This year EdgeFest 21 let ten local bands from North Texas fight for the opportunity to open up for bands like Weezer, Seether and Flogging Molly. Usually The Edge hosts live concerts to choose an opener, but due to the digital domination of current times (and it’s a lot less time consuming) this year’s contest moved from on-stage to online and all each band can hope for is continually mouse clicking from virtual voters. On Monday the top ten finalist were narrowed down to three and below you’ll find a band bio and quick Q&A to become a little more familiar with each.
Our first contender is Pale Horse aka the slow, psychedelic, southern rock band from Dallas. The duo consists of guitarist Aaron Carder and singer J.R. Denson, and they’ve been making show stops around Dallas at Club Dada, House of Blues and City Tavern. In their first EP, Future Dimensions, you’ll hear acoustic guitars, old pianos and any other sound you’d expect to find in a garage – where they claim they make their music “the old fashioned way.” Pale Horse might be the most obvious fit out of the top three finalist for Edgefest 21, but obvious could also mean overdone and overlooked.
FrontRow: Your songs are honest, raw and seem to really hit close to home (“Will You Be There” and “You’re No Good”). Does that make the writing process easier or harder?
Pale Horse: I think as far as the writing process goes, it’s just what is natural, and that’s what ends up coming out of us. All the songs are true, and about real people, and real things that happen and are around us. Performing them sometimes is hard, because those emotions don’t go away. However, it’s a therapeutic process and writing the song and putting it out there gives closure sometimes to whatever it is that song is dealing with. Especially when someone else finds a way to relate to that song, because they are all about something so very personal to me and I don’t think about who will hear them.
FR: What kind of experiential gains are you expecting if you win this contest and open at Edgefest 21?
PH: Well we hope to get our music in front of more ears, and hopefully it will open some doors for us more at The Edge. We’re definitely gonna hit them up for regular rotation of our next single, ha! We like a lot of the bands that are playing, and it will be good to just do what we do in front of a large audience of people who haven’t heard us before.
FR: Out of the current Edgefest 21 lineup which band do you most relate to musically?
PH: Hmm this is a hard one, but I think we have always loved Jane’s Addiction for sure so we are gonna be backstage looking to find Dave Navarro and Perry Ferrel for a party. They are totally original, and I think that’s something we strive for in our own careers. We want to carve out our own path, and open up something new for everyone.
FR: Before Pale Horse you both were a part of Greater Good until the other members of the band went to pursue other projects. Do you think you’re able to accomplish more as a duo or are there points that you wish you had more contribution?
PH: Aaron and I have found our place with Pale Horse. We are closer than brothers, and at this point we have gone through more things together then I think most brothers ever have to get through. The music bonds us, and we are definitely able to understand each other and know what the other is needing or thinking. It’s hard to find that with a band. We can play all the instruments in the studio for the records if we want, and if we want to build a band around us we can do that too. It gives us a lot of flexibility musically.
FR: Opposed to the live concerts that The Edge has held before to conduct this contest, how have you been successfully surviving in this online-based competition and how do you plan on beating out the other two finalists?
PH: Well, we have an insanely loyal and supportive fan base here in Dallas/Ft. Worth. We have gotten so many emails, phone calls, etc of people getting their own groups together to vote etc. From the friends and fans that come out to all the shows, to high school kids getting their entire computer labs to vote for us. It’s been surprising to say the least. I mean we can make music and put it out there, but at the end of the day we can only do so many Facebook posts and emails. We aren’t the best self-promoters. We have to rely on our fans to come through for us, and they have been in a huge way. It’s really inspiring, and we are incredibly thankful for everyone who supports our music and us. We just wanted people to hear our songs, we didn’t know this many people actually cared so much for what we did and they do!
Next we have DuCADO VeGA who could be the modern day Renaissance man as he claims to be a songwriter, producer, artist, multi-instrumentalists, motivational speaker and producer. He’s rock, he’s funk and his gritty brand of music is said to produce a live show powerhouse. But is it the kind of dance oriented powerhouse Edgefest 21 is looking for? If so, Vega will find himself funking over the competition for the win.
FrontRow: Out of all the participants, you’ve been performing the longest. Do you think that’s going to work for or against you?
DuCADOVeGA: I think that it will work to our advantage. I’ve spent several years perfecting the craft and I think that will ultimately work in our favor. I say this 100% humility-we work extremely hard on our live show and we want to be the absolute best each and every time we hit the stage. And my hope is that my old school work ethic shows. So yes, I absolutely think it gives us an advantage.
FR: Your music is more so a mixture of multiple genres rather than fitting into one category, which makes you undoubtedly original, but how well do you think your music will mix with all the other bands lined up for Edgefest 21?
DV: I think that it will fit quite well at Edgefest because we can hit you from all angles musically. The last thing we want to be is predictable. I would say that it even gives us a slight (Edge) no pun intended. I think we will gel quite well with the other bands at Edgefest. There is never anything wrong with a little diversity! I think we’ll be the cayenne pepper of the show…Just the right extra seasoning.
FR: You’ve done music here in Dallas and in Shreveport. What’s the biggest difference as far as growing as an musician and promoting yourself in the music scene and the styles of music that are prominent in the two cities?
DV: Wow. When I lived in Shreveport my musical life was totally different. I did quite a bit of Urban music and played in mostly cover bands. Cover bands were big in Shreveport when I was there. In Dallas it’s different- the scene will embrace you if you do originals and I love that. Also I do more of a Funky Rock music now and my whole style and image is different. I’m being 100% me and Dallas accepts me for that. I love both music scenes. There are significant differences. Promoting here in Dallas I am lot more of a free spirit. The sky is the limit and I am willing to do what it takes. I even co-wrote a book about music marketing. It’s called (Xtreme Music Marketing) and it’s full of crazy ways to get out and promote your music and win at do it! I would have to say as far as what dominates here…Its Rock and Pop. Shreveport is more Urban and Rock. Either way I have major love for both cities.
FR: What kind of experiential gains are you expecting if you win this contest and open at Edgefest 21?
DV: I would love to honestly have this move us to the next level musically. I know that there are people who are watching closely to see who and what comes out of this contest. We are somewhat unknowns in certain respects because Ducado VeGA and BlooDRiCH as a band hasn’t been around a very long time. But I hope that this serves as notice that we are here to damage and we mean business. We have had many challenges and uphill battles over the past year and my goal is to have work this to our advantage. I see many doors opening for us. And I intend to take full advantage of it. I have big goals and a big vision. I see this as the first step to making those things a reality. I am going to take every opportunity to build relationships from this and create opportunities for us-(including bigger performances, radio play, touring, music licensing and beyond.) But it’s going to take hard work and I’ve been around long enough to know its not going to just fall in our lap. We have to seize the moment.
FR: You’ve been writing, producing and performing for a long time. What advice can you give to other local bands and musicians who are thinking about giving up because they aren’t making initial progress?
DV: Stop trying to be like everybody else. Create something new and create a spectacle when you perform. Don’t be average be above average. Write good music and record as much as you can. We try to write a song a week. At the end of the year add it up. Study the greats-and not just musicians. I draw from many of the greats and I somehow weave it into the music, Muhammad Ali, Led Zeppellin, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart, Johnny Cash, Freda Kahlo, John Belushi-you name it. You can learn something from each and every one of these sources. Boxing, Music, Art, Comedy they were all great and they brought something to the stage and creative world that was untouchable. Young musicians have to learn to study the greats. And no matter what happens continue to say that failure and quitting is absolutely, undeniably NOT an option. In December of 2009 I couldn’t get anyone to book us. We were getting turned down left and right and the shows we did get were co-op gigs with friends’ bands. But I tell you this, every time we played one of those shows I performed like it was the last day of my life. I gave it my all. We still had an uphill battle after that but shortly after people began to see that we weren’t playing around and they started taking us serious. I say to any young musician stay focused on the goal and let nothing deter you. Work hard and create something that’s going to get everyone’s attention. Be bold, be original, work the hell out of the stage and don’t take no for an answer. Allow the rejections to be motivation and say to yourself you will make them regret not booking you. And then show up in GRAND fashion.
Last on the line up is North of Autumn aka the progressive groove group who opened for Bret Michaels & Fuel at the AAC for Jack FM’s Bandanaroo this past July. The five members that make up the band (Cully Woods, Ryan Patrick, Timothy Allen, Jordan Rochefort, Taylor Dondlinger) have been together for less than two years but still managed to win “The Battle of the Bands” at The Door back in February. NoA’s soft rock feel may be too subdued for an Edgefest 21 opener, or it may make for the perfect way to lead into headliner’s like Rise Against.
FrontRow: Why “North of Autumn”?
North of Autumn: North of Autumn can be interpreted as “Above the Fall.” Each of us have had endured personal hardships and it’s just a reminder for us to “rise above the fall” and pursue what is important to us. Also, the band formed in the FALL of 2009 so we wanted to incorporate that concept as well.
FR: What kind of experiential gains are you expecting if you win this contest and open at EdgeFest 21?
NoV: We view every show as a big show, but as a new band with a debut album about to be released, Edge Fest gives us the opportunity to get our music out there to a very large number of people and gain new fans.
FR: Out of the current EdgeFest 21 lineup which band do you most relate to musically?
NoV: We tend to draw inspiration from many bands, but if we had to narrow it down from this year’s Edge Fest lineup we would have to say Neon Trees and Dirty Heads.
FR: Comparing a performance at a smaller venue like the Aardvark or Lakewood Bar and Grill vs. a full-scale arena like the AAC, what are the differences in your emotions, nerves, and pre/post show feelings?
NoV: We aren’t a band that gets all that nervous for most shows. The AAC was a whole new experience and each of us dealt with it in our own way, but for the most part we were too excited to allow ourselves to feel the “hugeness” of the situation. Simply put, we love playing shows.
FR: Seeing as you’ve been together for less than two years, if you do open for EdgeFest 21 this year what would be next on your to-do list?
NoV: We’re anxiously awaiting the release of our debut album “Confluence” so we are planning to promote it as much as possible and are hoping it will garner attention from fans and record labels alike. We worked extremely hard on it so we are excited for everyone to hear it.
Click here to vote for your favorite. Choose wisely.