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SOME MUSICIANS AVOID the "emo" tag like the plague.
Smith, an ASU computer science major, and his Mesa group (lead vocalist David Jensen, guitarist Reggie Patel, drummer Kelly Reed and guitarist Hans Ringger), are no strangers to the emo label. That may change, however, when the band releases its first full-length album, The Rumor, on Tuesday.
"It pretty much combines a little bit of our older sound with our new edgier sound,'' Smith says of his band's latest effort. "There's a good mixture of sounds on the album.''
The band — which has been a player in the Valley scene for three years — will release The Rumor on the independent Aezra Records, a label that receives national distribution through BMG Music.
"[Aezra] approached us about a year ago [after the band was featured in a local magazine],'' Smith says. "They saw it and they contacted us and asked us to send them demo stuff. We sent it to them and two months later they asked us to do a showcase for them at the Hard Rock Cafe. We opened up for the band Deep Blue Something, who is also on Aezra Records, and they had all the big wigs from the label there to check us out.''
Clearly, folks at the label liked what they heard, because, as Smith recalls, "a few weeks after that, contracts were written up and they went with it.''
The group has since opened for acts such as Jimmy Eat World, Piebald and The Anniversary. Smith says that the band — whose members range from ages 17 to 26 — has been enjoying its time on an indie label.
"There's certain reasons we like Aezra,'' he says. "It is a little bit low-key, but it also can get your foot in the door.''
When asked if they'd ever give up their indie creed to a powerhouse like Sony or Universal, Smith says, "If there's a response and it came to that, then it kind of may be necessary.''
After they release their album, Before Braille plans to embark on a tour in late September, which will conclude in January. And they'll make a pit stop in New York on Oct. 31 to play College Music Journal's (CMJ) annual music festival.
The band also recently had its single, "24 Minus 18" added to the Zone's (KZON 101.5 FM) playlist.
"The whole radio thing is a bit weird to me with being independent, and now one of the major stations in town is playing us,'' Smith says. "It's like, 'Ahhh, attention, this is weird.' It's cool but at the same time it's a little bit weird. It's a little bit embarrassing when your friends tell you that they heard you on the radio."
It looks like Before Braille needs some time to get used to their new exposure, but at least they're in good company with the current state of the burgeoning music scene.
"I think it's awesome,'' Smith says of the new hype over Arizona's music. "There's no way that you can compare it to Seattle 10 years ago, but I think it's great that people are paying attention to the local scene here. There's even a lot of great high school bands out here right now. There's a lot of stuff brewing.''
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