Signing Story: Maul

Date Signed: Jan. 1, 2023

Label: 20 Buck Spin

Band Members: Al Nikolas, Garrett Alvarado, Mike Griggs, Robby Anderson, Anthony Lamb

Type of Music: Death Metal

Management: Big Johnson MGT LLC

Booking: maul701.bandcamp.com

Legal: Saul T. Knuhtz, Esq & Associates

Publicity: Earsplit PR

Web: instagram.com/mauldeath

A&R: David M. Adelson VIII

Cold weather breeds metal. Something about being snowed-in with nothing but your instrument and some Top Ramen to warm your darkened soul. Which is why so many great metal bands are from Swe… wait, North Dakota!!?

Maul aren’t the first metalheads to come out of Fargo (see Gorgatron, and Phobophilic), but they are doing their part to put its scene on the death metal map. Explains Maul frontman Garrett Alvarado, “There's punk, there's metal, there's thrash, death and black… there's a good noise scene in Fargo and it kind of all meshes together and everyone really gives a fuck, because that's all that’s really going on. It's awesome.” 

So how did these five midwesterners dig out of their local scene? So. Much. Touring! And on those tours, making connections. After dropping their debut EP with label Redefining Darkness, the band went gigging all over. “We did a few fests around the area, ‘Midwest Deathfest’ and ‘Slamdakota’ in Sioux Falls, SD,” says Alvarado. “And then our next tour was in December around another fest called ‘Banging In The Rock’ in Little Rock, AR. That’s when Dave [Adelson] from 20 Bucks hit our DMs.”

As mentioned, Maul had dropped their previous release through Redefining Darkness that same year, but as Alvardo explains, signing to 20 Buck Spin was a smooth transition thanks to a shared love for all things metal. “I had a video call with Thomas [Haywood at Redefining Darkness], and let him know. … He was stoked because [20 Buck Spin is] a label that represent underground death metal!” 

Grassroots marketing through Bandcamp, and giving a shit about other bands in the genre, seems to be the secret sauce for Maul. Redefining Darkness found the band because Mutilatred and Hanging Fortress, two bands already on its roster, were friends with Maul. “Go to the shows that you can and be really active online! I book all our tours and I’ve done it by people I've met at shows, or just DMing. I use Bandcamp and the city search and I message bands directly, asking ‘Do you have any promoters that you fuck with? Can you personally help us out?’ It's pretty genuine in that way. And then don't be afraid to get told no,” laughs Alvarado. “Cause [your messages] get left unread more often than not.” - Andy Mesecher