Inside the EXPOSED MUSIC FESTIVAL; an interview with Dan Jensen, founder

Over the years there have been many tours and festivals that have taken place all over the world.  Most of these events showcase bands that are already signed and have a massive following.  Personally, I am not opposed to huge acts being on tour and making their money.   While these events do usually draw crowds these types of tours do nothing to support the underground music scene!  The underground is thriving with new and exciting talent but the issue is how to harness that talent into a successful major tour.  One new tour that is doing just that is the Exposed Music Fest!  The Exposed Music Fest is a nationwide tour that goes to cities all over the country to showcase the areas local talent.  The tour works closely with Stand and Deliver Records and brings all the advantages of a major tour and festival right to the underground.  The following is an interview with Dan Janssen, the founder of the Exposed Music Fest.

Rob:How did the fest get started?

Dan: Over the last three years, Exposed Music Festival (formally known as The Slave to the Metal Music Festival) has featured, debuted, and unified local acts in cities coast to coast. Hosted by Fuse TV’s Juliya Chernetsky and Suicide City’s and Demilitia’s bass player Jennifer “JennCity” Arroyo (also known for her former days with KITTIE), this ongoing festival-style tour has exposed more than 750 unsigned bands to more than 35,000 fans in just 75 shows during 2011! We expect 2012 to be even more exciting and successful by offering new programs and adding new sponsors. Recently, we started programs for bands to get involved in our personal distribution project or opt to be photographed onstage during their acts for excellent publicity shots. Both options are free of charge to bands who sign up for Exposed events. Another avenue we are considering is getting other local artists involved at our shows to also display their talents to the community and possibly their target demographic, spreading the fan base even more. For example, local tattoo shops can advertise their work and meet like-minded people, or local Internet-based TV or radio shows can broadcast/document our festival. At the end of the day we want these bands to gain fans, have fun and help their scene to grow.

Rob:Whose idea was it to go to different cities and promote local bands?

Dan: It was mine. I’ve worked on every side of this industry including management, concert production, and a musician. I work with several record label A&R from Major to Indie and thought this would be a good way to go out and find some diamond’s in the rough. Labels rarely go to shows anymore, unless a band is drawing hundreds of people to a show and creating a major buzz outside their local scene its highly unlikely anyone will see them. With our connections the hope is to find talent, work with them and try and get them to that next level. You wouldn’t believe the talent we see in these “minor” markets. There are so many groups that if they had the right direction they could be successful in this business. Unfortunately there are too many “voices” in this business who claim they know the “right” way and really it handcuffs these kids and keeps them local. We try our best to break that mold and give them the right advice if they ask for it.

Rob: What record companies and national acts are affiliated with this tour?

Dan:There are industry reps/bands that we all work with, more then I could list. The label that sponsors this event is Stand and Deliver Records but we have connections at pretty much every label out there thru our various affiliates. For instance, with the standout rock bands I’ve found on this event I’ve showcased them separately for Kim Stephens, Kim owns forward entertainment and works for or is associated with Capitol, Atlantic and Universal. He is credited with signing such acts as Matchbox 20, Collective Soul, most recently Saving Abel, Sick Puppies, and Adelitas Way to name a few. We don’t push the record deal aspect as much as helping the bands gain fans and teaching unity in their music scene. Labels aren’t signing potential anymore, so a band really has to be a 10 out of 10 to gain label interest. We do find these groups from time to time and will set up a separate showcase for these bands at a later date.

Rob: Are there any locals that have been “exposed” or became famous from this tour?

Dan: Well were brand new and have only been doing this since Feb of 2011. All of the bands get exposure from this, and I’m confident every band that put forth any sort of effort has gained something from playing this. We don’t sign bands as were just a production company, but we can shop them if they are good. The biggest problem with festivals like this is that they promise record deals that they can’t deliver. We don’t want bands thinking if they play this event they will get signed, so we really don’t try to push that aspect of it. The opportunity is there for the bands that stand out though. I just recently did a showcase for a band called The Everyday Losers out of Indiana and I’m real excited about their chances. Other standouts I’ve seen are SkinKage, Novus Follium, It’s tough because labels aren’t so quick to take a chance anymore on bands so the process is a bit longer and were hoping 2012 we can claim responsibility for some of the acts in 2011! We also look for bands that we can take on tour with us. SkinKage out of Charlotte, NC is an unsigned act that we are bringing on the road with us for this tour. They have some label interest but the label wants to see how they do on tour, so naturally we decided to take them out and see what they can do!

Rob: What is the goal of the tour?

Dan: When we meet bands we feel are of high caliber in quality and initiative, we now have the opportunity to introduce them to our friends at our sponsoring organizations, such as Stand and Deliver Records, The End Records, and Supporting local artists and musicians and trying to help them spread their “art” in their communities and possibly nationwide is our goal with the Exposed Music Festival. And as we continue to grow, we will continue to put on the highest quality events and stand out as the best local music festival in your city.

Rob: When?

Dan: February 4th at the California Brew House in Rochester and check the facebook page for other exposed shows in your area!

For more information on Exposed Music Festival!/ExposedMusic

Rob Born


Posted on 2012/01/13, in Interviews, Local, Media, National, News. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I played on the Buffalo NY leg of this tour last year with my band Led By The Blind and I must say I love the concept of the entire thing. Giving up and coming bands an opportunity to expose themselves in an otherwise stingy music market is unheard of these days. It’s nice to see someone taking interest in improving the steadily declining local music scene of today. Led By The Blind was asked to join the tour again this year but unfortunately had to decline due to contract restrictions from a different event booked with After Dark Inc in the same city. My only suggestion to really get this fest to pop next time it comes to the Buffalo area is to book a better venue. It’s currently being booked at Club Diablo which is a decent club but very small. This venue does not draw the right demographic and generally doesn’t draw much of crowd. Having 6 or 7 bands playing there is a nightmare for transition times as well as taking up valuable real estate with equipment scattered about the bar. The crowd generally loses interested when it takes more than 10 or 15 minutes to get the music rolling again which is extremely difficult in such tight quarters. The stage is very cramped unless you’re a 3 piece band which is unheard of with rock/metal bands. With the ticket price being relatively high for the area and comparable to ticket prices for national acts playing at the Town-ball Room just one block up the street is very unappealing to the average listener just looking to stop in and catch some bands on a week night. One of the most popular venues for up and coming bands in the Buffalo area right now is Xtreme Wheels Skate Park on Hertle ave. Majority of the demographic being targeted on this festival is the under 21 fans and this venue is all ages as well as sporting a crowd on it’s own with out the help of live music to draw people in. The skate park is very large, has a huge stage with a house PA and best of all access ti the Skate Park included in the ticket price. The icing on the cake for this venue is it’s reputation with the younger local music scene (18-24) due to the repertoire of National Acts that come through there on their way up to national recognition. Growing up in the area you most likely saw your very first concert at Xtreme Wheels in the mid to late 2000’s. All your favorite bands through out high school played that venue which for all intensive purposes dubbed that venue as iconic. Most importantly Xtreme wheels hosts local shows consistently all year long. Every weekend you can go there and see live music ranging in popularity from giants like As I Lay Dying to the up and coming local bands like The Bunny The Bear. Anyways I hope to see this festival going for years to come because it is great to see the music scene growing again especially in this age of social networks and cyber relationships. People need to interact with each other and share epic moments they will carry with them forever like the ones that so commonly happen to young music enthusiasts that just need that one performance that turns them from a fan into a performer by seeing and feeling the energy a live concert can bring. Two thumbs up on the Exposed Music Festival from a contributing currently unknown artist trying to make it’s way in the world of entertainment.

    • Maybe this tour does *something* to spread local band awareness, but they send the same email to every band in a 50 mile area per venue, require that you sell a certain amount of tickets, then they pay you 1 dollar for every 10 dollar ticket (actually, it’s more like “maybe” they’ll pay you. If you don’t see Jensen during your set, he won’t be back; you aren’t getting paid today, you’ve been fucked– enjoy your lighter pockets) Mistress Julia also shows up about as much as a Shiny Pidgey, as she has “food poisoning”–so no tits for you. You can see tits anywhere, but it’s bad form to imply bodacious boobage and then not provide any fun bags. Also, nearly every ticket holder is only there for the band they got tickets from, so it’s basically a revolving door of 20-50 people who are there to see just the band they already know of. That isn’t exactly “exposure”, as you will most likely play in front of the 30 people who bought tickets from you, but maybe your friends forgot you are in a band and you need to remind them.
      Perhaps a label rep will be there, perhaps they’ll like you, perhaps they’ll tell a higher-up, perhaps they’ll even be interested in you, and perhaps I’ll get dome from Daisy Lowe– if I had to put money on it, though, I’d say me getting dome from Daisy Lowe is going to happen before any of that other stuff. But it *is* possible in the physical world we occupy, so if you’re the kind of bro who hits on 19 and doesn’t ever bust– then I guess the odds are in your favor. They have a few stand-out events that help them to feign credibility, but most events will be poor quality in average to below-average venues. If you don’t care about any of that shit and you have the time to waste and the money to spend and enough friends you can sell tickets to so that you don’t get taken off of the schedule then go for it. I ain’t hatin’, that’s just how it goes. If, however, you value your money and your time, you might want to reconsider sending an affirmative RSVP… just throwin’ that out there.

      • Exposed Festival

        Thanks for posting this article! Interesting assesement tho on the comment above. Except that several bands have done good things from this tour, bands get paid all of their ticket sales after 30 sold(sell 100 and make $700) NOT $1 a ticket. Juliya isn’t the host Jennifer Arroyo is(former Kittie bassist/Suicide City). Juliya used to host events and missed two weekends due to illness(she was doing nearly every weekend so this happens she is human)in a span of 3 years. On this particular tour there was no host but one national and two lucky locals that played one of our Exposed events prior and that were really good and we wanted to take with us on the road. Seems THEY got something from playing this event? If your band is good you will gain fans from this event! Dan Janssen doesn’t even go to the events(rarely), they send a production person who stays for the entire set and takes notes on each band as well. We never send label reps to Exposed events and have never told anyone we do, with the exception of this “Stand and Deliver Records” tour in which we sent a rep to all the events. We also have done showcase events privately for bands and will fly an A&R out. But thats only for select bands that are good that we find on the road. Ask any bands that played as he met with everyone. Don’t spit venom unless you have facts, or at least be professional when calling someone out. At best leave your name or hit us up and let us know 1.) If you even played an event 2.) How you felt slighted. Our numbers and emails are always open.

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