Last year, Peoria, IL hard rock outfit Mindset Evolution won the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival Battle of the Bands and now they’re tearing up the stage all summer on the tour. They’re the first winner of the contest, and they’ve got some tips for all of the acts currently hitting it harder and vying for the crown in 2012.
UPROAR spoke to Mindset Evolution singer Rob Ulrich about the Battle of the Bands and so much more…
What did you do to get fans voting?
Well, we played our balls off for seven years in this area. We stayed very true to ourselves and our fans. When this opportunity presented itself, our fans were extremely eager to start voting. It was word-of-mouth. We got it out there saying, “Check out this
opportunity and how big it is. This is the difference you guys could make.” We engaged our fans on a very personal level and started creating new content, releasing videos, new songs, and all kinds of fun things to spur along the voting and keep everybody interested. The first battle was very long so it was hard to keep everybody engaged for a long time, but our fans are probably the most loyal in music for an unsigned artist. We’re very fortunate in that regard. We kept pushing and fighting. That’s how it went down.
Why do you think the judges chose you?
It’s because the fans were so involved. They’d go to every sponsor page involved with the battle on Facebook, add them, comment and say they should look at and consider Mindset Evolution for the winning slot. A big part came back to the fans, being there, and keeping our name in the face of everybody involved in the battle. We had good songs and a killer video for “Norma Genes,” which we released two weeks before the decision was made.
When you performed in 2011, what was that feeling?
That was like the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. [Laughs] After we were done and got off stage, it was the greatest feeling ever because we had a sense that we really delivered. We practiced very hard and intensely. The way we did it was extremely focused. We put 110 percent on that stage, and there was nothing else we could do except enjoy our fans and friends and wait for the decision.
What advice would you give bands battling it out this year?
I know it doesn’t sound humble to say, but humility, gratitude, and graciousness are very big parts of it too. Understanding what it all is and how important your fans are to what you’re doing is crucial. Their involvement in your win has a huge impact on anybody’s success in any endeavor—music or otherwise. It’s important to understand how important the people who help you get there are. You have to always remember that and keep it with you. As you move forward, they get to move forward with you. It becomes a part of everyone’s life. I think that’s what will make you success in the Battle and the future.
What do you dig about the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival?
It’s put together so well. The experience last year was insanely cool. Watching all of the bands that performed and experiencing the environment was fantastic. It’s so fun, different, cool, and positive. It’s an incredible ride in rock ‘n’ roll.
Did you grow up listening to a lot of the bands on the bill?
Oh yeah, especially this bill! In This Moment is killing it every day. Deuce is incredible. Candlelight Red and Redlight King are awesome. P.O.D. is crazy, and Fozzy is so much fun. Staind, Papa Roach, Godsmack, and Shinedown are all not only incredible performers stage-wise, they’re also really good people.
By Rick Florino