers taking on the responsibility the safer option. With a small budget and specific business plan, they simply trust themselves more than a hired name.
“You wish you could hire someone to do everything and you wouldn’t have to worry about it, and you could just be an artist, but unless you have a lot of money, no one is ever going to care about any of it as much as you do,” said Bare.
The Spring leg of the Your Year Tour is coming to a close for The New Schematics, but the tour is designed to last the entirety of 2017, consisting of at least an east coast, west coast and southeast run. They are still booking and organizing all their own shows and plan to do so long after the Your Year Tour. While The New Schematics may be working on getting their “big break,” they plan to hit the road until they do.