Reviews

The Ugly Organ

Author: Christine Laue
04/18/2002 | Omaha World Herald | www.omaha.com | Feature
One of these things is not like the other: Britain, Belgium, switzerland, germany, nebraska.
For the geographically impaired, it's Nebraska, home of a band that just toured the aforementioned European countries and that takes the stage Friday at Omaha's Sokol Underground.
So how can a band from the middle of cattle and corn country take the world by storm?
By not even trying. Instead the band focuses on it's own world, the international community of underground independent music-and takes it by storm.
Indie rock band Cursive, the group hitting the Sokol stage Friday, is the latest of three Omaha bands on Omaha-based Saddle Creek Records to take shows overseas without regards to whether they first have become household names in their home city or country - an attitude that is partly responsible for the international attention on Omaha's music scene now.
"We're not trying to appeal to everyone. We're just going to find the people that are going to like the records," said label owner Robb Nansel. "We've always felt there's a niche group of people, there's a select group of people who are going to like what we do. We just have to find them."
And find them they do.
Saddle Creek's best selling artist, Bright Eyes, has toured Europe four times. And London-based Wichita Recordings, whose owners helped launch the careers of English rock band Oasis, distributes Bright Eyes' albums in Europe. Bright Eyes, headed by Conor Oberst, also has toured Japan, where it has a similar deal.
Cursive, which is making a split EP with Japanese rock band Eastern Youth for summer release, plands to tour Japan in hopes of generating interest with companies that might want to sign similar deals, Nansel said.
Because Saddle Creek doesn't have offices in those locations, it contracts with other companies that are set up to market and distribute the albums overseas so fans can get the artist' work easier, rather than as sometimes hard to find imports.
"We're not (there), so we have to form partnerships with other labels in other parts of the world who know their markets better," Nansel said.
While Cursive's tour wa geard toward introducing fans and potential music-industry suitors to the band, label mates The Faint headed to england because they were invited by existing fans - specifically NME, the premiere weekly music magazine in England.
The Faint played during NME's weeklong awards show and then hit other English cities during a two week tour, it's first out of the country.
The tour ended shortly before the band went on tour with No Doubt and at the same time publications such as Time, Jane, Spin, and The New Yorker were running features on the band, it's label and the buzz they are creating aboput Omaha as the next a Seattle or Austin. (Most recently, a reporter for the New York Times visited Omaha two weeks ago when The Faint took a day off the No Doubt tour to play to crowd of 1,000 in it's hometown)
The demand overseas for The Faint's material makes it logical to pursue deals with labels there, Nansel said.
Saddle Creek potentially could sign deals with overseas companies for all of it's bands rather than continuing to work out individual deals per artist, Nansel said.
"It could potentially be something that could be global just outside North America," Nansel said. "We would have this pertnership with a global entity that would then release our records everywhere except North America, where we would handle it."
Ideally, he would like those deals to take place as soon as possible but recognize that it will take time, as bands such as Cursive continue to tour and generate interest.
"I think it will help in our persuites," he said. "To show that our bands are active and they are touring, i think that looks to anyone who is interested."


The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

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