Finding musicians for a Split EP / Collaborative release?

I’d like to hear from people who have successfully found other artists to release a Split EP or collaborative album with.

Coming from a hardcore punk background and underground/DIY music in general, I really like the idea of splits. It encourages the formation of musical connections, networking, requires a bunch of meta-level creative considerations that are separate from the music itself, leads to wider audiences for both artists (in theory), and is an interesting challenge for a mastering engineer.

There seem to me to be three main ways to get this to happen:

  1. Directly approaching artists you think are suitable, via their bandcamp or whatever
  2. Asking the label of various similar artists whether they would consider it, and giving them some discretion around who to pair you with
  3. Asking personal contacts who are mixing/production/mastering engineers if they know of someone suitable

Are there any other, better ways? What has worked for you?

Thanks

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Ask your friends who are also making music. This is what I’ve done on the collabs I did.

On one that I participated in but didn’t lead, it was a small label. He put out a call with a Google signup sheet and made a fantastic mix tape:

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In terms of listening (not playing), I have a metal / hardcore background, too. Yeah, split releases are big there, esp. on the hardcore side of things.

I don’t know what works best, but this is what worked for me:

Earlier this year I wanted to do a collaborative bandcamp EP covering a variety of styles, so I directly messaged musicians who I thought might a good fit for the project. If I remember correctly, 5 of the collaborators were from here on LINES (Disquiet Junto) and the other 5 were from soundcloud and elsewhere. It was a lot of hard work logistically - matching the right tracks with the right people and working to a (self-imposed) deadline - but it was deeply rewarding. Every collaborator brought their own distinct style to things and made the finished album way better than it would have been otherwise. I sent my brother unlabeled demos of the finished tracks, and the five or six he thought were the best were ALL collaborative tracks!!

I only had to send eleven emails before I found ten contributors. Unfortunately, I’ve only met one of them in real life, and I’m not even sure how many of us might even live in the same country. Technology is pretty amazing…

Just approach people. The worst they can say is no thank you!!

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I found some call for collaborators on Facebook - just released a track recently with one collaborator, and it was fun! There’s quite a community of sound artists on FB, although I understand if people aren’t on FB because of privacy concerns.

Otherwise I found the LCRP projects a really good starting point for collaborative releases. Two releases from this year have involved collaborations :slight_smile:

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I’ve done a handful of splits, but in every case for me, they’ve been artists I’m already very friendly with.

also coming from a punk background, the split thing always made sense to me, especially (i found) as there were a lot of us transitioning to different kinds of music at the same time. all the splits i have been a part of are either a) people i have known well and worked with in some capacity or b) have been people that i released music for on an old label i had and knew the way they did things. i would be very hesitant to just up and do a split with someone who i didn’t know or was a cold email/bandcamp connection etc. - having a relationship is very important to me and i feel a split should be reflective of that.

all that being said - and i felt this way back in the day (see the jeromes dream/one am radio split as an example) - when both sides of the split sounds totally different from each other, its a way more interesting listen, and potentially broadens horizons in the process (imo)

@Tyresta, got anything you’d like to contribute to this thread?

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I have done quite a few collaborations this past year and it’s been mainly through connecting with people on Instagram, Twitter, and Lines. People have either reached out to me directly or I have reached out to them.

If you are going to try to collaborate with people you don’t know, it might be good to chat with them a bit about your/their political and social views (if that’s important to you). With a collaboration I engaged in recently, some issues came up related to gender appropriation and that person occupying space that would otherwise be occupied by a marginalized group of people. I was able to directly address my concerns with the person and the outcome was positive but it would have been good to hash those things out earlier.

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Thanks for the responses so far, really appreciate it.

The theme of the suggestions so far has been doing splits with people you know personally, which is great when it can happen. However for those of us that don’t live in cities with a huge underground music scene this can be hard, and it really comes down to whether or not there’s some online communities you can tap into. I’ll take the above stuff on board and hopefully 2020 is the year of the cool split.

It’s not; I care more about their overall sincerity and musical talent.

I’m glad you could resolve your issues amicably, but this sounds like the kind of “putting people in boxes / stay in your lane” stuff that i’m trying to avoid. However I’ll take this as a data point that some musicians have certain sensitivities I should be mindful of.

Nice one, thanks!

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