Most of my close friends that are achieving success in the music arena began their journey long before we met. With Andy Suzuki & The Method, they created a following back at their days at Brown University. 3/4ths of Filligar, on the other hand, were college classmates of mine, but that same 3/4ths happens to have the same last name and all four have been jamming together for over a decade now.
And then there’s the Tubetops.
The Tubetops are what I’d call a “new old new” band, in the sense that I’ve personally witnessed a series of events and experiments, successes and scraped projects that have resulted in the present permutation of the band.
The members (from L to R): Algy, Mike, James, and Kevin.
2 went to college together, 3 grew up together, and now all 4 live in Brooklyn.
Even though I heard whispers that they were cooking up something, I wasn’t 100 percent convinced yet. Then I went over their house and saw the in-house studio. Slightly more convinced. Then Algy played me a track. Impressed, but didn’t know what was beyond that track. I liked the track so much, though, I asked them if I could interview them.
It was in this interview that I became sold on this not being a side-project, but something they were investing every ounce of their collective being into. It was their first interview as a group, which was awesome for me because it was also my first interview as a writer. This idea of friends supporting friends, friends encouraging friends, and friends actively wanting other friends to succeed is something the Tubetops and I have in common and discussed at length.
While the long-term success of the group will be based on a sexy cocktail of talent, luck, sincerity, and charisma, start-up projects are often most successful when they are family affair.
So far, the Tubetops are following the family affair blueprint exceptionally well and are winning as a result.
Exhibit A: The breakout track.
“Aquamarine (Blaz RMX)”
Who’s Blaz, you ask? 1) The realest and 2) A classmate of ours who likes to be musically talented when he’s not defending our country in Washington D.C.
Exhibit B: The initial buzz.
The often-updated, always-popular music blog Panda Toes. This blog has been so popular for so long, he can’t take it off of Blogspot, because too many people know about it. That’s longevity, people.
The blog is run by DJ Friendly Greg, a staple in sometimes horrible, usually fantastic bars and clubs in NYC. He also went to college with us. Greg posts the track, which immediately sends the song to The Hype Machine. Enough people liked the song on Hypem that it stays on the site. The buzz has arrived.
Exhibit C: The awesome video.
For the song “Here With You”. Directed by Annabel Seymour.
Why is it such good quality? Why does it look like an actual video? Oh, because Annabel is the jam and in her 2nd year of film school at USC School of the Cinematic Arts. Some people say it’s the 2nd best film school in the world. I’ll take their word for it. Oh yeah, she went to school w/ us too.
Exhibit D: The first write-up.
FILTER Magazine — “Picks of the Week“
A FOTT (Friend of the Tubetops) and employee at Filter, Sarah, put people on to the video and next thing you know, it’s getting screen time atop the “Picks of the Week” page. Boom.
Exhibit E: The first shows.
Now this is where it starts getting fun. The talent and luck and charisma and sincerity that I mentioned earlier, this is where that becomes of the utmost importance. You know, the “can you translate internet buzz into real life success” moment that so many try and fail. That’s what the next two weekends are for the Tubetops. One of the reasons I went from good friends to fans of groups like The Method and Filligar is that I was captivated by their live shows. Yes, the quality of the music got better over time, but I also became increasingly captivated and impressed while watching them perform live.
2012 could start off big for Algy, Kevin, James, and Mike, or it could be one where they go back to the drawing board. I say that as a realist, but if I didn’t believe wholeheartedly that they had the chops to make it, I wouldn’t be writing about them right now.
The blueprint is officially over. Now it’s time to get weird.
Good luck, guys. You, like everyone else, always needs a little bit of it.