It pays off to enter music competitions. Just ask Chicago-based alternative group Friday Pilots Club. In October the band (Caleb Hiltunen and Drew Polovick) ended up winning Cumulus Media’s second annual NEXT2ROCK competition, a national search and artist development program for rock music created by Big Machine Label President/CEO Scott Brochetta and fashion designer John Varvatos.
The grand prize included a record deal with Brochetta’s and Varvatos’ joint venture Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. And so far, the whole experience has helped the band gain a new perspective of the ins and outs of the industry. “We were so used to being an indie band, where you do everything yourself,” Polovick reminisces. “Now we have this incredible group of people working with us and helping us take over these jobs that Caleb and I should have never been doing in the first place and it’s amazing.”
Now Friday Pilots Club are label mates with other up-and-coming rock acts, including Badflower and Pretty Vicious. Friday Pilots Club even got the chance to open up Badflower's album release show at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles in February.
The band found the label to be very supportive in making that performance and trip to Los Angeles go as smooth as possible. “Everyone at the label is unbelievable. Scott Brochetta and John Varvatos, are very hands on. They communicate about everything,” Hiltunen explains. “It’s just legitimately surprising, from what I thought it was going to be to how much people actually care. It’s so cool, it’s a blessing.”
The label is even helping the band find their sound. “It’s a democratic process, which is surprising. It's very much like ‘we want to hear you guys, we want to hear the direction you guys want to go, we want to hear what you guys wanna do, and we gonna be extremely upfront about how realistic that is,’” says Polovick.
Currently, the band is sitting on enough material to release a full album or two, but they are letting the process of choosing come naturally stating they want to create a perfect debut album of meaningful hit singles. We can't wait to hear it!
Date Signed: February 2019
Band Members: Caleb Hiltunen, vocals and Drew Polovick, guitar
Label: Big Machine/John Varvatos Records
Type of Music: Alternative
Management: KMA Management
Booking: Scott Sokol at Pinnacle
Legal: Peter Lewit
Publicity: Big Machine Label Group, Charlotte.Burke@bmlg.net
A&R: Julian Raymond - Big Machine Label Group