Crossfade Lands Major Label Deal with Columbia/Earshot

Interview by Kenny Kerner
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Listen to 'Cold' by Crossfade:

Ed Sloan will be the first to tell you that, had it not been for TAXI, his band Crossfade would not have been ready to sign with Columbia Records.

This is a profile about development, opportunities and connections—three ingredients that come with your TAXI membership. Ed Sloan took advantage of all that TAXI offered and is now reaping the benefits. Here's how the story goes:

"Crossfade is the band I'm in and we all started out here in West Columbia, South Carolina, about 6-7 years ago. We play kinda dark, heavy, alternative music. We have the same band members since high school. We beat down every door we could to try to get somewhere but it got us absolutely nowhere. We could get to the level of drawing 300-400 people to some shows but it never developed further than that."

Unable to expand their live draw, and not really creating much of a buzz in surrounding areas, the band decided that a new approach was necessary if they were to succeed. "We decided that it was time to stop playing and go into the studio to write more original material; to make great songs and great records and force the higher-ups, rather than the local people, to take notice of us. That was about 1998."

The band turned their focus to the craft of songwriting and the art of recording. Ed began to research the Internet, trying to find ways of getting the band's music to others and, at the same time, ways of creating stronger songs. Regardless of which search engine he chose, the name of TAXI was present.

"I went to the TAXI website and read the quotes from other members. I was looking for something just like that. I always knew that if the right people heard our songs, they'd do something. There was no skepticism at all. We wanted to go for it and try it out. So we did."

On a personal level, Ed was looking for an outlet for some of the songs he had written, with little or no concern for the money. He simply wanted the recognition for the original music he created. "I just wanted to get this music heard by other people. I didn't want to do other types of work anymore. I wanted to live and breath music."

Name: Ed Sloan (Crossfade)
Residence: West Columbia,
South Carolina
Occupation: Recording Artist
Joined Taxi: 1998
Songs Forwarded: 15
Deals: Columbia/Earshot
The TAXI critiques turned out to be incredibly important in shaping the band's future history and in opening up new vistas in songwriting for Ed: "We took the critiques very seriously. When I sent in a song, it represented my heart and soul and naturally, I thought it was perfect. I took the insight that the critiques provided and put it to use when I wrote new songs. Those critiques helped me look at the new songs in a different light. The songs I wrote after the critiques started coming in got better and better because I was learning what other people wanted to identify with in a song. They were very fair judgements and it put us in a very objective place when we wrote."

The TAXI critiques helped get the band ready for their music to be better appreciated by both the listener and the industry professional: "We used to write these long seven or eight minute songs but TAXI showed us that we weren't selling out by changing our songs. They showed us how to make our music more defined so others could more easily understand it. We used to want the listeners to get into the song and try to figure it out. TAXI showed us that people don't necessarily want to do that. They want to feel the emotion of the song instantly and get in touch with it as soon as they can. That helped our songwriting a lot."

Ed spent the next few years submitting his songs to TAXI and carefully noting each and every critique. At night, he'd share that information with the bandmembers and they would discuss the merits of the Screeners' comments. Then, in November 2001, Ed got another break through TAXI when his band was invited to perform at the annual Road Rally.

"This was another great opportunity afforded us by TAXI because, for the first time, we weren't playing in front of our fans but in front of a large crowd of other songwriters and industry people. People who would be looking at us critically. That was a real eye-opener for us."

After the Rally, Ed and the remaining members of Crossfade went back to South Carolina to put into use all that they had learned. Several months later, in early 2003, they signed with Columbia Records.

Q: Do you think you would have been ready to get signed if not for the benefits of your TAXI membership?

Ed: Absolutely not.

I know that had we not had the experience of playing live at the Road Rally and had we not had the experience of getting the right music to the right people, and had we not had the critiques to help define our music, we just wouldn't have been ready. TAXI definitely prepared us for the opportunity. And as long as I keep writing the music that TAXI represents in its listings, I'm gonna remain a member.

Clearly, it was the songwriting education Ed received from the TAXI screeners and the experience of performing before an audience of critical listeners that inspired his band to go pro in a big way. Congratulations on a job well done!

About Kenny Kerner:

Discovered and produced KISS. Also produced albums for Gladys Knight, Jose Feliciano and Badfinger. As a publicist, he represented Michael J. Fox and Jay Leno. Was the former Senior Editor at Music Connection Magazine and wrote a best-selling music education book called "Going Pro" Kerner is currently the Director of the Music Business Program at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Specialties include Personal Management, Artist Development and Music Business.

Kenny Kerner
Musicians Institute
Director / Music Business Program
(323) 860-1122
Fax: (323) 462-6508

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