We kicked off 2018 with a new music event series called "On the Record" — designed to highlight talented artists and the great music they make. For our first "On The Record," we welcomed Northern National, Dallas-based alternative rock band and longtime friends of MAX, to the stage.
Gaining National Popularity
Ryan Thompson, our Artist Relations Partner, led the interview with two members from Northern National, Michael Rossi, and Michael Kanne. They talked about their music career and the obstacles they have had to overcome to get to where they are now. When we first met them in 2016, they were independent - with no manager, no booking agent, no publicist, and no label. Since then they have toured nationally with Blue October, another Texas-based alternative rock band, and have significantly grown their online following and hit over one million streaming plays on Spotify.
They handle all of their booking, branding, marketing, promotion, social media, web design, and more, but as their popularity continues to grow, they are looking to slow down - at least in terms of band management. Finding the right manager is something they are willing to wait for; it's all about building trust and having commitment on both sides of the relationship.
Building A Management Team
Ryan Thompson @ Music Audience Exchange (MAX): What challenges have you guys come across in the last year that you had to overcome to put out this album?
Michael Kanne: We've tried to work with people in the past and said let's test it out, but then two months go by, and nothing happens. We've hit a point where we've realized - we're going to keep doing this ourselves for as long as we can, but we need a team around us that we trust and we like. We can't do it without a team. We're actually in the middle of searching for management - finding someone we trust, and that has the same vision for us going forward. We're going to keep doing it ourselves until that person comes along.
Slowing Down and Opening Up
Ryan Thompson @ MAX: Tell us a little bit about "Slow Down" and the new EP.
Michael Rossi: As a musician, you try to find a way to express yourself without drawing too much attention to it. At least for me, because it's one of those things where you start writing something, and you're like crap, this might put out exactly how I'm feeling. "Slow Down" is about realizing that you have to change first within yourself before you change for others.
Michael Kanne: When we started writing "Slow Down" it kind of paved the way for the whole EP from the sound and lyrical content to the overall message. The EP talks about anxiety and depression and about dealing with it - in a positive way.
After the interview, they played an acoustic version of their new single, “Slow Down." The lyrics reflect the realization you have when you finally are honest about the mask you’ve been wearing that protects you from others seeing the real, vulnerable person you are. It talks about being a liar, dealing with depression, and faking like you’re okay.
Michael's vocals were impactful; he wasn't just singing to the audience in the room, he was singing to himself. "Slow Down" is the first song they recorded off the new EP entitled D.A.R.K., set to release later this spring, and we can't wait to hear the rest.
Thank you @musicaudienceexchange for having us come in to the offices and talk about our new single Slow Down, what challenges we face being an independent band, and how much @keyskanne loves @taylorswift. What you guys do for bands and brands is fantastic and we are lucky enough to consider y’all part of our team. Thanks again.
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Music Audience Exchange (MAX) was founded in 2014 with a mission to help champion incredible music and the artists who make it through strategic, data-driven partnerships with brands. MAX brings brands into the music promotional space in a way that puts engaging content into the world through a value-exchange model that drives the brand’s objectives and elevates breakthrough bands along the way. If you’d like to learn more about Music Audience Exchange and what a music promotion program would look like for your brand, send us a note.