Over the years there have been many tours and festivals that have taken place all over the world. Most of these events showcase bands that are already signed and have a massive following. Personally, I am not opposed to huge acts being on tour and making their money. While these events do usually draw crowds these types of tours do nothing to support the underground music scene! The underground is thriving with new and exciting talent but the issue is how to harness that talent into a successful major tour. One new tour that is doing just that is the Exposed Music Fest! The Exposed Music Fest is a nationwide tour that goes to cities all over the country to showcase the areas local talent. The tour works closely with Stand and Deliver Records and brings all the advantages of a major tour and festival right to the underground. The following is an interview with Dan Janssen, the founder of the Exposed Music Fest.
Rob:How did the fest get started?
Dan: Over the last three years, Exposed Music Festival (formally known as The Slave to the Metal Music Festival) has featured, debuted, and unified local acts in cities coast to coast. Hosted by Fuse TV’s Juliya Chernetsky and Suicide City’s and Demilitia’s bass player Jennifer “JennCity” Arroyo (also known for her former days with KITTIE), this ongoing festival-style tour has exposed more than 750 unsigned bands to more than 35,000 fans in just 75 shows during 2011! We expect 2012 to be even more exciting and successful by offering new programs and adding new sponsors. Recently, we started programs for bands to get involved in our personal distribution project or opt to be photographed onstage during their acts for excellent publicity shots. Both options are free of charge to bands who sign up for Exposed events. Another avenue we are considering is getting other local artists involved at our shows to also display their talents to the community and possibly their target demographic, spreading the fan base even more. For example, local tattoo shops can advertise their work and meet like-minded people, or local Internet-based TV or radio shows can broadcast/document our festival. At the end of the day we want these bands to gain fans, have fun and help their scene to grow.
Rob:Whose idea was it to go to different cities and promote local bands?
Dan: It was mine. I’ve worked on every side of this industry including management, concert production, and a musician. I work with several record label A&R from Major to Indie and thought this would be a good way to go out and find some diamond’s in the rough. Labels rarely go to shows anymore, unless a band is drawing hundreds of people to a show and creating a major buzz outside their local scene its highly unlikely anyone will see them. With our connections the hope is to find talent, work with them and try and get them to that next level. You wouldn’t believe the talent we see in these “minor” markets. There are so many groups that if they had the right direction they could be successful in this business. Unfortunately there are too many “voices” in this business who claim they know the “right” way and really it handcuffs these kids and keeps them local. We try our best to break that mold and give them the right advice if they ask for it.
Rob: What record companies and national acts are affiliated with this tour?
Dan:There are industry reps/bands that we all work with, more then I could list. The label that sponsors this event is Stand and Deliver Records but we have connections at pretty much every label out there thru our various affiliates. For instance, with the standout rock bands I’ve found on this event I’ve showcased them separately for Kim Stephens, Kim owns forward entertainment and works for or is associated with Capitol, Atlantic and Universal. He is credited with signing such acts as Matchbox 20, Collective Soul, most recently Saving Abel, Sick Puppies, and Adelitas Way to name a few. We don’t push the record deal aspect as much as helping the bands gain fans and teaching unity in their music scene. Labels aren’t signing potential anymore, so a band really has to be a 10 out of 10 to gain label interest. We do find these groups from time to time and will set up a separate showcase for these bands at a later date.
Rob: Are there any locals that have been “exposed” or became famous from this tour?
Dan: Well were brand new and have only been doing this since Feb of 2011. All of the bands get exposure from this, and I’m confident every band that put forth any sort of effort has gained something from playing this. We don’t sign bands as were just a production company, but we can shop them if they are good. The biggest problem with festivals like this is that they promise record deals that they can’t deliver. We don’t want bands thinking if they play this event they will get signed, so we really don’t try to push that aspect of it. The opportunity is there for the bands that stand out though. I just recently did a showcase for a band called The Everyday Losers out of Indiana and I’m real excited about their chances. Other standouts I’ve seen are SkinKage, Novus Follium, It’s tough because labels aren’t so quick to take a chance anymore on bands so the process is a bit longer and were hoping 2012 we can claim responsibility for some of the acts in 2011! We also look for bands that we can take on tour with us. SkinKage out of Charlotte, NC is an unsigned act that we are bringing on the road with us for this tour. They have some label interest but the label wants to see how they do on tour, so naturally we decided to take them out and see what they can do!
Rob: What is the goal of the tour?
Dan: When we meet bands we feel are of high caliber in quality and initiative, we now have the opportunity to introduce them to our friends at our sponsoring organizations, such as Stand and Deliver Records, The End Records, and Skullsnbones.com. Supporting local artists and musicians and trying to help them spread their “art” in their communities and possibly nationwide is our goal with the Exposed Music Festival. And as we continue to grow, we will continue to put on the highest quality events and stand out as the best local music festival in your city.
Dan: February 4th at the California Brew House in Rochester and check the facebook page for other exposed shows in your area!
For more information on Exposed Music Festival