The No Label Needed Contest & Series is a collaboration between Metal Insider and Scion to give one unsigned artist an entire DIY music industry education and launch a release without the help of a label. We’ll be posting features and updates on the contest & series periodically on Metal Insider. Find out more about No Label Needed here.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at each of the No Label Needed finalists. Today, we’re featuring Orwell.
Formed in 2004 in La Crosse, WI, the band is comprised of Logan Hauser on vocals, Will Strickland on bass, Jim Haugen on drums and Erik Bolstad and Tim Bradley on guitars. Bradley took some time aside from campaigning for the lead in public votes to answer a few of our questions.
What has been your most challenging moment as an unsigned metal band?
The most challenging thing we have dealt with as far as being unsigned was the release of our album, Endeavors. We wanted to have a record that sounds like records that come from [a professional label]. We didn’t want the average listener to hear it and say “sounds like a local band.” The challenge was trying to put out a record with that kind of quality with virtually no budget. In order to be able to accomplish this, we recorded the guitars and bass at home and used a local studio for drums and vocals. We also called on some friends to help with the finishing touches. Steve H. from Iron Thrones mixed the record and Milwaukee local mastermind Trevor Saddler mastered the album. We feel that although the entire process was extremely challenging, the album speaks for itself, and we are very proud of it.
Who’s career do you admire?
Personally, I admire In Flames a lot. They catch a lot of flack for their newer releases, but they’ve been around for so long, and they continue to put out awesome records. To me they are kind of like a Swedish Metallica: maybe they’ve put out a few sub-par records, but in the end they are still In Flames; they still have an amazing catalog of music and they still rock live. Another thing I love about In Flames is that there is no evidence of “trends” in their music. It is unmistakably them every time, for better or worse, you can tell they love what they are doing.
What is the local scene like in your home town?
The scene in La Crosse is actually starting to pick up again. A few years ago, the metal scene here was insane. All the bands were metal, and most of them were really great, too! Then a few broke up, and it kind of settled down to nothing. Orwell was pretty much the lone metal band in town. However, over the bast couple of months it has really picked up. Lots of new bands, and lots of kids at shows. Metalfest (our yearly fest at the Warehouse) actually sold out the first night, which was all brand-new local bands. That was really cool to see again. We are really looking excited about whats happening in La Crosse and hope it continues to get better.
Who is your favorite non-metal band/artist?
Thrice and Murder By Death. I probably listen to these 2 bands more than i listen to metal, haha!
What metal trend would you like to see end?
I would love it if we could stop adding “core” to everything! There are so many talented kids out there who are amazing at their instruments, and I feel like they waste it by jumping on the band wagon and joining the first “core” band that asks them to jam. I wish all these bands could just go back to the drawing board and work on trying to write some great songs instead of just trying to be the most “heavy” or “brutal” band out there. Right now, being in a band itself is a trend, and I think that kind of situation just breeds mediocrity.
Public voting for the No Label Needed Contest & Series presented by Scion runs through March 8. Visit the No Label Needed microsite to listen to Orwell and the 19 other finalists and cast your vote!