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So excited for these guys!!! <3
Q&A | Seattle’s Go Periscope competes for a Rolling Stone cover
Posted by Stephanie Clary
Seattle’s Joshua Frazier and Florin Merano have earned a few bragging rights in their two years of playing music as Go Periscope. Their music was featured on MTV reality shows “The Hills” and “The Real World,” and they topped C89.5 FM’s charts.
And now the electronic-pop duo has the chance to land on the front of Rolling Stone magazine.
Go Periscope is one of 16 bands facing off tournament style to be the first unsigned band to appear on a Rolling Stone cover. The winner, which will be announced on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” also receives an Atlantic Records recording contract.
Round one of the contest began last week, and you can hear and rate each band on Rolling Stone's website.
The contest draws attention to the unsigned bands, but also brings eyeballs to both of Rolling Stone's print and online publications. The voting and exploration of the bands happens online, while the prize is print.
Frazier says he’s just happy the band’s name is on RollingStone.com, surrounded by other artists and music news. But the thought of being on the physical cover “is probably the biggest, biggest dream come true,” and the possibility of winning gives him “the shakes.”
I spoke with Frazier over the phone about Go Periscope’s online strategy to promote this contest, how they were selected and why being from Seattle might give them an edge over the competition.
What would it mean to be on a Rolling Stone cover, even though you’ve received exposure just being on the site?
To be honest, even just being one of the top 16 unsigned bands is one of the most surreal things ever. But to actually make it onto the cover, I think, for any artists, is probably the biggest, biggest dream come true if it could happen. Because, think about it: There are less Rolling Stone covers than Grammys given every year. It’s literally, probably, the most prestigious thing you can get.
Just the thought that we might be one of those bands that graces the cover of Rolling Stone — I can’t even wrap my head around it. I just get the shakes.
Is there something more prestigious than being on that physical cover? You’re close to being on the front page on the website.
Either way it’s awesome. I don’t think anyone really thinks, especially when they’re unsigned, that it could even be a possibility. Just being on the website and being able to go there and see us with the other great bands and the other artists and stories that are on RollingStone.com right now is just kind of crazy.
We were kept in the dark about how the whole thing was going to be announced and how it was going to work. And to see our photo on the front of Jimmy Fallon’s webpage, and having him say our band name on television — it’s these huge things that keep happening. [Fallon announced the contest on air.] I can’t even wrap my head around it. It’s just really cool.
Do you know how you were picked? How you become one of these 16 bands?
It’s kind of another situation where we’re in there dark about it. It wasn’t a thing where they opened it up for submissions or they contacted bands. …
It was one of those things where they contacted us and said, “Hey, you’ve been selected.” So our manager heard of it first — that we were being considered — and to be honest it was kind of like, [sarcastically] “Yeah, right. Sure. We could be on the cover of Rolling Stone.”
We’re a relatively new band and our first album didn’t even come out until the beginning of 2010. In band-terms, it’s just so quick, and we’re super thankful for that.
We don’t know how we were selected. We’re the only electronica band in it, so that’s really weird. And we’re the only band from Seattle or from the Northwest in general, which is surprising because Seattle and Portland have such insanely talented music scenes. So to be able to represent those areas — we’re just so blessed and so thankful for.
How are you guys promoting yourselves?
We definitely are trying to seize the opportunity. We’ve had so much success being just online and really capturing friends through Facebook and through Twitter and through Myspace. And people telling people online has done so much to advance our band.
That’s really something that we’ve embraced just in everything that we do. Now it’s an extension of that. When the announcement first came out, we video taped us seeing the announcement live, because we thought that would be something cool for people to see. Then we immediately made a video and posted it on YouTube.
And we have plans to continue to do that. And just show people. We’re going to be on KING 5 on Monday, and that’s going to be awesome. So we’re going to post a video of us from behind-the-scenes.
Anyway we can show people what it’s like behind-the-scenes or how we make music, or showing us in the studio, we try to put it online.
You’ve already had exposure through television shows, and you were on C89.5. Have you seen a significant change in the attention or fans you’ve been getting since this announcement?
Yeah. It’s definitely really, exponentially growing. Because we had a very organic fanbase of people that we almost developed a personal relationship with. As an unsigned band, you don’t have millions of people coming to your shows and millions of people liking you on Facebook.
So it happens like, one or two people at a time. So people say, “Hey, I really like your music,” or “That’s inspiring to me,” or “This helped me with a breakup.” And we read every single one of those things and we’ll respond to them. There’s a personal connection there even though it’s online.
But all of a sudden, people are coming by the hundreds, it seems like. … And now they’re telling their friends, and you can see people are getting really excited. If they knew about us before, excited that we’re getting this opportunity. And then if they hadn’t, then we’re getting a lot of people that are either fans of the Seattle music scene or the Northwest music scene or fans of electronic music, which has always had a niche but seems to be getting more and more popular. … It seems like people are more open-minded to it than, I would say, a few years ago.
Do you have any Seattle shows planned in the next month or so?
We actually don’t right now. We played around Seattle and down in Oregon a bunch. As it stands right now, we do have some things that we’re working on, but we can’t announce anything yet.
What gives your band an edge our of the other 15 bands that are featured?
When we saw the other band names, we immediately checked out their music. No joke, even though they selected genres from all over the place, we can tell every band is insanely good at what they do.
I think with us, the advantage is we are the only electronic, pop-based band, and we’re also the only self-produced band. We’ve never gone to a producer. … it’s literally all homegrown. We do everything ourselves. (There are) people who are into that or appreciate that and realize that it’s not a producer or a studio making us sound like this. It’s just two guys recording every single part of their music and mixing it and putting it out there. I think that’s an advantage.
I think also being an electronic, or dance or pop, or whatever people say about it, that’s a help too. …
Being from the northwest and being from Seattle — born and raised here [both members attended Tyee High School in SeaTac] — I think people can embrace us for representing that area and really get behind us. And that seems to be happening. … I think there’s a lot of little advantages built in to our situation.
Photo of Joshua Frazier and Florin Merano courtesy of the artists