NU band competes for Epitaph record contract

NU band competes for Epitaph record contract

Students will have the opportunity to push a Northeastern band to superstardom by voting for alternative rock band Aston in mtvU’s “Best Music On Campus” competition.

Aston is among 25 college bands contending for the title, a selection that was based on a combination of audience interest – which was determined by online traffic from the website – and input from mtvU and Epitaph, said Jason Rzepka, a mtvU spokesman. They were chosen from an applicant pool of 175 potential musical acts.

“It’s an extremely difficult process; there are a ton of amazing bands in the system, and it’s growing every day as the site becomes more popular,” Rzepka said. “The way we narrowed it down was listen to the audience, ‘who are they really connecting with?'”

The monthly music challenge, which mtvU started in November, offers a recording contract with a different record label every month. This month, they will award a winning band the chance to record an EP for Epitaph Records, a tour date slot with an Epitaph artist, a featured performance at mtvU’s Spring Break ’07 in Cancun and will shoot a video that will premiere on mtvU and mtvU.com, Rzepka said.

Epitaph is home to acts like Motion City Soundtrack and the Dropkick Murphys. The next record label scheduled to participate is Drive-Thru Records, Rzepka said.

Aston’s vocalist and guitarist Dan Altieri, a freshman music industry major, said the band members are looking forward to the doors an opportunity like this could open.

“We’re just really excited,” he said. “It would be a huge, huge deal if we won – it would advance the band and give us more exposure.”

Rzepka said mtvU is always looking for breakout bands on the fringe of success, noting the channel has launched the careers of bands like Fall Out Boy and The Killers. The “Best Music On Campus” program is another branch of that goal, he said.

“This was kind of an experiment – there’s a lot of online communities where you can put your music up, but you don’t really get that much exposure,” he said. “mtvU has a history of launching bands that were embraced by college students and later went on to mainstream success.”

Altieri said the band appreciates being given the opportunity to compete, regardless of the outcome.

“We’re hopeful, and we’re kind of crossing our fingers, but even if we don’t win, we’re still in the top 25, it’s still exposure, we’re just happy to be considered right now,” he said.

Aston has been together for nearly two years, and while it can be difficult balancing band rehearsals and classes, the experience of touring and playing with friends makes it worthwhile, Altieri said.

He said because rock stardom is fleeting, he would choose a life on the road over academics if given the option.

“You only have that one window, you have to go with it,” he said. “I’m a music industry major so I’m learning to stay with music as a passion. School is something you can always go back to, but with music, you only get one shot.”

To vote in the competition and for more information, visit www.bestmusiconcampus.com until Feb. 8.

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