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Select Start: Paving a path to pop-punk stardom




Who they are: Matt Reisinger (vocals, keyboards), Joseph Guerra (vocals, guitar), Adam Loper (bass), Jason Polo (guitar), Patrick Guyer (drums).

Their story: Tampa five-piece Select Start plays power pop with a dash of electronica, with easy-to-understand lyrics that reflect what‚Äôs discussed in high school hallways. The band has completed numerous East Coast van tours, but their widespread teenage fanbase can be chalked up to countless hours spent tirelessly working MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. That‚Äôs the true key to the band‚Äôs enviable position as one of Tampa Bay‚Äôs most popular acts.

The goods: Click here to listen to Select Start's A Playlist Killed the Mixtape, then watch the video for a behind-the-scenes look at our recent photo shoot with the group. Then click here to vote for them as Tampa Bay's 2009 Ultimate Local Band. And keep reading for more on how this team of Tampa twentysomethings plans to get signed to a major label...


Wanna be a Facebook generation rock star? Check out Select Start.

The Tampa five-piece plays power pop with a dash of electronica. The easy-to-understand lyrics reflect what’s discussed in high school hallways.

Formed in 2003, the unsigned band has completed numerous East Coast van tours and embarks on a Florida leg of Hot Topic stores March 25 in Sarasota. Earlier this year, the group self-released an EP, titled <3, available with a bonus track on iTunes.

But those traditional steps aren’t exactly what have led to Select Start’s widespread teenage fanbase. Credit countless hours spent tirelessly working MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. That’s the true key to the band’s enviable position as one of Tampa Bay’s most popular acts.

“Honestly, that is the most important thing, besides music,” says 25-year-old keyboardist/vocalist Matt Reisinger. “These days, you have to connect with fans one on one. You can’t sit back and hope someone who hears your songs becomes a fan. You have to be actively looking for and talking to people — and we love doing it.”

Joseph Guerra (vocals and guitar), Adam Loper (bass), Jason Polo (guitar) and Patrick Guyer (drums) round out Select Start. None of the band members work a day job. A gig might only pay a couple hundred dollars, but that money is typically doubled by sales of T-shirts, hoodie sweatshirts and such emblazoned with Guerra’s artwork. Physical CD sales at concerts and digital downloads also pad the bottom dollar.

As has been in the case with acts dating back to the Dave Matthews Band and others, Select Start’s ability to turn a profit without record label help has now put them in a position to ink a deal on their own terms — something that could happen sooner than later.

“I can’t mention any names, but all the labels we’re talking to, we grew up admiring,” Reisinger says. “Labels I thought might never be interested are knocking on our door.”

This summer Select Start has plans to tour California and do several label showcases, semi-private concerts that are typically held for the sole purpose of getting signed. When green-light power executives agree to attend, you know you’re band is on the cusp of bigger things.

“It’s very possible that it will happen this summer and we are very hopeful,” Reisinger says. “Contracts are going back and forth right now. We have a lot to offer the labels because we have done so much on our own. We want to come to an agreement that benefits both sides.”

So just how much work — besides the writing, recording and performing of music — has gone into Select Start garnering interest from national record labels?

“We’re on our computers six hours a day, at least,” Reisinger says. “There’s not a single hour in day I don’t check or update something.”

-- Story by Wade Tatangelo, photo by Luis Santana

[Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:00am]


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