I’d be lying if I said we always like each other, but that’s just part of the family dynamic,” says Jeff Swoboda, bassist for The Epilogues. “We’ve known dozens of bands that could have been great, but they couldn’t get along personally. We stick it out because we genuinely care about each other, and we believe in what each person brings to (the) band.”
The Epilogues, a four-piece sob-rock outfit from Denver, has an interesting dynamic that is, at least in part, responsible for the band’s success. Its philosophy is that the connection between band mates is equally as important as any romantic relationship, if not more so. In an industry plagued with uncertainty and oversaturated with bands trying to make names for themselves, this band knows its rock-star status or eminent failure could hinge on such seemingly mundane factors as cooperation and good vibes within the group.
Swoboda knows these struggles all too well.
“There are no guarantees in this business,” Swoboda said. “We were promised the world by a lot of different people and, while I like to think that we are pretty level headed, it still got the best of us. We were asked to change certain things, or to write a certain way, and we did, believing that it was in our best interest. In the end, all the promises and contract negotiations fell through. We learned that, in this business, you can’t slow down for anyone.”
The band paved its way with a determined, DIY approach to the industry. Together for more than six years, it finances tours, released two critically acclaimed videos, sells out big-venue shows and has two singles regularly played on 93.3 KTCL. Very few Denver acts accomplish so much in a scene filled with vibrant, diverse talent.
“Denver’s scene is great because there is such camaraderie amongst the bands. All the musicians around town make a habit of supporting each other, and that strengthens the scene as a whole,” Swoboda said. “We’ve spent a lot of time on the road and we’ve never seen a dynamic within a scene quite like we have in Denver.”
Denver is also home to Greater Than Records, a label owned by Virgil Dickerson and Pete Turner (of Illegal Pete’s burritos). The two have worked together on projects in the past, including two successful showcases of Colorado artists at South by Southwest. The label has worked with other local artists, including Esme Patterson, Ian Cooke, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and comic Ben Roy, pushing forward some of the best Colorado has to offer.
“With Greater Than, we aim to work with Colorado artists that we not only love, but artists we believe work hard and are committed to becoming national (or) international artists,” Dickerson said.
Following the bigger footsteps of labels like Red Bull Records, companies seek out new and innovative ways to brand themselves. Illegal Pete’s and Greater Than Records have found themselves on the cutting edge of a new philosophy of music industry success. They’ve showcased tons of bands in their restaurants and been part of the Starving Artist Campaign, but the label is something the local scene here has never witnessed.
With no precedent to look to, “only time will tell how successful this format can be,” Swoboda said.
Greater Than was instrumental in helping The Epilogues release and promote its sophomore album, “Cinematics,” the full-length follow-up to “The Beautiful, the Terrifying.”
“With The Epilogues, we have known those guys for a very long time, and have seen their incredible work ethic,” said Dickerson. “They’ve experienced some really great successes and then some really tough times due to past label woes. We worked with them to get the album publicity and to get their video (“The Fallout”) promoted. So far, it’s been going really well.”
“Cinematics” will be streamed on AOL Radio for free for those who wish to check it out before they buy it. Physical copies will be available at all local record stores, via the band’s website, at shows and through online platforms for download. Listen for a new single from the album to be in rotation on 93.3, and friend the band on the Facebook to keep up to date on upcoming shows, photos of cats and the band’s ever-sordid attempts at humor.