All the Right Moves on Warped Tour, David Hasselhoff, and burning pianos
|Photo by Kasey Jean Noll|
Gimme Noise speaks with lead singer Brandon Daly before the band's album release at Station 4 on Friday about the hard work that goes into running a band.
Band Members: Brandon Daly (Vocals/Piano/Guitar), Braden Ashworth (Vocals/ Guitar), Roman Wolfe (Violin), Will Ceasar (Bass/ Vocals), Dustin Phillips (Drums/ Vocals)
Gimme Noise: You guys played at Warped again this year -- amidst the heat and dirt. What are the benefits of playing that stage? What was up with the green guy?
One year in Milwaukee our violin player, Roman, decided to strip down to nothing but a youth-sized Speedo and walk around with his violin on his shoulder, a megaphone in one hand and our set time written on his chest with a Sharpie. He would yell about our band through the megaphone, play songs for people on his violin, dance around like a maniac and take pictures with people. It's a marketing tact, really. His chest was so white it literally burned our set time into everyone's eyes that looked at him. And yeah, now that you mention it, I'm not sure if it was a mirage from the heat, but I also vaguely remember a tall man in a full-body green-man suit at this year's Warped who looked a lot like our violin player, Roman. Some people saw him holding up a giant neon green sign with our set time written on it. Other people saw him crowd-surfing. Either way, I'm pretty sure he was completely naked underneath that thing.
Pop-punk is a difficult genre to break into, especially in the
Twin Cities. What drives you to keep going when a band can go years
without the recognition?
The band has been successful at getting placements in films and television shows. Is this all hustle from the band, or do you work with a publishing company?
Both. We hustle our butts off, but we've also been very lucky at the same time. One of our biggest breaks spawned from pure luck -- as well as being at the right place at the right time. When our 2010 EP, The Monster I've Become, came out, we got featured on the front page of Purevolume.com for a couple weeks, which gave us huge exposure. During that time we got an email from a company called Bunim-Murray (they produce reality shows for MTV, Oxygen and E! - such as The Real World, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians). A talent scout found our music and liked what he heard and was interested in licensing our music to their catalog. Obviously, we said yes, and we have since gotten our music placed in close to a dozen episodes of various reality T.V. shows. They must love the Minnesota music scene, because we have friends in other bands who have also gotten licensing deals through them.
How did the opportunity to have your song in the movie Piranha 3DD come about?
I went to school at McNally Smith College of Music from 2008-2010, pursuing a degree in Music Business. During that time the head of the Music Business department was a very genuine guy named Ron Sobel. He gave a lecture one day in the auditorium that really grabbed my attention. It was all about licensing deals and his experiences in the world of music publishing. I loved every second of it. After the lecture, I contacted him, and we started talking back and forth via email. We talked about his publishing company, Winogradsky/Sobel, which is stationed in LA. I told him about my band, and that I was eager to have him listen to our album for consideration. I sent him a copy of our album to listen to and he wrote back a couple weeks later telling me that he "listened to the album -- loved what he heard, and thought it would make an excellent addition to his company's catalog." I was stoked! This was the first licensing deal we'd ever gotten. So I signed the agreement forms, submitted my band's album, along with the instrumental tracks and lyrics... and then we waited!
The band seems to do a lot of your own work. What do you feel you excel at, and what do you need to work on? Was it a lot of trial and error?
Yes, we are a 100% DIY independent band, and we are proud of it. We've just had too many bad experiences in the past with shady, money-grubbing managers, so we've decided to keep it indie for the time being. Which is the way to go if you are able to wear the many different hats -- so to speak. We hire on photographers, videographers, and website designers as needed to help us with projects, but as a general rule-of-thumb, we only hire on someone to do something we can't reproduce ourselves.