Tag Archive | "SUDDYN"

Leaving the Dark for the Light

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Sometimes you have to experience the dark to find the light.

For brothers Alan and Jarrett Steil the last year and a half of their journey as musicians breaking into the Los Angeles music scene has been just that.

In 2011, Suddyn, the band the brothers formed in their native Montauk almost a decade earlier, had the promise of exposure in their own backyard through MTK — a world-class music festival planned for East Hampton.

But that festival fell apart without ever coming to fruition and shortly thereafter, the group’s Irish drummer Brendan Connolly left the band.

However, for Alan, the group’s lead singer, keyboard and trumpet player, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Alan was ready to move on from Suddyn, a band that had brought he and Jarrett success in Ireland, including a top-10 hit in 2004, and taken them out to Los Angeles in 2011 where they played sold-out clubs on the storied Sunset Strip.

“We needed to wipe the slate clean,” said Alan in an interview from the Montauk Bake Shoppe. His parents, Alan, Sr. and Celeste own the bakery and this week the brothers and the band’s manager — muse and champion, Linda O’Connor — were gathered to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Earlier this year, Alan and Jarrett regrouped and formed the indie-rock band The Rebel Light with 22-year-old drummer Brandon Cooke, a California native. With the success of a video for the band’s first single, “Goodbye Serenade,” which has earned close to 5,000 hits on YouTube, on November 13 The Rebel Light released a self-titled EP.

“The Rebel Light” EP features “My Heroes Are Dead,” “Goodbye Serenade,” and “Wake Up Your Mind.” It is available free to download through the band’s website, http://therebellight.com.

“I think our name, the music we are doing, and the way we are doing business is a lot more current,” said Alan. “I think our first year [in California] we were ignoring aspects of the musical journey in Los Angeles.”

“Whenever I thought about playing in L.A. I thought about the Sunset Strip,” he added. “But there is this great grassroots music scene in places like Silver Lake and Eagle Rock which is where we find ourselves a lot more now these days.”

Grassroots would certainly be a way to describe the recording of “The Rebel Light,” which was completed in a shed at Cooke’s parent’s home in Yuciapa in the San Bernadino Valley, as well as Alan and Jarrett’s bathroom and closet in Hollywood.

“I think people really respected that we literally did this completely on our own,” said Alan. “”We recorded it ourselves, we produced it ourselves and I think people have really liked the sound.”

With the addition of Cooke — who is not related to Alan and Jarrett despite a little joke the band played on an online magazine where they identified Cooke as a long lost cousin, a fib that has spread across the web — Alan said the sound he and Jarrett cultivated through Suddyn has also evolved.

“I think we have a little more of a retro sound,” said Alan. “I hate to use this word, but it really is more organic for us. It is more who we really are, less contrived and forced. Towards the end of Suddyn, I almost felt like we were too polished. We are a lot more relaxed now, less alternative pop rock and more indie rock.”

For Alan, some aspects of an evolved music business — which is largely funded through tours, rather than album sales, and includes the ability to produce a high-quality record without a major label or formal studio — are appealing.

“There is a lot more music out there and it is much harder to get to the top, top than it used to be,” he said. “But we also have a lot more control over our careers, and we can reach thousands through the Internet.”

“There are so many avenues for us to pursue our music,” added Alan. “For someone like me, I’ll give my music away because I would rather hand out 200 EPs, have people listen to it, love it and come see us at a show sometime than charge people $5 for some songs.”

For Alan, the possibilities for the future are both endless and bright, and you can hear it in The Rebel Light’s music — hope overcoming the angst melancholy Suddyn was often known for in its early years.

“It’s in our favor to continue to focus on the West Coast, promote the EP, record new music, just keep pushing forward,” he said. “Every band’s path is different and we are just figuring out what ours is. It’s hard work, but we are creating our own kind of luck.”

 

Poor Ticket Sales Nix MTK Concert

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They had the music, they had the food, and they had the fashion, but what the organizers of the MTK: Music to Know Festival didn’t have was the crowds.

Just a week before the festival was set to debut, the stage nestled among greenery cradling an unused portion of a runway at the East Hampton Airport, festival organizers on Saturday pulled the plug on the event, citing poor ticket sales.

“It is with heavy, heavy heart that we regret to inform you that the inaugural MTK: Music To Know Festival in East Hampton will not take place,” said festival promoters in a release. “Despite our unique vision and arranging a world-class line-up, ticket sales were not adequate to allow the event to continue. We wanted to let everyone know now before engaging more deeply.”

“Along with our ticket holders, vendors, sponsors, business associates, colleagues and friends in the community, we too are filled with deep disappointment,” continued the release. “We pledge to endure during this difficult time with the same integrity and professionalism displayed throughout the creation of this event.”

The MTK: Music to Know Festival was conceived by hotelier and businessman Chris Jones and screenwriter Bill Collage, both Sag Harbor residents.

It aimed to bring up-and-coming, as well as celebrated indie-music artists, to the East End for a two-day festival that would also feature beer and wine gardens, high-end and local cuisine, an area for children, and special access to artists in the VIP area. One artist rumored heavily among industry sources to be set to perform an acoustic set at MTK was the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who has earned critical and popular praise for her vocals in the film “Country Strong” and on the television show “Glee”

On Tuesday, Jones said that in order for the festival to go on, 5,500 tickets of the 9,500 tickets up for sale needed to be sold. Tickets were priced at $195 for a two-day pass, and two-day VIP passes for $695. One-day passes were also later offered as an option for festival attendees.

As of Saturday, Jones said the festival only sold 2,500 tickets. While it was possible that more tickets would have sold in the coming week, Jones said that was a possibility he unfortunately could not count on.

“The bottom line is when you run an event, you have a certain amount of losses you can take, and then you have to make a decision,” he said, adding Saturday was the last day the organization could make final decisions regarding expenditures.

The event was plagued from the beginning, when it was first proposed at an Amagansett venue, by a handful of critics locally who questioned the town’s decision to grant Collage and Jones a commercial mass gathering permit in the first place. Comments appeared to wane after the festival was moved to the East Hampton Airport, and particularly after a promised $100,000 was set aside in an escrow account for a number of local charities including The Retreat, Phoenix House, Project MOST, all East Hampton based food pantries, and the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, to name a few.

Those charities will not receive that funding now, confirmed Jones.

“That is the most disappointing part,” he said. “It was contingent on the event taking place and you can’t really say anything more than that except it is really, really disappointing.”

As to what led to the lackluster sales, Jones said he could not say.

“One thing I will stand behind is the bands,” he said. “We really feel from the bottom of our hearts that we had an amazing lineup. As to what happened thereafter, who knows, but the lineup I will stand behind.”

In addition to a roster of acts including celebrated indie-rock bands like Vampire Weekend, Bright Eyes, and Dawes, folk artists M. Ward, British songstress Ellie Goulding, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim and Fitz & the Tantrums, Collage and Jones also booked Suddyn, a rock band with roots in Montauk.

“Being born and raised in MTK, I was looking forward to being part of this incredible festival, I would like to humbly express my gratitude to Chris Jones and Bill Collage for their extraordinary efforts to make this seemingly impossible dream a reality,” band leader Alan Steil posted on the group’s Facebook page. “It is important to note that the loss of this festival was beyond the control of these two men and everyone else involved in the process. Again, we’d like to thank them for the opportunity and we were proud to be a part of it every step of the way.”

Since Saturday, Jones said he has been focused entirely on making things right as quickly as possible, in particular for ticket holders, who as of Tuesday night were still without information on how they could gain refunds.

“The Company is working very hard in making arrangements for a mechanism to provide ALL ticket holders with refunds,” read a message on musictoknow.com. “Purchasers of tickets have done so through various interfaces, we will provide clear direction for each of these on this website as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, August 12, 2011.”

“Since this happened I have spent all of the hours I am awake focusing on how to sort this situation out to benefit as many people as we can,” said Jones on Tuesday. “I am not interested in what has gone on. I am trying to make everything right moving forward. I am really focused on trying to do the best thing we can for everyone.”


Montauk Band Back in Time For Festival

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By Kathryn G. Menu


When the rock band Suddyn moved to Los Angeles in January they played the Cat Club in Hollywood to just a handful of fans. Four months later, the band sold out L.A.’s famed Viper Room and booked its first major festival, which, ironically, will bring the trio back home to the East End this August to perform alongside a throng of acclaimed artists at the MTK: Music to Know Festival at the East Hampton Airport.

Montauk natives and brothers, Alan and Jarrett Steil, along with the Irish born drummer Brendan Connolly, can sense that years of hard work appear to be paying off as their band’s momentum continues to build. They remain humble yet driven, seeing this as the moment to continue to build their fan base, play music they love and live a dream all three have had since they were children.

“It does feel like something is happening, but when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to really see it,” said Jarrett, who plays guitar and bass in the band, sitting at a picnic table in the back of his parent’s business, the Montauk Bake Shoppe on Monday. “I don’t want to look too far ahead. I want us to be organized and focus on the now. Honestly, I never thought there would be a music festival like this in East Hampton.”

“It is kind of strange, actually,” said Alan, the band’s lead singer and keyboard player, of beginning to find success in the United States through a move to Los Angeles, although the band’s first major festival will be just miles from where he grew up jamming with his little brother at their Montauk home. “My hope is between now and then we can continue to build up our profile. I think this is our time and we need to run with that.”

“We need to attack it,” Connolly added.

This moment is many years in the making.

Suddyn began in Montauk with the Steil brothers, who grew up playing music together, drawing upon influences like Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Queen and The Beatles. Moving to Ireland in 2004, the band recorded “Drowning Souls,” a top-10 hit single for two weeks on the charts in Ireland.

Shortly after the release of “Drowning Souls,” Connolly came along and rounded out the band, which released two more top-30 singles, and garnered the favor of radio stations and fans.

Connolly, who hails from Tipperary, started banging on drums at his grandmother’s house at the age of six. Growing up surrounded by a culture of musicians and singer-songwriters, Connolly was a member of some 20 bands before finding a home with Suddyn, when he was hired in 2005 after answering the band’s “want ad” in Hot Press, a bi-monthly music and politics magazine based in Dublin.

Between 2005 and 2009, Suddyn toured across Ireland and released its first EP, “Dark Lights,” which included the single “Gravity,” another hit in Ireland for the band.

Band manager Linda O’Connor – the invisible fourth member of Suddyn – was able to negotiate the right for the band to be the first to film a music video – for “Gravity” – inside the famed Guinness Storehouse’s Gravity Bar.

Shortly after, in 2009, band members felt it was time to spread their wings, and came home to Montauk to try and cultivate the same success they found in Ireland back home in the United States.

And it didn’t take long for the group to make inroads.

After a successful performance at Montauk’s Surf Lodge, the band was connected with Grammy Award-winning producer David Kahne, who has produced albums for Paul McCartney and The Strokes. Kahne brought the group to the celebrated Avatar Studios on the west side of Manhattan to record their second EP, “Before the City.”

Connolly said “Before the City,” which originally included three songs – “Brighter Star,” “In Flagrante Delicto,” and “Nothing Last Forever,” represented a new direction for the band, evolving from a mid-tempo sound to one that embraced “driving bass parts with a bit of dirt and grit to them.”

Last weekend, the band returned to New York to add a new song to the EP, “Naked Prophecy,” with a faster tempo that both Jarrett and Connolly are visibly excited to unveil, and which was also recorded with Kahne at Avatar Studios.

“We played like 30 shows since the song has been out there and people have started to latch onto it,” said Jarrett.

The shows he referred to were all been played in California, save one performance at the Independent Music Awards in Las Vegas in mid-May. Los Angeles, and in particular Hollywood, became the band’s new home in January when after more than a year living in Montauk, the group decided that moving west was their best shot at finding not only success, but also a musical community to become a part of.

“Alan will play the piano all day if he can,” said O’Connor. “And it is the same with Jarrett and Brendan. This is their life.”

O’Connor said moving the band to Los Angeles has allowed them to reach a broader audience with a plethora of clubs, colleges and other venues, the group often traveling outside the City of Angels to build on its fan base in smaller communities, anxious for quality live music.

“We really needed to get away, and it was a good move,” said Alan. “Our music wasn’t going to fit into the Brooklyn music scene.”

He added that Los Angeles is “the entertainment capital of the world,” and that as the music industry has shifted from one of record labels to one ruled by individuals with talent and solid marketing skills, getting airplay on the right television show or commercial can be all a band needs to break into the business in a big way, not having to compromise their sound in the process.

Collaborating with other artists, which is another goal for the band, is something they also look forward to, and an ambition that may be furthered through their involvement in the MTK: Music to Know Festival, which will feature renowned artists like Bright Eyes, Vampire Weekend, Fitz and the Tantrums and Cold War Kids.

“We are hoping it can open some doors,” said Alan.

However, fitting into a mold is not what Suddyn strives to do musically.

“I think the most successful bands in the world create their own sound,” said Connolly. “You are going to have your influences growing up, but we have our own sound.”

“You have to try and look at every gig and concert the same way,” he added. “For me, unlike Alan and Jarrett, the festival is not like coming home, although I do see this place as a second home. It’s just another gig, but it will be great to be coming back here to play it.”


FAA Approves Music to Know Music Festival at the East Hampton Airport as Producers Announce Talent

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Just a day after Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage announced the musical lineup for this summer’s MTK: Music to Know Music Festival, they received word from the Federal Aviation Administration that the festival was approved to take place at the East Hampton Airport. That was the final hurdle producers had to jump to ensure the music festival they have been planning for over a year will go on.

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“We are all systems go,” said Jones on Tuesday afternoon, just minutes after receiving confirmation from the FAA.

Having already received a commercial mass gathering permit from East Hampton Town to move the festival from an Amagansett farm to the East Hampton Airport, FAA approval was the last step before Jones could be assured the concert would go on.

“Now the fun part begins,” he said.

The fun part actually began on Monday night at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack, where Jones and Collage, surrounded by over two dozen supporters, announced the musical lineup for the two-day music festival, slated for August 13 and 14.

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Vampire Weekend, an American indie rock band out of New York City, will headline the festival on Saturday night. According to Collage, the band has turned down a number of major festivals and choosing to come to the MTK Music Festival is a testament both to what the festival hopes to accomplish, and also the market on the East End of Long Island.

“We are pleased to say on Saturday night to headline we have one of the brightest and the best new bands emerging for one of their only U.S. gigs,” said Jones.

“It’s a testament, not just to us, but really to this market,” added Collage. “They specifically wanted to work here, with us. They wanted to be a part of the Hamptons in the summer because of the people that are here. We couldn’t be more thrilled and we see them as a perfect fit for what we think is Music To Know right now.”

The second headlining act, which will close the festival, is the Nebraska-based indie rock band Bright Eyes led by Conor Oberst.

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Oberst, touted as “the new Dylan” in 2005 after the release of “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning,” and the rest of Bright Eyes recently performed as headliners at the popular Coachella Music and Art Festival. They also sold out two shows to acclaim in March at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and are opening for Coldplay at Lollapalooza in Chicago the weekend before MTK Music Festival opens.

“Frankly, they are just incredible,” said Jones on Monday night.

Vampire Weekend and Bright Eyes will be joined by 16 other acts over the course of the weekend, including The Limousines, a San Jose, California-based electro-pop band, who Jones said sound like “a combination of Peter Gabriel meets Depeche Mode.” They are known primarily for their song “Internet Killed the Video Star.”

Francis and The Lights, a New York City-based soul and electronic band led by Francis Farewell Starlite is also slated to perform, as is Portland folk musician M. Ward, whose 2009 album “Hold Time” featured guest performances by Lucinda Williams and Zooey Deschanel. The New Zealand electronic ensemble The Naked and Famous are also on the roster, as is indie rock band We Are Scientists.

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Tom Tom Club, led by Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads, will also perform in the festival, as will the California based folk-rock group Dawes, and the indie-rock, chamber-pop group Ra Ra Riot, a New York based band that incorporates a small string section into their music. Chromeo, a two-member electro-funk group, Canadian pop group Young Empires, Nicos Gun, Brooklyn-duo Matt & Kim, the folk-inspired Tame Impala and the Motown-inspired Fitz & The Tantrums are also slated to perform.

“The Cold War Kids are a real exclamation point in our lineup,” said Jones on Monday night of the indie rock band out of Long Beach, California.

Lastly, MTK Music Festival will feature SUDDYN, a rock band boasting a piano-ballad based sound with influences felt from groups like Radiohead, U2, the Beatles and Muse. The group found acclaim across the pond in Ireland a few years back, scoring three hit singles and quickly becoming one of the most popular unsigned acts in the country.

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What makes that band’s appearance at MTK Music Festival poignant, noted Jones, is that it originally formed in Montauk, where two of its members — vocalist and piano player Alan Steil and his brother Jarrett, also a vocalist and guitar player — grew up, attending high school mere miles from the concert site.

“We are trying to expose them through the festival,” said Jones on Monday night.

On Tuesday, Jarrett said not only was the band, which is rounded out by drummer Brendan Connolly, honored to be playing the festival, but also appreciated what it brings to the table in terms of talent.

“Usually we have a great classic like Billy Joel or Paul Simon out there,” he said in a phone interview from Los Angeles where the band has recently relocated. “But this is a festival of up-and-coming artists and we are really proud to be a part of that.”

The MTK Music Festival will sell 9,500 tickets in total for the two-day music festival, which in addition to music will feature local cuisine, wine and beer, retail booths and an area designed for children.

The cost for the festival is $195 for general admission to the two-days. However, locals will have a chance for a reduced price $175 ticket through May 23. Those tickets are available at Sylvester & Co. in Sag Harbor, Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett, Khanh Sports in East Hampton Village, and 668 Gig Shack in Montauk.

According to Jones, VIP tickets, which are on sale for $645, already had begun to sell quickly on the first day of sales.

In addition to access to a VIP tent, with a special viewing deck of the stage, preferred parking at the site, and a unique menu of food and spirits, VIP access will also include small performances by guest artists that have yet to be announced as well as fashion shows.

“And we will reveal more of what we have up our sleeve as we get closer to August,” said Jones.

For information, videos and music visit http://www.musictoknow.com.