Jeremy Runkle and his band mates know the meaning of D.I.Y.”We just stay on the ball,” he said Monday, sweaty from passing out flyers promoting his band’s upcoming performance at Next Big Thing 4 music festival. The event will be Dec. 5 at Coachman Park.Runkle studies civil engineering at USF. Between homework and playing shows, he does promotion for his band, Crooked Edge. In the last five years they have self-released two EPs and played countless shows. This year has been pivotal for them, he said.”After we played Warped Tour this year in Gainesville, we had a string of luck,” Runkle said. He submitted their newest EP to local radio station 97X, hoping for airtime on Local Motion, the station’s local band showcase on Sunday nights between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. After multiple plays, Tre and Rusch, the show’s hosts, invited the band to do a studio interview. “All the work paid off,” Runkle said.
Through their relationship with the station came the opportunity to play Next Big Thing 4, he said. The radio station also entered them in Take Over Records’ “Sign My Band Contest.”
“It was a national contest, that’s what makes it so important for us,” Runkle said.
Out of thousands of bands, ten were chosen to compete in the vote-driven contest. After registering at www.purevolume.com, voters can listen to and vote for their favorite band. Each week, the two bands with the least votes will be eliminated from the list.
“We’ve come this far. They’ve left it up to the public,” Runkle said.
The winning band will release a record on the label and will open for the Take Over Records band Yellow Card on the band’s 2005 tour.
“We’re melodic punk rock,” he said, but that should not be confused with the catch-all label, emo, short for emotional. The word induces eye rolling in some circles and is considered music for bleeding-heart adolescents by others, hence the name of their newest EP, Deliver Us From Emo.
“That word has replaced punk rock. It’s a buzzword. (Critics) have forgotten what punk rock is,” he said. “It’s not that I’m against that type of music, we just don’t want to be labeled.”
The words emo and punk rock aren’t synonyms, he said. To label any music emotional is redundant. “All music is emotional,” Runkle said.
Runkle considers the band’s sound old school, listing influences like Strung Out and Lagwagon. “We put a lot of emphasis on song writing, we tried to be well structured,” he said, adding that the band took their time with their latest record, hoping to improve over-all production.
“The bands we are up against are really good,” Runkle said.
Even if the contest doesn’t go Crooked Edge’s way then the exposure they’ve received is more than they could ask for.
“To be able to reach people with music, like music has reached me, is great,” Runkle said.