Her rock! How we created a corporate music group from employees of a digital agency

Her rock! How we created a corporate music group from employees of a digital agency

Hello and happy holidays! I’m Kyrylo, CMO of the “Smart Marketing” digital agency. I was thinking of breaking into Khabr’s personal account with some kind of professional hack content, but a more interesting story appeared.

I will tell you how we assembled a band, performed at three corporate events, gained recognition and even some money. Well, how about without facaps! And at the end, the bonus is a low-quality excerpt of the song “The King and the Jester-Forest” from the performance 🙂

What started it all

I myself have never been a musician or a vocalist. But I love to pamper myself with this thing 😀. Even with a couple of friends, we periodically gather at rehearsal points to improvise something.

And in a large work team, it is often impossible to hide such preferences at joint hangouts after the Nth amount of drinking))

And suddenly our CEO Kolya, noting that there are more and more “creative” people in the team, offers the following adventure:

An adventure, because it is in a month with pennies for the New Year corporate. But the idea is exciting – I have never performed with a musical group before. And who among us has never imagined himself a rock star on stage with a full backing room?))

Challenge accepted!

From whom the team gathered

Vocals: Masha (HR director), Arina (ROP)

Guitar: Lenya (programmer)

Bass: Kyrylo (CMO)

Impact: Danya (project manager), who switched to keyboards in the third iteration

In the following iterations, we increased:

+1 vocalist: Yulia (marketer)

+2 guitarists: Andrii (programmer) and Sanya (bizdev)

+1 percussionist: Misha (contextual advertising specialist)

Let’s start rehearsals 🔥

MVP* of the music group

*minimal value product (minimally viable product)

Given that we met for the first time only one month before the corporate event, it was clear that our product would be very minimally viable)))

Therefore, it was important to set possible tasks.

What did it mean:

  • A small set list: we decided to play only 5 tracks

  • They tried to choose the most familiar songs for all band members

  • And that they should not have complicated parties as much as possible, but simplify complicated ones

In case anyone is wondering, our first setlist looked like this:

  1. Wham! – Last Christmas (New Year)

  2. Animal DzhaZ – Three Stripes (just 50% of employees stuck in 2007)

  3. Maxim – Do you know (not related to Spartak)

  4. Max Korzh – The smoke melts (The smoke melts in the lungs, LLC)

  5. Basta – Sansara (this is the anthem of all our cooperatives, when several dozen people stand in a circle and hug each other and sing at the top of their voices)

They did not think about the name for a long time and did not argue:

That’s how we started to be called Backend Jazz Band v 1.0. Then 2.0 and 3.0 🎸

After a month of rehearsals, we performed. Both the group and colleagues were high.

Then, six months later, we performed again at the summer corporate party with a slightly different lineup.

And here is the Backend Jazz Band v 3.0 for the new year 2024, which has grown to 8! a person and rightly announced by the presenter as “who has become legendary” (haha), spoke for the third time.

Actually, I will tell you what problems and tasks we faced and what experience we gained during the three iterations of the corporate group.

Where to dig and get equipment?

If anyone doesn’t know, there are special places where you can rent a room with all the equipment for rehearsals. Queries for the search engine: “rehearsal point”, “rehearsal base”.

In the first iteration, we had a guitarist as the only person with his instrument. Therefore, there was a question not only of a place for rehearsals, but also of renting equipment for the corporation itself.

In order to reduce the number of inconveniences, we immediately chose a reptochka with the option of on-site rental of tools. Thus, at the concert I played the same familiar bass, the drummer used the usual drum set, and the female vocalists sang into the microphones with the usual sound.

Difficulties in the process of rehearsals

A group is a team. Creative, equal, with voluntary participation. This has its nuances.

It is resource-consuming

You need to find the time and strength to come to rehearsals consistently, at least twice a week, despite work, family, and other commitments. You have to pay for rehearsals, you spenders. Later, however, we were compensated for the expenses.

Everyone has different tastes

For example, Danya likes to be sad to Cigarettes after sex, and Lenya to darken to heavy metal. It was important for us to create a cool atmosphere at the corporate party, so everyone had to compromise.

There are conflict situations

A different level of playing, a different vision for arranging. Emotions can be eaten even in a flat place. Here it is important that there are people in the group who are able to smooth the corners.

There must be a person who needs it the most

Booking a turnip, agreeing on tools and delivery – these tasks are not too much to deal with. Someone has to come to grips with these features or things will start to fall apart.

Integration into the program of the event

Since it was a corporate event, it was necessary to negotiate with HR to integrate us into the program: allocate timings, take into account the script, and, most importantly, allocate a place for the performance.

We were lucky, our vocalist Masha is the head of the HR department at the agency)) Therefore, even the venue was selected taking into account the group’s interests: the presence of a stage, normal acoustics, a place for dancing and slam.

Technical rider

So far only technical. Fresh strawberries and a couple of bottles of XO in the dressing room are not yet grown up.

First of all, you need to start from the equipment and capabilities of the site. At some sites, everything is not bad in terms of equipment, which reduces the burden of rent and transportation.

In the third iteration, our lineup looked like this:

  • 3 female vocalists (like this)

  • 1 drummer

  • 1 bass player

  • 1 rhythm guitarist

  • 1 solo guitarist

  • 1 keyboardist

For such a composition, we needed the following equipment:

  • 2 concert columns. In all three cases, the sites provided them to us. They output vocals, keys and drum backing.

  • 3 combo amplifiers (these are speakers for guitars): 1 for bass, 2 for guitars.

  • Guitarists each with their own guitars and jack-jack type cords + guitar accessories.

  • 5 microphones and 5 cords for them. In addition to the vocals, the microphones played the drums. Just in case, we had 2 more spare sets.

  • Shock installation. This is probably the most troublesome point. We still need sticks that constantly break.

  • The keyboardist came with his own MIDI keyboard. He played key sounds on his MacBook and sent the signal through an external sound card.

  • Mixer. The mixing console includes microphones, keys and drum sound. From the remote control, the sound goes to the concert columns. It was important to consider the number of inputs – we needed an 8-channel mixer.

  • Sale of monitors. Not LCD, but speakers on the floor of the stage, which are aimed at the group to hear themselves.

  • Projector. It is not necessary, but at the last corporate event we wanted to put a cool screen saver and a video for one of the songs in the background.

What went wrong

Well, how about without facaps. Especially since we are all amateurs in this matter.

They waited a long time and I got drunk

The band’s performance is more suitable for the climax of the evening. Who does not drink – well done. Those who drink should be careful. Our performance started two hours later than planned. That’s why I didn’t count for the first time. The first song went well. And on the second one, I didn’t realize until the second verse that I was playing the wrong notes 😂. Then, after all, he took control of himself. As it turned out, no one even noticed (the bass is still inaudible). But the next time he did not allow this.

The vocalists could not hear themselves

At the first concert, we didn’t have monitoring, so you couldn’t hear your vocals from the stage. With live drums and overdriven guitar parts, this is a problem. So the girls had a hard time.

At the second performance, we did a semi-acoustic format – it was fine. On the third, there were already 8 of us, so we had monitors and a sound engineer who rebuilt the band and cranked up the sound during the performance.

Unsuccessful site

The performance at the second corporate party took place in the hall for celebrations at the recreation center. There was no stage and we felt the contrast. It’s still more epic when you perform on stage and see the audience and its reaction to the last rows.

The performance without a stage was intimate and soulful

But the scene is cooler 🤘

For the soul, not for money

But from the second corporation, we launched a heartfelt collection of donations. Moreover, it was not our idea – colleagues suggested it themselves.

Thanks to my colleagues for their appreciation and support.

Profit for the company

Management and HR are generally excited. How much does it cost to invite a cover band?
50-100 thousand? And here they organized their own. They also filled 1-1.5 hours of the program.

And it’s a win-win-win. The agency completed the program conditionally free of charge. Colleagues were high. We got our hour of glory with a loyal and appreciative audience.

Final advice for those who also want to

Rehearse everything, right down to talking to the audience and making jokes! And especially vocals in motion))

From the beginning, we discussed that we wanted to do more than just perform songs, we wanted to do a show. In the process of rehearsals, we constantly sketched out ideas on how to address the hall, where to joke, how to move to the track.

As a result, we went on stage fully prepared, all that remained was to express our emotions for the last time 🤟


A couple of excerpts from KiSha’s performance. Sorry for the sound, there was no task to make a normal concert recording)

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