Major Magick
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Major Magick

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Story by David Brewer


Last week, ASU’s student-run Split Rail Records added Boone-based rock-soul-fusion band Major Magick to their growing stable of artists. The band was signed on the strength of their performance at a Split Rail-sponsored battle of the bands at the Dragonfly Theater last November, beating out Hope Massive and the Major Sevens for the coveted label slot.

“[I’m] excited to work with them,” Director Music Industry Studies program Kim Wangler. “They’re a great band.”

The bumpy negotiation process between the band and the label lasted more than a month, resulting in two contracts: one for recording and a separate one for publishing rights. Split Rail obtains all profits from publishing and CD sales until expenses incurred while producing the album have been recouped. After that, profits from CD sales are split 50/50 between the label and the band.

During the last several months, Major Magick has been making waves in the High Country music scene. The band, which consists of lead singer Stephon LaMar, drummer Nate Osborne, bassist Cody Adams, keyboard player Mike Runyon and guitarist Kyle Rozich, has been making the rounds at all the local clubs including Murphy’s, the Dragonfly Theater & Pub, Legends and others.

The band hit the recording studio on Sunday, February 8, to begin sessions for their debut album. According to Derek Cohen, head of Split Rail public relations, the label hopes to complete the recording process by mid-March and release the album in late April.

A CD release party is already in the works and will take place at the Dragonfly Theater & Pub on Saturday, May 2, where the band will play the new disc in its entirety.

Split Rail Records signs and records approximately one new band every semester. The label is currently taking submissions and applications for distribution deals for bands that want more exposure and marketing opportunities. Bands interested in signing in the future are welcome to submit demos and can also submit music for the MEISA festival and ASU’s Battle of the Bands at Legends, both of which will be held this spring.

For more information on Split Rail Records, click to www.myspace.com/splitrailrecords. To hear music by Major Magick, click to www.myspace.com/majormagick. - High Country Press February 19, 2009


Major Magick Brings Genre Busting Sounds To Murphy’s New Year’s Eve


Story by David Brewer

It would be virtually impossible to count the number of bands that have suffered because of their incredible versatility coupled with a total lack of stylistic focus. A particularly common pitfall among jambands, the jack-of-all-trades approach to performing usually only works when bands find ways to inject their identity in multiple musical settings.

With musical chops to spare, Boone’s Major Magick is the sort of band that can deliver bone crushing, over-the-top riff rock that immediately recalls some of Zappa’s finer moments. And like Zappa, the band is also capable of totally shifting gears, transforming from wailing rock gods to deliver tender soul ballads with a soft touch and pop rock gems that sound as though they could be climbing the charts.

At the heart of Major Magick’s progressive sound is frontman Stephon LaMar. With lead guitarist Kyle Rozich, keyboard player Mike Runyon, bassist Cody Adams and drummer Nate Osborne driving the grooves, LaMar is the band’s glue, exuding confidence as he deftly navigates between genres on the considerable strength of his soul-drenched vocals.

“You can always just call it rock at the end of the day, but it’s more than that,” said LaMar.

On Wednesday, December 31, Major Magick will bring their power-packed live show to ring in the new year at Murphy’s. Blind Hillbilly Masters will open the show.

According to Rozich, the band began rehearsing last January. Soon after, Rozich met LaMar during a Thursday night jam at Murphy’s. The two hit it off and LaMar soon began applying his skills with the band.

“I was blown away by how tight they sounded and how original the music was,” said LaMar.

LaMar hasn’t been the only one listening. A few months ago, Major Magick was one of three bands selected by ASU’s Split Rail Records to record a four-song EP. Following the completion of the EP, the band was invited to the Dragonfly Theater & Pub to compete against bands Hope Massive and The Major Sevens, each of whom also recorded an EP for Split Rail.

According to Rozich and LaMar, Major Magick received an overwhelmingly positive crowd response, nearly selling out of their EP. While the quintet are currently in discussions with Split Rail about the possibility of recording an album to be released next year, Rozich and LaMar are already mulling the many creative decisions that must be made for an album’s worth of original material, including the elusive task of defining the band’s sound in a more distinctive way.

“I’m a big fan of the album format—having everything together,” said Rozich. “But at the same time, we’ve got to make the songs work on their own.”

While it may be impossible to label Major Magick’s music, the band’s intent is clear: to create an undeniably energetic body of songs and deliver epic live shows that force audiences to get involved instead of merely absorbing the music from their bar stools.

“You have to make it more than the music,” said LaMar. “You can taste us; you can feel us; you can smell us in your face.”

To hear Major Magick’s music, click to www.myspace.com/majormagick. - High Country Press


"Major Magick
They’re young, they’re confident and they’ve got a frontman with some of the best pipes in town. Major Magick is poised to become one of the best new acts in Boone and they’ve clearly got the skills to do it. Blending over-the-top, Zappa-esque guitar rock with in-the-pocket soul grooves and progressive rock chops, Major Magick needs only to harness their disparate influences into a sound of their own to excel beyond talented local band." - High Country Press January 8, 2009


by ALLISON CASEY
Lifestyles Editor

Split Rail Records’ new band hopes to make “Magick” this semester as they record their first full-length album.

Major Magick signed the contract last week, making them the third band on Appalachian State University’s student-run label.

“They’re a great band,” Kim Wangler, director of the music industries program, said. “We’re very excited to work with them.”
Officers of Split Rail Records stand in the Broyhill Music Center recording studio Thursday with the contract from the rock and soul fusion band, Major Magick, signed earlier that morning. Photo by Tommy Penick.

The band was selected from three bands based on their work in the studio, live performance and success in marketing and promotions.

Major Magick joins other student bands Defending Brooklyn and Do it Julia on the label.

Described as a rock, soul fusion, the band is composed of Cody D. Adams, senior music industries major on bass guitar, Nate W. Osbourne, junior music industries major on drums, Mike E. Runyon, senior music performance major on keyboards and Stephon LaMarr on vocals.

Iris A. McElroy, senior recording major, will work with a team of other students to record the album.

McElroy recorded the band’s EP, but this is her first full-length project on her own.

“They’re a lot of fun to work with in the studio,” she said. “They’re really talented. They’ve finally developed their own sound.”

The band will track the drums first starting Feb. 8 and will likely be in the studio until 4 a.m. They hope to have the album done by Reading Day Eve.

“They make it fun, Stephon especially,” McElroy said. “He dances a lot.”

Jay Kramer, senior interdisciplinary studies major and president of Split Rail, said the band has two contracts, a recording and publishing contract, which are written by the university attorney and tailored for each band.

It took the band about a month to sign the contract, he said.

Split Rail Records will pay for all recording and marketing costs until breaking even, at which point the label will split profits with the band 50/50, Wangler said.

In addition to working with the three bands already signed, Split Rail Records is accepting applications for distribution deals, which will allow bands marketing opportunities through Split Rail.
Interested bands need to submit a quality CD to the record label. - The Appalachian


Discography

Feats of Strength (EP) 2008

Photos

Bio

Charging the music scene of the Carolinas with incredible force and fervor, Major Magick is bringing their passionate blend of rock, funk, and soul out of the High Country and to the masses.

Since forming in January of 2008, Major Magick has poured every ounce of energy into the mastering of their unique sound, and the hard work is paying off. The High Country Press listed Major Magick as one of the Best Live Acts of 2008 (High Country Press; January 08, 2009) and they are currently in the studio recording their first LP with Split Rail Records (Do it to Julia, Defending Brooklyn). They have shared the stage with many other local favorites including Bafoodus, Hope Massive, look what i did, Naked Gods, Andy Page, and Melissa Reaves. However, they have also recently headlined Legends, Dragonfly Theatre & Pub, Boone Saloon, and Murphy’s Pub in Boone, NC as well as Mansion 462 in Chapel Hill, NC.

David Brewer, High Country Press, referred to Major Magick as “funk-tastic, fusion, soul, pop, rock.” (High Country Press; December 25, 2008) The soulful touch to the Zappa-esque rock comes from charismatic front man Stephon LaMar. Heavily influenced by Michael Jackson at a young age, LaMar has become an accomplished singer/songwriter himself, and brings a silky soulful voice that has been compared to John Legend and referred to as “the best set of pipes in town.” Kyle Rozich (guitar/vocals) brings a strong combination of mammoth riffs and soaring melodies that have been sharpened in stints with Laura Reed & Deep Pocket and the Melissa Reaves Group. Mike Runyon (keyboard) extends the musical horizon of Major Magick with twenty years of classic piano training. Runyon played with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra and has won numerous state awards for piano. At the core of the Major Magick's driving grooves are Nate Osborne (drums) and Cody Adams (bass). Osborne, the son of a percussionist and a thespian, he has been classically trained in jazz, funk, and hip hop. Adams' bass approach stems from his fervent studies of bass virtuosos Les Claypool, Jaco Pastorious, and Stuart Zender (Jamiroquai).

All of these musicians combined lead to a bombastic display of groove and charisma in a spellbinding performance with no one left unsatisfied.