September 26, 2007 — This year, for the first time, Berklee is presenting a showcase for alumni and artists on its student-run label Heavy Rotation Records [HRR] at the CMJ Music Marathon, featuring Igmar Thomas & the Cypher, edibleRed, Via Audio, Elizabeth & the Catapult, and Kid:Nap:Kin. The Berklee Alumni/Heavy Rotation Records CMJ Music Marathon showcase will be held Saturday, October 20, 1:00 p.m.—4:00 p.m., at Ace of Clubs, 9 Great Jones Street (3rd Street between Broadway and Lafayette), New York. The event is 21+ with proper ID, free of charge, and open to CMJ badge holders and the general public. For more information please call the venue at 212 677-6963. Free copies of Heavy Rotation Records CDs will be available at the event. Now in its 27th year, the CMJ Music Marathon is New York’s largest music event, attracting bands, fans, and music industry professionals from around the world. Artists are listed in order of appearance.
Igmar Thomas & the Cypher is led by trumpeter and Berklee alumnus Thomas, and includes drummer Justin Brown and alumni, rapper Raydar Ellis (Brick Records) and saxophonist James Casey. Thomas started playing at 12 and immediately displayed natural talent and discipline. He was later awarded scholarships to the Lionel Hampton School of Music and Berklee, and now performs internationally with jazz stars including Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Terri Lyne Carrington, Michel Camilo, and others. In addition to the Cypher, Thomas performs with jazz/hip-hop group J4DA [Jazz Fo” Dat Azz], and live hip-hop group Fundamental, who performed at the 2005 NBA All-Star Weekend with Common, Ludacris, Nelly, and Ciara.
edibleRed, led by firecracker frontwoman Collette McLafferty, and cofounded by drummer and Berklee alumnus Tom Papadatos, is an eclectic New York-based collective of atypical musicians. McLafferty blends the songwriting skills of Jeff Buckley with the style and panache of Debbie Harry, and a rich voice like Tracy Bonham’s. edibleRed—rounded out by cellist Dave Eggar, guitarist Sean McMechen, and bassist Yanko Valdez—released its debut CD, Welcome to My Bad Behavior, in 2007 on Select Records. The band has cultivated a die-hard following through touring and radio and TV appearances, and their songs have been featured on Oxygen network’s Good Girls Don’t and Showtime’s The L Word.
Via Audio—drummer Danny Molad, vocalist/guitarist Jessica Martins, guitarist Tom Deis, and bassist David Lizmi—discovered each other as musical kindred spirits while attending Berklee. The band began performing locally, releasing a self-titled 2004 EP of airy pop reminiscent of Rilo Kiley and Death Cab For Cutie. The group soon gained attention from their indie rock peers, and enlisted Jim Eno of Spoon to produce their new album, Say Something (SideCho Records). The album reveals a band drawing from the depths of its musical upbringing. Although each songwriter has a unique style, the end product is decidedly Via Audio. Credit this to their talent and ability to maintain a seamless, symbiotic creative relationship.
Elizabeth & the Catapult is fronted by Berklee alumna Elizabeth Ziman, who wrote her first song at 6, banging out melodies on an old upright piano in a Greenwich Village laundry room. A born romantic, Ziman transformed the music of Debussy, molding it to the driving rhythms of the washer and dryer. With Debussy on her left and the Beatles on her right, she quickly developed a sound all her own. Her baroque pop songs have been compared to those of Rufus Wainwright and Laura Nyro. Elizabeth and The Catapult—Matt Wigton and alumni Dan Molad and Pete Lalish—perform extensively and released a self-titled EP in 2006. The group also appeared on HRR’s 2006 release, Dorm Sessions Volume 3.
Kid:Nap:Kin was formed in 2004 by guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ellis, bassist Jamila Weaver, and drummer Patrick Hanlin, who are all Berklee alumni. Kid:Nap:Kin’s debut EP Frames was a social commentary on modern society, decadent lifestyles, and moral values. The band’s follow-up, Touring The Riot Scene, propelled its aggro-indie rock sound to new heights. Kid:Nap:Kin has been touring constantly, playing festivals like SXSW, and headlining venues in New York and Boston. They were also featured on HRR’s 2007 release, Dorm Sessions Volume 4. The band recently recorded in Los Angeles with Alien Ant Farm drummer Mike Cosgrove, and shared bills with Zen Robbi and legendary hip-hop act 2 Live Crew while touring there.
Heavy Rotation Records, Berklee’s student-run record label, was developed for students to gain hands-on experience in running a record company. The label’s staff—who are all music business/management majors—oversee all aspects of the label’s management, creating and implementing plans for A&R, marketing, sales, touring, graphic design, web development, and accounting. HRR has released nine CDs since 1995, and gained notice in 2002 for the all-female CD Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic Records. Other releases include Boston band Apollo Sunshine’s self-titled disc, co-released with spinART records, and the compilations Dorm Sessions Volumes 1 through 4. Artists that have appeared on HRR CDs include Annie Clark (St. Vincent); members of The Click Five; Drexel; and Big D and the Kids Table.