It would be any entertainment-management student's dream to have an up-and-coming indie-rock band to work with: hands-on experience and the chance for big success right from the start. Point Park students Adam Valen and Max Kovalchuk fell into exactly that situation ... but the band, in this case, was their own.
Nevada Color — for which both Valen and Kovalchuk play guitar — shot onto the local scene in 2012, picking up speed with an EP last year. Now the five-piece (rounded out by singer Quinn Wirth, bassist Chris Cichra and drummer Jeremy Westhead) is set to release its first full-length album, an immaculate set of catchy guitar tunes called Adventures, with a show at a somewhat unorthodox spot: a record store. The in-store release show is just one facet of the band's commitment to being a little bit different.
Kovalchuk works doing marketing for Sony Music, and had connections at Dave's Music Mine on the South Side. "They really haven't had a show there in quite a while," says Valen. "That's one of my favorite record stores in Pittsburgh." The band will release Adventures with a show at the store on Fri., May 9; it's sure to be a packed room, with a capacity limit of just 75 people.
Kovalchuk and Valen also hold down part-time work with Drusky Entertainment, a helpful connection to have for a new band. "Anytime their boss was in a pinch and needed someone on a show, he would hit them up," notes singer Wirth.
"We really hopped on the opportunity to try and play as many shows as we could with national touring acts," adds Valen, noting that the band has also integrated into the DIY community. "With the Pittsburgh DIY scene, the bands are very supportive of one another." (That's how Nevada Color hooked in with Legs Like Tree Trunks, whose guitarist, Dave Cerminara, recorded Adventures at Treelady Studios.)
While Adventures is being released physically, at the Dave's Music Mine show as a CD, it's also seeing a digital release ... a few tracks at a time, over the course of three weeks. It's a tactic Nevada Color came up with to help make the excitement of a full-length release last.
"A good analogy that Max brought up to me," Valen says, is: "Think of the last movie you saw: How long were you talking about it after you saw it? Probably a couple weeks to a month. Then think of your favorite TV series: You watch a season and you think, ‘Wow, that was great, I can't wait to see the second one!'"
"I was kind of the last man on that train," Wirth says with a smile. "I was skeptical when I first heard it, because they were really into doing something that was different — but I wasn't sure if that was the thing. But the digital market is so vast: How many other people are going to be releasing an album that same day? How do you cover that much ground? If you can stretch it out over a month, you're letting that newness last as long as possible."
"I definitely think we're a band that likes to take risks," adds Valen, "and do things that set us apart from other bands."