Band: Foxxy Records presents The Showcase
Date: Thursday, Feb. 13 with doors at 7 p.m.
Venue: The Attic at The Blind Mule, 57 N. Claiborne St., theblindmule.net
Tickets: $5 at the door
Local bands have a new musical entity helping them on multiple levels in the scene. From downtown Mobile to West Mobile, Foxxy Records has been spending the past few months organizing musically versatile showcases to both promote local music and help local venues decide the best fit for their patronage.
From comedy to rock to hip-hop, this showcase will feature Zeke, Olivia Searcy, Chris Singleton, A Little Change, Disco Lemonade, Barstow Revival, Supremely Overrated, Trapp Dee and X Havoc.
Behind the scenes, Sergio Rangel, Kelsey Reeves and Randy Neighbors are working hard to bring local artists to the masses while building a community in the Azalea City music scene.
Music Editor Steve Centanni sat down with this trio at Satori Coffee House to discuss the past, present and future of Foxxy Records.
Steve Centanni: What was the spark that started Foxxy Records?
Sergio Rangel: It was a need for accessibility for music. I think there’s so much talent in Mobile that more people need to have more access to seeing it and not just feeling like they have to put in a lot of effort. It’s hard to get in contact with people sometimes, for some reason. We’re here to help disrupt the musical status quo.
Kelsey Reeves: So, it was your [Rangel’s] idea/baby to begin with. Then, you met Brandon [Ulmer (Top of the Orange)], and I came in. We all have this desire for bands to be able to be booked and perform and create a community at the same time.
Centanni: What do you think makes the Mobile music scene so special that it would make you want to take on this task?
Rangel: There’s nothing like it. Everybody moves out of Mobile to Nashville, Pensacola, New Orleans or Austin. We’re the hub right in between all of that. It’s an hour to Pensacola and Ocean Springs or Biloxi. Then, you can go to New Orleans. You can go to Birmingham from Mobile, and then Nashville and Atlanta. Why isn’t Mobile being utilized as a prime site for everything from touring to having local acts being on touring acts’ bills? Mobile has the accessibility and the talent to be used.
Randy Neighbors: It’s definitely about location. As Foxxy Records is put together by touring acts, it’s about going around and traveling and asking what people think about Mobile. All I’ve ever heard is that Mobile is known for parties and good times.
Centanni: What services do you offer? What would you say is your main goal, as far as activities and events?
Reeves: We want to be the communication point in between all of it and connecting the artists to a venue. And making opportunities for them to come and play on a stage and taking the pressure off of the artist, so they can focus on what they do and not worry about where they can get in and put on a show.
Centanni: What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Rangel: It’s been finding consistency in how to get the word out. It’s worth it, because we have people to be seen and to shine a light on. There’s so many companies in Mobile who are trying to do it alone as well. We’re trying to bridge gaps behind these people. There’s 500,000 in this big town. How can you have that many people and still be struggling or playing against the competition? Your music alone isn’t reaching that many people. So, why can’t you bridge the community together and make it work for everybody’s benefit?
Centanni: How can a band get involved?
Rangel: They just need to email us. Right now, we’re focused on the showcases that we’re having at The Blind Mule. We’re booking and working with Hood Rat Skate Co. in Foley. We’re also working with Satori for open mics and closed mics. So, we’re moving all around the Gulf Coast area. Not only do we have artists reaching out to us, but we also do our best to go out and be seen at other events, especially people we’re unfamiliar with.
Centanni: Why showcases?
Rangel: It gives you a lot of access to artists that you might not go out to see. It’s about cross-promotion and mixed genre shows. We have hip-hop, comedians and not just funk or Americana or rock bands. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s interesting to find out the flow, that’s what this is for. It’s giving artists an understanding of what their worth is and what they should expect from professionals at our level. We’re just learning and reaching out and trying to be a part of the community and build with the community.
Neighbors: It’s also about mixing together a bunch of novice performers with more expert people. It’s not just so they can learn from us but also the other acts on the bill that you can say that you shared the bill with.
Centanni: So, tell me about the CannaBama Sessions at CannaBama: The CBD Store.
Rangel: We’ve gotten a lot of great bands and acts out there. It’s about getting the word out, especially with two different markets like downtown Mobile and West Mobile. There’s also the consistency of it. Sometimes, you see something on Facebook about something happening in Mobile and you wonder if it’s going to be sustainable. We’re trying to be as consistent as we can be.
Centanni: What’s it like putting on a showcase?
Reeves: It’s a couple of three-hour meetings [laughs].
Neighbors: It’s about finding the acts, then putting together the acts and coming up with who would go best together. Then, it’s getting confirmation. Then, the day of the show, it’s about getting the presales. It’s also about getting everybody together on promotion. Then, getting everyone in and organized and scheduled. At that point, it’s about having a good show.
Rangel: It’s about allowing artists to be artists and not having to worry about everything that we worry about for them.
Neighbors: Managing the event is our job. Being the artist is the artist’s job.
Rangel: Then, the venues get to be venues and put on live music shows and do what they do. We’re here for you. It’s about satisfaction and education. It’s very sexy.
Centanni: So, what’s next?
Rangel: So, we’ve been getting some guidance from Brandyn Ulmer (Top of the Orange) in understanding the business side and how to make things function for us and understanding our core value. He’s been allowing us to understand and put together the bohemian/music/artist side with the business side and understanding how to balance the two. You don’t want to be an artist saying that you love to do it and not make any money at it, because you’re worth more than that.
You also don’t want the business and say, “I’m just going to offer you this, even though you’re worth more than that, but somebody else will accept this.” It’s about finding the balance between, “OK, you’re worth this, and we’re worth this. Let’s negotiate and find a middle ground and work together and promote together.” Nobody should be doing it alone. Who would want to?
Neighbors: Foxxy Records is also doing its very best to bring Mobile a festival.
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