By Jay Salton
Feb. 13, 2015. Local indie-pop band Rainbow Kitten Surprise has signed to Split Rail Records, a student-run record label affiliated with Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music.
The five-piece band has been together since 2013 and has proven popular in Boone and beyond. The music video for the song “Devil Like Me” was featured on VH1’s “Make a Band Famous” contest making it to the final 24.
Prior to signing, the band self-released an EP and a full-length album, entitled Mary and Seven, respectively, which gained the group a solid fan base. According to Split Rail Recoards, it was the group’s unprecedented – though well-developed – sound that has intrigued the label since last fall.
“It doesn’t easily fall into a category, which was of interest to us,” said Kim Wangler, faculty advisor for Split Rail Records.
“I hear one of their songs and I know who it is right away.”
Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s signing to Split Rail Records gives the band the opportunity to record a high-quality full length album in ASU’s Robert F. Gilley Recording Studio, a multi-million dollar affair that features state of the art recording and production equipment. The label will also help the band distribute the final recording in physical and digital formats, which they hope to do by the end of April.
But more than anything, the label’s goal is to promote the band and help the members achieve their goals in the music industry. Wangler said she hopes the final product will showcase the band’s talents with a commercially viable sound.
“We’ve already had two recording sessions. They’re currently recording a single to be released before the album is put out,” said Rachel Mullins, President of Split Rail Records and a senior Music Industry Studies major at ASU.
“We’re moving pretty quickly.”
Split Rail Records was founded in 2005 and has signed multiple bands that feature music school students, but the label also includes bands, such as Rainbow Kitten Surprise, that do not have any members involved in the music department.
This is the eighth band that has been signed since the label’s inception, with past signees including Dreaming in Color, Kennedy Fitzsimmons, and Do It to Julia. The label seeks to be eclectic with artists it chooses to sign, with genres including, but not limited to, heavy metal, singer-songwriter and country.
Currently the label signs one band per year, usually in the spring, while taking the rest of the year to work with the signed band and look for new local artists.
Wangler described the goal of the label as “to provide experience for our ASU students to be involved in the music industry and recording projects and to help promote local young artists and help them reach the next level in their career.”
In addition to the artists it signs, Split Rail Records has made attempts to give other local artists chances to share their music. Currently, the label is hosting the monthly Coffeehouse Night at the Chick-Fil-A on Blowing Rock Road, which features acoustic sets in a casual atmosphere. This event will take place next on Feb. 27. Split Rail also hosted the first Music Moves My Sole 5K in Sept. 2014, which aimed to raise funds for the local music scene and featured sets by local Boone acts.
“We’re part of the university, so it has to act as an educational platform,” said Mullins.
“We’re doing these projects to help our education, but also to help local music and artists.”
For more information on Split Rail Records, visit http://www.splitrailrecords.com/.