In this Tour Tips segment, the alternative band, Klangstof, give you their tips for being on tour. You can check out the feature, after the break.
Week 1. Got out of bed (way too early). Haven’t forgotten anything? Someone else wants to drive first? Good, I’m going back to sleep. Yes, touring is a lot of sleeping. Or at least trying to sleep. We’ve tried out a lot of super nice vans the past year, but for some reason finding a good sleeping position is always virtually impossible. It helps a lot though when you take a neck pillow or a normal pillow with you.
Week 2. Touring is about the shows. Obviously. But 90% percent of the time is spent in the van. So you better entertain yourself. Have some offline movies or series on your laptop, download some podcasts on your phone, bring a book or e-reader, all that. Or you can use all that spare time to write some new songs. It sounds inconvenient, but there are some gadgets that make it a lot more possible. I always bring a backpack-sized midi keyboard and we recently added some small sized synths to our arsenal. Set up shop at hotels to record some vocals and guitars and your 80% done when you get back home. That’s actually how we made our latest EP ‘Everest’.
Week 3. Getting into the rhythm of touring. This is the best part of it. Everyone knows exactly what to do and when. The shows are getting better and better. We’re a solid, mean Klangstofmachine. What shouldn’t be forgotten is that this is basically made possible by some A-grade tour-managing. Not a lot of people know almost all bands have a designated know-it-all with them on tour at all times. Someone who handles contact with all the venues and festivals drags us out of bed when needed and does most of the driving. Our tour manager even makes sure we don’t forget to party every now and then and has a special talent of getting everyone super drunk. A definite touring must-have.
Week 4. Touring is a really fun, but also really tiring activity. So trying to save as much energy as possible for shows gets more and more important after a while. Obviously, trying to eat healthy really helps. Since life on the road isn’t really accommodating for a healthy lifestyle, this can be very challenging. At least make sure to have enough water in the van. Maybe even exercise a couple of times. Also spending time with each other in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve drinking alcohol can be good sometimes. We’ve been playing some board and card games, but our most recent tour hype is to play a lot of Mario Kart on the new Nintendo Switch. Two of us own one and they have been a lot of fun already.
Week 5. Of course, it’s all super fun playing shows and games with each other, but sometimes you’re going to need some me-time. Especially on long tours, that’s the main ingredient of having a good group dynamic. Up till now, we’ve been touring with a group of five guys, so there’s always one guy who gets to have a single room at the hotel. At first, the single room belonged to the guy who could most convincingly say ‘I need it’ or to who was most likely to hook up that night, but we ended up doing a rotating system so that everyone had some privacy every now and then. While traveling you can get some alone-time easily using headphones with noise cancellation (or the poor man’s option: really loud headphones while wearing earplugs). Close Your Eyes to Exit and go to your happy place. I also used a noise generating app, like Noisli, a couple of times. Lastly, don’t forget to take the occasional photo. Your parents and friends will really appreciate it when you return back home.
(Photo credit: Bibian Bingen)