Sponsorshop: One Alternative to Getting Signed & The Dashing Suns

The Dashing Suns, a band that did just that with JanSport, the ‘backpack’ company.  Since then, they recently rocked SXSW, produced a psychadelic music video (see below), and received this gushing praise from MTV:

 “This seductively sunny little intersection of every band the ’60s and ’70s ever loved is really making my morning with its scratchy guitars, ooh-ahh Caramello vocals and vintage head cold production value.” (more)

Pretty sweet.  (I would totally be willing to carry a fanny pack around with me if I could get my music funded.) I sent a couple questions about the sponsorship both to the band, as well as to JanSport.  All the answers follow directly after the trippy “Van” music video below:



GARAGESPIN: Quick history lesson — how and when did the The Dashing Suns form, and how much success had they had before the sponsorship? KEVIN WALKER (from the band): The Dashing Suns formed during the winter of 2007.  Only a year and a half ago.  Matt and Jeff, the guitar guys in the band, had been hanging out and writing small little songs for the hell of it. One of their first songs was a Renaissance type song that dealt with dragons, castles,  potions, and ren faire.  Matt, David, and Myself were just ending our illustrious stint in a psychedelic country rock band called Sweetbriar. All of us were experiencing dark days from bad relationship break-ups and figured The Dashing Suns would be a better outlet than waking up in gutters.  So we started playing and writing all of our songs about the complexities of the opposite sex.  Before the sponsorship, The Dashing Suns just finished a small tour in New York as well as completing our first 5 song self titled E.P.  Other than local Bay Area success we have not toured the country or world with hopes of gaining a wider audience. GARAGESPIN: How did The Dashing Suns score the sponsorship?  (Or, re-phrased, what selection process did JanSport go through to pick the band?) KEVIN: So far we have only heard about the selection process through word of mouth.  JanSport hired TEAK to create a brand video for them.  TEAK compiled a list of bands and music to use in the video for JanSport to review.  That list had some local Bay Area bands and other well known acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, MGMT. JanSport employees and the CEO heard our song “Future Thunder” and felt that it had the right sound.  Which is funny because the original song was recorded in a crappy studio with a broken 8 track and lots of tape hiss.  So they commissioned us to re- record the song. GARAGESPIN:  What advice would you give to bands hoping to find a sponsor for their next tour? KEVIN: Hmmmm….. well… sometimes its a bit of luck, connections, and luck.  And then its a bit of persistence, patience, and luck.  To answer this question for real, I would say pick your sponsor and knock on their door for days and days.  If that doesn’t work, try becoming really good friends with someone who works there and convince them that your music is the best in the world.  If that doesn’t work there are professionals out there who you can pay to shop your music around to advertising agencies.  Good Luck!


GARAGESPIN: What inspired JanSport to take the approach it did with this particular sponsorship campaign? JanSport: JanSport initiated our relationship with the Dashing Suns through the development of a brand video that would represent JanSport’s intersection with contemporary youth culture. We wanted to make a video that was fun, interesting to watch and above all connect JanSport to our audience through modes of self-expression, whether it be music, a roadtrip, grafitti art, etc. It’s an authentic representation of the Brand and where we live in our consumer’s lives. GARAGESPIN:  How has the sponsorship helped the band so far?  How has it helped JanSport? JanSport: The sponsorship has helped the band in many ways:  [publicity/ and promotion] — they got sponsored by JanSport to tour from SF to Austin; [they]played ReadyMade Rocks showcase at SXSW (JanSport sponsored showcase); [and they received] visibility/promotion on Jansport.com. The Dashing Suns were also wrapped into our press outreach surrounding SXSW – and as a result, landed a very nice piece on MTV. *** Thanks to all, especially The Dashing Sunds, for taking the time to share their experiences.]]>





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