On Friday night The All-American Rejects and Boys Like Girls stopped by the University of Maine campus for a back to school concert. These big name bands rocked the Field House, bringing the audience a mix of old favorites and new tunes. I was in the crowd and had an absolute blast singing along to music from my high school years.
There was another band there, too, but they didn’t get any time on stage. Instead, two members of a band called Jocelyn handed out flyers and copies of their debut EP, hoping to strike a chord with the music fans outside the venue. For Jocelyn, connecting with people was the most important part of the evening.
Jocelyn is different from other bands. Members Alex, Landen and Steve all attended college in Iowa, earned their degrees, and started working on music together afterwards. The members hold jobs outside of their music career. One even taught social studies last spring. Jocelyn has a band phone number that they give out freely, encouraging fans to call or text, promising a response to every message. Needless to say, Jocelyn isn’t your typical rock band.
Photo Courtesy McClanahan Studio, Facebook
Jocelyn’s bassist, Alex Wiese (pictured left), took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with me about the band, their journey, and the importance of connecting with people.
Kylie: Jocelyn is a unique name for a band. What’s the meaning behind your name?
Alex: We believe that everyone has a story and it's important that somebody is always listening. Jocelyn is whoever people need her to be. We have a band phone number and we respond to every single text and every voicemail we get. Our band phone number means more to us than anything.
Kylie: What are your goals and hopes for your music?
Alex: For it to mean something to someone. We have always said that the success of our band has nothing to do with how many CDs we sell, but how many lives we hopefully impact in a positive manner, and we sincerely hope that if we can ever do anything for anyone, that they're not afraid to ask.
Kylie: What has been one of the toughest parts about breaking into the music industry?
Alex: There's a lot that goes into starting a band from scratch. It's so much more than just playing instruments. You have to write good music, you have to have money to record it and fund yourself, often times at least ten thousand dollars or more before anyone even knows who you are. You have to know business stuff, like filing for small business status with the government and writing off taxes. There's a lot to keep track of and you have to be organized and focused.
Kylie: What advice can you offer to others looking to break into the music scene?
Alex: Practice every day and be observant. See what other people are doing, what works, what doesn't, and how you can do it better.
As Alex mentioned, being heard amongst all the noise in the music industry can cost a pretty penny. Even the best bands need more than talent to get their music out there. That’s where Kickstarter comes in.
Kickstarter is a website that helps creative projects get off the ground through donations from others. Anyone can start a project on Kickstarter and anyone can help fund a project. In return, special rewards like exclusive content, an autograph or even a private concert or screening are offered to backers. These unique rewards are incentive for contributing to a project. Interested in funding a project or raising money to start your own? Head over to Kickstarter for all the info you need to get going.
Jocelyn is using Kickstarter to fund their sophomore EP. “Every dollar given to this band is treated with care and respect and we want people to know how much we appreciate the love and support,” says Alex.
Have you been a fan of a band from the beginning? Who are you listening to?