Local band ‘can’t be heard now,’ remains hopeful

Local band ‘can’t be heard now,’ remains hopeful

By C. Mae Waugh

It’s convenient, it’s popular and now it will help advance the musical careers of one lucky band – the cellphone.

Brighton-based rock band Hepburn was a semi-finalists in competition to become the first unsigned band to launch its career on a wireless phone. The group was one of 15 bands chosen from more than 4,000 entries nationwide.

However, the five-person band, which consists of junior nursing major Nicholas Palilunas, did not make the finals on March 24.

Verizon Wireless, in conjunction with MySpace, sponsored a contest, “Calling All Bands,” to discover new musical talent. The winning band will have its song, music video and ringtone released to Verizon Wireless, making it available to 51.3 million customers.

“We all have the dreams [to become famous], but of course you can’t expect to become the next big thing over night,” Palilunas said.

However, losing the competition has not discouraged the band.

“If we would have won, it would have helped, but I think we have a lot of stuff going for us and we can make it into whatever we want it to be,” Palilunas said.

In mid-February, band member Matthew Rantz learned about the Verizon Wireless competition on www.MySpace.com and the band decided to enter.

Having to decide on one song to submit for the contest, the band chose “Frequencies Set,” from its demo CD, because the members agreed it was the most mainstream and radio-friendly, Palilunas said.

The song went on to be reviewed by a panel of music judges, who then selected the songs and bands to be semifinalists.

“I was definitely excited and a little shocked,” Palilunas said. “I didn’t expect to make it into the semifinals.”

The next step in the contest was the creation of a MySpace account called “Calling All Bands,” which publicizes the contest, shares photos and allows visitors to preview the competing songs and vote for the top five, which will move on to the finals.

“I couldn’t even listen to the other bands,” Palilunas said. “I didn’t want to hear them. I was afraid I would get discouraged if they had a better sound.”

To garner support, the members of Hepburn posted bulletins on MySpace and promoted themselves through their own personal accounts.

“We did everything we could to get people to vote for us,” Palilunas said. “One of my bandmates even had his cousin pass out flyers at his high school.”

The band may not have made the finals but it remains optimistic about the future.

“We had a chance,” Palilunas said. “Ultimately, it would have been nice to win.”

After taking time off recently to write new songs, Hepburn will go into the recording studio to begin recording a five-song CD, which will be a step up from the band’s four-song demo. Hepburn will work with producer John Naclerio, who owns a subsidy label of Warner Bros. Records and has worked in the past with My Chemical Romance, Brand New and Senses Fail.

By the end of the year, Hepburn not only plans to have the new record completed, but plans to go on its first tour.

“We just need to find the people to get our music to the right people,” Palilunas said.

Hepburn’s next show will be at T.T. the Bears in Cambridge on Tuesday.

The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets costs $7. For more information about Hepburn or upcoming shows, visit www.hepburnmusic.com.

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