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RNW:  And they buy records, by the way.  The under 18s BUY THE RECORDS.

BS:  Yeah, and we caught on to that, believe me.  It just kind of spread like wild fire through the high schools, you know?  Started hearing about it.  Kids have friends in other schools and the tapes that we were selling, we were selling demo tapes at the time, it just kind of started spreading through the schools like crazy.  It got to the point where we really needed to put out a CD but no one really had the money to do it.  We were like, who can we borrow money from to do it?  We have to have a CD!  Well, then all of the sudden there’s a local independent label, Medea Records.  They approached us and said “Hey, we’ll pay for you guys to put out a CD.  We’ll get you in the studio.”  Right when we were trying to find out what to do, they came up out of nowhere.  Well, we put the CD out, it was doing really well with local stuff, but there was really no distribution and we were kind of at a point where, you know, we’re really doing good but we want to know how to get to the next level.  Well, at that point, I got an email from our manager now, Bruce Thornfeld, and he said that he was interested in the project and what not, and he wanted to shop us around a label.  So we started doing that and we had some labels come out and see us in Detroit and do that whole thing, and we ended up going with Mojo.  They basically had a lot of the same ideas that we had.  It was just right because it was a label that had no one else like us on there, so we knew we’d stand out.  It’s a small label, but yet they are backed by Universal.  Its kind of the best of both worlds there.

RNW:  And you made a really good point in that it was better to go with a label who didn’t really have another band quite like you.

BS:  Right, I mean there’s a lot of other labels out there like on Roadrunner for instance.  It’s a good label, but for someone like us, there’s so many bands on that label that are heavy.  We’re just like one of the other bands, you know?  Mojo, we’re like “the heavy band.”  We’re the only heavy band here, you know?

RNW:  You’ve got the billet for that.  So, are you still based in Detroit, all of you?

KL:  We pretty much will be.  I mean, I think if there ever comes a time where things get larger and larger scale, I think I would at least move away from the snow, but  . . .

RNW:  Its nice here in California guys!

BS:  Its not like, I don’t see us as a band that’s, lets move away from home, because that’s where its all about.  That’s where it all comes from and that’s where a lot of our writing comes from.  Everything that’s around you.  And the fans who are at home are the ones that have got us to where we are now.  To move away from them would be kind of like a smack in the face to them.

RNW:  Have there been any surprises for you as a band since you left the smaller Detroit market and got some national distribution through Mojo?  Any new adventures that you’ve embarked on or been surprised with since you’ve come to this larger arena?

KL:  Definitely.  A few things, like touring.  We played Texas, and Texas was just enormous.  Fan wise, it was so crazy and we’d have never expected it.  You’re so used to like, seeing your Detroit crowd, you know, knowing those people.  Then you go play some place like Texas and it just erupts in madness when you get on stage.  Its really strange.  And then probably the second weirdest thing is that every time we come home, the buzz seems to get larger.  Its so weird.  Its great, but weird to see that because everybody at home says “Oh my God, all these people!”  Like we just went home after Christmas and sold out a venue that we’ve always dreamt of selling out.  Like the place held like a thousand people and they turned away several hundred people that couldn’t make it in.  And before, like three months ago, we weren’t doing that.  So there’s something going on and it kind of blows you away.

RWN:  Well, next is Joe Lewis Arena, right?

KL:  Nah, I don’t know about that.

RNW:  Oh come on.  Think big!

KL:  Yeah, you can think big, but for right now, I want to take the baby steps.  I want to play at Clutch Cargo’s and State Theatre and stuff before we try to jump at something like that.

RNW:  You never know, you know?  If you get on a tour with another band . . .

KL:  That, that’s a big thing, but doing our own show, like coming back and doing like the home town show, that would be crazy.

RNW:  Yeah, that IS one of those surreal moments, but it does happen.  What kind of advice would you give to other bands out there who would like to get a record deal and realize their dreams of making music available to a wider audience?

KL:  Basically, I’d say don’t really focus on getting a deal right away, just basically focus mostly on promoting yourself and getting your music out there and things will happen in due time.  I mean, that’s probably one of the main questions I get asked when I go home and there’s other bands around, or I’m on line a lot and band and people always try to talk to me, asking what they can do to get signed.  Just, right now the best thing for younger bands to do is just promote themselves like crazy.  Be out there at the shows, flyering.  Every time someone like Korn or Limp Bizkit would comes to town, be out there with flyers all night.  It says a lot when kids come to your shows and they know you and they’re coming out of a Korn show and you are personally in the band and you are standing out there working your ass off and handing out flyers.  They know that.  They see that and then its amazing.  Your turn outs for the shows, and kids come up to you and they know that it was you, or they might be shocked and not know that was you that gave them the flyer but they remember you.  They come to you at the show and go “Oh my God dude, I got that flyer from you!” 

BS:  I think another thing that is a misconception is that getting signed to a label is actually the easiest part.  After that its not guaranteed.  You can get signed and still sell basically nothing, cause it happens every day.  The best thing is get your song writing down, promote yourself and just try to get a buzz going.  If you get signed, you get signed, but there’s so many things even now with bands, just through the internet alone, you can do so much promotion.  That alone has helped us out more than anything.  We’ve had Factory81.com up for a couple of years now and its going like crazy, you know?  There’s so many people coming to the site, like right now, of all the bands under Universal Records, only Nellie, Godsmack and 98 Degrees are the only bands getting more hits on the web site than us. 

RNW:  I meant to mention to you, your web site is awesome.

BS:  Thank you.

RNW:  First of all, I love the opening graphic.  It is fabulous.  Very, very much of an eye or attention getter.  And just the way you have it set up is really top notch.  You’ve got a great web site and being that we are a web site company, we can pretty much attest to the power of internet promotion.  And, one of the things that I’ll do with this interview is – people want to know you better.  I’m going to tie them, right at the end of the interview, right back to your web site, so they can get more information, so they can get your tour updates.  So they can get, you know, your emails or whatever it is.  However it is that you interact with your fans and stay close to your fans, that’s one of the really great things and its not the same with print media or with television, or with radio work.  Any of the other ways you promote yourself.  You don’t get the interaction that you do with the internet.  Its really, really important to someone in your position, when you are building a fan base.

BS:  I thing it says something for the fact that, all those three bands are all mega bands.  Those people are getting more hits on their sites than us.  Universal has so many people under their umbrella, the fact that we’re doing better than all those bands, I mean, like not record sales – we’re still a new band and things are still spreading for us – but the internet has done so much for us.  If we’re getting that many people hitting our site . . .

KL:  What’s even more amazing are the people that make fan sites.  Like when you see your first fan site of your band, its kind of like “what?”

RNW:  How does that make you feel?

KL:  Weird.  Its cool too, when you go to a fan site, you get information before you know about it yourself. 

RNW:  Do you ever write any of them and say “This is me and no, that’s not my favorite color and no, I don’t wear boxers, I wear briefs?”

KL:  Its weird though, because most of the sites are factual stuff, like Bill knows every body that’s done all the sites.

BS:  I keep in touch with all of those people, because I’m on the internet myself and I run factory81.net.  Universal does .com and I do .net.  I run that while we’re on the road and stuff.  But I’m constantly in contact with those people who are doing all the sites.  I’ll find out what’s doing on, you know.  Now I talk a little bit more, but before people were getting information before I’d even get it.  That was a little weird.

RNW:  I like that though.  It shows people are paying attention.
 

Go to Part IV
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