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When Does A Band Make It?

Light Thieves at Treefort Music Fest 2016. Photo by Kristen McPeek, printed in Local Wolves Magazine,
Later this week Fresno band and local favorites Light Thieves will be leaving for a 13 date tour of the western United States. This is the latest of many tours they have taken. Two of the dates are for Idaho's Treefort Music Fest, a gig the band has played four times, and which will be headlined by the likes of Mac DeMarco, The Growlers, and Deafheaven. The band is not signed to a record label. They have a dedicated fanbase that came out strong for their album release show. And they do everything, and I mean everything (marketing, merchandising, distributing, etc.), all on their own.

Per their most recent appearance on the Spanspek Podcast, they are pretty much broke. And as far as I know, each member has a regular job. But let it be known: for all intents and purposes, Light Thieves has "made it". Truth be told Light Thieves "made it" long before any of the above had happened. As soon as the group made a commitment to be a band, perform, and release music by any means necessary, they had realized their dream.

I think I'm writing this for my nephew. He's young, and he sings in a band. He makes a lot of plans and talks about what he "wants" to do with music. He talks about the future cause in the future he will be successful, doing what he loves. I don't say anything because why should I? It's his life and he'll learn his lessons in his own way. But I always want to tell him: dude if you want to play music with your band, do it now! Don't strategize on how best to get a label to notice you, or on recording one song at a really nice studio with the hopes that it'll be heard on that one Battle of the Bands website. Instead just concentrate on making some good ass music! Work on it everyday, and when you got a sets worth of good tracks, play them for people as often as possible. Play them locally and then play them everywhere else.

That's the actualization of the dream pretty much. That is the gist of it. All that other stuff (fame, money, success), that only happens to a few people. That's the outlier, not what the thing really is. The thing, the "making it," is what Light Thieves is doing. It's the hard work, the struggle to be heard,  and the joy of performing with and for friends.

This is my belief, formed after years of performing. But then again, I'm typing this with no shirt on. so what do I know?

Cristobal Carrillo
March 15, 2017

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