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MXTP’s New “Help Us Help You” Program /// LOCAL MUSIC

Venue Spotlight: F

EW KNOW HOW STRENUOUS it can be trying to “make it” in the music world better than the folks at Grand Rapids venue MXTP. That’s what led them to create the new “Help Us Help You” program – which rewards musicians who

sell tickets to MXTP shows with a variety of industry essentials. “We don’t like telling bands ‘you’ve

MXTP 1115 Taylor St., Grand Rapids

got to sell this many tickets,’” said JR Renusson, owner of MXTP, who ex- plained that most of his staff have also spent time playing in bands. “We know it’s not fun and we don’t like that part of

it. But it’s the only way we’re going to be able to pay the main artist and make basic rent.” The HUHY (pronounced Hue-hee) program is a tool-kit of sorts

that allows musicians to play their way to rewards, which include photo shoots, practice time at MXTP, custom drumheads and guitar picks, and even recording time with local producers Christopher Andrus and Tony Dipiazza. “We want to make these bands look as professional as we can,”

Renusson said. “I think it’s funny when you go online to check out a band and their MySpace just looks amazingly professional, but then you click on a song and it sounds like it was recorded in their garage.” Artists playing at MXTP can accrue points to their HUHY account by selling more than 20 tickets to a show. Then, they gain a point

Chasing the Sky on stage at MXTP. PHOTO: HILARY CUMMINS

for every 10 tickets sold. The points are kept track of in the MXTP computer system, and Renusson said he hopes to eventually employ swipe cards. The HUHY program is currently operational, and artists can sign themselves up by contacting MXTP directly. n

by Kevin VanAntwerpen |

In the Studio: 12 Track Radio

of the band, most evenings in the studio in- volved getting out of work at 7 p.m. and going directly to Grand Rapids venue/studio MXTP, where he would work with producer Tony Dipiazza through the night, often until 10 a.m. But the late nights and hard work paid


off in the form of a strongly polished product, according to Rehner. “It was one of those things

2 TRACK RADIO’S UPCOMING EP, How Many Steps?, is an album built on the foundation of work ethic. For Mitchell Rehner, sole member

“The new CD is a little different than the

last one,” Rehner said. “[12 Track Radio] was poppy, acoustic, and cutesy. I was in a pop- punk band in high school, so I brought back a little more rock and roll in this one. But it’s still got acoustic pop to it.” The band’s manager and owner of MXTP,

where you don’t really know what it’s going to sound like until you’re in the studio,” he said. “As the process goes on, you put more and more production into it, think about it more, and it just kind of turns out.” How Many Steps? is the follow-up to the

band’s self-titled EP, which was released last January.

12 TRACK RADIO Grand Rapids, Michigan MXTP Records

JR Renusson, said he hopes to have 12 Track Radio release an EP a year. “EPs are the way to go,” Renusson said. “At least that’s how I feel. Usually after a band gets done recording a full-length, they’re already sick of it and want to work on a new one. If we do five or six songs at a time, maybe we’ll combine

them later and release them as an album.” How Many Steps will be released on Feb. 5,

right as 12 Track Radio will be going on tour with Lights Out!. n


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