Find a Potential Bandmate? Interview Questions to Ask Musicians When Looking For or Recruiting a New Band Member

The biggest mistake that most bands make when they try to recruit a new band member is to focus entirely on the musician's technical ability and chops as opposed to look at other key components needed to make a band successful. The bandmate selection should focus on the whole picture, not just musical prowess.

The dynamics of a band are complicated, since you are putting together a group of musicians with different instrumental technical abilities as well as different personalities. Synergy and having a similar musical passion and vision is of great importance, so conducting an interview to recruit a new band member can be a useful tool to figure out if the musician is the right fit for your band. Asking the right questions helps figure out who can be a great asset to your band and who can be a liability:

Why would you like to join our music band?
How does the musician view your band and your music? Does the musician fit your band's musical style and brand?

What can you offer to the band?
Make sure the musician does not only talk about his technical abilities. The right band mate would be someone who is willing to commit and contribute their time and energy as well as resources and networking abilities to take your band to the next level. Does the musician have key relationships with other people? Is the musician an expert in something else apart from their instrument that would help the band? What other skill sets does the musician have that would contribute to the band?

Who do you sound like and what musicians or bands influenced your music?
If the musician mentions musicians and bands that reflect the playing style of your band, then you are on the right track. The new band member should be able to come in and fit with the band's sound. Having a heavy metal drummer join a jazz band would in most cases not be a great fit, unless your goal is to be more experimental with sound. However, your fans will want to relate to your band's brand that needs to be consistent.

Are you credible and can the band depend on you and your work ethic?
Ask the musician to give you examples on their credibility and dependability. You can ask the musician if you can get input from previous bands they were in as testimonials to his work ethic.

Have you been in a band before and if you have why did you leave?
Was the band member fired or did they voluntarily leave due to creative differences. What are the underlying issues that took place to create the break up and is there a possibility similar problems can arise with your band? Would also be a great idea to contact the previous band they were in to see if the story matches. Usually break-ups have two conflicting stories. If the musician has never been in a band before ask them how prepared they are to handle a group of bandmates and if they realize that the dynamics of a solo musician versus a group are entirely different.

How often do you practice your instrument and which days can you rehearse and are available for gigs?
If the musician does not have a flexible schedule to practice, then it is a red flag because practicing is one of the most important activities a band does. Your live set and performance in the studio rely on it.

What are your musical goals a few years down the road?
Make sure that the band member is ready to commit to the band and is in it for the long term not the short term. There is nothing worse than a band leaving in the middle of a tour or a recording session for personal reasons or creative differences. If their answer is that they see themselves as solo musicians and forming their own band down the road, then you know they are not the right person for the job. You need a team player.

What does it mean to be part of a band and are you a team player?
Ask the musician of any experiences they had working in a band scenario and how they related to them being a team player. Ask them for real life examples that do not pertain to music as well and make sure their definition of team player is in alignment with the band's perception of what a team player is. Ask them of any bad experience they had and how they handled them as a team contributor.

What are your expectations from the rest of the band?
Discover what is important to the musician and how it relates to the band. What would they need to keep their creativity and maximize their involvement with the band? Do they require more freedom to experiment or will they have a limited role in the decision-making process? Their answer should reflect the opinion of the band and what all the band members are willing to give in this collaboration.

Do you have any health issues? Do you smoke, drink or take drugs?
Make sure the new band mate does not bring any bad habits that would create problems to the band as well as make the creative environment unhealthy. If the band made has a health issue, then make sure that you weigh that in when you make your selection. If the musician has a bad habit of smoking and has an addictive personality in regards to alcohol and drugs then stay away. Your band deserves better.


While conducting the interview make sure that the musician is comfortable with your questions and let them know when they will hear back from you. Make sure you follow through and let them know your decision, whether it is a positive one or a negative one.


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