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Beyond the Sun


The Band that wrote Beyond the Sun


AXIS Magazine  

Page 14 aXis MUSIC

6 September 2002

By Selena Moshell 


The following article may be seen at AXISMAG.COM

On the morning of Friday, September 6th Christopher Rice died of a fatal car accident on Old Cheney Highway in Orlando, Florida. Chris had contributed his music, his poetry and most vividly, his voice to his band mates in both the Denizens and more recently 3AE.  His passing came less than a month after signing a major label recording deal with RCA Records. Although Chris had achieved a certain plateau in his musical career, his contributions to the lives of people around him: fans, friends, fellow musicians and family will continue on as his most significant achievement in his 29 years.

This article done for the September issue of aXis Magazine was printed a day before the tragedy.  Rather than pull it from the site, we figured that the band and the fans should have the opportunity to enjoy the bittersweet level that Chris Rice and 3AE had risen to just before his passing.  God bless and keep rockin' Chris.

Christopher Rice
02.09.73 - 09.06.02
aXis Magazine Online

The Orlando Music Scene is teeming with talent- diamonds in the rough, if you will. Sometimes, talent finds talent, and great bands emerge and go on to successful careers. Seven Mary Three, Matchbox Twenty, and Creed are a few of those talented bands; groups that achieved the Holy Grail of the music business: Getting Signed. Most people assume that once a band is signed Corollas turn into Ferraris and suburban homes morph into mansions, but one Orlando band is learning very quickly that there’s a lot more to being a signed band than one might think. The latest Orlando-based band to be signed is 3AE, which features players from all over the Florida music scene.  Chris Rice(vocals), hails from the Denizens, along with Greg Carrillo(guitar).  Matt Brown(drums), also from Orlando, formally of Dynaride.  Chris  Gill(guitar/songwriter), and Stan Martell(bass), are originally from Jacksonville where they were in Audio Orange.  In the case of 3AE, talent found talent, but not in the conventional way.

Producers Tony Battaglia and Pete Thornton were originally working on another band together, Shinedown, and wanted to piece together a rock band of their own under their own management company, Circumference Management, and their own label, Radius Records. Both producers have quite a prestigious history of producing bands in the area: Tony is the producer who helped Mandy Moore achieve her record deal, and Pete worked with Limp Bizkit before they broke out. Both producers knew exactly what they wanted sonically, and knew how to maneuver the band in the right direction towards a deal. Tony searched around Orlando and found Matt, who brought in Chris and Greg. Pete went to Jacksonville and found Chris, Edmond and Stan and brought them back to Orlando to work with the newly formed band. (Edmond eventually left the project to pursue other avenues of music.)

When asked about what it was like to be pieced together as opposed to coming together on their own, almost everyone had the same answer: It was easier. "It was so easy. The genre was already determined, and it eliminated the tedious process of finding similar musicians," Matt explained. Everyone is also unanimous in admiration for each other's talent. "Everyone that plays does their job better than anyone that I have ever worked with," Greg asserted. Although everyone came from bands with slightly different sounds, they didn't have a problem meshing. "It's weird how it worked out because usually when you throw something together like that, sometimes it doesn't happen and it was weird how, when we got together, the sound was so unique. It's a lot of talent, and a lot of luck." Stan explained.

The band quickly began to write, record, and polish their sound with their producers hovering over their shoulders, pushing them to another level. "Tony forces you to write and re-write your lyrics," Stan explained. "He makes you question every word, every line, to get the most meaning out of every lyric you can. You have to plan for everything. If you want to have a product that you want people to buy, you've got to think about every aspect of that product. Tony and Pete have really opened my eyes to that. You don't just want to put out crap" After only a few months of rigorous writing, 3AE was featured on the Florida Music Festival Compilation with only a few songs under their belt. "The FMF was really the turning point," Stan explained. 3AE displayed their wares at a private showcase during the FMF weekend. The buzz started the afternoon they took the stage at the Festival. Soon after, 3AE was flying to LA and New York to play showcases for a dozen major labels, which led to the deal they signed with RCA Records in late August.

Sounds easy, right? Well, the last few months, were the most nerve-wracking, and intense months of 3AE’s life. First, they played to stone-faced record execs at showcases in New York and LA. Tony and Pete had prepared the band the best they could by setting up mock-showcases in sterile settings so that by the time the real showcases came around, the band was polished."  You can never practice calming your nerves,” said Stan. “That's always the hardest part." Tony emphasized just how much pressure was on the band to be successful the first time. "The days of 'bring them back when they're more developed' are gone. There are too many fresh bands for them to look at for them to go back anymore. If you get three to four passes, you're out of luck. Then you've got to regroup, change your name, change the songs, and just keep trying."

Even after the showcases, the pressure didn't dissipate.  It actually tended to mount with every passing day. For a few weeks, there was an information black out between the record label and the band. The chairman and the A&R representative were the people who produced “American Idol,” so while the show was being taped, the band didn't hear anything from anyone. "It was a lot of 'hurry up and wait.' It took a lot longer than I thought it would." Matt explained. "I don't have any fingernails left," Chris said. Although the month and a half of silence felt like an eternity, the deal actually went through very quickly. "Mandy Moore's deal took four to five months to come through," Tony explained. "This deal actually went though very quickly." When the deal finally came through, there were new pressures to deal with. Greg elaborated on how he felt when he found out that he was signed.  "The waiting made me nervous and then there was a sigh of relief, but then there's the realization that this is my job now, and I'm gonna have to bust my ass." Matt agreed about working hard. "It was a long wait, and you knew that if everything went through, you were getting ready to work the hardest you've ever worked in your life."  

Even though 3AE has achieved that holiest of holies, no one's hitting cruise control. Currently, the guys are in the studio recording. Although they would like to play live more, demanding recording and writing schedules keep them pretty busy. The band’s future and their individual goals are still at the forefront. Matt jokes about future gigs, "The playboy mansion!" Sure, everyone would like to tour, but Greg has specific hopes. "The way I hope to be in a year is actually playing out and seeing people sing our songs, that's what I want." No matter what happens with the band, Tony insists that they all have bright futures in the music industry as musicians, engineers, or producers. Stan would like to get into building bands, like the one he was picked out to be in. He is already branching out by helping to write songs for other artists, and making connections that will help him later in his career, wherever it goes.

Although there is talk of the future, their immediate future involves getting used to the idea that they are actually a signed band. "I think I'm still in shock that I signed a record deal," Stan explained. "It's all been mail order, like 007 going on his next mission.”   


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Beyond the Sun


Beautiful Feelings

All Over





I Will Find You






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