¡Mayday! gets in your face

With the influx of new artists hitting the music industry, it’s become cliché to hear about artists that garner massive attention on YouTube, appear on ABC News and get coverage in the New York Times. But what about when the artist isn’t signed to a major label, doesn’t have a powerful manager and publicity team and isn’t working with the highest paid producers in the business?

Such is the case with local hip-hop group ¡Mayday! Three years after forming, the group’s music video for their track “Groundhog Day,” which features Gnarls Barkley frontman Cee-Lo, took off in a big way in the summer of 2006. Within the first 48 hours of its release, the view tally on You Tube shot up past two million.

The Times reported that the high volume of hits was driven by links to the video that were sent out to anywhere between three to four million people via e-mail. SouthBeat Records, ¡Mayday!’s former label, got the addresses through its affiliation with an Internet pornography company. That’s when emcee Wrekonize said the group noticed a huge shift in the public’s interest in their shows and music.

“It was a cool vibe to realize that the media was picking up on it,” he said. “It was a time before the heat wave of big artists that are coming out of Miami now, so it felt good to get some attention for a lot of the hard work we’ve been doing for the last few years.”

But all of the exposure didn’t give ¡Mayday! the results the group wanted. Video hits didn’t translate into equally high record sales and further publicity, and the group decided to part ways with its label and take an independent and organic approach to their music.

“It’s live instruments,” Wrekonize said. “It’s a whole new beast. As we’re learning that, we’re trying to keep the name out there and show people the music by doing live sets.”

While the group’s instrumentation has changed, Wrekonize said that its feel-good message has not.

“With the state of the country right now, if you’re struggling to put gas in your tank, if you’re struggling just to go out, once you get to a show you want to forget about all of the stress,” he said. “We want to have a good time, bring people out, and make sure they enjoy themselves.”

The six-man group will blast their new sound for students at the University of Miami this Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Rathskeller. Wrekonize said students should expect a show that’s “in your face.”

“It’s really fast-paced. You do one of two things at a ¡Mayday! show. You either uncontrollably move or you stand still. It’s very uptempo, definitely made to make you move.”

For more information, visit the band’s page at MySpace.com/FirstDayofMay.