Spring 2015 Nashville Fringe Festival Sampler

Spring 2015 Sampler Cover

The Spring 2015 Nashville Fringe Festival Sampler features contributions from AL-D & E.T., Captain Captain Cutie Pie, Aryk Crowder, Indie Chris, *repeat repeat, The Upper Middle & We Speak in Colors.

Listen below, or download the entire sampler by registering for the Nashville Fringe Festival’s newsletter.

(Additional credits: Downtown Nashville skyline image courtesy of Giovanni Rodriguez. “DON’T NEED ANYBODY” is a B-Side off *repeat repeat’s upcoming album Floral Canyon. “Truth Will Wreck” courtesy of Laura Lynn Williams, Captain Captain Cutie Pie Music 2014. We Speak in Colors is: Andrew Armstrong. “Train That’s Passed” features Mercy Bell and was produced by Mike Marsh at Paper Mill Studio in East Nashville, TN [wespeakincolors.com].)

*repeat repeat – Spring Tour 2015

Repeat Repeat Spring Tour 2015

The Nashville Fringe Festival is proud to support *repeat repeat as the band heads back on the road for a Spring 2015 Tour. In the coming weeks they’ll be playing with PUJOL, The Ivorys, a festival with Delta Spirit and The Decemberists, and releasing a split 7″ on Record Store Day. Click here to read more about each of the upcoming shows.

Repeat Repeat Tour Van 2015

Repeat Repeat Tour Van 2015 02

4/10 – 4/11 Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival Knoxville, TN
4/17 The Green Lantern Bar Lexington, KY (with Those Crosstown Rivals)
4/18 Euclid Records (Record Store Day Show/Release) St Louis, MO (with Sleepy Kitty Music)
4/19 Frank’s Power Plant Milwaukee, WI (with The Cavewives, Mumble Mouth and The Bang Bang)
4/20 Double Door Chicago (with The Ivorys, The Van Goghs and Sleepy Kitty)
4/22 OFF BROADWAY MUSIC VENUE St Louis, MO (with PUJOL and Bobby Bare, Jr.)
4/23 Wilbert’s Cleveland, OH
4/24 Bar Matchless Brooklyn, NY (with Good Times Cocaine and Fin-Folsom)
4/26 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA (with The Mellowells, Lightninging, Andrew Meoray and Coxy)
4/29 Gallery 788 Baltimore, MD (with June Star)
5/23 New Mountain Asheville Asheville, NC (with The Blots, Lake Lawn and Kitty Tsunami)
5/24 New Brookland Tavern Columbia, SC (with Public Mind and Ropeswing Marathon)
6/4 The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC (with Daniel and the Lion)
6/5 Southern Ground Social Club Senoia, GA (with Waterfall Wash)
6/6 The Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, GA

Previously: A Surf State of Mind: An Interview with *repeat repeat

2015 Valentine’s Day Fringe

The 2015 Valentine’s Day Fringe video runs through a slideshow featuring friends and family of the Fringe, accompanied by “Love That Never Ages” by *repeat repeat, from the group’s 2014 release, Bad Latitude.

The video also features public domain footage from Penny Serenade and Love Affair.

[Photo of the Nixons by Paul Rowland Photography, courtesy of Jeremy Nixon. Photo of *repeat repeat by Amber Davis, courtesy of Kristyn Corder.]

A Beginner’s Guide to Touring with *repeat repeat

Repeat Repeat Tour

This past March, Nashville trio *repeat repeat set out on the band’s first tour together, covering 14 dates in a month, with 11 of those shows packed into 18 days across eight states; simply explaining the itinerary is a mouthful. Comprised of Jared Corder, Kristyn Corder, and Andy Herrin, the trio paired with el el for much of the tour, sharing in both the experience of playing shows together as well as the responsibility of executing on plan for the betterment of all. Plenty of bands tour — that alone isn’t especially remarkable — but what makes this tour worth discussing is that when *repeat repeat returned home to Nashville, they did so in the black.

What follows is a series of insights provided by Jared and Kristyn, who each offer guidance for those looking to hit the road, themselves. And if there’s one constant that runs throughout the planning for the tour and stories from the road, it’s to “be organized.” “Being an artist, you’re not expected to be organized,” says Jared. “But I think it sets you apart if you can be.” “These are tips if you’re trying to be a professional working band,” adds Kristyn.

1) Find Sponsorship

Last September the band teamed with el el and Ponychase for an event at The Basement, offering the first 75 people through the door a free sampler featuring new music from each of the night’s acts. Grolsch fronted the bill to have the CDs made up, and in return, received placement on the slipcases that enveloped the discs. “When you come up with something cool or creative for a sponsor,” says Kristyn, “you don’t feel bad being sponsored.”

The distance between CD printing and gas money is huge though, so when looking for actual financial backing, Jared says you must “take ambiguity out of it.” “Itemize what you’re willing to deliver for their partnership.” Here, it’s extra-critical to be organized. “A sponsor wants to see that you’re professional […] You want the sponsor to feel like it’s a no-brainer.” This means itemizing costs to show exactly why the band needs financial support, and explaining specifically how you’re providing value for the sponsor. In the case of those CDs, that meant tangible placement of an advertisement in the hands of 75 fans. If you’re already creating event posters or promoting via social media, you’re already creating avenues for sponsorship exposure. “There’s a way to do it tastefully,” says Kristyn.

It’s a bold statement, but as Jared says, “assume you’re not going to make money on the road.” Using that as your starting point, don’t be afraid to reach out to businesses in your own community that might be able to support you beyond simply handing over cash. “Look to a printshop for posters or t-shirt support,” says Jared. “Maybe they’re providing $200 worth of posters that you don’t have to pay for.” Whatever you do, try to put yourself in a position to succeed. “Months before the trip started everything was taken care of,” continues Jared. “So at this point, if we made no money from any of the shows, everyone was taking a 15 day vacation.”

2) Watch What You Spend

Every dollar that goes out is one more dollar you need to earn just to break even. That’s as true on the road as it is in life, and continuing the theme here, financial responsibility comes back around to being organized. As Jared explains, the tour hit locations that allowed the bands to crash with friends and family, “I think even before we had venues booked, we had places to stay.” But even then, it’s hard to avoid hotels, especially when you’re looking for a good night of sleep (or at least a night of sleep on an actual bed). That’s where websites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing can be handy. Or, if you’ve got a large enough vehicle to accommodate sleeping, you can plan ahead to crash for the night on a campground or RV park. At the very least, you can drive 15 minutes outside of a town to find less expensive hotel rates. Where there’s a need to spend, there’s usually an alternative that helps you save a little along the way.

This goes for food and drink while on the road, too. “If you do stay in a hotel,” adds Jared, “take advantage of it. There’s a coffee maker in every hotel room.” Before leaving home the band stocked up with bulk snacks that were both relatively healthy and inexpensive, especially when compared to gas station alternatives. They also made food that they could eat after their shows, and purchased water bottles that had built-in filters, so they could refill wherever they were for free. They thought ahead, assessed their needs, and planned accordingly.

3) Book and Promote with Purpose

There is a basic consideration to remain mindful of when booking dates: As Jared says, you’ll want “a good draw at least every two days, where you’ve got a base, or friends, or press.” He continues, “You don’t want to be top or bottom heavy,” where either the start of the tour is great and the back-half is poorly attended, or vice-versa. This is meant to not only help reduce the chances of burnout, but to also keep some semblance of momentum in check.

For their tour, *repeat repeat had guidance from a booking agent friend, but they also relied on Indie on the Move to help them connect with suitable venues in unfamiliar cities. From there, they looked to friends, Craigslist, and Google to find local bands who might be interested in sharing the bill. Once they were booked (which Jared and Kristyn recommend having locked down at least a month in advance), that’s when they started promoting.

For the tour Jared took the lead on promotion**, which he breaks down into four key segments: Print, Radio, Video, and Digital. For each city they were playing in, he reached out looking for advance coverage from local magazines, alt-weeklies, newspapers, college and larger radio stations, and local morning news programs. Beyond free promotion, however, both Jared and Kristyn espouse the need for social advertising. Through Facebook and Twitter, you can break down the demographics of your target audience so precisely that you’re only hitting people who are likely to care about your music. Because of this, they budgeted enough to promote a little on their own online in every city on the tour.

Jared and Kristyn Corder

4) Make Health a Priority

It’s difficult to set yourself up for physical well-being while crammed into van with all your gear, but there are a few things that can be done along the way to help reduce the blow your body takes. That filtered water bottle from before, for example? “When you have the water bottle you end up drinking more water,” says Kristyn. Beyond saving money, being prepared with your own food also helps keep you away from seductive gas station indulgences. “Of course I’m gonna get breakfast tacos,” says Jared of the band’s date in his hometown of Phoenix. But indulgences aren’t the rule, they’re the exception: Eat as clean as you can and try to stay away from drinking too much after shows, if only to make your life easier the day after. There’s a roll-over effect, adds Kristyn, where impact of a few too many drinks or bad meals, a couple nights in a row, can really wear you down.

Health has as much to do with emotional as it does physical, and much of the emotional health of the group was aided by — again — being organized. The band made an agreement, says Jared, to split up what they earned after they returned home, drawing expenses from a collective pot along the way to avoid constantly asking everyone to kick-in financially. “One of the easiest way to burn out band members is to nickel and dime everything.” Taking a load off the mind comes in many forms on the road though. Jared and Kristyn picked up extra work before the tour, for example, to make sure they weren’t going to be tight for money when they returned home. They also packed emergency gear including a gas can, a spare tire, jumper cables, a funnel, and basic tools just in case they found themselves in a bind. Every morning Jared gave their van a complete once over to prepare for the day, “getting gas went from taking 15 to 20 minutes to taking 30 to 40 minutes because I would check everything every day.” If you can afford a tune-up for your vehicle in advance of the tour, they recommend that in addition to emergency roadside assistance. “Even if you get it for two months and cancel it,” says Kristyn, “get it!”

One of the most important pieces of advice came prior to the tour’s kick-off from el el’s Ben Elkins, says Kristyn. “Think about what you can do to make someone else’s experience, day, or situation better. Think about what you can do for others while we’re on this tour. It’s not all about you.” On some level you have to roll with the punches, says Jared. Everyone’s going to be tired and cranky and uncomfortable, but you have to “expect that and be mindful of it.”

5) Plan for What Comes Next

If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to go on tour, hopefully you’re organized enough to make it home in one piece. “Touring’s not the end-all,” says Kristyn. For the band, the return to reality meant not only going back to their day jobs, but finishing out their tour plans and looking ahead to what’s next for the band. They sent out follow-up emails to venues and sponsors, with links and screen shots documenting their promotional work, demonstrating the group’s hustle along the way to make sure that if there’s a next time, they’ll have working relationships in place to get them back out on the road.

The band is already looking ahead to their next album, which will likely be followed by another tour. They’ll play one-off dates along the way, and will keep finding ways to reach out to their fans to maintain interest. For Record Store Day, as an example, that meant unveiling a cover of “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies, in addition to releasing a previously unreleased track. “You can always do more,” says Jared, “[but] there’s no harm in stepping back for a second.”

Reflecting a little, one of the key changes Jared and Kristyn say they’ll make for their next tour is cutting down drive-time in between shows. They agree that eight hours or less in between destinations would be optimal. Their tour saw a few spurts which exceeded that, cutting into time to decompress off the road and unwind a little along the way. While they were prepared with plenty of copies of their new album, Bad Latitude, they also learned to take as much merch with them as they can fit in their van next time they tour. “If you’re in the city, that’s when they want to buy it,” says Kristyn. Learn from the missed opportunities, says Jared, “but don’t forget to know when you’ve done something great.” “Know what you want,” he continues, which is every bit as important as “being organized” in terms of touring rules. Because without that, you won’t know when you’ve succeeded.

**Kristyn works at Apple Road, which specializes in “creative publicity for the brands you shouldn’t live without.” “For the sake of my clients,” and to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, she doesn’t do publicity for *repeat repeat.

Publishing Note: Nashville Fringe Festival was one of the sponsors of the Singles in September event at The Basement, and also of the spring tour.

Nashville Scene: *repeat repeat Critics’ Pick

Repeat Repeat Critics Pick Nashville Scene

This time last year, we were referring to these local groups as “newcomers” and “fresh faces,” but now it seems like we’re bumping into them every time we turn around. That’s perfectly OK, though, as they leave us with a big ol’ grin every time that happens. Surfy, poppy post-punks Repeat Repeat released their debut full-length Bad Latitude in March, but they’ve been too busy touring the Southwest to have a proper hometown release party. They rectify that tonight with help from their friends, starting with lady rockers Churchyard, who enhance the grungy bounce of ’90s alterna-pop with interlocking guitar parts and unusual vocal harmonies. Next up, Bonnaroo-bound big band El El makes a seamless, infectiously danceable blend of Afrobeat and electro-pop. Rounding out the bill is Blank Range, who flavor their scrappy rock concoction with alt-country and a tastefully applied avant-garde sensibility, and who are also headed for the big field in Manchester this June.
Stephen Trageser

Fringe Radio Show with Al-D (April 7, 2014)

Repeat Repeat Mercy Lounge 2014

The April 7 edition of the Fringe Radio Show with Al-D features music from AJ & the Jiggawatts, Jason Da Hater, Sofa Brown, *repeat repeat, and more. Click here for more information on the aforementioned acts and their upcoming shows around town.

[Download MP3 file here]

A Surf State of Mind: An Interview with *repeat repeat

repeat repeat band nashville

Within the spectrum of rock music, surf isn’t all that different from ska: the originals are the ones who did it best, and few who presently indulge in the genres tend to contribute little beyond imitation. “It was my musical mentor and our producer Gregory Lattimer (of Now Records) that really started to get me into this simple, catchy, cool rock sound,” explains *repeat repeat frontman Jared Corder, speaking to the band’s self-described “surf” branding. “[One] that was a throwback to that era without being a direct copy of the 60’s sound.” Within the group’s still-developing stable of tracks, “surf” might better represent a feeling more than an indicator of style though. And *repeat repeat are no surf-rock imitators.

Of the songs that have been released in advance of the band’s debut album, Bad Latitude, “History” comes closest to the advertised sound, flirting heavily with the “urban surf adventure in rockcandyland” idea teased on the group’s Facebook page. More so, however, it introduces a trend that is also heard through “12345678” and “Love That Never Ages,” painting *repeat repeat as a group pre-occupied not with beach-pop, but with making carefully considered reverb-heavy rock songs. “We’re not going for a lo-fi sound, we’re going for pop,” Jared told No Country for New Nashville last spring. It just so happens that the marketing of those pop songs thoughtfully leans on a singular noteworthy influence, used to help strengthen their position within Nashville’s ever-busy rock scene.

Bands are brands,” said vocalist Kristyn Corder last year in an interview with the Tennessean, speaking about artist development as a necessity for musicians looking for a roster spot with the increasingly popular East Nashville Underground. The quarterly festival — which Kristyn and Jared co-founded — has showcased dozens of local rock acts since 2010. It has also provided the duo with insight into what works and what doesn’t among the ranks of the local DIY scene, reinforcing the importance for self-definition within the context of their own band’s creation.

“We wanted something catchy and simple,” says Jared, explaining the origins of the name *repeat repeat. “I had this idea of reading directions on the back of a shampoo bottle or something where you would see an asterisk, then at the bottom of the page would say *repeat, repeat.” “It’s important to make good music, but these days you have to grab people’s attention with strong visual elements as well.”

While the trio came together in Nashville, their sound would seem a perfect compromise; Jared calls it “a culmination of our personal tastes and influences.” Kristyn’s Southern California roots have left her influenced by “beachy, harmony-driven 60′s rock,” drummer Andy Herrin’s musical history leans a little heavier (having backed-up St. Louis modern rock acts Cavo and Revolution One), and Jared fits directly in between, having played with indie rock-leaning local acts Oh No No and Frances & the Foundation. Out of that collective background comes tracks like “Chemical Reaction,” balancing hard-driving rhythms with the group’s softer influences.

Perhaps the surf label is only used out of convenience, but local bloggers have taken notice, covering the “familiar”-sounding “surf-influenced pop music” of “Dick Dale’s snot-nosed grandkids.” “I think there is an element of surf-rock that isn’t directly related to the actual sport. Surf rock has a 60′s cool feel to it,” continues Jared. “For me it conjures up the mod-Warhol-esque period too.” Here the genre-stamp would seem to be less an indicator of sound though, and more a jumping-off point; a foundation; maybe even a state of mind.

Simply because the group is conscious of what goes into a band beyond the actual creation of songs doesn’t mean their music is as formulaic as “surf,” rinse, repeat, however. “The music came before the branding,” adds Kristyn. “That gave us a jumping-off point and a clear direction for where to take the music.” And in the end, it’s the music — and allowing their music to grow — that the group cares about most. As Jared explains, “We’re not a Beach Boys cover band or something like that, so obviously we’re not limiting ourselves to a surf sound. These songs have been a labor of love for the past two years, [but] we are already writing new material, and letting our sound evolve accordingly.”

*repeat repeat will be hosting a release party for Bad Latitude March 11 at Grimey’s, which will be followed by a dozen-date tour that will take them through SXSW before returning to Nashville for an April 12 Mercy Lounge performance.

To connect with *repeat repeat, visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like them Facebook page.

[Click here to read our extended Q&A with Jared & Kristyn Corder.]