Helping young bands realize dream
BY ZACH MICKLEA
OU News Bureau
A dream a lot of kids have is to be a rock star and play all over the world. But as they get older and more familiar with the industry, almost all give up.
For the few who keep fighting, there are a limited number of avenues to travel down to make it.
This is where Tony Pacheco comes in.
By day, Pacheco is a sales manager for VITA, a dental product supply company. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in business management.
But when he is not selling the tools that make people afraid to go to the dentist, he is running Save Your Generation Records.
Since 2012, SYG Records has been scheduling record releases, organizing press exclusives, handling social media accounts and, most importantly, introducing bands to the right people.
SYG Records is where young Michigan musicians can go to get their feet wet, grow as artists and learn about the music industry. To date, Pacheco has helped more than 30 bands release records, get press coverage and go on tour.
The idea came at a bachelor party in 2012. Nick Ciolino, a solo artist, and Brett Jones – from the Michigan-based band Fireworks – were going to release a short record with a couple of songs from each of them.
“It was just going to be three friends who wanted to put a record out,” Pacheco said.
He planned to help them get it pressed on vinyl, but Jones moved to California. Pacheco and Ciolino did not want to abandon the record, so they released it with only Ciolino’s songs on April 5, 2013 — SYG’s first release.
Another Michigan band, Lawnmower, asked for Pacheco’s help with the release of its first digital single, which turned into the band’s EP “Whack Yer Brain.” This is when Pacheco realized how much he loved helping bands.
Since then, he has officially released 39 records, including full-length albums, EPs and compilation albums.
Bands submit their music to Pacheco. He listens to it, and if he thinks there is potential, he gets to know the artists a bit more. He prefers to know who he is working with on a personal level.
One of his most successful bands last year, Hot Mulligan, first contacted Pacheco by sending him a Facebook message. Six months later, after he and the band got to know each other, they began working together.
“They were the only band I ever worked with that I hadn’t heard of,” he said.
With his help, the band toured the U.S. multiple times, released new music consistently for over a year and played sold-out shows across Michigan.
Chris Freeman sings and plays guitar in Hot Mulligan. He sent the original message to Pacheco and said he believes that relationship has been key to his band’s success.
“I learned more about the scene and how to be a band from Tony than anyone else,” Freeman said. “Honestly, I’ll probably never be able to thank him enough.”
With the band’s latest release last December, Hot Mulligan moved on to a bigger record label based out of Huntington Beach, California. Pacheco said he will always be friends with Hot Mulligan, but he has since shifted his focus to other artists.
He said he is more than content with keeping SYG Records on the smaller side and local. His goals are to keep giving young bands their introduction into the music industry.
“I really just want to keep helping,” Pacheco said. “While sharing what I’ve learned along the way.”
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