The young team at Fog Box Records premieres its lineup Wednesday.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
On April 7 of this year, CSUMB’s Music Hall felt like the set of American Idol. For five hours that day, Sara Bailey, the president of Fog Box Records and a CSUMB senior, along with her executive engineer Matt Bollwinkel, watched as a parade of musical acts applied for a spot on the new local label.
Responding to fliers plastered all over the CSUMB campus and an ad on the Web site Craig’s List, almost 20 solo artists and bands dropped by to compete for a few coveted spots. Bailey and Bollwinkel sat through a slew of performances, including a set by a Christian rock band and an operatic version of a pop song performed by a solo female singer. They were bowled over by the enthusiasm of Saving Sea Turtles, a one-man-band made up of a CSUMB student who played ska and punk rock on an acoustic guitar. According to Bailey, Saving Sea Turtles was head-banging during an intense section of one of his numbers when he inadvertently slammed his head into a microphone stand.
But there were two performances and one demo CD that really impressed Bailey and Bollwinkel that afternoon. One was a set by a female singer/songwriter from Southern California named Christina Bailey. As it happens, Christina Bailey is Sara Bailey’s sister-in-law, though they had never met.
“Christina had flawless vocals,” Bailey says. “She just gave everyone the chills.”
Bailey was amazed with her sister-in-law’s performance, but thought that signing Christina would be a conflict of interest. Bailey decided to leave the decision of whether to sign the artist in the hands of her staff. “They voted unanimously to sign her, because she was that good,” she says.
Singer/songwriter Ryan Bisio and his backing band also made a strong impression. “[Bisio] is just naturally entertaining,” Bollwinkel says.
Local hip hop/soul artist A. Lee and her band dropped off a demo CD that also blew the duo away. “The new stuff they had,” Bollwinkel begins, “had gotten better, better, better,” Bailey finishes.
Bailey signed her sister-in-law Christina as well as Bisio and A. Lee to her label. Recently, Fog Box also inked The Blunts, a sister/brother duo composed of CSUMB student Andrea Blunt, who sings and plays piano, and her brother Jake, who sings and plays guitar and violin.
“It’s hard to describe their music,” Bailey says. “It’s playful at times but complex.”
This Wednesday, the four acts will perform at Monterey Live at an event titled Fog Box Presents. The label will showcase their artists at the venue every last Wednesday of the month. Monterey Live will also host CD-release parties for the Fog Box label-mates in the upcoming months. The first will occur over a two-day period this Dec. 14 and 15, when A. Lee drops her debut album, The Channel. “There are only 90 seats in Monterey Live, so we did two nights so that everyone can come,” Bailey says.
Meanwhile, Christina Bailey’s CD is scheduled for an early 2007 release, while The Blunts and Bisio will have CDs out by mid-year.
“We are going to have tiered releases,” says Bailey, who created the label as her CSUMB capstone project. She adds that there is only one common element to all the acts signed to Fog Box. “They’re all good,” she says.
Bailey is applying for nonprofit status and intends to sell the label’s CDs for the very low price of $10. “We want to make sure prices are low enough that people actually listen to them,” she says.
She intends to keep Fog Box going after she graduates from CSUMB this December. “This is definitely a life project now,” she insists. “It’s no longer a student project.”
FOG BOX RECORDS presents performances by The Blunts, Ryan Bisio, Christina Bailey and A. Lee this Wednesday at 8:30pm at Monterey Live, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey. $3/CSUMB students; $5/general admission. 375-5483.