We’ve reached out to the artists we followed as part of “The 12” to have the last word on our project. We asked for words, a video or something out of left field. Eric Victorino shared a few thoughts on keeping perspective in a blog-driven music world.
"Hey Kevin, thanks for following along. We’re never really the types to think of press and buzz being important to what we do, our whole experience as the Limousines is about having fun together, on stage, in the studio and hanging out at home. Meeting new people and being creative for a living is the only real reward - to be honest sometimes bloggers take this kind minute by minute, play by play approach to covering a band’s career, like it’s a football game or something - if we pay too close attention to that we might get bummed out if a couple weeks at home not doing band stuff looks to press like we’re fumbling - and maybe that approach is the only way to really monitor a band’s success from the outside but we’ve never been in this for anything more than our own personal enjoyment and making music is the best way the two of us know to live lives we’re proud of and excited by. So thank you for paying attention and if there are any people you’ve introduced us to along the way, please pass along our thanks to them for being a part of something we’re truly happy to be doing."
- Eric Victorino - The Limousines
After six months of coverage, this week marks the end of “The 12”. I wanted to start my final thoughts with The Limousines. Giovanni Giusti and Eric Victorino have been touring throughout the country alongside The Sounds and Neon Trees appealing to pop and dance audiences alike. At first listen, it’s easy to be turned on to the strong beats and melodies the band has put together on their debut LP. “Internet Killed the Video Star” and “Very Busy People” are legit pop gems and deserve all of the attention the band has gained both from casual fans and serious music listeners. After really digging into The Limousines’ music, I’ve realized there is so much more at play.
Victorino has a true gift with words. With so many pop bands focused on derivative topics like partying down at “the club”, The Limousines delve into the darker and grittier side of what life is in 2011. While many dance-based bands bring a sense of hope to their music, The Limousines are firmly gripped in reality, no matter how mundane and discouraging it can be at times. As they put it, “Nobody lives to see the future”. It’s not necessarily sad; it’s just that life is what it is. The trick is once you accept the reality surrounding you, you can make yourself happy in the now. “I want to love. I want to smile. I don’t need much. I’m a simple child.” On top of that, Victorino can be just so damn clever. The “Donnie Darko/iPod pirate ship” verse on “Very Busy People” is quite simply one of the coolest lines to come out of the last couple of years. I’m admittedly not a lyric-focused listener, but Victorino’s lyrics seem to put a smirk on my face every time.
This project was really focused on how young bands maneuver through the current music listening landscape, but I keep getting the sense from interviews that it’s really not a factor for Victorino and Giusti. The Limousines main focus is on having fun, which is something I really admire even though it may keep them more under-the-radar given that so many bands are in essence competing for listener’s ears. I bet The Limousines could care less if you like their music, which is a little ironic given how accessible their sound is. Both artists truly ooze natural talent. If they can write the songs from Get Sharp just by emailing tracks back and forth, it’d be amazing to see what the band would come up with if they went “all in” on pushing themselves to make an impact on the music scene.
The reviews from The Sounds tour have shown that The Limousines can be a highlight act even in a supporting role. I don’t know what their next steps are, but I for one will be paying attention. For all the criticism I could throw at MTV, their extensive support of The Limousines this year have proven they can get a few things right musically. If you haven’t given this band a chance yet, dig in and have fun. Just bring your dancing shoes.
10/16/11 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA (courtesy of The Owl Mag)
We last covered The Limousines back in August with their appearances at the Outside Lands Festival and the Sunset Strip Music Festival, so it was a bit of a surprise to hear the band announce an astonishing twenty-six dates back in September covering all corners of the country in support of the Swedish indie rock band The Sounds. The tour is still trucking along (the bands are in Philadelphia tonight), but our “12” coverage wraps up this week so we’re going to take you all the way through Halloween. The shows are actually comprised of four bands including pop artist Natalia Kills and electronic artists Kids at the Bar. The lineup has a little something for everyone from an electronic pop angle, a great opportunity for The Limousines to gain some more fans on the road.
Judging from Facebook and Twitter updates, the duo seems to really enjoying the tour so far with a ton of admiration coming from their camp for The Sounds both musically and personally. There are a few positive reviews coming from local publications as well specific to The Limousines’ set. The opening role is always an uphill battle, but The Owl Mag still walked away impressed. “The Limousines didn’t let the lackluster crowd stop them from being who they are and brining the dance party to the HOB table.” Rachel Djukic from Digital Tour Bus agreed noting, “The Limousines set was great, I was genuinely disappointed when it was over.” The band focused on the poppier material from Get Sharp for this run with “Internet”, “Very Busy People” and “Wildfires” drawing the most energy from the crowd.
The Limousines bookended the first half of The Sounds Tour with a series of festival appearances on both coasts. The month’s first gig was a headlining spot at San Jose’s Left Coast Live where they “single handedly drew the biggest crowd of the festival” according to Caliber Mag. The following weekend the duo played a set at Florida’s DeLuna Festival right by the beach. The Limousines’ month concluded at New Orleans’ Voodoo Festival where the band drew a main stage appearance later occupied by the mega-hyped Odd Future, TV on the Radio and headliners The Raconteurs. Keeping with the Halloween spirit, the band donned Cobra Kai apparel straight out of Karate Kid. Their energetic set translated well with a young and boisterous crowd.
The road continues for The Limousines all the way through Thanksgiving including stops in the New York City area this week, a four-show swing through Texas and a West Coast run wrapping up in Vancouver on the 22nd. This will be our last check-in with the band, but be sure to check dates if The Limousines are swinging through your town. You can catch the Operation Every Band crew at Dallas’ Granada Theatre next week!
OEB Video Diary:
You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon) – 10/8/11 – Left Coast Live – San Jose, CA
Internet Killed the Video Star – 10/14/11 – DeLuna Festival – Pensacola Beach, FL
Very Busy People – 10/26/11 – Opera House – Toronto, Canada
Wildfires – 10/30/11 – Voodoo Festival – New Orleans, LA
The Future – 10/30/11 – Voodoo Festival – New Orleans, LA
Building off their recent tour stops in California and Columbus, Ohio, The Limousines have nonchalantly continued to build a little buzz with online and traditional outlets. Here are some highlights:
Baeble Music is an online magazine focused on indie music and videos and pushing buzzy artists forward towards the mainstream scene. Their “Introducing” series does just that, featuring interviews with up-and-coming artists. In August, Baeble featured a rather lengthy interview with Giusti and Victorino covering the band’s formation, sarcasm versus sincerity and the duo’s writing process. In terms of what’s next, The Limousines have kept up their relaxed attitude towards the future: “Our plan is not to have a plan. Try to keep this thing fun and under control.”
In what will amount to the band’s second national tour since May, The Limousines will hop on board with Swedish rock band The Sounds from Oct 12th to Nov 22nd. It’s an interesting pairing as The Sounds tend to look back with their music towards Eighties New Wave, while The Limousines embrace modern electronic sounds, though The Sounds have gone closer to an updated electro-pop sound with their 2011 release Something to Die For. The tour, also featuring Natalia Kills and Kids at the Bar, is a long one that circles the US twice over the course of six weeks. This is a genuinely huge opportunity for the band to get out in front of a thousand-plus nightly pretty much everywhere.
Back in early August, The Limousines stopped by Google campus for a private show alongside Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. Not only did this gig yield a paycheck, it also provided some extra coverage courtesy of Google Music’s Magnifier blog. The accompanying YouTube set features an interview along with performances of “Very Busy People” and “Internet Killed the Radio Star”. Seeing the band rock out such a unique setting shows their accessibility amongst a crowd that is literally being paid to be there. Weird.
8/12/11 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA (courtesy of Bakotopia)
The Limousines booked a few festival gigs in August; their first proper shows since stepping off tour with Neon Trees in early June. The band’s first public appearance was an early evening set at Outside Lands, but they actually got started a day early with a corporate gig at Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival is like the West Coast version of Lollapalooza, pulling in a mix of top headliners and indie faves. The Limousines’ set had to have drawn one of the largest crowds of the band’s career. Combining great scheduling (going up against love them/hate them Phish with most of the other stages open), an early evening timeslot and hometown San Francisco love, the duo showed how much energy they can create given the right venue and a ripe crowd. Not did the band draw a large crowd in Golden Gate Park, The Limousines’ set was also streamed online live via Free Yr Radio to extend to a national audience. While interviewing with outlets onsite, Eric Victorino noted how much he’s embraced the festival scene, telling Metrojolt, “I sometimes think of us as more of a one-off festival band. Right now we’re just hanging out and working on a couple secret projects, then playing at these festivals.”
The next day the band booked it across the country to Columbus, OH for a festival set at the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion Summerfest followed by a late night DJ set at the A&R Music Bar. The Columbus gigs were meant to be a stopover en route to East Hampton, NY’s MTK Festival, but the whole festival was unfortunately cancelled earlier that week due to weak ticket sales. The only other gig in August was back on the West Coast a week later at Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip Music Festival. The Limousines played an energetic mid-afternoon showcase at the Roxy Theater that Jambase called “a compelling set”. Glide Magazine also reviewed the show, noting “They are entertaining to watch, and the up-and-down jumping of the Los Angeles crowd seemed more rock and roll show than an electronic set.” This was a short run with a two buzzy West Coast highlights, proving there is a fanbase for the band especially given all the MTV coverage in recent months. From interviews, it seems The Limousines are taking a wait-and-see approach to touring instead of forcing capitalization on the success of “Internet Killed the Video Star”. As of right now, The Limousines are on break with no announced plans until mid-October when they’ll join a just-announced tour with The Sounds, but if we hear of any one-off gigs before then we’ll be sure to report back.
OEB Video Diary:
Internet Killed the Video Star – 8/12/11 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA
Fine Art → Wildfires (w/ BANG!) – 8/12/11 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA
Since jumping off Neon Trees Tour at the beginning of June, The Limousines have been laying pretty low. This week, the band has a few shows lined up, including an appearance at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival on Friday. In the meantime, a few publications have shouted out to The Limousines since their last tour. Here’s the round up:
In late June, MTVU launched a contest pitting five bands against each other to vie for the title of “Band of Summer”. By capturing votes online, The Limousines beat out buzzy bands Cults, Diamond Rings, Mac Miller and Young the Giant for the win. MTV has proven to be a strong supporter of the band, which has seemed to have already infused into their viewer base.
Every issue, SPIN Magazine features fifteen songs from new acts in both their print and online editions. In the July issue, SPIN featured “Very Busy People” calling the song “a bopping synth-pop mewl against digital-age soul death that’s one megabyte of irony away from sinking. Istead, it soars. Like Icarus, maybe, but still.” SPIN is one of the most influential publications to latch onto the The Limousines, so it was surely a pretty big deal for the duo.
Julio Diaz from PNJ.com recently interviewed Geoff Downes as a preview for a Yes Concert in Orange Beach, AL. Downes was also a member of the Buggles and co-wrote the MTV hallmark “Video Killed the Radio Star”. Diaz took the opportunity to get Downes’ thoughts on The Limousines’ revamp “Internet Killed the Video Star”. Downes shared these thoughts:
“The thing is, when you’ve written the song, you have to approve that (the Limousines’ song uses some lyrics and a melodic hook from the Buggles’ track). I thought it was quite interesting. I think it was a pretty good version, to be honest.”
Glamour Kills is a trendy Manhattan-based clothing company featured mostly at Zumiez and Urban Outfitters. Since its incorporation in 2005, the company has associated themselves with bands from a fashion angle. Last month, Glamour Kills featured The Limousines by sharing a few photographs, but also left a note to “expect more to come from these guys and Glamour Kills in the near future.” OEB will keep its eye on Glamour Kills to see if they have anything up their sleeves for The Limousines.
A couple of years ago, this would have been a little bigger news than it is now. Rock Band has had a significant impact on the video game culture, but its popularity has certainly waned in recent year. Nevertheless, The Limousines did license their song out for download, which now can be played along with in a full band setting.
As discussed in the full tour report, The Limousines’ performance at San Francisco’s BFD Festival was one the largest showcases of their career. We found a few quality videos of their performance which we’ve embedded below. As a bonus to the bonus, we’ve included a video interview from Film 151 captured at Live 105’s large-scale festival.
6/5/11 – Live 105’s BFD Festival – Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA
Flaskaboozendancingshoes, The Future, Internet Killed the Video Star, Wildfires, Video Interview
6/5/11 – BFD Festival – Shoreline Amphitheater, CA (courtesy of Owl Mag)
In terms of relative importance amongst the bands we are following as part of the “12”, The Limousines’ US tour supporting Neon Trees rises right to the top. The Limousines have concentrated most of their shows around their hometown of San Francisco since their formation, only breaking out sporadically for one-off shows in major markets across the country. The Neon Trees tour took the band across the South and East, hitting many markets for the first time in their career. Neon Trees have a radio-ready sound in the alternative rock realm, achieving some heavy plays with their single “Animal” released early last year. The band’s aggressive yet poppy sound meshed perfectly with The Limousines’ brand of electronic pop, which surely brought some new fans in who showed up at the venue in time for The Limousines’ supporting set.
The band played a total of thirteen gigs alongside Neon Trees (as well as additional opener Eastern Conference Champions) at medium-sized clubs and theaters across the country. Judging from Facebook and Twitter updates, many of the attendees had some familiarity with the band due to recent promotion of their lead single “Internet Killed the Video Star”, which was prominently featured on MTV networks throughout April and May. Media coverage was pretty slim concerning The Limousines themselves with the exception of a nice write-up by Cleveland-based Random Thoughts Escaping, who drew comparisons to Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and Prodigy, an eclectic mix of artists that all of their place within The Limousines’ sound.
In addition to their supporting slot on the Neon Trees tour, The Limousines found opportunities on off-days for a couple of headlining gigs, festival appearances and radio shows. Their headlining shows in Columbus (presented by local radio station CD101), Milwaukee, Denver and Salt Lake City didn’t feature any media attention, but did allow the band to work out their full set amongst an audience that is primarily there to catch The Limousines. The Salt Lake City show held particular significance as it was the last show ever at the venue which opened all the way back in 1947. Even though this tour was an effort to capture new fans across the country, The Limousines traveled back to the West Coast for a couple of big festival appearances. They flew back and forth from Charlotte, NC and Bakersfield, CA in one day for an appearance at KRAB’s free festival at the Bright House Networks Amphitheater, featuring a large hometown crowd and a unique stage setup (check out the moat in the video below). The other festival gig was an appearance at San Francisco’s annual BFD Festival held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. It was the band’s third appearance at the festival put on by San Francisco radio station Live105 and drew one of the larger audiences of the band’s career, highlighted by a set-closing version of “Wildfires” supported by the Street Drum Corps for what TreeSwingers called an “explosive performance”.
This tour was sure to energize the band and has already led up to a couple promotional events, including a spot in Spin’s “Songs You Must Hear Now” and capturing the prize of being MTVU’s “Band of Summer” through an online voting contest in the weeks following the last date on tour. The band doesn’t have anything on their calendar until August, when they jump between the West and East with festival appearance at San Francisco’s Outside Land Festival and new festival Runway 4 in the Hamptons. We’ll pick up our tour coverage next month with The Limousines following this brief run, but we’ll be sure to share media coverage from band champion MTV and other sources throughout July.
OEB Video Diary:
Dancing At Her Funeral – 5/15/11 – Houston, TX
Wildfires – 5/21/11 – Bright House Networks Amphitheater – Bakersfield, CA
Internet Killed the Video Star – 5/22/11 – TLA – Philadelphia, PA
Flaskaboozendancingshoes – 5/29/11 – The Basement – Columbus, OH
One key observation we’ve seen at Operation Every Band regarding buzzing new artists is the tendency for one or two major publications to take a true investment in pushing an artist forward. VH1 has been crazy about The Civil Wars while David Wax Museum seems to be featured in a new NPR article every month. Today, we want to focus on the recently established relationship between MTV and The Limousines. The connection dates back to early this year, when MTV offered a licensing deal to the band to use their songs to soundtrack the station’s reality programming including cable hits like Jersey Shore. The Limousines had only been in existence for about a year at the time and most of the fanfare surrounding the band was locally based in San Francisco as well as with a few early adopter MP3 blogs catching onto “Internet Killed the Video Star”. Artists certainly have differing opinions on licensing deals, especially with content in the vein of MTV’s programming, but there is no doubt that gaining plays on television shows has been a growingly important venue for emerging artists.
In late April, MTV started to cement the relationship with some online coverage related to the Limousines’ music being featured in the MTV original movie “Worst.Prom.Ever”. The network effectively cross-marketed the movie and the band by sharing a free download of “Internet” linked to a story previewing the film. As an extra cultural quirk, “Internet” pays homage to the early 80s track “Video Killed the Radio Star”, most notably known as the first music video played on MTV. On the date of the movie’s airing, MTV continued to push The Limousines by sharing a short video interview in yet another marriage of music, television and the web.
Normally, this is where the relationship between a publication and a band would subside, but MTV continued to feature The Limousines throughout May, most notably by naming them the “MTV Push Artist of the Week” on May 2nd. Due to their upgrade in status for the week, The Limousines continued to receive coverage through MTV’s various online journals. From interviews to live videos, MTV blogs posted near daily accounts of the band throughout early May. A month later, the network continues to feature the band in their programming, including the premiere of “Teen Wolf” (which followed the heavily viewed MTV Movie Awards) and the upcoming made-for-TV film “The Truth Below”.
Of all the bands we are covering, The Limousines are arguably the most packaged for immediate mainstream success. Even though MTV has all but neglected pure music videos in exchange for reality programming, the station still has a certain level of influence and appeals to a pretty specific demographic. The duo’s brand of electronic pop is incredibly catchy and hooky, just the right combination to draw a listener in even if a show is using it as background music. The Limousines continue to show their gratification for MTV’s promotion through interviews and Facebook/Twitter posts, surely looking forward to continued coverage in the future.
The Future – live performance (from MTV’s “Push Artist of the Week” feature)
The Limousines put a big focus on creating a visual interesting music video early in their career with the self-funded release of “Internet Killed the Video Star”, a song the band has continued to push forward through their distribution deal with MTV.
Internet Killed the Video Star - The Limousines’ debut single picked an interesting theme to accompany the electronic-infused pop track: zombies. The band dedicated a small budget but a big vision to the video, which has since paid off not only in YouTube views, but also sealing up a connection with MTV, who has featured the track in several shows and made-for-TV movies throughout the past few months.
Very Busy People - "Very Busy People" hasn’t received the promotional push that "Internet" has received thus far, but the band put together a really creative music video to accommodate the song’s relevance in the internet age. Capturing Apple video editing on the fly, the band finds themselves "caught" in a world of technology in a texturally stimulating visual.
Beyond MTV’s feature coverage, which we’ll cover in our next Limousines report, there were a couple small items of note throughout April. The band is currently buzzing across the country opening for Neon Trees, so you can expect their coverage to pick up a bit over the next couple of weeks.
Founded in 2009, China Shop covers music, film, art and culture of all kinds. Giovanni and Eric share the story of their formation, “Internet Killed the Video Star”, the MTV distribution deal and from where the draw their inspirations. Eric shared this gem about their unique approach to collaborative songwriting:
“Because we still do a lot of our writing separately, like in the early stages of song ideas, I think our motivation is to impress each other – make something so dope that the other guy says, “yes, that’s moving, it’s vibey, let’s work on that idea” – then our powers combine and we’re Go-bots, or Voltron or whatever.”
The Limousines gained a mention in a small LA Times piece announcing Silver Lake’s Dangerbird Records being forced to cut about 30% of their staff. CEO Jejj Castelaz is quoted reiterating the label’s commitment to its current roster. The economic downturn has certainly had its effect on the music industry; it is a challenge all young bands will surely face in the coming years. The Limousines haven’t commented on the effect of the restructuring, so we cannot gauge whether it has had a effect one way or the other on the band’s current trajectory.
As the band gears up for the their first major headlining tour supporting Neon Trees tomorrow, we wanted to take a look back at The Limousines touring activity throughout the last couple of months. The Limousines have kept relatively quiet on the touring front since returning from SXSW. The band has played three shows: a rooftop gig in Los Angeles, a big hometown headlining show in San Francisco and an appearance at a mainstream music festival in New Jersey. They started on March 24 with a set at LA’s The Standard to an excited crowd as a tie-in with Billboard who featured the band at SXSW a week prior.
Banter - 3/24/11 - The Standard Rooftop - Los Angeles, CA
The highlight show of the last month certainly is their headlining appearance at San Francisco’s The Independent supported by rapper K. Flay. The show just about sold out due to heavy promotion by the band and some strong buzz locally and online. The setlist featured every song from their debut LP Get Sharp as well as two new surprises: a cover of New Order’s “Temptation” as well as a new track tentatively titled “Rainbow Sherbet”. The show didn’t receive any major press, but San Francisco radio station Live 105 continued to show their support of the band through a webcast on their site as well as a video stream on Justin.tv.
Behind the Scenes - 4/20/11 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
The Limousines opened up May with an festival slot at The Bamboozle 2011, a large scale festival at the Meadowlands Complex in New Jersey. Headliners included a wide range of mainstream rock and hip hop acts, including Lil Wayne, Motley Crue, 30 Seconds to Mars and Bruno Mars. The band didn’t receive any major online recognition from their appearance, but a few tweets indicated they gained some new ground with the younger crowd that attended Bamboozle. Since The Limousines have such a strong San Francisco fanbase, it is always good to reach out to the other side of the country especially in a festival setting. The Limousines join the Neon Trees tour in Houston tomorrow featuring appearances at large clubs throughout the South and the East for the next three weeks.
Today, the Limousines were spotlighted as MTV’s “Push” Artist of the Week. The station highlights a new band every week that is rising in the mainstream music world. Comparing the band to MGMT, Depeche Mode and the Human League, the article predicts the Limousines will cause a buzz this year through appearances at “major festivals around the world”.
MTV’s choice of the Limousines isn’t without precident, as the music station has taken a keen liking to the band in recent months. Shortly before SXSW, the band struck a licensing deal with the station to feature songs in their reality programming, landing the music of the Limousines in major youth-oriented shows such as “Jersey Shore”. Even more recently, the band has been featured in trailers for the upcoming made-for-TV movie “Worst. Prom. Ever.”. MTV.com recently highlighted the band’s contribution to the soundtrack which is set to feature multiple tracks from Get Sharp. Last week, MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog shared a couple words on the band and offered a free download of the single “Internet Killed the Video Star”.
MTV certainly doesn’t have the tastemaker power it once did in the 80s and 90s, but it is still a powerful force in the industry with a large online presence and some music-oriented programming throughout the day. This is an especially interesting development for the Limousines, as their support has mostly come from their local San Francisco market. I’m sure there will be more than a few listeners turned on to the band through MTV’s promotion this week which is perfect timing leading up to their first national tour supporting Neon Trees. MTV shared a few clips of note in today’s article including the video for “Internet”, a short interview regarding the filming of the video and a nice live performance of “The Future”.