Chicago has proven itself as a breeding ground for up and coming bands – the city stimulates and cultivates a broad spectrum of musical styles. With the surge of Awake In Reno, the Windy City has given birth to a group who refuse to be labeled as a specific genre.
According to Jonathan Ryan, experiencing their live set is where you'll be most impressed. "With technology and the help of autotune anyone can sound great on a recording. Hear me live and I can prove we're the real deal," he explains.
Drawing from a complete range of musical styles, Awake in Reno successfully fuses all things Chicago. In 2008, three musicians with different influences came together to create a new, dynamic brand of Pop. In 2009, Patrick joined the crew with a powerful love for drums. Adam’s deep bass lines - stemmed from Classic Rock, Jazz, and House - joined with Mark’s aggressive guitar styles which are inspired by world famous Chicago Pop/Punk styles. Jonathan delivers powerful vocals, carrying the ranges of Pop, Dance, and R&B. His soulful vocal arrangements form harmonies that undoubtedly hold their own.
Awake In Reno has perfected a truly original style. Which, at first, may be hard to swallow. But, close your eyes and allow their vivacious beats and robust synthesizers to transport you somewhere you’ve never been. Their music allows you to disappear into a world of dynamic sounds leaving you yearning for more. Awake In Reno is fueled by passion and a genuine love for music. Let it be known, the stage is their home living with Rock in their hearts.
AWAKE IN RENO – Interview with Jonathan Ryan & Mark Wendell
What do you feel sets Awake in Reno apart from the rest of the artists?
Jonathan: We bring something totally different to the table. Our look and our sound is so distinct, there is no way we can even be compared to any of the other finalists. In the music industry, it is very important to stick out in order to make a real impact. There is only one Madonna, only on Nirvana. While we may carry certain qualities of a few major artists, there is only one Awake in Reno. We honestly love what we do. Mark and I are at very different points in our lives, but our genuine love for music has brought us together.
Mark: We try to put everything that we are into the music itself because of the fact that we work so hard on all of it. we just have fun and give all the effort we have.
What has been the most rewarding part of being involved with The Next American Star?
Mark: all of the amazing people we have meet, and all of the feed and advertising they have done for us..
If you win the title of The Next American Star what will you do with the prize money?
Mark: put it towards the recording/production of our new album, paying off people that helped us along the way, and 100 chicken mcnuggets and a small fry
Do you have any advice for next seasons The Next American Star contestants?
Mark: its alot of fun… you learn alot… and i wish i had absorbed more from it.. they are there to help you out, so take the help and become famous
Why are contest like The Next American Star are so important in advancing an artists career?
Mark: they show you what things are really like. growing as a proffesional musician is alot of hard work and dedication and they are there to help you troubleshoot through the hard times..
We noticed you’ve been doing a cover of “She’s like the wind” in honor of Patrick Swayze – were you a fan of Patrick Swayze and how has he impacted your work?
Mark: …..im letting jon answer that HAHA!!
Jonathan: Haha… Yeah… about that…. that never got past me playing that song at home, alone…. haha. But seriously, Dirty Dancing was epic. That movie made such an impact on the music industry. Swayze made his mark with “She’s Like the Wind.” Definitely in my top 20 songs of all time.
Social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc have changed the face of the music industry – how do you feel this helps or hinders an artist?
Jonathan: I think this has been a double edge sword. On one hand, it has become an extremely effective tool for getting yourself out there. There is almost no need to go on tour in a van anymore. A few mentions in a blog, and you might have well just toured the east coast.
On the other hand, it has over saturated the industry. Almost any Joe with a computer, a microphone, and auto tune can put up a decent sounding recording. It has come to the point where listeners almost have too many options.
However, one thing is certain. a great song is undeniably a great song. This will always separate the men from the boys.
What can we expect to see from Awake in Reno in the coming months?
Mark: ALOT of change.. we have learned soo much as a band. a new sound, music that reeeeally brings out the people we are and things that mean alot to us… we hope everyone freaks out as much as we do about this new album…
Don’t forget to check out the Awake in Reno/Hot Zone exclusive free music download HERE.
The Next American Star will be announcing the winners of the National finals later this month. Keep an Eye on HotZoneOnline.com for more details.
Forget about Idol! Rock with The Next American Star LIVE at the House of Blues Chicago!
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Next American Star™ Young Adult Rock Midwest Regional Finals are LIVE at House of Blues Chicago, featuring the Region’s top unsigned bands. Be part of the new history of music by helping expert judges decide who will represent the Midwest in the Finals!
What: Event co-hosts include VH1’s Daisy of Love stars Sinister, Chi Chi and Flex, with a surprise guest celebrity headliner. Competing in the male category are Chicago’s Awake in Reno, a Lady Gaga-meets-Fall Out Boy club/dance-inspired band, Minneapolis’ Power/Pop/Punk boy band Lights Out Dancing and Asteria (reminiscent of The Maine and White Tie Affair) of Crown Point, IN. In the female category, Fox’s American Juniors finalists, singer/songwriter twins Sammy & Sasha, compete with Nashville’s three-sister rock band Everlife, opening act for Miley Cyrus on her Best of Both Worlds Tour and featured on several current movie soundtracks.
When: June 24, 2009. Walk the Red Carpet: 5:00. All Ages Show: 5:30-9:30 pm. The first 100 to arrive receive VIP Access Passes guaranteeing a spot in the LIVE music video taping, placement near the stage and a walk down the red carpet with the Stars!
Where: House of Blues Chicago at 329 N. Dearborn. The Red Carpet ceremony and media interviews will take place in the courtyard in front of the Hotel Sax and State Street House of Blues entrance.
Why: The Next American Star ™ is the online multi-channel reality-based interactive talent discovery platform providing opportunities for aspiring artists to live their dreams and the music-loving public to “SuperVote” them up the charts. The LIVE Regional Finals are the culmination of online voting at TheNextAmericanStar.com.
The Next American Star™ is a National Media Partner of Starlight Children’s Foundation (www.starlight.org). The live events and online broadcast network serve to increase awareness of this important cause.
Buy Tickets Now: At TheNextAmericanStar.com or hob.com. Tickets $10 (4-pack), $15 advance/$20 door. Arrange industry comp tickets in advance through TheNextAmericanStar.com/Contact Us.
Additional Dates: South/West Regional Finals at House of Blues Dallas, June 27 with Dallas Cowboys’ Free Reign and host QB Tony Romo; East Regional Finals, Fillmore NYC, July 1 with celebrity headliner Vanilla Ice.
07/01/2009 - Frater Leads Band to Become The Next American Star
Tau Kappa Epsilon
07/01/2009 - Frater Leads Band to Become The Next American Star
CHICAGO, Ill. - Awake in Reno, a band led by Frater Jonathan Rojas (Gamma, Univ. of Illinois), is in a heated competition to be The Next American Star . The band recently performed at the House of Blues in Chicago with a number of other acts in the regional finals for a chance to compete at the next level, but they need your help to win.
After a month of voting, they were chosen to participate in the finals along with two other male led bands. There is also two other regional finals for the West and East. The winners of each region will receive $5,000 and the chance at $25,000 in the National Finals. Frater Jon said this experience has been more than he could have imagined.
"The House of Blues is amazing," he said. "To have our first show at such an infamous venue was unbelievable. I played with a new guitarist and drummer that have only been in the group for two weeks, so the preparation for this event was stressful. But we worked extra hard, and got through. We had the largest crowd and we stole the show for sure. It was surreal to have a sea of people in front of me singing the words and melodies I wrote. I can't say that there is anything more satisfying."
Though he had a job when the competition began, he is pretty sure since he hasn't shown up because of this competition it's probably not there anymore. He is feeling pretty good about the decision to go after his dream, however.
"If we win the competition it would give us a huge boost in our success. In only four months we've gotten over a half million hits and plays on myspace. That's how The Next American Star found us. We sound different, and we've been building this buzz around Chicago and all over the net. A win in this competition will only help me to be able to concentrate solely on the music and making this work."
He credits his Teke experience as a boost to his success so far. "Learning how to work well with others has been an integral part of keeping this project together. There are so many obstacles that I have had to overcome in this short period of time. Working from the bottom is very similar to the new member process. Having to count on other people for your success isn't easy, so having patience and thick skin is key. Also, the bonds and friendship I made while being a TKE are very similar to the ones I am currently making with my band mates. When you work closely with others towards a common goal, it makes the end result that much sweeter."
Frater Jon believes that will the help of the TKE Nation, Awake in Reno can win this competition. You may even get a sneak peak at them at Conclave in New Orleans, but it all hinges on you. So take a few moments out of your day and sign up at The Next American Star, become a fan and "Super Vote" every day. That will give them five (5) votes each day. Please note you do not need to complete steps two or three of the sign up, it's free and the site does not spam or sell your email addresses to commercial companies.