Bent Knee

Signing Story: Bent Knee

Date Signed: Jan. 17, 2017
Label: InsideOutMusic/Sony
Band Members: Ben Levin, guitar; Chris Baum, violin; Courtney Swain, vocals, keys; Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth, drums; Jessica Kion, bass; Vince Welch, production, sound design.
Type of Music: Rock/Experimental
Management: [email protected]
Booking: Andy Leff - [email protected]
Legal: Ronald S. Bienstock - Sarinci Hollenbeck
Publicity: Stephanie Williams, [email protected] Web: bentknee.com
A&R: Thomas Waber

Previously signed to Cuneiform Records, eclectic indie outfit Bent Knee gained the Maryland label's attention through brute force touring. "It opened up doors," divulges lead singer Courtney Swain, citing Progfest and ProgDay as two festivals they likely wouldn’t have played otherwise.

InsideOut chatted to the band during this time but passed, arguing the group’s sound wasn’t within their wheelhouse. Once they toured with the Dillinger Escape Plan, the German vessel’s perception shifted––Bent Knee’s artistic vision stretches well beyond prog.

Label head Thomas Waber offered the group constructive criticism, impressing Swain. “I found it refreshing that this person was down to give it to us straight.” She also appreciated InsideOut’s alignment with out-of- the-box performers. “We definitely fit that profile.”

"Kindness doesn't cost anything. And it goes a long way." 

The two-option deal, which took months to complete, granted them their top priority: a licensing deal. “Our music is really important and we wanted it to belong to us. That was something we negotiated for and had to have.” Regarding the group’s multiple side projects, the contract limits the number of Bent Knee members that can appear on outside recordings.

Beyond artistic freedom, Swain welcomes the muscle of InsideOut’s parent company, Sony. “When the single came out, I saw it was already available not just on iTunes and Spotify but on a streaming service back home in Japan. That was something I hadn’t seen before.”

Swain suggests artists take stock of karma, a perspective she received from her booking agent. “There are a lot of people in the industry who don’t get enough thanks or credit,” notes the vocalist. “Kindness doesn’t cost anything. And it goes a long way.”

Photo by: Chris Anderson

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