Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Unsigned Experience 2 - SIMPL3JACK

Last week I featured an interview with indie folk duo Westwood and Willow about their experience as unsigned musicians.

This week, an interview with a very different band. They are a Sacramento punk band that have played the Friday Night Concert in the Park Series a number of times, have already gathered a good sized following, and...they're not even in high school yet.

SIMPL3JACK is Cole, Wyatt, and Ryan and none of them are over 13 years old. As you'll see, their answers reflect a simple and honest love of making music. For them, being in a band isn't about being a business or creating a product. It's about having fun!

Photo by Barry Wisdom

How long after the band formed were you able to start booking shows?

SIMPL3JACK formed as a result of Cole and Wyatt wanting to be in an elementary school talent show. The owver of Fuddruckers, Angelo Negrete, was in the crowd that night and told us he was blown away. He signed us on as the summer entertainers for his Fudd's Thursday Car Shows. Suddenly we were in a band.

How did you get booked for shows?
After playing the first FUDD show, people started going crazy asking for shows. It was the end of the school year, so there were a ton of graduation parties. SIMPL3JACK also played a bunch of birthday parties and park type shows. Word of mouth pretty much kept the calendar full month after month.

Where was your first professional gig?
SIMPL3JACK got free food at FUDDS, so I guess that was the first professional gig. One of our song lyrics is "Didn't make a red cent, but we got free food." That is kind of how most shows go. Thanks to Jerry Perry we got to open the Concert in the Park series this year and got paid real money.

Photo by Jeff Harris

What web tools do you use to promote the band?
We use primarily Facebook. We have a MySpace page, but it sucks. We never really are on it. We also have a band page. We probably need to make it better. That is a project for this summer.

What kind of media do you use to promote the band? Audio, visual, etc?
We are lucky to have a zillion fans. We use a lot of photos that our friends take. We also love to make funny videos of us goofing around and posting them on YouTube. We are going to make a bunch more this summer.

Do you use any websites specifically aimed at unsigned musicians to help promote the  band? Last FM? iLike? Something else?

ReverbNation: we are just getting started with this stuff. We want to get on all of them soon but we would rather spend time making music. Maybe we should hire someone to do this for us. Do you know anybody?

What kind of fan-base do you have? About how many fans/followers do you have? Is there a specific age range?
Facebook has been a great tool for us. We are just getting ready to break 2,000 fans this week. Most of them are kids our age or teenagers. We also have a ton of club owners, promoters, and family that follow us. We are also pretty psyched to have Debora Iyall (singer of iconic SF '80's New Wave band Romeo Void), Jack Johnson, Kepi Ghoulie, Barry Melton (Country Joe and the Fish) as fans.

Are you actively looking to be signed by a label?
We are 12, and we have only been playing for like a year. We don't even really know what it means to get signed. We want to play music and get good gigs where people are there to hear bands play. We want to get a zillion bands together and build a music scene here in Sacramento.

In your own words, describe the Sacramento music scene. Where are your favorite places to perform?
It is kind of weird for us. We don't really get to play too many clubs because we are too young. We became friends with Dog Party and do a ton of shows with them. They are the best band in Sacramento - by far! We have met some super cool people like Jerry Perry, who has really been awesome to us. Pat Haight from Pinnacle Recording College also has been super great to us [He had us in to do a recording at his school.]. We love to play Cesar Chavez, Shire Road Club and the Crest was of course awesome. Really anywhere that people are into music is fun to play.

Do you think unsigned musicians have any influence over the music industry? Why or why not? And if so, how?
I'm not sure. I know that a lot of people watch our videos on YouTube and have then become fans of the band on Facebook, and the numbers keep getting bigger, and they all keep asking for an album. I'm not sure if this would be considered influence. I don't have an Adam's Apple yet.

What are you favorite bands?
The White Stripes and the Black Keys have been huge influences for us, but each of us have our own inspirations. Cole loves the Wu Tang Clan and '80's hardcore punk; Wyatt loves Led Zeppelin (anything Jon Bonham); Ryan loves the Red Hot Chili Peppers (anything Flea touches).

SIMPL3JACK may be on summer vacation but they still have a full schedule. Here are a few of their upcoming shows:

July 10th - 2nd Saturday Downtown (24th & K w/ Dog Party)
July 15h - FUDDS (@ 6pm)


Official Site

Next time...I get ready for my interview
with Sacramento's New Humans,
and post my interview with DJ Mike Colossal!

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