In this excerpt from Darker Shades For Brighter Nights, Strange Music’s FREE eBook that goes in-depth into the making of their landmark album Take Me To Your Leader, we learn how Strange Music Vice President of West Coast operations Dave Weiner discovered the group and his tireless quest to get them to the attention of Strange Music President Travis O’Guin and Vice-President Tech N9ne.
The following is in the words of Dave Weiner himself…
So a friend of Strange Music, Dana Mason, is next door neighbors with Kether, one of ¡MAYDAY!’s managers. Dana hit me up like “Yo Dave, you gotta meet this dude Kether. You’ll like him and you’ll love his group.” Dana has worked with Strange back in the JCOR days and she’s been alongside us this whole time. So I went and checked them out, fell in love with them and played their album all summer of 2010. Stuck On An Island was just a demo at the time but I loved it.
Then all along I was kind of pushing Tech and Trav on it. They liked it and they saw the talent, but we had so much on our plate that they – at one point I was so aggressive with Travis, that he told me to back off. He said “Dave I know they’re dope, no doubt, but we don’t have time for that. We’re too busy, focus on what’s on our plate. Back off.” This was the first time I’ve been told that by Travis so I did what I was told and I backed off. I told Kether “Hey man, it’s just bad timing homie. Sorry. I’d love to do this but it’s not going to work.”
A few months went by and then on the Independent Grind Tour I quietly had ¡MAYDAY! open the dates for Florida. I called up the tour manager, Cory, and said, “I’ve got this band I want to have open for Tech in Florida. What’s the status of the local openers?” and he said “Yeah, we’re good, what do you want to do?” I told him “I’ve got this group ¡MAYDAY! that I want to have open in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale so treat them good because they would sell that venue out on their own.”
I don’t think anyone knew at the time what my intentions were, I just figured it would be a good opportunity for them to play for our staff and see what they’re about. I had still never seen them live at this point.
They did their show and everyone hit up Travis that night and in the morning: texts, emails, phone calls. “Yo Trav, I’ve done 900 shows with you and I’ve never seen a band as dope as ¡MAYDAY!.” So he got bombarded with calls from everybody: from the tour crew to Tech himself. Then they did it again in Orlando or whichever city was second.
Travis forwarded me all these emails and texts like “Alright Dave, you made your point. Go ahead and start that discussion up again.” It was really a result of those two shows that sealed the deal and from that point on everything has just been moving forward.
Back in the nineties there was a huge surge in live hip hop and there were a lot of local groups in LA – bands with emcees. I always wanted to think that would work and was a no-brainer of a concept but it never worked. Either the band was too talented for the emcees or the emcees would eclipse the band. There was never the chemistry between band and emcees that worked for me. When I heard the ¡MAYDAY! album I didn’t even realize that there was a band backing them up.
My interest was really the result of a beautiful summer in LA, a new smoker and me out there barbecuing twelve-hour briskets all summer long. That album just ended up getting the most play in my CD carousel at the time. I just fell in love with it and lyrically they blew me away. They’re just the whole package. I think where they’ve gone from there until now is that much more incredible. I love Stuck On An Island but what they did with Take Me To Your Leader is over the top. They’re peaking with their talent right now. It’s an amazing album. I couldn’t be more proud of that record and being involved with it.
The way I see it is what I saw in Tech more than ten years ago: I was blinded by his talent. People were like “What happened to Dave, man? That’s all he talks about is Tech N9ne!” But I had no doubt and I never questioned what my beliefs were in Tech’s talent. That’s the exact same feeling I have with ¡MAYDAY!.
Even though I’m not a fan of Adele and really could care less about her music, I see the talent and bow down, as I should, and I think that’s how everybody should react to a group like ¡MAYDAY!. Whether you feel them or not you have to respect their talent. You have to appreciate what they’re doing even if it’s not your thing. That’s how I always felt about Tech: it’s undeniable.
There’s an enormous amount of investment behind this group and when you listen to the record you feel good about that investment. Even though we’re walking into a shit-storm of an industry we know that we’re putting out quality music that, in my opinion, is in a league of its own. I don’t really know who I can compare to ¡MAYDAY! and what they’re producing in music at this point.